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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Moralists with full pockets. A column by Konrad Piasecki from the Piasecki Perspective series

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Over the years of observing Polish politics, I have seen in it those who dressed themselves in the robes of virtuous and ascetic monks, but also those who cynically, without much pardon, although rather in silence and with a slight sense of embarrassment, reached for public money for party purposes. However, I do not remember a team that, proving that modesty, moderation and the common good are for them the most important commandments of the political decalogue, teaching everyone how to live and trying to set strict standards for them, would reach for taxpayers’ money and allocate it for party and community needs factotums with such lightness, freedom and audacity. Konrad Piasecki’s column.

When, five years ago, Beata Szydło argued from the parliamentary tribune that the ministerial awards she paid were thanks for “honest, hard work” and “the money was simply due to them”, it was widely regarded as awkwardness, an accident at work and proof of strong emotions tormenting the former prime minister after losing her position. Hardly anyone suspected that in time Szydło’s words would turn out to be a swallow heralding how her formation’s treatment of a public penny would look like and who could be paid with that penny to enlarge party domains, guarantee loyalty and win and then retain the parliamentary majority. What five years ago hurt and stung even Szydło’s party colleagues, today has become the norm for the ruling camp. And the enfranchisement, giving away, perching, political corruption and the use of state goods are reaching levels previously unknown in our politics.

“Piasecki’s Perspective” is a series in which we publish the comments of our journalist Konrad Piasecki.

Not a week has gone by in recent months when a story illustrating this state of affairs did not come to light. And adding new colors, shades and details to the picture in which state-owned companies and ministerial positions are divided according to party needs, not competencies. We have not yet looked closely at all the foundations and associations that are involved Przemyslaw Czarnek either enfranchised on public property, or gave them money to buy an attractive apartment or villa, and it turned out that the National Center for Research and Development decided to generously endow some little-known and experienced companies with excellent political connections.

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Deputy Minister Jacek Żalek, who was responsible for this, did not answer the questions of how it happened and what he had to do with the selection of the lucky ones who were awarded millions of zlotys, and the details of the Republican coalition agreement have already come to light Adam Bielan with PiS. And in it – as it turned out – it was written not only what positions the Republicans would get in the government, but also what agencies they would command and what positions – and for how much – they would be entitled to in these agencies and more distant from the core of power circles. And when you looked around these agencies, it turned out that they sprouted like mushrooms after the rain and that, for example, something called the Future Industry Platform (its budget plan for several years assumes that it will cost almost PLN 240 million) is run by the same man , which the foundation received as part of the Villa plus 599,000.

But before the politicians PIS They started to explain all this, it has already come to light that the head of the Institute De Republica, which is unknown to virtually anyone and costs over PLN 20 million a year, was appointed no less than Andrzej Przyłębska’s husband – Andrzej Przyłębski. Well, in recent days we found out that barely Pawel Kukiz he managed to complain on the radio that he had no money to conduct public activity – the Prime Minister had already pulled out over four million from our pocket and Kukiz and his foundation supported him. All this, of course, for the sake of direct democracy, which the foundation is supposed to popularize. The lack of success of this popularization can be proved by the fact that during the seven years of its rule PiS did not even think about holding any referendum. Well, if Kukiz wants to, and the government majority holds his votes, why not give him a few zlotys?

I don’t know if it’s more about ensuring the peace of government and preparing funds for the election campaign, or insurance and growing fat in the event of loss of power and lean years in the opposition. However, this resembles treating the state as royalty – property taken over by the ruler upon assuming the throne. The rulers behave as if they recognized that if they were given a democratic mandate, they also got Poland not only to govern, but also to divide, appropriate, seize and use it as if from the goods belonging to a ruler anointed by god. All this, in addition, in the glory of those who love modesty and serving people above all else, and in their hearts and on their banners have the slogans of humility, work and moderation.

Interestingly, PiS voters do not seem to care at all about this. The outburst of successive scandals goes hand in hand with the rise rather than decline of the ruling party polls. This can be interpreted in several ways. First of all – probably some part of this information does not reach the consciousness of people living in the media bubble of government and pro-government media, and even if it does, some scraps with the comment “others did it too” break through it. Secondly, for many PiS voters, this leap for money and positions is a kind of compensation for the fact that over the years the PiS milieu has been more often under the political car than on it, and it has even happened to exist on the margins of politics. PiS has apparently successfully explained to its own supporters that it is paying back “historical wrongs”. Thirdly and finally – the ruling camp has successfully convinced a large part of Poles that it may make mistakes, may be vulnerable to the charms and fruits of power, but it still thinks about those who voted for it, so it acts in accordance with the slogan proclaimed by folk wise men “maybe and steal, but at least they share.

This can also be seen – to some extent – on the occasion of the latest installment of the grain crisis. Because that the rulers made obvious mistakes in this matter, no one needs to be proven. The resignation of the Minister of Agriculture is an undisputed admission of guilt and the recognition of these errors as obvious. But when PiS realized how costly these mishaps could be for its political success, it reached for real nuclear weapons, shock tactics and money, which is to prove how concerned it is about the situation. The ban on Ukrainian goods (although you can see with the naked eye how deeply it contradicts EU regulations and how absurd its legal basis is) is to attract attention, because the government will now stick its breast in defense of it. At the same time, it will buy grain less spectacularly and more quietly, for today’s exorbitant price of PLN 1,400 per ton, testifying that it is “dividing”. But also – that there is no price that he cannot pay with our money to cover up his own faults and negligence.

Konrad Piasecki – radio and television journalist, historian. He conducted interviews on RMF FM radio in the “Kontrwywiad RMF” broadcast and on Radio ZET in the broadcast “Gość Radio ZET”. For 10 years he was the host of the program “Piaskiem po eyes”. In 2015, he was named “Journalist of the Year” of the “Press” monthly. On TVN24, Konrad Piasecki also hosts the programs “Rozmowa Piaseckiego” and “Kawa na Ława”.

Main photo source: Piotr Mizerski/TVN

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