It seems more than likely that the moral burden of early elections will fall upon us like Thor’s Hammer come late Autumn. Poland is facing its most important vote since the fall of communism and 1989. I believe that there are two possible scenarios which we have to be prepared for.
Civic Platform Wins
The first possibility is that Law and Justice (PiS) becomes so utterly disgraced, arrogant and stubborn in its ways that it fails to see its house tumbling down around its feet and fails to win the next elections leaving Civic Platform (PO) to reap the winnings and become right-wing party number one. The responsibility on PO to win the next elections and be successful is therefore huge. Many (intelligent, educated and generally nice) people who I have spoken to have already said that if PO wins and fails to bring success, tolerance and moderate economic stability to Poland then they will never go to the elections again. This is in a country which already struggles to get a fifty percent turn-out in most general elections. And who’s to blame them with the failings of Solidarity and the constant splintering of the right-wing which was supposed to bring freedom and wealth after the torment of the communist years?
Law and Justice Wins
There is a dark part of my mind that believes indifference and apathy have become so ingrained in the Polish psyche that not even this amount of arrogance, scandal or treachery will do anything to make the Poles stand up and be counted and do something to change the way their country is being run. This second scenario will see the election turn-out to be around forty percent with the dark emissaries of anti-Semitic Tadeusz Rydzyk (see previous post) and his unholy followers turning out in vast hardcore numbers against the witless few representing Poland’s embryonic middle-class who make up the largest proportion of the disenchanted and apathetic masses. A PiS victory would bring about an end to economic growth, an end to enlightened European tolerance and an end to a once proud country. Poland would quite literally be on its knees.
Whatever the outcome, whoever the winner, the repercussions of these elections will be widespread not just for Polish history, society and culture but for Europe also. Like it or not, Poland is one of the larger EU member states and with a very large population; a large population who have a penchant for travelling, moving and working in other countries which means that political decisions taken in Warsaw could well influence what goes on in London, Paris, Berlin and Brussels.