Warsaw: The dictatorship of the potatolariat is in place. Yes, the Polish election of the century, that imperfect storm has broken, appropriately enough at harvest time and it shall be known by its fruits (sic).
If the Polish public were a formula one driver, they would taken such a hard turn to the right that they would have flipped the car five times and rolled it at a 90 degree angle off the right side of a mountain. This is a road with no left shoulder. This is a road whose center line has been blurred into near oblivion by the raging road rubber of the Right.
For the first time since Poland became ex-Russian (see 1989), one political party has a majority. The left has been whipped with a wet noodle into submission, perhaps quite pleasurable and certainly appropriately considering the innumerable scandals the PO centrists hoisted on themselves. PO pols were so fell on swords like nobody’s business. The hussars of PIS, red and white feathers whistling rode over them like Sobieski’s cavalry at Vienna rode over those long ago immigrants. ;
PIS, the anti-everyone-else-but-Central-Europe-and-the-US (and occasionally the UK,) party. is ram-rodded by a most unlikely Gary Cooper figure. The diminutive, somewhat Hobbit-like, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is a tough cookie. He promises blood, sweat and fears. Thus the stage seems set for a long dry spell of nationalist rhetoric and actions. Pis is apparently anti immigrants, the Euro and Russian raprochement.
As the French might say tant Pis.
Imagine that big clock on the Palace of Culture, with Mr Kaczynski hanging on the long arm trying to hold back time. The next few years promise to be a long bumpy ride with a picnic heavy with fine Polish (fan) fare. Think heavy starch, bilious debates and illiberal amounts of vodka to wash it down.
Scandal has become so a commonplace in Polish politics, and in fairness not just in Polish politics, that no one is shocked at all any more, no matter how outrageous the scandal may be. Take the recently-released tape recording of the late tycoon, Jan Kulczyk, the richest man in Poland, tapes which reveal him operating in a fashion reminiscent of, well, any garden variety Polish baron of the past.
The sky is falling, said Chicken Little.
No, it’s not, said the little red hen.
A great deal has changed in Poland in a very short time. And yet . . . and yet . . . as the French say, So much remains the same.