Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dildos & guns pay off

I have argued Poles are tired of politics. The latest opinion poll from SMG/KRC -- and though you always need to take polling results in Poland not just with a grain of salt but rather with a whole mug of it -- showed that Poland's political jester Janusz Palikot enjoys bigger support than the Polish Peasents' Party (PSL) and is only a point behind the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).

This is only one of many polls showing the Palikot Movement's (RP) support on the rise. I would tie this upward push not only to his dildo and gun-swinging press conference tactics and active anti-Civic Platform (PO) campaign (his supporters are following Prime Minister Donald Tusk's tour de Pologne and disturbing his meetings), but most of all to the weakness of the PO and SLD.

After a couple years of the Civic Platform spitting in the face of its core voters -- pro-market, young, urban, rather well-off -- Palikot is an obvious alternative for the "anger vote" from people that are now in the "I don't have anyone to vote for" group.

This same mechanism explains another surprise: Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Poland's most active and failed fanatic conservative liberal, has the support of 4 percent, or only one point below that needed to qualify for parliament. This reflects the anger of all those who are hardcore liberals but are on the conservative side of the PO -- these people would not never vote for Law and Justice (PiS).

Palikot's relatively high support is also the result of what is going on with the SLD, where under leader Grzegorz Napieralski the party is more interested in internal struggles than in actually finding and convincing someone to vote for it.

The bottom line is that I would not be surprised if the Civic Platform falls victim to its own strategy of trying to increase turnout for the October 9 election. While in 2007 a surge in the number of young voters helped bring it to power, this time around young voters might chose those politicians that still have the guts to go out and talk about ideals, liberties, reforms, and even wave a dildo from time to time and reject the ones preaching the "realpolitik" mantra, which for many young Poles looks way too much like "all we care is keeping power."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Markets are nuthouses

Marek Belka, governor of the National Bank of Poland, is seriously pissed off at markets. He's just not going to take it anymore, no, he ain't going to take it, he's not going to take it anymore.

Markets, as everyone knows, have being going nuts for some time now. But what really has Belka, the former member of the ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance, fuming are the recent so-called speculative attacks on the zloty aimed at driving the Polish currency down in value. Poland, in Belka's opinion, has strong fundamentals and the zloty should not be weakening.

"The financial market is a nuthouse," Belka was cited saying by Reuters in Harvard on Monday.

This could be just an off-the-cuff response but he went on in the same vein in a weekend interview with the Polish state-owned news agency PAP. When asked whether the market was acting rationally, he said: "Acting rationally? Does anyone still believe markets act rationally?"

Indeed no, Marek, indeed no.

The NBP put its money where its mouth is (pun intended) and waded into the market this past Friday buying up Polish zloty and thereby helping strengthen the zloty in a counter-attack against the 'speculators.' Belka relished the blitz.

"The guys who were in the business of speculating against the zloty probably lost a lot of money," Belka told Reuters, likely rubbing his hands together and madly laughing.

The NBP governor said 'speculators' previously had one-way bets in which they could almost not lose money [ed. - where have we heard this before], but would have to learn this was no longer the case.

"[I]t's a two-way street. If you choose to overtake on a two-way street, at the last moment you might notice there is a big truck coming," Belka said, adding I'm sure, 'boom.'

You can take the man out of the leftist party, but I guess the question is whether you can take the leftism out of the man.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Poland, teachers' heaven

Being a teacher is certainly a tough job. If you have any doubt check out, this video. But overall, maybe it's not such a bad job given this report, which says that Polish teachers actually teach for 2 hours 42 minutes a day or 489 hours a year. This is no surprise as looking at the calendar you can see teachers in Poland get about 3 months a year of school-free time.

It is a cliche to say that some of the southern European countries currently undergoing serious financial crisis are, let's say, not the most work-motivated people in the world, but even teachers in Greece supposedly teach 20 percent more than do Polish ones. This is not to mention the EU average of 779 hours a year or the US one of 1100 hours.

In a normal sector, demand for work determines supply. If newspaper sales fall, more journalists have to pursue other job opportunities, for example. That is obviously not the case in Poland with teachers. Here, the longer you are a teacher, the harder it is to fire you. Most teachers have enough tenure to be virtually impossible to let go.

