Saturday, 9 October 2010

Far in the background

I promised not to write about politics, didn’t I? But surely that pledge concerned only current issues, including the most topical – tomorrow’s pilgrimage to Smolensk. Besides, another blogger did his bit in Polish (and happened to insult tens of mourners), but his view doesn’t overlap mine at all. Yesterday “Wyborcza” revealed some journalists’ phone billings had been collected by secret services when PiS had been in power. The article and comments (those about wiretapping, which had not been mentioned) referring to it reminded me of two years when Poland was ruled by PiS, but lives went on, days passed by, all of us had our ups and downs. I can’t deny 2006 was remembered by Poles as a good one, the only question is who should take credit for it.

In the autumn of 2005 I couldn’t vote in any of three elections held in September and October, as a result of which Prawo i Sprawiedliwość caught hold of power in Poland and Lech Kaczyński was elected president. At that time I was more worried about how I would perform on matura and decided to put in for an admission to SGH. Politics was a hot topic in our talks during the last year of my high-school education, but we didn’t deplore about the aftermath of low turnout in the past elections, but gibed at midget-president, moherowe berety, and remotely-controlled prime minister.

On 7 January 2006 I had a studniówka. Around the last dance of one of deputies of Samoobrona was detained just two hundred metres from our ballroom on charges of drink-driving. Politics passed by.

In late January 2006 I began cramming up for matura, soon three wise men saved the country from instability, signing the pact was filmed by the only righteous TV station.

On 5 May 2006 I took my matura in English. I returned home in the late afternoon to find out about a new ruling coalition set up with a guy who hadn’t pass any matura exam and with a national-catholic chap who had been appointed minister of education. Imagine how happy I was to have finished school just a week before Mr Giertych took charge of ministry of education.

On 14 July 2006 I got in to SGH. Jarosław Kaczyński was sworn in as a prime minister on the same day. The former was more meaningful – after all I’m still a student of SGH and Kaczyński had to step down as a prime minister after over a year.

26 September 2006 was the second day of my studies and the day the tape scandal came to the light. Four days earlier the guy without a high-school degree had been ousted from the government just to be reappointed a deputy prime minister three weeks later.

On 11 January 2007 I was bracing myself for the first exam period, on the same day a graduate of one American business school took over as a governor of Polish central bank.

In July 2007 my cousin tied the knot. Around that time another scandal broke out and triggered an avalanche that led to an ultimate collapse of so-called Czwarta RP.

In August 2007 I got my first (and lousy) job. In the same month the ruling coalition eventually fell apart, soon the parliament disbanded itself and ahead-of-schedule election was called.

The election was held on 21 October 2007. The weather was the same as today – after a morning frost the glorious sunshine heated the air up. It seemed beautiful weather gave off the heartfelt joy of Poles who couldn’t miss the opportunity to put the rule of PiS to the end. And then Donald took over as prime minister and hopes for big reforms were dashed, but the life, with all its ups and downs went on…

Why have I drawn this peculiar timeline of Czwarta RP? It occurred to me why so many people don’t take trouble to go the polls. Their lives, choices, daily routines, earnings, don’t depend on what’s going on in big politics. Personal happiness doesn’t hang on the ruling coalition, health has no connection with who the president or prime minister is, generally the links between ordinary life and the world of politics are rather invisible. Why should we care then? Our interest should be focused on what really affects our private lives and politicians hardly ever have any influence on it. Years when PiS was in power could be extraordinarily good for me, years when Platforma has been ruling could be extraordinarily bad for me, yet it’s not a reason to associate personal ups and down with politics. But when it comes to economy some less-educated Poles discern when PiS was in power the economy was booming, after PO took over, the pace of GDP growth slowed down, unemployment rate picked up and stock prices declined. If so, does it mean economic policies pursued by PiS were better than those run by PO? How many people think so?


Steve said...

Your comments on why people don't vote seem eminently sensible and demonstrate well how few people appreciate the affect of the economic cycle. However, you might like to consider why so many people vote in Poland compared to countries like the UK.

adthelad said...

"In the autumn of 2005 I couldn’t vote in any of three elections held in September and October, as a result of which Prawo i Sprawiedliwość caught hold of power in Poland and Lech Kaczyński was elected president." - it might be only me but from the way the above sentence is structured it reads as if PiS only won because you didn't vote ;) LOL.

Having watched politics in Poland from the sidelines for some time I can't help but feel sorry for the way the old hands have always been one (and sometimes many a stolen billion) up on the idealistically natured in the Solidarity movement. I must admit also that I too was insulted by the proceedings which revolved around the respective Presidential wives and the PR needs of their political masters. It was truly sad to see so many of those suffering loss brought down to this level. Heart wrenching.

student SGH said...

Adam, that sentence indeed heightens my contribution to the results ;)