Meanwhile in Cuckooland 88

The dust after local elections slowly settles down. With the official results in, it becomes clear that PiS actually performed better than expected in local parliaments, so contrary to what I wrote last week, it might be able to take over power in a few more than just two. But those official results also allow us to get some other insights:

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First, it became clear, that PiS fails to attract educated people – hence the unexpected success of opposition candidates in presidential elections in the big cities, disproportional to the overall PiS results in the local parliaments that have a bigger share of uneducated people from the countryside. This is actually a bad sign, as PiS might give up their attempts to attract middle class or educated people and instead focus on actions more likely to impress those of less understanding of economy or politics. That would mean even sharper course into populism and increasing the number of politically motivated money giveaways. Which can be a problem, as while there is nothing wrong with well designed social security and benefits system, the government programs are anything like that. The handouts simply do not work: despite the introduction of PiS’ flagship project, a generous child benefit called 500+ said to be a way to encourage Poles to breed, after the initial spike the birthrate actually fell back by 10 000 babies compared to previous year.

Secondly, even people in smaller towns seem to have enough of PiS. In Brzeszcze, Beata Szydło’s home-town PiS lost power to the local electoral committee. The current mayor from PiS lost after receiving only 16% of votes, after being accused of being arrogant, discriminating disabled persons and nepotism. But even more humiliating defeat took place in Działoszyn, where the PiS candidate was the only candidate for the position of the mayor and still about 70% of votes were cast against her.

Sadly, there is also bad news for the opposition: despite bold assurances, that they will never enter coalition with PiS, activists of the two of the smaller opposition parties – PSL and SLD – were already talking about joining PiS to take over power at the local level, although attempts of the latter have been halted by the party HQ.

But while there are still some elbowing in local parliaments, some cities still wait for the results of the second rounds (although no surprises expected here), the life goes slowly back to the usual trail. The hunting season, for example, goes ahead, and so in Silesian town of Ustroń, a hunter killed a deer in front of children, next to their sandbox at the local playground. The hunters, for obvious reasons, want to avoid such situations in the future, so to do not alarm people with shots from their rifles, they now lobbying for bow-hunting to be allowed in the cities. As usual, the wild boar plague is used by the pretext. The hunters still fail to understand, that they are the ones, who spread the plague – by travelling hundreds of kilometres in order to shot wild boars, then transporting their bodies in open trailers they themselves spread the germs across the separated populations.

There was also another accident caused by the column carrying Beata Szydło – this time her two limos failed to stop and smashed in the back of a Peugeot that stopped at the pedestrian crossing. All security protocols were broken when the former prime minister was then driven home in the damaged vehicle. Beata Szydło calmed everyone on Twitter saying, that “nothing happened, nobody was hurt, just a few lights and bumpers smashed”. She called drivers to be careful due to bad road conditions but failed to explain, how one can prevent being hit from the back by a speeding government vehicle. Surprisingly, the 77 years old Peugeot driver has not been accused of causing that accident, instead, Beata Szydło driver has been fined. On the occasion, it had emerged, that the driver had less than two years of experience in the job.

With professionals being replaced with “fast and furious” from the political key, no wonder that we witness heavy armoured vehicles driven by idiots buzzing with adrenaline. A motoring journalist, who had a misfortune to find himself in the way of Beata Szydło column just a day before, told the portal that her Audi Q7 was tailgating him and flashing his lights headlights, annoyed with the fact that he had to finish overtaking an articulated lorry before changing lanes. According to him, he was not the only driver forced off the way in an aggressive manner. It is appalling, that the most important people in the country are driven around by such maniacs.

But are they, really? Is Beata Szydło even important any more? Many commentators pointed out another significant fact: the accident happened about lunchtime on Thursday, and Beata Szydło was driven home for the weekend. That added the fuel to the speculation, that she was given the job of deputy prime minister just as a way to help her keep her face after being replaced with Morawiecki, but in fact she does nothing useful – not only leading PiS figures but Szydło herself struggles with the answer to the question, what exactly her duties are… But then, even more: does some minor, unimportant member of the government, needs to be driven around with such speeds, risking the lives of herself and anyone around?