The results of such a system are obvious. Since it is based on tenure alone, quality doesn't matter and a lot of older, not-so-good teachers block places of their potentially/maybe better younger competitors. Another result is that the number of teachers is roughly flat at about half a million despite a significant decrease in the number of kids attending school due to demographic changes. Basically, the supply of labour is constant regardless of the demand.

To add insult to injury, and I wouldn't be blabbering about all of this if I couldn't criticise Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the salaries of these teachers are legally set to rise. This was not a proposal by some populist left-wing party, but by the "most liberal" of all parties in Poland: the Civic Platform. The prime minister of course claims this is to secure better schooling for our children and ensure their competitiveness on the global marketplace.

To achieve that, we have set up a system that promotes inefficiency, fights competition, penalises quality and shows that political rationale is more important than reason. But hey, it's half a million votes, ain't it?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

'Better Palikot with a dildo than Napieralski without balls'

Ouch. You can really feel the sting of political jester Janusz Palikot's latest barb about Grzegorz Napieralski, leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). Palikot, known for a 2008 press conference in which he waved a dildo and a pistol, made the comments to further denigrate Napieralski and the old time leftists in the SLD, his new rivals. Palikot has created a new centre-left party that it looks ever likelier to make parliament.

The always colourful Palikot left the senior ruling Civic Platform (PO) in 2010 after tiring of the PO leadership's several attempts at muzzling him. He held an opening event that attracted thousands but his party, the Movement to Support Palikot (RPP), seemed to lose momentum. Everyone had already buried the party.

But Palikot's party has new vigour. It has doubled its support of late and now usually scores around 4%. The magic number to qualify for seats in the October 9 elections is 5%.

If the RPP does make it, it will be in part thanks to Palikot's former colleagues in the PO. A good chunk of his potential voters are likely to be dissatisfied PO voters.

Palikot's party is also targeting those that can't stomach the ex-communists in the SLD and who want someone to stand up against the Church-loving centre-right and right-wing parties that dominate the current political scene.

What would Palikot's party do if it qualifies for parliament? Cause a fuss, likely. Palikot is a politician, but more than that he is a showman and a jester. He is the classic shit disturber. Very likely, he would continue to cause a commotion wherever he went. But he might, just might, also be able to be a kingmaker.

If the PO were to win elections, perhaps the RPP would have the support necessary for a PO-led government to muster a majority. Palikot even said recently he would support a PO-guided coalition but only if some of the RPP's policies were put in place. This of course has given weight to some observers' conspiracy theories that Palikot struck out on his own with the blessing of PO boss and Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

What exactly does the party of a jester want? Well, he wants to focus the economy on exports, withdraw religion from schools, levy a church tax, and introduce sex education.

It's not clear if Palikot will make it. Much will depend on whether voters really want to risk taking votes away from the PO and helping Law and Justice's (PiS) road to victory. But here's hoping Palikot remains ever the colourful jester and doesn't revert to being just another serious, vacuous political simpleton like most of the rest of Poland's politicians.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Polish govt fits into a bus

No, this is not being done to show how small government is in Poland. Quite the contrary. The Civic Platform's (PO) administration has grown significantly in the past four years. Rather, it is to show that "all hands are on deck" to support the PO's fizzling campaign.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has decided his ministers and he himself have to go out more. So, he ordered a bus with his name stuck onto it -- it has promptly been christened the Tuskobus -- and the entire government is now racing around Poland ahead of the October 9 elections. Some have even mentioned the government's next sitting could be held on the Tuskobus.

The government is also clearly having some fun. Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, between important issues dealing with EU policy during the debt crisis, tweets: "Gdow parish: new pre-school, two Orliki football fields, sewage plant  (with a typo), 26 km of roads, houses and apartments for flood victims. Poland under construction." Now if you think Gdow is quite far from foreign policy, and frankly quite far from Warsaw too, you might wonder what business outside of the election campaign does minister Sikorski have there?

So not only do we have the government's foreign affairs minister focusing on small domestic issues, we also have a supposedly liberal party pushing through laws limiting government transparency, wanting to put a "state secret" stamp all over government documents, trying to sneak past parliament laws extending rights to monitor phone conversations by state agencies, or giving tax inspectors guns.

