1 – Give Poles a Break
BSSB.BE standpointmag.co.uk/featu 10.03.2016
By all accounts, things are rotten in the state of Poland. A fascist dictatorship has been installed — a bit like the one in Hungary, apparently, but worse. Ostensibly, democratic elections were held. But that is just a smokescreen. There has been a coup. By or against whom is unclear, but democracy, freedom of the press and civil liberties are definitely threatened. Poland is on the road to ruin, and liable to take the whole of the EU down with it. The European Commission is worried.
Not a peep out of the European Commission then. But then that was a (supposedly) left-wing government, so that was all right. And this is (allegedly) a right-wing government. Hence the current hysteria.
- Except that PiS is actually about as right-wing as Bernie Sanders. Well, perhaps I exaggerate slightly. But it’s certainly not right-wing fiscally or economically. This is not small-government and low-taxes conservatism; rolling back the State is not on the agenda.
- The conservatism is social, cultural and moral, and comes with a strong emphasis on national sovereignty.
- In the Polish context this means upholding tradition and family values, a tiny smidgeon of Euroscepticism, the refusal to submit to bullying by the EU and Germany in particular, an acknowledgement of our Judaeo-Christian heritage and the conviction that Christianity must be restored to its proper place in the public sphere, where the Church must play a role.
- You might call them culturally conservative old-style socialists. But whatever label you stick on them, none of this warrants investigation by the European Commission, let alone cries to topple the governent.
The Left’s denunciation of anything with a whiff of conservatism about it as “extreme Right” and therefore evil by definition is not surprising. But the hysteria about PiS is more than just a temper tantrum on the part of the bien-pensant Left.
The “hate speech” (a favourite accusation to fling at their opponents as they shower them with abuse) is breathtaking; some of it should be classed as incitement to criminal violence. Well-known journalists from that organ of the Polish left-wing chattering classes, Gazeta Wyborcza, have turned up at demonstrations to enourage revolt and assure people that their newspaper would continue the fight this government.
A prominent journalist on that paper also incited soldiers to defy orders coming from the current minister of defence. So much for journalistic impartiality. But it’s worth observing that it’s a curious sort of fascist dictatorship that allows demonstrations and public vilification. It’s also noteworthy that the propaganda machine lumbered into gear well before PiS had had a chance to do anything; indeed, the shrieks of indignation began well before the elections.
So what has PiS actually done since it came to power? And does any of it justify claims of fascism?
- It has replaced a few people in the extremely politicised public media, which was unavoidable if it was to be able to govern unhampered by a constant stream of vicious propaganda (imagine the BBC’s left-wing bias multiplied tenfold).
- It has replaced five PO judges on the Constitutional Tribunal, bringing the number of PO loyalists on it down to nine;
- it’s hard to see how this is somehow less “democratic” than having 14 of them doing PO’s bidding (as some of them quite blatantly did).
Being burdened with a ministry of culture, the government has plans to develop programmes and competitions encouraging traditional values, in the hope that the three national theatres, at least, might be persuaded to put on a few Polish and European classics, representative of the values it would like to uphold rather than works which attack those values. It doesn’t seem entirely outrageous to think that this might be a good thing; it would certainly come as something of a relief.
The government definitely has no plans to sack the current directors of these theatres (apart from anything else, it has no legal means of doing so), nor does it intend to impose anything on them; but the opposition has been disseminating propaganda that this is precisely what is intended, and stoking up protest. PiS will encourage new works to mark Poland’s 100 years of independence. There will be a new museum of Polish history.
It will also ensure a fairer distribution of subsidies for literary journals, which under PO had gone overwhelmingly to left-wing publications — hardly surprising, since the editors of some of those journals, or their friends, sat on the committees awarding the subsidies.
Euroscepticism Nations History
- winstonchurchill.org/ – The Truth of “Iron Curtain Speech” – This speech was delivered on 19 May 1986 to the Friends of the Memorial, New York City Branch. When he spoke of the “Iron Curtain” that had descended from “Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,” Winston Churchill was acknowledging and announcing a truth which so many in the West were so unwilling to admit – the onset of the Cold War. So powerful was the phrase.
- capx.co – A re-divided Germany – Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer has been extremely critical of Chancellor Merkel’s approach to the refugee crisis. In a SPIEGEL interview, he talks about limiting migration, his relationship with Merkel and why he is upset with the German media. “I am just soberly describing reality. You can run away from reality for a time because it doesn’t fit into your political world view. But then the people will run away from us.”
- icds.ee/ – Baltic Area. Goal for Poland – The Baltic region is an important part of Polish foreign policy. Poland’s member ship in these organisations is the foundation of its security and economic growth. The last few years have seen a gradual strengthening of Poland’s role in European and Euro.