Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

That No Vote

The view from Gdańsk of the Lisbon aftermath is not too different from that in Bologna and, at a guess, everywhere else in Europe. My fellow monkey reports that the President of Italy said: “you can’t think that the decision of little more than half of the electorate of a country that represents less than 1% of the population of the Union can halt the indispensable and at this stage impossible to delay, process of reform.” The same contempt for democracy is in evidence in Poland, though it does not reach quite so far up the political food chain as the president. I’m afraid, however, that I don’t have my fellow monkey’s dogged determination to chase down the quotes and reference them all here. Well, okay, here’s one: Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (chairman of the European Parliament foreign affairs committee and a PO party politician) blandly said that Ireland would have to vote again. The journalist raised the objection that the taoiseach had ruled out a repeat of the referendum beforehand, to which JS-W replied with a devastating use of logic that that was then and this is now: “Now we have a new situation and new solutions are required” (“Teraz mamy nową sytuację i potrzebne są nowe rozwiązania”)

The press reports the views of what in Poland are called without any irony, shame or embarassment the “elites” so it is inevitable that there will be much Sarkozy and JS-W and little of the 53.4% Irish against. It hardly needs to be said that any and every EU country had the right to sink the Lisbon treaty by not ratifying it.

The reaction in the press has been one of dismay and concern at the “crisis,” the “paralysis” etc. etc. that now faces Europe. Notwithstanding the paralytic crisis, the trains are still running here and people are still turning up at work. I have seen no panic buying. In fact, outside the august corridors of power, the reaction in Poland has been muted. The main story on all the TV stations after the deed was done concerned – as in Italy – a dubious decision by a referee, this time in a Poland match. The following morning on the radio I heard a debate which was carried on in rational, non-panicky tones and in which I distinctly heard one person say that forcing Ireland to vote again would not exactly be the height of democracy. The main story gripping Poland now is – in a return to the good ol’ witch huntin’ days of the bizarre Kaczyński government – whether Lech Wałęsa was a communist spy codenamed “Bolek.” This story has come up before and been disproved to the satisfaction of the courts but two clever young historians claim that yes, Wałęsa was a spy, it’s just that the files which would prove their case were destroyed. If Wałęsa was a communist spy (and he wasn’t) he was (although he wasn’t) an incredibly, spectacularly, world-historically bad one.


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