Friday, November 25, 2011

First Ireland, now Hungary

I don't really like advice. People like to hear it. But no one ever follows it. Seems like a waste of time. But I do like exceptions, and so here's a piece of advice for Poland's politicians: don't promise to make Poland into anything except Poland.

In case you're slightly confused (I hope so, so you'll be reading on), I'm speaking of Polish politicians' tendency to say 'we promise to make Poland into Country X.'

Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his Civic Platform (PO) were first bitten by this disease. Tusk and his gang spent the entire 2007 election campaign promising to make Poland into Ireland. With the Celtic miracle seemingly unstoppable, with Poles already making up seemingly half of the population there, it did not seem a stretch that Poland could repeat the move and turn into the Eagle economy.

Then came the crisis, the banking busts, the government socialization of banking sector idiocy and now the Irish have turned into the Poles they previously welcomed: they're both migrating in search of work elsewhere. I guess Tusk just got it wrong. Poland didn't become Ireland. Ireland became Poland, and then went even worse.

Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski spent the election evening of Oct 9 promising to make Poland into Hungary. After what was his sixth straight election loss, Kaczynski had to rally the troops somehow. So he and his followers started selling the idea that Poles will somehow be so sick of a PO battered by the coming crisis that they will elect PiS in droves, as happened in Hungary in the 2010 elections.

Kaczynski probably spends his nights tossing and turning dreaming of repeating the well-to-the-right-wing party Fidesz's winning of a two-thirds constitutional majority in the elections. Fidesz could, and then did, change the constitution at will and at any whim. Safely in basket-case territory, the Hungarian authorities now have no credibility and the country's debt ratings are being downgraded and the forint is falling off a cliff.

I hope Kaczynski also got it wrong. I also really sincerely hope Poland doesn't become Hungary. I know my property investments don't need any more hammering.

On a bright note, our fearless European leaders no doubt have the situation in hand and will soon save the day . . . what's that? They're the problem. Oh no….

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