Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One foot in the FinMin, the other in PiS

Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski is preparing to run on behalf of the senior ruling Civic Platform (PO) in his first election this October. But his answers in a recent interview point to more than a few affinities with the hard nationalist conservatives from the opposition Law and Justice (PiS).

Rostowski might feel a little set up by the line of questioning in a recent interview for the centre-left daily Gazeta Wyborcza. Considering his job as finance minister, the ongoing Greek debt tragedy blighting the whole EU, and Poland's own improving but hardly rosy fiscal situation, one might imagine a question along these lines. Wyborcza was clearly focused on something else, asking how "did you, as an ultra-conservative, accept PM Tusk's comments that in the next term the PO will deal with homosexual unions?"

Rostowski, ultra-conservative? I would have a hard time saying his fiscal policy has been ultra-conservative but I digress. What did the "ultra-conservative" come up with?

"The institution of marriage despite all the well-known flaws has survived in wonderful fashion for thousands of years." Huh. "And I don't have the feeling the formula has been used up. I'm thus against homosexual unions."

Pressed on another area, Rostowski said he was against in vitro fertilisation because "human life is the most important." Has PiS leader and the crankiest politician alive Jaroslaw Kaczynski taken over Rostowski's brain? Well, not totally. He said he was against PiS's idea of throwing those who use IVF into jail. Isn't that reassuring.

Rostowski is accused of being anti-feminist as well, but that's rather a sign of Wyborcza's extreme self-righteousness. (In fact, if you were to make a self-righteous coin, PiS would be on one side and Wyborcza on the other, with no one anywhere in Poland the wiser.)

Rostowski's views do thus appear to be uber-conservative. Such beliefs would not be foreign in PiS. One wonders where the fiscal conservative part of the honourable finance minister got lost. Surely, he would have pushed for reforms of a more structural rather than superficial nature.

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