Wives of striking miners in Silesia in the southwest, trooped up to Warsaw for a meeting with vice-pm and economy minister, Waldemar Pawlak, yesterday. Unfortunately, he wasn’t at his office. He was in Lublin at the time, down in the southeast. To me that sums up the new Donald Tusk led government: it’s invisible.
Pawlak, when tracked down by journalists for a comment about the strike which has been going on since mid-December (on parity issues with workers in another mine, to which they will be amalgamated) said that, “There is nothing the government can do on this issue. This is an issue for the colliery management.” Oh, and: ‘Strikers should not use their wives to fight their battles for them..,” or words to that effect.
‘The government can do nothing’, should be the slogan for this new government, which swept the hyperactive (on corruption and paranoia issues) Kaczynski government from power on October 21. Since Donald Tusk took over, his government hasn’t really done a lot.
I remember when New Labour entered No. 10 Downing Street, London after 18 years of Tory government. In the first couple of days finance minister Gordon Brown had handed over the power to set interest rates to the Bank of England (a move that shocked everyone – probably even Tony Blair). After a week, policy statements had flown out of the windows of ministries, fax machines and emails from that new internet thingy by the truck load.
Not all, or even any, of these policies were any good – but that is not the point. The New Labour government hit the ground running.
But Donald Tusk and his Civic Platform/Peasant’s Party coalition can't be said to have hit the ground running. Running? They are not even moving. Ground? They have not made it down to the ground, yet. They resemble a doped up kuala bear, sitting in its tree, staring into space.
It’s hard summing up their first few months in power, because they haven’t really done anything. They give the impression of not being ready to take power. Perhaps they are as surprised as the rest of us that they are there at all.
The policy statements they have made – like the one on reforming the funding of public media – are vague, not thought through, and confusing.
Meanwhile, as they dither, trouble looms on many fronts. The miners are restless; the health service workers are restless; the teachers will be protesting outside the education ministry tomorrow.
And the promise of an ‘economic miracle like the Irish had’, looks like a silly promise by Mr Tusk. The Warsaw Stock Exchange has lost record amounts of value this week and last, on fears of a recession in the US and a general world slowdown. Poland would only experience an ‘Irish miracle’ with high economic growth – higher, in fact, than the Law and Justice government were luckily enough to have had happen when they were ruling (a complete coincidence, probably, as they were not the most active government economically). They also need to make tough, and possibly very unpopular reforms to the economy - and that means coming down from the eucalyptus tree, and actually doing something!
Civic Platform define themselves as being economically free market orientated. They are the Laissez-faire party. But non intervention of the state in the economy is one thing; a non interventionist government in anything – nothing - at all is simply not a government.
So time to get your finger out, Donald. Do something!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Posted by beatroot at 1/17/2008