Wednesday, November 08, 2006

President Kaczynski goes to London

He’s met with Tony Blair and my dear Queen, Lizzie II.

It's part of a three day visit ending Thursday. But how’s the visit going? Well here are two reports.

The first is from Radio Polonia:

The London visit of the Polish head of state has been seen as a very fruitful and friendly one...In fact it is said that Lech Kaczynski did not have such friendly talks with any other officials during his foreign trips as he did with PM Tony Blair. Both politicians underlined they shared common opinions and stand on matters concerning the EU and NATO as well as energy security.

And now look at this report from Notice any difference?

‘Thousands of 'feckless' Poles are raking in unemployment benefits back home while doing 'very nicely' out of the British economy, according to the Polish President [!!?].

Lech Kaczynski also said Britain has become the 'destination of choice' for many of his countrymen, who have ended up jobless and homeless here.

He was flanked by Tony Blair as he made the remarks, which had to be translated into English before the Prime Minister realised he had been acutely embarrassed on his own doorstep. Must be two different visits they are reporting. Or maybe Blair was being friendly when he was being embarrassed?

The full transcript of the press conference at Number 10 shows that Kaczynski was responding to a question from the press about what to do with the number of homeless and jobless Poles in Britain. He was also asked if he enjoyed his English Breakfast:

I did enjoy the English breakfast very much, yes, although it was a bit too hearty for me, a bit copious. The hotel is also exquisite, very well located in a wonderful part of London, close to Buckingham Palace. As regards unemployed Poles and homeless Poles in London and the UK, I believe that there are a number of people, not only from Poland but from other countries from the new European Union who are helpless or feckless naturally, but they seek a better life, they go abroad and currently the UK has become a destination of choice for such individuals. Poland does not shirk responsibility for its own citizens. We are aware that this problem exists, we are aware that there are people who aren't doing very well in life but this is something you find in all society. Poland does not seek to avoid its share of the responsibility. We know that there are those who have succeeded in the UK, who have jobs, who are doing very well thank you considering especially the differences between the wages in the UK and in Poland. But these people are registered as unemployed in Poland, so they are living a fiction and they are raising the unemployment figures in Poland while they are doing very nicely here in the UK and their unemployment benefits should rightly be sent to London. And this is something that we would like to do without, but like I said Poland is not avoiding its share of the burden.

Not so unreasonable. Blair responded:

...the vast majority of Polish people that come and work here are working very hard, they are very well regarded and on the whole as I find, and as I think most people do certainly in a city like London, they are both well respected and well liked.

The first report may have dodged the issue altogether, but the other reports are politically motivated, by the usual suspects in the British press, who are trying to stir it up all they can.

Polish president blasts 'feckless' countrymen who flock to UK, Yorkshire Post
Leader in Poles Rap, Daily Mirror


Anonymous said...

The "official record" is an interesting thing. There appears to be some controversy over remarks Kaczynski may or may not have made in Berlin about an EU army. It's not even a subtle question of interpretation: I genuinely don't know if K. said there should be such an army or not.

Perhaps someone can help out? Someone who was present at the time?

Anonymous said...

Did I hear anybody say provincial bumpkin? I think his preparation for visiting the UK was Borat’s Guide to the UK. Queen, Lizzie II was probably holding back the laughter, as this was better than a Monty Python re-run.

Our dear leader was tripped up by his inability to communicate and to understand the impact of his words translated. During the days of the evil empire translators were taught to intercept a faux pas.

Sadly this guy doesn’t grasp that he and the Political establishment’s failure to reform the Polish economy fast enough, makes him the author of the great migration to the UK. A political leadership that tells people it’s going to be socialism for breakfast and lunch but capitalism for dinner, doesn’t inspire confidence.

Somehow there should be a way to tell him and a significant portion of the Polish population to stop choking on socialism and get on with it. There is a reoccurring theme in political debates in Poland over the decades around the Polish word for order, usually to do with the need to put a strong hand at the helm and restore order to the nation. Here is a formula, look at successful nations and follow their example for instance South Korea started with less and look at them now.

This migration is about the most industrious, educated and able portion of the population saying the hell with you if you’re going to stack the deck against us in Poland.

A Polish Ambassador looking for a handout was making his rounds in Washington during the 1950’s. He was trying to get food aid because of the desperate situation with agricultural in those days. He met JFK a junior senator at the time and explained his plight, JFK looked up at him and said “how do like socialism now?”

Rather than getting on with reform 100’s of millions are dumped into a black hole i.e. ship yards that can’t make a profit and other useless enterprises. It’s casualties of these policies that sitting around hungry and homeless in London.

Tony Blair most hold the record for creating new Polish jobs just too bad their not in Poland, Tony should have a quiet chat with Lech about how things work.

michael farris said...

Random questions:

"feckless"?????? what was the Polish? I'm pretty sure the interpreter could have come up with something better.

The primary of interpreters is supposed to be that they're not paid to be editors or diplomats and they're not supposed to 'clean up' the language they're interpreting.
This was done routinely however with Lech Walesa (with the result that most in the west had no idea how bizarre he could sound). For overall political reasons I could understand why they'd do this but
a practice that has no place among professionals now.

Anonymous said...

*awaits the daily hate mail's report*

it'll be even worse.

Anonymous said...

I will be happy to explain authoritatively the alleged use by Poland's president of the word "feckless" during his joint press conference with Tony Blair at No 10. He NEVER SAID IT and it was a complete invention of the interpreter. Regrettably, no one in the President's entourage found it fit or was able to compare on an ongoing basis his words with these of the interpreter. I have personally checked very thoroughly the Polish soundtrack against the No 10's official transcript afterwards. On the other hand, President Kaczynski said "helpless". What is even more intriguing is the fact that when I attracted the attention of No 10 to the distortion and suggesting correcting it as a technical error, they refused on the grounds that it would elicit new attention on the part of the media, so it's better to let the matter be forgotten. I was slightly surprised by this argument because I used, perhaps wrongly, to regard No 10's trancripts as documentary records. It turns out, they are more relaxed about it. I just wonder whether the fact that they refused might have something to do with the fact that President Kaczynski referred then 13 times to Russia while his host didn't rise to the occasion even once.