No wonder Donald Tusk during his Tour de Pologne had a problem answering the provocative question of "how are we supposed to live?" But wait, the great opponent of billboard ads and TV commercials during preparations for the election -- the PO passed legislation banning TV and billboard ads until the courts struck these down -- plans to answer questions such as these guessed it, a billboard and TV offensive.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poland's Dr. Jekyll

Someone who completely transforms their behaviour, so much so he is almost unrecognisable, is often diagnosed with a personality disorder of some sort. In Polish politics, it means it's election time again.

Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is cranky, controversial, provincial, irritating, grating and completely self-righteous . . . until elections roll around. Then, he is jovial, funny, calm, moderate and an all-round nice guy.

Kaczynski performed this very act just last year for the presidential elections. He eventually lost to Bronislaw Komorowski, but he did get some 47% of the vote, a huge amount considering Kaczynski has among the biggest negative electorate in the country.

The PiS leader tried the very same thing in 2007 but only did it partially. This probably helps explain why his party lost. But in 2005, Kaczynski showed a far more moderate face than the one that eventually led the crazy coalition of his PiS, the far right LPR and the super-populist Samoobrona.

The funny thing about Kaczynski's Dr. Jekyll is it usually gives away to the Mr. Hyde almost immediately. In the concession speech after losing the presidential election last year, Kaczynski went immediately on the warpath and dropped any pretence of being a moderate leader focused on union, not interminable attacks on anyone that does not believe he is infallible.

The question is can Poles be fooled again? Will they really buy into the Mr. Nice Guy Kaczynski one more time?

I think yes. The Civic Platform's (PO) campaign seems so inept at present (i.e., trying to restrict free speech, standing PM preferring the bus to running Poland) that Kaczynski's nice guy tactics might even work. After he inevitably makes his Mr. Hyde switch, Polish voters would have only themselves to blame.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Natalie Portman loves Poland…

Poland is feeling pretty stoked these days since Natalie Portman has a Polish connection and so must love Poland. Yes, yes, yes! The same goes for Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford, John Cleese, Robert Duvall, Peter Weir, Danny Devito, Russell Crowe, Ralph Fiennes, Jim Carrey and 27 famous people all told. It's good to be in Poland!

But wait, you say, isn't it stupid to try to use a celebrity endorsement if that celebrity doesn't have any idea they are actually given an endorsement? Isn't it perhaps illegal?

The Polish daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna agrees. It is stupid and might be illegal. In an article entitled "Scandal instead of promotion," the paper argues that each of the 27 celebrities probably should have signed special waivers to be used by Poland's Foreign Ministry in its "Move Your Imagination" campaign. The failure to do that could expose Poland to millions of Swiss francs (we needed to pick a decent currency) in damages.

The Polish side disagrees. Filmmaker Roman Rogowiecki, who conducted the interviews used in the piece, said he interviewed the celebs over the past 10 years, compiling a compendium of Poland-related celeb stories. He says it's a documentary. The Foreign Ministry also says it's a documentary. This apparently protects them from legal action.

You know what. I think we have a tempest in a shot glass here. Have a look. If any of the celebrities sues for that, they deserve comeuppance. Moreover, be warned. It's over 12 minutes long. Just try to wrap your ADHD internet-obsessed I-must-click-brain around that.

Natalie, we know you love Poland X. If you want to endorse us, feel free to drop us an email.

PS. If you do watch the promotional video, er, I'm sorry, "documentary," you will see the great director Peter Weir talk about bottling the Polish spirit. Peter, it's already bottled. It's called Wyborowa.

Bullshit polls

Pre-election polls in Poland are well known for being wrong. In 2005, not a single one foresaw Law and Justice's (PiS) surprise victory. In 2007, one last-minute poll showed PiS winning, though it turned out the senior ruling Civic Platform (PO) won by a wide margin.

Ever since, many Poles believe opinion polls are just another campaign instrument. Some polls are pro-PO, some are pro-PiS. For example, a recent Homo Homini poll showed only 2-percentage point difference between the top two parties. A CBOS poll a few days later showed a 17-percentage point gap. Go figure.

Politicians of both stripes, to no surprise, use the polls to spin their message. Surprisingly, both parties claim the gap is smaller than many believe because both believe that if the gap is small there is a bigger chance their voters will feel greater need to show up at the ballots on October 9. Hence, the entire PO is now underlining how important it is to go and vote, believing that higher turnout increases its chance of victory.

