Friday, May 13, 2011

Egg on their face

The Solidarity trade union vows to embarrass the government in front of all 500 million of the EU's citizens when Poland holds the rotating EU president in July-December. Tens of thousands of unionists are to converge on Warsaw for protests, including the bullying mining unions from the south and the angry shipyard workers from Solidarity's birthplace in the north.

"We want to show the EU elite that the 'green island of prosperity' in Poland presented by PM Donald Tusk is a myth and the country is struggling with huge problems the government has no idea how to deal with," one Solidarity leader told the daily Rzeczpospolita recently.

Solidarity's idea of how to tackle the "huge problems" is to raise the minimum wage, slash the excise tax on fuel, and ramp up social expenditure.

"We will take to the streets because people are ever poorer and the government doesn't want to talk about how to solve our problems," another union leader said.

Power to the people! Solidarity has spoken. We should all show solidarity with . . . but wait a minute. If Poland is not a "green island" of growth, as Prime Minister Tusk styled the country when it was the only EU one to grow in 2009, then how can it afford to increase the minimum wage and spending as well as slash taxes.

And if Poland is already on the verge of being punished for a gaping government fiscal deficit and skyrocketing public debt, which it is, wouldn't lowering revenue and increasing spending only push Poland over the precipice. That would lead to economic bankruptcy a la Greece or Ireland.

Can Solidarity really be so blind as to support policies that will only impoverish even more people or do they have some ulterior motive?

The sad truth is the celebrated Solidarity of old is no more. The current bunch not only has a narrow view of which precise workers should benefit, it is also closely connected to the conservative Law and Justice (PiS). In fact, the old Solidarity leader will likely run on PiS lists in the October election. The new Solidarity leader is set on the same course. This will ensure that the once famed trade union remains a shadow of its former self and in that will have more in common with Tusk and the Civic Platform than either side thinks.


  1. Glad to see common sense in the observations on this blog. From reading the whole Raf of English writers in Poland, I was beginning to think only these double-talking cheese eating wine totting sycophants who repeatedly report cow pies as mud pies, obfuscating themselves behind chesire cat boot licking smiles, had a voice. Either that voice or the drunken smart Alex too smart for his own good glib sales pitch selling New Poland inside Warsaw. God. Where have I been that I never read you before!

  2. Well, we are just getting our blogging feet really up and running. Next stop: world domination! /cue evil laugh....