In one of the worst articles I have read for some time about Poland, John Cornwell writes for the Times (London) that:
The Kaczynskis and their uncomfortable political bedfellows, the extreme right-wing Self-Defence party and the League of Polish Families party, backed by Radio Maryja, believe they have inherited the mantle of the late Pope, but they have their own version of what has led to the state of the nation he so deplored.
Check out the bit about Andrzej Lepper’s Self defense as being – ‘extreme rightwing…’ One mistake among many, sadly.
Lepper was a member of the Communist Party during the 1980s, and has since forged links with people like Lukashenko in Belarus. He has tried to style himself, a little, as the Polish version of Hugo Chavez.
Lepper has certainly been out to prove his populist leftist credentials in recent days.
The election lists for the October 21 election are now finalized and Self defense has bagged itself a couple of old lefties.
OK, ex-prime minister (2001 - 2003) Leszek Miller is no revolutionary, but he was a member of the post-communist SLD (the old Communist Party) until they told him they didn’t want him to stand for them in this election, as he was associated with corruption and…well, the past in general. SLD want to appear a new, cleansed party, so getting rid of baggage like Miller is essential.
Miller did a moody and joined up with Lepper.
And today Lepper unveiled his latest recruit: Piotr Ikonowicz of the New Left.
Ikonowicz is a veteran anti-communist socialist, regularly imprisoned in pre-1989 Poland for subversive activities.
The New Left are the type of party you see here on marches and demos against the war in Iraq, globalization, etc.
So Lepper, the old Stalinist, is positioning Self defense way to the left, trying to pick up any votes he can. He needs them. Opinion polls are so low for Self defense he might not make it back into parliament.
So what was that about ‘extreme right’ Mr Cornwell?
(Blimey. I think that John Cornwell is this John Cornwell!)