All sounds very mysterious, doesn’t it. Make a good title for a Robert Ludlum novel.
This is the ongoing saga of allegations that members of Civic Platform lobbied on behalf of the gambling industry to stop proposed tax hikes on betting. Fair enough, this stuff goes on all the time so not sure why this is being jumped on so heavily, aside from there being no bigger news to print. I didn’t want to focus therefore on the scandal itself but more on how Tusk seems to be dealing with it. At least if what I read in this article is correct. As an ex-Brit, I’m pretty well acquainted with political scandals.
Donald Tusk announced today that Interior Minister and vice PM Grzegorz Schetyna – a politician thought particularly close to the prime minister, and sometimes described as his “right hand man” – plus Justice Minister Andrzej Czuma and Deputy Economy Minister Adam Szejnfeld have all offered their resignation. This takes the number of scalps taken by the ‘Blackjack scandal’ as it has become known, to five, following resignations of Zbigniew Chlebowski and Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki. PM Tusk has also put in motion the procedure to sack head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Mariusz Kaminski.
I read this as “A bunch of people were involved in lobbying for the gambling barons. They’ve been found out. Now I’m getting rid of them, as well as any other people I’m not too keen on.”. Which would be a fair enough response. But then I read:
The now former interior minister Grzegorz Schetyna will now head Civic Platform’s parliamentary party, a position left open by Zbigniew Chlebowski’s resignation.
Hang on! Wasn’t he the guy I just read has been whacked? So he’s not whacked, he just moved to be head of the party instead of vice-PM. And what, exactly, are we all supposed to make of that move?
It gets worse.
He [Tusk] said that the resignations were necessary to gain back the trust of voters. But he maintained support for the out going ministers. “Czuma, Szejnfeld and Schetyna have been let go in the name of chastity of principles, to defend the good name of the government and Civic Platform – not because they are guilty,” said the PM.
I’m obviously being really thick and too preoccupied with my 06:45 flight to Berlin tomorrow to be able to understand what Tusk is up to here. He’s removing loads of his top people from office because they are innocent? In the name of “chastity of principles”, whatever that is? This is NOTHING like a British political scandal at all. In the UK the guilty walk and the innocent stay. Actually, what normally happens is that the guilty stay and the innocent stay as well, unless it gets really nasty then the guilty stay and the innocent walk but whatever it’s very different to this, trust me!
Don, baby. The way to “gain back the trust of voters” is to find out who’s guilty and then send them packing whether they are your mates or not. Not to just move them to be head of the party or to send them packing but tell everyone they are innocent. That’s just stupid, even for a politician!
“Law and Justice [the main opposition party in Poland] wants to attack the government and Civic Platform, using the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau. The final political battle between us will take place in parliament in full view of the public,” Tusk said.
Apparently, it is the anti-corruption bureau that started all this kerfuffle. Probably why Tusk is now aiming to fire the head of it, the Mariusz Kaminski mentioned earlier.
Can someone tell me whether there are allegations that money changed hands in return for lobbying? Surely that is the inference, in which case there’s more serious investigations to be done. Poland’s own “Cash for questions” scandal although hopefully without any characters quite as sick-making as Neil Hamilton and his ghastly wife.
No doubt this is just another covert operation of The Brothers Karamazov.
Meanwhile, back at stately Wayne Manor, the president decides whether he’ll be signing that treaty today or whether he’ll let it rest there a while longer just to remind himself of how important he truly is to the future of Europe as we know it.
Will it never end?