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 with...you guessed it, a billboard and TV offensive.

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