After momentary declarations of unity that were made on the occasion of the adoption of the anti-virus specification, more and more toxic clashes are beginning in politics. You fight for hurtful declarations, memes and posts with the wildest claims or rumors.
When the anti-crisis staff managed to close schools, theaters, museums or cinemas, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki allegedly resisted. His closest colleagues deny this, arguing that various “industry” difficulties were reported at most by some of his ministers, for example, Dariusz Piontkowski responsible for education or the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration Mariusz Kamiński (towards closing borders). The position of medics turned out to be decisive. Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski and Chief Sanitary Inspector Jarosław Pinkas most loudly warned against the Italian scenario, which can be avoided only by quickly paralyzing interpersonal contacts. It is possible that if Morawiecki hesitated for a moment, he looked at those countries that tried to cope longer without closing everything – like Germany , Sweden or Great Britain, because as an economist he understands how difficult it will be then to rebuild the normal tissue of economic connections, and how many people will lose in national quarantine – possibly irretrievably.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson considered the preservation of the normal economy as a priority. In Poland, this approach is currently supported only by individual commentators, such as Łukasz Warzecha. And they are also asking questions more than they are sure that we are making a mistake. In addition, the British or German course has also recently changed to a more restrictive one.
In the professional policy, from the beginning we were dealing with auctioning for alarms, calling for extraordinary solutions. After all, the president of Poznań, Jacek Jaśkowiak, associated with the Civic Platform, with only two infected in his city ordered the school to be closed before the government did it. The platform is still proud of it today. The opposition accuses the government of doing everything too slowly and too late. However, around the fact that whenever possible Poles should sit at home, there is basically a consensus. And liberal celebrities call for it as loudly as bishops or bloggers sympathizing with PiS.
– Even if Morawiecki wanted a different strategy to fight the epidemic, it would be impossible in an election year. Although I have no evidence that he wanted to. In the middle of the campaign it would risk a mistake of a sapper – says PiS politician from the middle of the election staff. And I think he's right. This compliance overlaps with the increasingly toxic political war waged after the momentary declarations of unity that were made when the anti-virus law was adopted. TVP deals with stigmatizing the opposition just as willingly as it informs about the virus. TVN, after several days of restraint, interprets every situation, if it can, in a tone that is unfavorable to the authorities. Polsat seems to be the most transparent. But the battle moved mainly to the internet. You fight for hurtful declarations, memes and posts with the wildest claims or rumors.
On the PiS supporters side we have a short circuit. The government's support in all its activities is to prevent an epidemic, but it also serves soaring acts of praising the rulers. I learned about it when on a Facebook profile of a deputy minister I questioned one detail of government projects: charging excessive fees from Poles returning to the country with LOT charter connections. It seemed to me that since it is a kind of rescue operation, organized in addition under the slogan of the superiority of the state over market mechanisms, commercial prices are petty. I learned from the zealots that I cannot show gratitude to the government, also for maintaining LOT earlier. And that I put the stick in the spokes of national mobilization.
On the other hand, opponents, even if they generally support this mobilization, do not give up any opportunity to suspect the government of the worst. The Civic Platform has recently spread rumors about hiding the virus, indeed, about withholding news about it in order to disrupt the conventions of Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska. And a demagogic campaign for “universal access” to coronavirus tests, in which the presidential candidate herself excels. Tomasz Lis questions the cases of the first cure. He has only his intuition to support his suspicions.
The market libertarian model for fighting the epidemic has the support of a large minority. Both right and left reject them for programmatic reasons, and most Poles probably do it out of fear. Instead, the loud dispute flared up – now expiring due to the limitation of all gatherings to 50 people – the issue of the availability of churches. Disgusting anti-Catholic memes set in motion. It is characteristic, but in the campaign for the ban on holy masses as soon as possible, without seeking a compromise between the principles of security and spiritual needs, opposition politicians were involved, even under the sign of PO, which the Church increasingly associates with PiS. At the same time, although it was weaker, conservatives in response complained about leaving open pubs or shopping malls. It can be said that both sides beat each other on lifestyles.
A more serious debate is about the state of health care. Kidawa-Błońska's appeals for opening tests “for all” are demagoguery. But the fact is that countries such as Germany could have kept their semblance of economic freedom a little longer because they could catch fish more effectively. Our health care system is just waiting to be tested in battle. And it was Bernadeta Krynicka, a former MP from PiS – and not someone from the opposition – who put this problem as the director of the poviat hospital in Łomża when he was changed into a center to fight the epidemic. She was met by party repression, and she only said: we are totally unprepared. everybody feels that the widely praised mobilization of doctors today may not be enough, that there will be a problem with the equipment, organization, technical facilities. The argument that no country was fully prepared appears to be rational. But the belief that not enough in recent in the years, money was allocated from better fiscal policy for health care is a matter of course. Election gifts were more important for the right wing.
