Interesting Times

There is a wonderful Chinese saying: “May you never live in interesting times”. How true…

Happy Family
Uber-priest Rydzyk Before we discuss today’s scandal, let us move back a few days. On Sunday, in an audacious bid to garner more support among the catholic masses, all the high-ranking members of the government including Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, Deputy PM Andrzej Lepper and Deputy PM Roman Giertych decided to take part in the Radio Maryja pilgrimage to the Jasna Góra Monastery. For the first time ever in the history of Jasna Góra pilgrimages, the Prime Minister of Poland was invited to speak from the altar by the uber-chief of Radio Maryja Tadeusz Rydzyk. Kaczyński with Andrzej Lepper sitting close behind sang the praises of Rydzyk and his great work and also told the masses how they are the real Poland (hinting that anyone who is not catholic or part of the ‘Radio Maryja’ family is not).

Media Family
The scandal is in the fact that the government has become embroiled in a poisonous relationship with Rydzyk’s Radio Maryja and his TV station Trwam leading to a situation where many political decisions seem to be taken at the behest of or with the blessing of Rydzyk. TV Trwam was given exclusive rights to broadcast the pilgrimage with all other stations being banned from the gathering. Much to the media’s surprise, Rydzyk hired heavies to stop any other (as he called them “liberalising, foreign-backed and anti-Polish”) cameramen and reporters from appearing at the pilgrimage.

Religious Family
The whole political-religious gathering was watched by (some say) 150,000 pilgrims. At one stage Rydzyk ironically asked the PM whether the PiSSelf-DefenceLPR coalition would survive. The PM retorted that the altar was not a place for politics. Yeah right…

Family Surprise
Kaczyńska called ‘a witch’On Monday, the day after the pilgirmage, the last thing anybody expected was an attack on the Kaczyńskis from… Taduesz Rydzyk. However, out of nowhere, the weekly Wprost published an article giving a verbatim account of Rydzyk speaking to students of the Higher School of Social Culture and Media (a Toruń university set up by Rydzyk himself). In his lecture he charged headlong into an attack on President Kaczyński (the PM’s twin brother) calling him a cheat and weakling. He then added that his wife Maria Kaczyńska is a witch for supporting euthanasia and if she is so keen on euthanasia should be the first to go and kill herself. He also added his usual anti-semitic spiel.

Family Break-up
Andrzej Lepper…the fights overAnd then, this morning, we hear that Andrzej Lepper has been thrown out of the government by PM Kaczyński. The Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) is said to have found evidence of massive corruption by the head of Self-Defence amounting to millions upon millions of złoty. This follows months of to-ing and fro-ing from both Kaczyński and Lepper in which the coalition has been constantly in doubt because of the excesses of members of the Self-Defence party. Straws and camel backs, straws and camel backs…

Family Issues
It now seems likely that the coalition will come to a final and crashing end. Self-Defence is currently in discussion and are deciding whether or not to continue in government without Lepper. Whatever the decision, the repercussions for Poland will be seismic with political instability damaging both the economy, exacerbating social unrest and destabilising the work that has already been done.


8 thoughts on “Interesting Times

  1. Not so fast, Joker. The party says it will continue in government, but ‘without’ Lepper; I assume this means a Samooobrona placeperson-puppet will be found to replace him in various positions (although I wd assume that the Agriculture portfolio will be filled by a PiShead), and Lepper will pull the strings from stage left. I suppose this Euro-deputy who Lepper wants to expel from the party might stage a challenge, although I’m not holding my breath.

    My assumption and fear is that this bunch will do _anything_ to hold on to power – they’ll ‘patch up’ the most divisive and bitter quarrels among each other for the sake of ekeing out a few more months in government. It seems from all the polls (all the Poles? the old jokes are the best :D) that of the current coalition parties, only PiS will survive the elections with any real parliamentary presence; then, I assume, they will have to enter into the same black, Faustian pact with PO which was originally to have happened back in 2004. What changes will that bring? Donald Tusk for PM, Rocky Kita as foreign minister or something high-profile (a position from which he _will_ launch a bid for the top job, I still maintain), and JaroKaczo hidden somewhere far away from public view, of course. But Big Little Brother Leszek will still be president, and nothing will change that; and some of PiS will still have government posts. Let’s see where we are in a year’s time… it’s still gonna be a bumpy ride.

  2. PS I love the Lepper foto. Is that Photoshopped, or did he really pose that way for another publicity shot? 🙂

  3. Jim, back to your original comment… the agriculture department will probably go to a Self-Defence Lepper crony methinks.
    I tend to agree with the ‘powerful PiS’ theory and I also believe that PiS and PO will survive into the next elections. Perhaps also SLD-cum-LiD and perhaps Self-Defence and/or PSL. The rest can go play with their lollipops.

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