Meanwhile, Andrzej Duda also gets bored. He posted on Twitter a picture from the recent meeting of Merkel, Macron, Erdogan and Putin from their summit during which they discussed Syria and he made just a single world comment: “cute”. Poles quickly started to wonder what he meant? My bet is, that when he saw the picture of those regional leaders holding hands, he thought that Macron and Merkel are now best buddies with Putin and Erdogan. He is unable to understand, that the real politicians are able to work together, despite their differences, in order to help victims of the war. Those very same victims of the war his party uses to scare its voters with and annoys everyone in the EU by refusing to take even single one of them, while simultaneously inviting even bigger numbers of the cheap labour force from countries like Bangladesh or India, of which also many are Muslims…

The sad aspect of it is that nobody serious would even consider inviting Poland to help solve some international crisis any more. During events in Ukraine a few years back, Poland was playing an important role, serving as a connection between Eastern and Western Europe. It was also speculated, that Poland might be able to take Britain’s place in the first league of European nations after Brexit. Nowadays all Poland has to offer is some occasional brainfart of one of our leaders. For example, during his recent visit to Germany, Andrzej Duda accused EU of destroying democracy, as an example pointing out to the fact, that people are no longer able to buy traditional lightbulbs. According to him, this might be one of the reasons why Brexit happened. What next: the right to heat one’s house by burning old tires as a basic human right?

Of course, PiS claims, that democratic rights are very important to them. That’s why their MEP’s voted against the new EU resolution that calls for fighting against the rise of neo-fascist movements in Europe. And no wonder – the big annual Nationalist march on the Independence Day (11th of November) is just a few weeks ahead. Just a few days ago, President Duda was calling for national unity, hoping that politicians of all sides can march together in joint forces to celebrate a centenary of Polish independence. His invitations were met with scepticism, as despite two years of preparation for the celebration of this big national day, the organisation of the march was, as usual, left to the radical right organisations. It will be no surprise to anyone, that PiS’ diplomacy failed to secure the presence of any significant international figures as well, so the whole idea collapsed. Now even Duda himself won’t’ take part in the march – his spokesperson claims, that president is “too busy”. I wonder what other plans the president of Poland might have on the day of the celebration of 100 years of our independence?

Luckily, at least the regular people will be able to celebrate properly. When the organisation committee after two years of hard work realised, that the 11th of November 2018 is Sunday, they panicked that Poles might not feel that the day has been celebrated enough, and to ensure that they feel it’s special significance, the parliament announced the following Monday, 12 November, to be a special one-off national holiday as well. If only all those fascists, who are to gather day before the Independence March on a national-socialism conference knew that beforehand, they would probably organize that event on 12th – it would be a much better date, if we remember, that this is the day when Hitler finally won the last elections to Reichstag in 1933. But 12 November has also other significance – on that day in 1962 the movie “The two who stole the moon”, starring child movie stars Jarosław and Lech Kaczyński had its première…

The additional holiday is expected to cost our economy over 6 billion złoty, but PiS say we can afford it. Shame the state-controlled flagship Polish airline Lot cannot share at least a part of this wealth. Employees went on strike, demanding their voluntary pay freeze they entered back in 2010, when the company was at the verge of bankruptcy to be lifted, as thanks to the cheap dollar and low price of aviation fuel, company is finally generating significant profits. They also protest against pushing the flight crews to become self-employed, invoking safety issues. The company CEO, who himself received a bonus of 1 500 000 zł sees no reason why his staff should receive a pay raise.

The strike brought him into the spotlight, showing his complete lack of management skills and knowledge about aviation industry – he was recorded ordering stewardess to clean the plane interior during flight using butter. He called the strike to be illegal, sacked 67 of strikers on absurd charges (like failing to turn to work, even before they were actually supposed to report for duty, or for staging an armed uprising against the company). Even if he wins, it will be just a pyrrhic victory. Because the dedicated staff, willing to work for less than market rates just for the privilege of being part of the Polish flagship airline, was the greatest asset of the company. It simply shows yet again how PiS is able to destroy everything – from stables of Arabian Horses to one of the oldest airlines in the world.

But not all Polish companies treat their workers so badly. A railway station in Szczecin, for example, did not want to force their workers to come to work at 2 am on Sunday to change the station clocks from summer to winter time. Therefore the clocks were moved on Saturday morning, causing chaos and confusion amongst the passengers, as informed Gazeta Wyborcza, the biggest Polish newspaper. Wyborcza also happens to have also over 130 000 paying online subscribers. And at least one that steals their content: TVP’s Berlin correspondent Cezary Gmyz. He managed to prove on many occasions (see here or here) that being a proponent of Smoleńsk conspiracy theories does not qualify one to become a foreign reporter for the national TV station. Now he hit the headlines for bragging on his Twitter, that he accesses Wyborcza content from behind pay-wall on a free subscription offered to students by creating a fake profile of a female student.

It’s enough if one does not steal,” said once Beata Szydło, asked about how to make Poland a rich country. Gmyz does not care. With the protective umbrella of PiS, he knows, that he might do whatever he wants. Especially if he steals from Gazeta Wyborcza, run by Adam Michnik, a fierce critic of PiS. Because in Kaczyński’s Poland, stealing is OK, as long as “our guys” steal from “their guys”.

This piece was written for Britske Listy
Picture: Koefbac, CC 4.0 via Wikipedia



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