One could reply that due to the chronic lack of resources in subsequent health care budgets, the current opposition would also not be prepared. Indeed, one can compare the awe-inspiring Łukasz Szumowski with his predecessors: Ewa Kopacz or Bartosz Arłukowicz. But it is so, that the current rulers are judged. Those present probably passed the exam in the style in which they inform Poles about their work, and Dr. Szumowski would be a stone candidate for any office. However, when ordinary Poles talk about organizational reels they fall into, reporting with symptoms of the disease, my enthusiasm immediately diminishes.
And there is another space for war: the accusation that these rulers may not know if they will manage, but they are certainly using the situation for short-term political profits.
A virus from the sky for Duda
Of course, oversensitive opposition is a fact. “Do Rzeczy” columnist Marcin Makowski writes: “I have the impression bordering on certainty that if aliens arrived today,” Gazeta Wyborcza “would describe it as follows: 1. Aliens arrived on Earth. They will divert attention from PiS scandals 2. First contact. We asked aliens, what they think about PiS 3. A government unprepared for UFOs “.
Here the Cabinet Council was dismissed, which was to prepare a much needed (though ultimately insufficient) package to support the Polish economy stopped by the epidemic. Because one of the ministers turned out to be infected. Donald Tusk immediately accused the government members of having gained access to tests out of order, while the “doctors and the sick” did not have it. Does the former head of the European Council really think that ministers preparing for the Cabinet Council should stand in line the next day?
If the well-known liberal publicist Leszek Jażdżewski seriously claims that Andrzej Duda would like to be infected himself, he talks more about himself than about the situation in Poland. But no one ordered Beata Mazurek, a well-known PiS politician, to reflect on Twitter about the increased chances of her party candidate in the aftermath of the epidemic. Hypocrisy is a tribute to virtue. When it's missing, it's hard to be surprised by the most conspiracy theories on the other side.
“Virus from the sky for Andrzej Duda”, “Coronavirus as a savior of PiS” – these are titles from “Wyborcza”. Columnists like Dominika Wielowieyska have a vision of a completely lost campaign of the current president, who has clung to the possibility of playing the role of the savior of the nation. Opposition politicians in typical Polish politics brutal words protest travels of the head of state around the country, meetings with paramedics and doctors, appearing in front of cameras as a commander of a rescue operation, which is actually commanded by others.
There is a lot of mythology in this narrative. Indeed, before the disaster, the weaknesses of Duda's campaign were considered, especially its excessive sticking with PiS. And it is true that Jarosław Kaczyński did not make his life easier by extorting a signature from him under the law subsidizing public media, and not allowing Jacek Kurski to be removed from the building on Woronicza. The coronavirus overshadowed the president's defeat, which would otherwise have been discussed for weeks – by the opposition and its favorable media. But it is not true that Andrzej Duda's campaign was in disarray. A reliable test can be identified here – surveys. What seemed important to commentators and the elite was not necessarily a decisive argument for ordinary voters. It is true that now additional increases in confidence and support are probably associated with the president's putting on a field uniform (this is obviously a metaphor). But this is also the role of the president – being with Poles in places important for them.
If Duda gave up his expeditions, he would be accused of passivity and hiding in the palace. As Jarosław Kaczyński is accused. Although no one really needs his presence after giving up other political themes, he is shown in memes as a grandfather hiding in the sewers.
When will the elections take place
It is true, however, that when, apart from counteracting viral panic, everything else is no longer valid, a normal campaign does not take place in practice. Against this background, Duda's natural activity seems to be taking advantage of the situation to gain an advantage over competitors. This impression will deepen, becoming an opportunity for increasingly violent opposition protests. It is a little square of the circle. The recipe for postponing elections would be to introduce one of the states of emergency. The state of natural disaster lasts 30 days in the first attempt. Since it would take 90 days to complete before the elections could be held, they would have to take place during the holidays. A state of emergency would allow them to be moved to fall. – But what if the situation is even worse then? Will the opposition not accuse the rulers of holding power for eternal time? – spokesman of the Duda campaign Adam Bielan asked in polemic before TVN cameras.
