Sunday, 12 March 2017

PiS in power, episode 1 in 2017

Not a dreamt-up start into the new year for the current government. Nevertheless, the five image-tainting slip-ups have not sent support in polls sliding. I believe this will happen slowly, gradually, as more voters reach their pain threshold (i.e. as wrongdoings accumulate).

Moving about safely is not the biggest virtue of PiS. Over twelve months limousines carrying prominent politicians had three serious accidents. In March 2016 president Duda’s BMW fell off the motorway after a tyre popped. On 25 January 2017 minister Macierewicz’s motorcade moving at excessive speed on an icy road smashed into cars waiting ahead of traffic lights. On 10 February 2017 reinforced Audi driving prime minister Szydlo home collided into a tree after hitting an overtaken Seciento. Circumstances of the latter accident remain most blurred, however most recent findings reveal internal safety procedures have been breached and the vehicle was not moving at the allowed speed between 50 and 60 kmph as police and ministry officials claimed. Truth be told disrespect for safety rules and fondness of speed have been a domain of all predecessors of PiS, however nobody has learnt the lesson so far, especially as Internet users publish films from dashboard cameras, shot after 10 February 2017, showing dangerous motorcades of government limousines.

Defence ministry spokesman, Bartłomiej Misiewicz, the embodiment of personnel reshuffle conducted by PiS in government-controlled enterprises has been locked up around a month ago (having days off to compensate him for working overtime). After several incidences of high-rank army officials saluting to the (civilian) spokesman and after his foray to a night-club in Białystok, Mr Misiewicz is no longer in the limelight. His future remains uncertain, however minister Macierewicz will rather not leave him out in the cold, despite Mr Kaczynski’s clear statement that Mr Misiewicz is a predicament for PiS. Conspiracy theorists wonder what Mr Misiewicz knows about Mr Macierewicz and what Mr Macierewicz knows about Mr Kaczynski that guarantees Mr Misiewicz irremovability.

The proposal to enlarge Warsaw by adjoining over 30 surrounding towns has struck out of the blue. The draft law, not consulted with anyone, including around two million residents of Warsaw and nearby towns affected by the law, brought in a strong backlash. Experts pointed at several shortcomings of the document, including violating constitutional rules (who cares?). Besides, local governors in unison underlined the deputy Sasin’s draft had not been discussed with interested parties. PiS had to give in and back down from the plan of extending Warsaw’s borders before local government elections. I suppose as too many potential voters have stamped down PiS intentions and thwarted boosting chances of their candidate in winning mayor of Warsaw stool, politicians of the party will have a hard nut to crack.

Lex Szyszko, or the amended environment protection law is probably the most visible outcome of PiS in power. You just walk outside and see chopped down trees, on private and public lands. And as a matter of principle, the wood is hardly ever cleared away, so sights like this are commonplace (in the background, uncanny freight train on Siekierki coal line). I am in two minds about this law, remembering that cutting down wizened trees that do not come into leafs and pose threat during gusty winds is necessary for the sake of safety of humans and their property. It will take decades to make up for the harm inflicted over a few weeks of the law in force. PiS has taken note of its mistake and announced next changes to the law, time will tell whether they block unfettered tree-chopping spree, but whatever steps they take, they will not reverse the time and those who have benefited from the amendments over the recent weeks will not be deprived of their benefits.

The debacle of Poland’s candidate, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski is Thursday’s (not deferred) vote on the position of European Commission candidate is the biggest defeat of PiS government in international politics and in my humble opinion, the most prestigious calamity of PiS since they took over power. All remaining 27 EU representatives, including our closest allies, i.e. prime minister Theresa May and prime minister Victor Orban, without hesitation backed the incumbent president Donald Tusk. Competencies of Mr Tusk and common sense of 27 EU leaders have been superior to domestic conflicts. The United Europe showed thumbs down to Poland whose voice has become finally audible in Europe. Indeed, our voice is heard, but no one wants to listed to it. Poland’s foreign policy is finally not pursued on its knees. Poland’s diplomats and leaders have gotten up of their knees to fall flat on their faces, straight into a cold, dirty, muddy puddle.

I feel no joy writing the above. The events in Brussels demonstrate Poland is becoming a quirky outsider in the EU, whose officials will sooner or later lose their patience and take revenge, namely cut Poland off generous flow of money from the EU. Sadly, the defeat will change nothing in perception of PiS government inside the country. Those who oppose it will not change their mind, while approximately 20% of the electorate who are hard-line believers of Mr Kaczynski will genuinely put faith in all of his words and accept as true Mrs Szydlo’s trip to Brussels was a huge victory and that evil EU is to blame. I hope Poland does not take umbrage with the EU, as if this happened and EU retaliated, Poland, not the EU would be worse off.

1 comment:

Michael Dembinski said...

In full agreement with the direction of this post. One embittered little man is dragging the whole country down. He is following Mussolini's dictum - 'all within the state, nothing outside the state". I'm hearing a lot more criticism of the small fellow from PiS supporters after the 27 to 1 debacle...

As for the freight train, it's carrying wood-chippings to Siekierki for co-firing with coal (a "green energy" wheeze).