Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Polish elections in London, the weather turns cold and being home feels strange.

When I was in London on Sunday morning I saw a curious sight: A steady stream of poles trekking along Kings street in Hammersmith, executing a smart right hand turn at the Polish diner and disappearing into a community center ( at first I thought they were all heading to Church being such good sons and daughters of "Poppa").
They were voting in the Polish election as expats.
Poles voted in 23 places across the UK on Sunday. This is in stark contrast to 2 spots in 2005.
Unofficial estimates put the number of Poles in the UK at 2 million.
The vote put an end to one of the strangest political episodes in European history.
On Sunday evening Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski conceded defeat.
He is one of an identical twin double act . His brother Lech is the President.
They are ....... a little odd:
For example, Jaroslaw, the prime minister, lives with his mother, and hair from her cats can sometimes be detected on the trousers she presses for him.
Lech, the president, has a slightly chubbier face with a couple of moles on one cheek.
They started public life as child actors back in 1962 when they starred in the film "The Two That Stole the Moon"
The angelic faces are long gone however.
In negotiations with the EU the brothers argued that because Germans and Russian killed so many Poles in WWII, the population was "inhibited". According to their calculations, Poland's population should (had the war not occurred) be 9 million more.(the 6 million killed would have produced 3 million more). As such Poland should have voting rights within the EU proportionate to that number.
This to say the least has annoyed other members of the European family.
Their support in 2005 came mainly from the older generation who were fed up with post communist corruption and a prosperity which seemed to have passed them by.
"They talk about the "enemies" whom the brothers have proved so skilled at defining with the help of the fundamentalist Catholic radio station Radio Maryja (whose ageing audience is collectively known as the "mohair-beret brigade"). There are a lot of these enemies: gay people and liberals; post-communists and capitalists; evolutionary theorists and hedonists; papal critics; journalists; secret agents; Russians; Germans; and working mothers. Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, who was attacked by nationalist thugs last year, also argues that the twins have given anti-semitism a legitimate platform since they formed their coalition with two ultra-nationalist parties." (Guardian October 18th)
Radek Sikorski, who was until earlier this year the Kaczynskis' defence minister but is now standing for the Civic Platform, believes Jaroslaw has created a "sect-like following" and represents an old-fashioned Poland at odds with modern reality. "The prime minister does not have a bank account," he says. "He does not have a driving licence. He's never used the Internet. He doesn't know how to send an SMS. And he lives with his mother.

He's an anachronism."
A prime minister who lives with his mum, has no bank account and doesn't know how to use a mobile phone or computer.......How strange...but oddly compelling.
The younger generation are not impressed.
On one satirical website, the brothers announce they are cloning themselves, and that once there are millions of them they will dominate Europe, and then the world. In a song, they sing: "Everyone has to think like me and my brother." A computer hacker from Wroclaw was arrested in August and is still being held in custody accused of defaming the office of the president, after arranging for anyone who typed "kutas" ("dickhead") into a search engine to be automatically taken to the official presidential website.
No matter the Prime Minister is out on his ear.
Do you care?
Probably not, but I thought the whole thing was odd and interesting.

Its turned cold here in Cambridge but I kind of like it as it reminds me of Canada. There's a definite autumn snap in the air.
I'm adjusting to sleeping in my own bed and as always feel far more tired now the pace has slowed somewhat. Why is it when I do 5 cities in 6 days I can survive on 5 hours sleep a night get up at 5, work all day and eat rich grub with decent vino late into the evening ?
Home I get 8 hours, stay off the booze, eat healthy and drag my ass.
Well I'm off to Rio next Thursday so soon I'll be back in the saddle.
That's it for today.
Hope ALL of you ( friends and NOT so friendly) are smiling and happy.
Big Kiss to you all regardless of your stance.

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