There are other arguments. Officials of the presidential office say that introducing a state of emergency only to postpone elections could threaten Duda with the Tribunal of State. This is of course an exaggerated argument. The introduction of a state of emergency, and the extension of the disaster by more than 30 days, would require the consent of the Sejm. By voting for this, the opposition would take some responsibility. The argument that no deadline is a guarantee of normality sounds more convincing. There are scientists who claim that the apogee of pandemics (the question how far in Poland) will fall in autumn. Although, of course, it is impossible not to notice that the choir of right-wing columnists calls for nothing to be moved – for political reasons. Because they think, and they write it openly that this time belongs to the right.
It is worth dedicating two comments to them. First, the current state may not necessarily be eternal. In May the mood may be quite different. Frustrations related to insulation in apartments, loss of income will increase, and there may be the impression of increasing insufficiency of poviat hospitals, which today are only waiting for the development of accidents – not necessarily completely ready. Thousands of challenges and questions from various fields await those in power. How do they intend to solve the problem of all school years, including high school graduates? – this is the first one that comes to mind. And if these incidents happen, when does someone blame the government for someone unnecessary death? Will the roles change then? Will Duda, even with Szumowski behind him, fall victim to this change? And then the right will not sound the call not to hurry, because “there are no conditions for holding elections”?
There is also a second question, almost decisive: will there be conditions for it in May? The problem may be the inability to complete electoral commissions – and one should start doing so soon – or the recognition as unacceptable the presence of too many people in one room. True, during World War II, the United States, which did not know the procedure for postponing elections, held them in 1942 (to Congress) and in 1944 (to Congress and presidential) in the absence of millions of soldiers sent to all possible fronts. Only a small proportion of them were then allowed to vote. But the polling stations themselves were not in danger. It can be different here.
Who will name the candidate?
Something that should be compromised is for the time being the subject of shelling between parties. Let us note for the complete picture of the rumor that Kaczyński may use the shift of elections to replace Andrzej Duda with someone else. Morawiecki, who appears every now and again as a substitute candidate, and would also have strengths after months of fighting the coronavirus. However, PiS politicians deny this. – He was temporarily pissed off at Andrzej for Kurski, but he is no longer – convinces me one of them. The fact that the ruling camp maintains the normal election date confirms this version.
It is otherwise unknown whether postponing elections following a state of emergency would not mean – after registration – the freezing of current candidates. Apparently, legal expertise is contradictory here. Although she would finally decide which one to choose, Marshal Elżbieta Witek, dependent on Kaczyński. Even in autumn, the PiS president would have a great deal of trouble explaining where this change came from, especially if Duda's shares as a politician liked by Poles went up. Recently, there have also been rumors about a possible exchange of Kidawa-Błońska as a candidate of the Civic Coalition. Perhaps that is why she was the last of the opposition's people to postpone the election. To this day, he speaks about it conditionally and without enthusiasm.
The survey, or rather the forecast carried out by IBSP on behalf of Virtual Poland gave Duda 51 percent. in the first round. And it showed a large drop in support for the vice marshal – up to 18 percent. What's worse, when asked who would best cope with the epidemic, it was indicated by a smaller percentage of Poles than Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz. According to the insiders, this forecast is an argument in discussions within the PO on the exchange of the candidate. On who On Donald Tusk. Even if he represents an equally total opposition model like her today, he would probably be more agile in his statements.
Only that there is not much time for this decision, barely a week and a half to register, and the trouble with explaining it would be no less than in the case of changing the disgraceful Kaczyński Andrzej Duda. Kidawa-Błońska added to her “primary” flaws, awkwardness in the formulation of opinions or a strange mixture of excessively strong content with shaky form, added confusion in coronavirus themes. Kosiniak-Kamysz, Szymon Hołownia, indeed, even Robert Biedroń coped better in the roles of worried statesmen Her panic messages embarrassed even in the opposition media.
The artificiality of her candidacy is equally strong proof of the structural weaknesses of the Civic Platform, as the Kaczyński-Duda conflict confirms the pathology inside the ruling camp. But there is something else that only concerns the right hand. Professor Antoni Dudek pointed out that Kaczyński's complete absence in the current crisis may herald generational changes on the right. Both Duda and Morawiecki can be a professor here. Or maybe someone else? The example of Łukasz Szumowski is significant here.
But writing a little jokingly, the finale can be different. Kaczyński likes to model himself – also with a joke, but with something more stitched – on Stalin. He noticed after World War II that war necessities created a new class of military commanders and civilian bureaucrats, who proved themselves in times of crisis and became popular, as if in conflict with the logic of the system. So he liquidated some (Wozniesienski) or marginalized (Żukow). What does the PiS president intend to do? He probably doesn't know today. For the hard electorate, it remains infallible, though invisible. Will he be able to use his constant methods of settling matters, from the “divide and rule” logic? The thing is that we know neither the size nor the duration of the crisis. And after it nothing will be the same. Poland will not.