However, what the daily Gazeta Wyborcza did on Friday with its article on polling is one of a kind. A huge frontpage headline blurts "PiS close to PO," one daresay hanging there like a rally flag for PO supporters.

Inside? It turns out that after  tweaking the methodology of the poll to supposedly show "the core electorate" Wyborcza arrived at the conclusion that the PO has 19 percent committed support and PiS has 18 percent. To strengthen their point they quote an election expert -- Radoslaw Markowski -- who says "the PO has more supporters, as many surveys show. I don't know where people get the idea that PiS caught up with PO." Yeah, I wonder too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

War, huh, yeah

What is good for, absolutely nothing, Uh-huh, War, huh, yeah…you could almost hear Edwin Starr's famous anti-war song resonate around the lofty halls of the European Parliament yesterday. The anti-war footing of a sort came courtesy of Poland's Jacek Rostowski, finance minister and now scare-mongerer in chief.

Jacek, you see, decided to give a stark warning to European MPs, that if the euro-zone collapsed because of its recent debt woes, the EU would likely fall apart with it and the consequences of that could be war.

I'm sure Jacek just wanted to find some way to embolden his speech, which was designed to say that the entire EU needed to rally together and make the needed sacrifices to keep the EU together. But war in Europe? As finance minister, I think Rostowski should be a little more sensitive to the tetchy situation in Europe these days. About the last thing markets need to think about it war.

Perhaps, Jacek is merely the victim of inflation. Yep, inflation. Because, you see, Jacek has been giving interviews pretty much every day for weeks now, maybe years it sometimes seems. The more interviews he gives, the less interesting they become. How to break this vicious problem? Up the stakes.

One of the more ironic reactions to Jacek's speech came from good ole Jaroslaw Kaczynski of Law and Justice (PiS). Kaczynski called the war talk the "Mount Everest of irresponsibility." So says the man that when leading the government said in Germany that Poland deserves a bigger EU say because if World War II had not happened, there would be something like 20 million more Poles.

War, what is good for, absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's not what you think...

Poland's election is gaining momentum and entering the stage where some parties are getting, er, desperate. The Polish Peasants' Party (PSL), the junior ruling coalition member, is trying very hard to differentiate itself from its bigger coalition partner-cum-rival Civic Platform (PO) and is trying to convince people it is much more than...well, a peasants' party.

It is obviously a challenge for Peasants' party to not be seen as a peasants' party, so Deputy Prime Minister (and Poland's most popular iPad user) Waldemar Pawlak decided to roll out the heavy guns: the PSL has made what can only be called an 'erection ad' entitled "Don't judge a book by its cover."

For non-Polish speakers, the dialogue is quite simple, something like from German porn movies that were popular in Poland before the internet-era. It goes something like "Let's go behind the shack" "Do we have enough time?" The pair then runs behind the shack...suggestive noises then accompany the couple playing tennis...The PSL ends with "It's not always what you think. Look at us from another side."

The PSL is light on the details of its economic or political plans for Poland's future but certainly it is one of the most active in terms of unorthodox ideas for their campaign. The sexual innuendo above was actually preceded by a kick-off campaign ad showing politicians singing at a disco. I bet neither Pawlak nor any of his spin doctors expected the song to become an international clip played across the globe. For example, here it is in the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm el Sheikh:
For those who are interested here is the original.

PiS wants 25,000 good men

The opposition Law and Justice (PiS) wants to find 25,000 "men of trust" to observe the October 9 parliamentary elections. PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski thus signed up on Monday to the "Fair Elections" campaign, which aims to ensure the elections are, er, fair.

Obviously, Kaczynski and the gang behind the "Fair Elections" campaign must believe the senior ruling Civic Platform (PO) will try to steal the elections. Why else would you seriously ask 25,000 people to work for free on a Sunday. I mean, it's clearly not possible that the PO could actually just be elected. They must steal to win....

Wait, what, you don't believe the PO will steal the elections but are just calling for 25,000 "men of trust" to turn up at polling booths just in case?

"Since the setting up of modern democracy, elections have been conducted on the basis of limited trust, or, in other words, they have been controlled by the opposition and various social groups," Kaczynski said on Monday. "This is the democratic norm. Without this, one can simply not talk of a democratic election, and without this, there can be no fair state because fair elections are the foundation of a fair state."

Quite a way with words that Kaczynski has. One might even say he has a fair way with fair words....

