Wednesday, 24 October 2007

“Lift your hands, God’s children, bless our kind fatherland”

My old friend Neill Harvey-Smith is crowing about the Polish Election result, and above all about the removal from Parliament of the League of Polish Families (LPR), which got its big break in 2001 by advocating the following 10 points, kindly set out by NHS (as everyone calls him):

1) defence of Polish sovereignty; 2) defence of national production, trade and services; 3) reduction of bureaucracy; 4) improving the administration of justice through electing judges; 5) limiting the inflow of foreign capital; 6) creating a dozen national concerns forming the “commanding heights” of the economy; 7) making it easier for small businesses to flourish; 8) changing agreements with the EU to ensure balanced trade; 9) diversion of national currency reserves into structural investments; 10) introduction of anti-dumping duty on foreign food imports.

10 points of dementure, obviously...

So instead, the Civic Platform, rabidly neoliberal economically and (as if the old Law and Justice lot were not bad enough on this score) neoconservative geopolitically, is to go into coalition with the re-named, tellingly pro-EU, old Communist Party and a glorified pressure group for EU farm subsidies, effectively an EU-bankrolled party.

Which is much better.

Isn't it?


  1. Perhaps surprisingly, yes it is better.

  2. How, exactly?

    Yes, the LPR had to sever links with its own youth movement for attending neo-Nazi marches. But at least it severed them.

    Whereas many New Labour figures, and some Old Labour ones, attended Stalinist or Trotskyist functions in their youth, a youth which is some cases went on for quite a while, but which took place at the height of the Cold War. And then there were the YCs and the FCS on both Chile and South Africa in the Eighties, formative years of the Tories' current leading generation.

    Yes, the LPR proclaimed Jesus Christ the King of Poland. Jolly good. The Social Kingship of Christ is a fundamental of Catholicism, the root of its body of Social Teaching, whence originates the very term "social justice", as well as the pro-Welfare State, pro-worker and anti-war position of the LPR.

    Of course, although the classic formulations of this are from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in response to the conditions in Europe (especially) during that period, the basic principle has been there from the start, and was in some form carried over both into Eastern Orthodoxy and into Protestantism.

    Every monarchy in Europe embodies it, as does every country with which we share the Queen, regardless of the formal constitutional relationship between Church and State: it is just there, with no satisfactory secular rationale for it.

    Consider the record on social justice issues of Britain, Canada, the Nordic countries and the Benelux countries. This is not a coincidence. A republic can also do this, but the only obvious example is in Germany, with the endless layers of relationship between the apparatus of government and the churches. Poland would have to be like that, just as the LPR wants her to be.

    Yes, the LPR introduced a bill in March 2007 to ban "every form of homosexual propaganda, which is destroying the family", but this is probably about as effective as Section 28, under which no prosecution was ever brought.

    Yes, the LPR supports the death penalty, but in that case it should pay more attention, not less, to the teaching, not only of this Pope (a German, after all), but also of the last one.

    And yes, the LPR suggested that Kaczynski had kept the troops in Iraq because he was in league with Communists and with Israel. But the second bit could get one published in the Guardian (more is the pity) and not excluded from the dinner-party conversation of Telegraph or Mail readers (ditto). And in any case, not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, of course.

    As for being in league with Communists, that's exactly what the Civic Platform is about to be. Whereas the LPR is both anti-Communist and anti-war: what's not to like?

    NHS says that "Blairite is probably a fair label for PO". Well, I struggle to think of anything worse to say about anybody, although it is good to see an admission that Blairism entails the privatisation of health and everything.

  3. Why this paranoia about the EU. What harm has it done you (I don't mean your nation state; I mean YOU)? It's certainly benefited Poland so far, so I'm not surprised people seem moved to vote (effectively) in favour of it.

  4. "I don't mean your nation state; I mean YOU"

    A false dichotomy.

    And, for a start, it subjects ME to legislation enacted by a body which meets in secret and publishes no Official Report, routinely containing, and always subject (if at all) to the rubber stamp of, Stalinists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe's kleptomaniac nomenklatura, people who believe the Provisional Army Council of the IRA to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, and a rising tide of neoconservatives, the last soon to be joined by their ever-dependable Islamist allies (from, in this case, the resurgent Caliphate of Turkey).

    For a start.

  5. That's quite a list you laid out in your reply to my comment. Is there anyone you DO like, or is hatred tinged with zenophobia your normal state of mind?

  6. Why do you like being legislated for by such people?

    And xenophobia doesn't enter into it. There are British Stalinists, British Trotskyists, British neo-Fascists, British neo-Nazis, British people who believe the Provisional Army Council of the IRA to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, British neconservatives, British Islamists, and members of Eastern Europe's kleptomaniac nomenklatura who are at the very least London-based.

    I don't want to be legislated for by them, either. Do you? If so, why?

  7. You have a point David; I wouldn't necessarily like being legislated for by such people, but then again, mostly such people aren't currently (other than perhaps in your imagination) the people who are doing the legislating for me.

    And from where I sit (outside the UK in NL) your attitude does, or did until you 'explained' it, sound like xenophobia. My apologies for feeling that way; it's just that I'm so used to small-brits having a go at (big) Europe and all it stands for (except second homes in France, of course) and I confused you with one of them. Which, of course, you aren't. Are you?

  8. No, indeed.

    But there are actually rather a lot of the people I described (other than the Islamists) in the European Parliament and either in or, as coalition partners, around the Council of Ministers, which, moreover, legislates in secret and publishes no Official Report. And there will be lots of Islamists, too, when Turkey joins.

    Thus is made most of the law that now applies in Britain. And, indeed, in the Netherlands. Are you happy with that? If so, why?

  9. There are at least 40 Stalinists, Trotskyists and Sinn Feiners in the European Parliament, in the United Left Group. And there are at least 23 neo-Fascists and neo-Nazis, in the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty Group. That's in addition to such (and other) odds and sods elsewhere.

    But even 63 is quite a few in a permanently hung Parliament. And in any case it's the principle. Who wants to live under laws made by people like that? I don't.

  10. '...most of the law...'?

    No, not most of it, just a fraction of it; the states still retain control over most of it, as you very well know.

    And there aren't a lot of 'the people you described' (go to the website, do the maths), although there ARE some of them, which of course I'm not happy about.

    It's worth keeping a watchful eye on, of course, but do me a favour and ditch the paranoia, or you'll just confirm my suspicion (and that of many other mainland Europeans) about the attitude of the brits: 'small island, small people'. And that would be a shame because I don't want it to be true.

  11. Eighty per cent of laws that apply in the UK are made at EU level (as a result, the British Parliament hardly sits any more, although its members have not cut their own pay or expenses accordingly), with these undesirable elements always in the European Parliament, and frequently (if not always) in the Council of Ministers due the prevelance on the Continent of the sorts of electoral systems that throw them up. That Council, of course, always legislates in secret and never publishes an Official Report.

    And Bob is right about the existence of such elements beyond the two obvious Groups. There really are a LOT of them about.