Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Is Poland going potty?

OK, so they've got a set of identical twins running the country - unusual, but not necessarily mad - yet they do seem to be ushering in some potentially worrying electoral changes and acting somewhat vindictively towards political opponents.

Now Poland - the largest and likely most important of the new EU member states who joined two years ago - appears to be shifting away from Brussels. This despite the Prime Ministerial Kaczynski twin's vaguely pro-EU tone on his coming to office a few days ago. Now, however, the twins have launched a purge of pro-EU officials, apparently being pitched as an attempt to clamp down on communists. (And no, my anti-EU friends, this is not an excuse for you to churn out the usual tedious "EUSSR" rubbish and claims that the EU is a communist plot in the comments.)

Is this part of the rightwards shift (NYT reg req.) in the country, as seen in the rise of the skinheads in anti-Gay riots and racially-motivated attacks both in Poland and in Germany during the World Cup? Is there something even more sinister at work in this country with a history of, shall we say, "strong leaders"? Or is it merely a childishly petulant toys out of pram moment prompted by those potato jibes from Germany?

Of course the question is, if this right-wing sibling pair move away from Brussels and simultanously start persecuting former communists, where are they going to look for allies? I can hardly imagine Russia's ex-KGB President being too pleased at teaming up with a country trying to remove his former secret police colleagues from positions of influence.

But then again, I'll freely admit to knowing next to nothing about Poland. Some blogs that may help include that of the Economist's Edward Lucas, p3, The Beatroot (currently on holiday), Our Man in Gdansk, and Polish Police and Administrative Corruption. Any others you know of, let me know. Something odd's certainly happening over there, and it will have serious implications for the rest of the EU if Poland goes mental...

7 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

Completely sensible - nothing potty to see. Move along now.

7/26/2006 01:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Krakow a few times, lovely city. It does have very strange police though, they're absolutely nowhere to be seen. Every shop and restaurant (even McDonald's) was guarded by private security. There was competing companies as well, one of them was called Justus and the other had some crazy polish name.

While I was there two of the people I was with were coming back from a club one night and one of them "accidently" knocked over a flower pot outside a closed restaurant, both of them ended up being beaten up pretty badly by these "security" people.

I don't want to give out in general about a country or anything but if the policing of a city is given over to thugs (because thats what they are) then its hard to be very positive about the place isn't it?

7/27/2006 12:14:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there

Have just had 2 weeks in Poland - stayed for 3 days in Krakow, then off to the Mazurian lakes for a week, then Sopot and Gdansk then to Zyrardow for a few days - finally leaving the car at Warsaw airport.

We have Polish friends (now living and working in our home town in Lancashire). We were fortunate to have had on tap - our Polish tour guides. (Without them - there was absolutely no way I would have managed to visit all the places we did)

Having driven over 1,000 miles in Poland over the two weeks I have to say for me - that the roads were just absolutely horrendous.

I will never critize the M6 again.

Although they now have EU funding to make good the roads - the supply of qualified people to do so is pretty low:-( since many Poles have left for better jobs over here.

7/27/2006 05:44:00 pm  
Anonymous steve69 said...

"Is this part of the rightwards shift (NYT reg req.) in the country, as seen in the rise of the skinheads in anti-Gay riots and racially-motivated attacks"

Excuse me, that is a leftward shift isn't it? Do you remember pre-wall eastern Europe when such things were state sponsored de rigeur?

And don't believe (everything) anything you read in the NYT.

7/28/2006 08:33:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

The mention of skinheads is a clue. Very much a far-right phenomenon. And you may also have noticed the links to numerous other newspapers - I rarely, if ever, go on one source.

Still, the far right and far left do certainly share a number of similarities - as do extremists of all sorts, religious, political, whatever. The anti-communist purge here, however, is a fairly clear clue that this lot are of the right.

7/28/2006 11:58:00 pm  
Blogger Dave Heasman said...

The country has (temporarily?) lost half a million of its adventurous young clever people, who are now working in England. Those that are left are going to be reactionary and violent.

8/02/2006 05:33:00 pm  
Blogger Tom said...

Moving away from the EU...rise of anti-gay-rights extremists...strong centralised authoritarian streak...erosion of democracy...leadership based on who you're related to...persecution of 'commies' (or people who don't share the administration's political views, in other words).

Now, is it *really* that hard to think which large, aggressive world power (with a substantial population of Polish origin, there's a clue) is closely aligned to those ideals?

8/05/2006 08:44:00 am  

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