Anyway, Kaczynski went on to explain his deep satisfaction with the "Fair Elections" campaign.

"We are delighted that this project is not partisan. It is a social enterprise that is part of a social movement which emerged in Poland after the last elections," he said, wanting to add he is a 'social' man in a 'social' world just looking for his 'social' love but that is another story....

Non-partisan, he says. Hmmm. Non-partisan is clearly good. But just who is behind this extraordinary call for election observers and the implicit statement elections are being stolen in Poland?

Well, the main backers are...badaboom...the Lech Kaczynski Social Movement, the club of the extremely right-wing Gazeta Polska, the Free Poland website, the Solidarni 2010 grouping....So, non-partisan here actually means partisan. Well, I guess this is an election campaign.

In case you are wondering what I'm getting at, no, it's not that I think PiS is crazy, or rather the only crazy Polish political grouping. The Beata Kempa stolen email idiocy I wrote about yesterday and the stolen election example above highlight PiS's political modus operandi: insinuation.

And this is only the beginning. If I gaze into the Poland X crystal ball, I predict far more insinuation to come and before the month is out, PiS will be accusing a major PO figure of major corruption. Mark my words.

Monday, September 12, 2011

No one to vote for

It is astonishing that four years after the Civic Platform (PO) took power the comment I hear the most is "there is no one to vote for." More often than not it comes from disillusioned PO voters, but not only

Given this, one would think the new parties popping up right and left aiming to attract potential voters should gain some traction, but no. There is plenty of parties that have come (Poland is the Awesomest (PJN), Palikot's, the SdPL) but yet even quicker they go...(PJN, SdPL, Samoobrona, LPR). I do admit some of these parties last longer, and some just a few months and some...well, we don't even notice they were there before they are gone.

Despite this movement the political scene for the past couple of years has probably been as stable as it is going to get in Poland. We have two major parties (the PO and Law and Justice (PiS)) and two smaller ones (the leftist SLD and rural-based PSL), so what are people talking about there is no one to vote for?

The main problem is that although Poles are quite good at ousting governments from power (not a single party has yet won two elections in a row) they are not so good at ousting party leaders. Actually they are terrible at it.

Let me give you an example. When it comes to elections, no matter who the leader of SLD is, Aleksander Kwasniewski is considered to be the trump card in post-communist's hands and each time he does them more bad than good. By bad i mean BAD. I mean showing up drunk -- or stricken with a Filipino disease, as his handlers had it -- at a major party convention only to blabber something in the microphone. And yet they ALWAYS ask for his help.

Second, can anyone imagine a modern party in a modern country with free and fair elections that does not sack its entire leadership after losing six straight elections? Poles can. Look at PiS and Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

In the end, it is perfectly understandable there is no one to vote for. After all, it is the exactly same people over and over and over again.

Dumbest political story of all time

Heil Kaczynski?
Poland's main media channels cast their collective focus Monday on political parties' proposed tax and pension plans and the ways the various challengers ahead of the October 9 parliamentary elections plan to . . . no, they didn't, did they? Instead, they focused on what I think is the dumbest Polish political story of all time.

The heroine of this story is Law and Justice (PiS) MP Beata Kempa, who is somehow perfect as the centre for the idiocy that occurred.

It all started when the Polish state-owned press agency PAP received an afternoon email purportedly from Kempa saying she would not run in the October elections. As you can imagine, a bombshell of this nature must have had PAP journalists buzzing with adrenalin as they prepared to unleash such momentous news on an unsuspecting nation.

And then they did. Bam. News bars went yellow or red or whatever colour they have chosen to signify that THIS IS SOMETHING IMPORTANT. Of course, viewers only want to part with their ever precious attention for "really big" news. So, the news channels in Poland pretty much classify everything as "breaking news." I imagine a dog farting in the forest would be enough to get TVN24 to blast away with their yellow breaking news bar.

So Kempa is not going to run…ho hum. But wait, there's more.

It turns out someone must have hacked into Kempa's email and sent the message to PAP since she was entirely unaware of the alleged resignation. Egad. Eureka. Whoa Nelly. PiS's spokesperson was predictably outraged. "I completely deny [the report]," he told TVN24. "I spoke to the MP. She didn't submit such a statement! We're sending the matter to the prosecutor."

