Roman Giertych, former education minister and ex-vice PM, is retiring from politics. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (photo: Roman with what's left of his electorate).
His party, the League of Polish Families, only got a miserable 1.3 percent in Sunday’s election. Will this mean the end of Poland’s curator of 1930s style nationalist politics? Does this mean the end of his type of nationalist politics?
He is going back to his old job and setting up a law firm in Warsaw. Journalists, he said, will ‘get a 20 percent discount.’ Which is nice.
Looking back at all the posts I have devoted to this guy, I don’t know where to start summing up the year and half he has been in Poland’s government.
So I’ll just content myself with reliving a few of his choices quotes and moments.
How about when he drew up a new school reading list – the latest wheeze to come out of the Roman Giertych Education Think Tank (subtle as a ‘tank’, very little ‘think’).
Off the reading list went Gombrowicz, Witkacy, Conrad, Kafka, Goethe, Dostoyevsky...and on the list, lots of books about JP II.
And then there was the assault on evolution (see Descent of (Ro)man).
Or how about his contribution to the Polish language, with the popularizing of the term Homoagitacja – homo-agitation?
He was a little obsessed about gays, was our Roman.
‘The propaganda of homosexuality is reaching ever younger children. In some countries it is even forbidden for children in hospital to talk or read about mommy and daddy, because this allegedly violates minority rights.”
Or how about Roman’s chief henchman, Wojciech Wierzejski, who after recommending that gays should be bludgeoned if they took to the streets of Warsaw, had some deep insights about homosexuality, with which he would like to share:
“Every police officer will confirm that homosexuals are a circle that is nearly 100% identical to the circle of pedophiles. It is a fact that does not require any research.”
What a charmer!
Or remember when Giertych, as education minister, took over the organization of exchange visits of Polish and ...Israeli school kids? Tel Aviv was not pleased.
The Israeli press repeated the well rehearsed view that Giertych was...well...you know...not really the right person get involved in Polish-Israeli relations.
But President Lech Kaczynski felt he had to defend Roman when on a trip to Israel.
"Giertych is not anti-Semitic, He only grew up in an anti-Semitic tradition. He is the son and grandson of Polish politicians. But recently he has undergone a change [spooky!]. Today he is certainly not anti-Semitic. There is no problem with him. The problem lies in the extremist elements in his party."
But Giertych is amazingly sensitive on this subject. He took the massive step – for him, anyway – of visiting the memorial to the Jedwabne pogrom. In his political tradition this was akin to treason.
On communists? Well, he had quite strong views on the subject.
We must go forward and chop, it's a knife fight! Otherwise we'll lose. If we stop, they will take everything from us. The tradition of bloodshed stands beside us. This is something different from the styrofoam tradition, of those who supposedly fought communism, those from the Workers' Defense Committee and other Trotskyites!
Is his demise the demise of his ‘movement’?
Is there Life After Giertych?
Now that he has stood down as leader of his party, does this make them the League of One Parent Families?
And who am I gonna write about for the next two years?
Still, I can console myself that his even more nutty dad, Maciej, still lurks in the endless corridors of Brussels.
I have just seen that henchman Wierzejski will be the self styled 'face' of the 'New Endecja' - so League look set to remain bunkered down in the nationalist 1930s.