Anyone who's followed Polish politics, especially as practiced by PiS, for even a nano-second will know PiS's likely thinking. Someone (the Civic Platform (PO)) hacked into Kempa's email in order to attack her credibility because they are scared of her awesome political skill. The prosecutor must find the culprits (the PO), though we know they won't because they are controlled by the powers that be (the PO) and they aren't us.

With still just under 4 weeks to go to the elections, I sincerely hope the level of debate and news coverage will improve a tad. I also sincerely -- down on my knees -- hope this will remain the dumbest Polish political news story of all time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Donald is right...

I am sorry to say but Prime Minister Donald Tusk is right. We made fun of him when he told the weekly Polityka there was no one he could lose to in the October 9 elections, but it seems, improbably, that he was right. He really doesn't have a serious opponent, unless something dramatic changes, that could threaten coming election victory.

It is not that Donald Tusk, the Civic Platform (PO) leader, is such a good prime minister or the economy is doing so well. Unemployment is high, especially among young people. Taxes, fees and prices are all on the rise. Hardly anything got done, forcing the ruling party to go to the polls under an "under construction" slogan. So how come the Civic Platform maintains such a hefty polling lead over its rivals? After all, its previous "To live better" slogan now sounds like a sarcastic joke.

The PO's campaign idea is really bizarre. How can you advertise the fact that in the middle of Europe it takes more than four years to build a 100km highway? Donald Tusk recently had a massive problem answering a simple question from a journalist: "Please name one thing you started and actually finished?"

The only reason for such a good performance is that whenever you look at the alternatives to the ruling party, the choice is just as bad or even worse. Although the Law and Justice's (PiS) weakness can be explained partly by the Smolensk disaster, which killed many of its higher echelon officials, the weakness of the leftist, post-communist SLD is its own doing.

Looking at the ongoing campaign, I can give one early conclusion: neither PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski nor SLD head Grzegorz Napieralski want to win the election. Their strategy is thus simple -- through ruin to victory. The global crisis will sweep the ruling party into obscurity and then without much effort these grandmasters of political chess will take over the reins and lead us to apparent glory. Or so they hope.

Friday, September 02, 2011

In defence of Polish bread

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the crazy conservative pranksters from Law and Justice (PiS), has a dream, a very noble dream. And, no, this is not the one about water-boarding and a certain politician whose initials are D.T.

"My dream is for bread to be in Poland…," Kaczynski said during a campaign event.

Wow, I have also dreamt of bread. First, PiS and I agreed the government shouldn't leak important macro data, and now Jaroslaw "I have a dream…" Kaczynski and I have both had dreams about bread. I wonder if bread was chasing him in his dream as well, but I digress.

Because, if I can take a serious turn, Jarek, I hate to break it to you, but there is bread in Poland. Lots of it. And it's delicious.

For you to get bread, you are going to have to leave your safety zone -- no, neither the Germans nor the Russians stole the bread -- and go to these things called grocery stores. Though, yes, many of them are run by foreign companies, they sell bread. No, it is not poisoned.

What's that? When you win the October 9 elections, you are going to make sure every Pole has bread. Well, too late, they already do have bread. What? Ah, but that's true. It probably is uklad bread. I'm afraid we will have to wait till you win the elections for true "Polish" bread made in Polish bakeries with Polish ingredients and allowed to cool beneath a Polish sun.

Too bad for you, the dream of winning elections is like to take a little longer to be realised than your bread dream.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Loose lips sink ships - clarification

For the record, I would like to state clearly that I do not believe anyone at Reuters news agency did anything wrong in the event presented in the post Loose lips sink ships, which looks at the leak of GDP data that occurred on Tuesday.
I do not think that any reporter or editor tipped off any broker, dealer, trader or anyone else with a market interest. I do not think the information left the newsroom.
I apologise to anyone I might have inadvertently offended.
I did mention that getting exclusive news, including via leaks, is part of the job of Reuters and tried to congratulate the staff there for what was a very impressive scoop.
But, as someone who writes, I should have been more careful in expressing the point that -- even if no one at Reuters did anything remotely wrong -- important data like GDP numbers should not be leaked.
The problem is clearly with a government source or with Poland's Central Statistical Office. I stand by my position that the guilty person should be dealt with. The institutions involved should also examine their public statistical data dissemination policies to ensure this doesn't happen again.