Kaczyński versus Cameron

Looking at my stats for the first time in ages I see we are well and truly into the “Christmas fug” period where everyone has better things to do than read blogs. Either that or I’ve just got a crap blog! Don’t answer that. :)

I found this article tres amusant.

Downing Street is perplexed over Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s claim that British PM David Cameron congratulated him for not accepting condolences from Vladimir Putin in the wake of the Smolensk air tragedy.

The muddle stems from an interview given by Kaczynski to the American version of Newsweek, published on 13 December. Noting Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s embrace of Putin against the backdrop of the Smolensk plane wreckage directly after the crash in April, Jaroslaw Kaczynski remarked that the Russians had handled the affair “skilfully”.

He added that he had been at Smolensk airport the same day to identify the remains of his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, and was offered the opportunity to accept condolences from the Russian prime minister, but declined.

In a letter sent to the Law and Justice leader “David Cameron […] congratulated me on this decision,” Kaczynski told Newsweek.

It goes on to say that the actual letter is available on the PiS website [you need to be registered to access it] and that the only reference to such matters is the following sentence:

“Your dignity and courage, both first in Russia and in the public ceremonies in Warsaw, has been truly remarkable,”

From this, Mr. Kaczyński has concluded that Mr. Cameron was right behind his decision to snub the Russians by ignoring Putin’s consoling advances.

Does this add more fuel to the “slightly off the rails” theory or is he just using the head of a [potentially important to Poland – for example] foreign government to insult the Russians. Like the Russians aren’t already crystal clear on his position. Either way, I would suggest this is not a great move.


11 thoughts on “Kaczyński versus Cameron

  1. Aha. And then I found this, which helps:

    The Jewish Chronicle this week landed an exclusive interview with Michal Kaminski, the Tory Party’s controversial new Polish friend in the European parliament. He answered some pretty tough questions on his past pronouncements and offered a rebuttal of claims that he is an antisemite.

    I wasn’t entirely convinced by some of his answers but I suggest any Tories who still haven’t made up their minds about this curious alliance read the whole interview before they decide definitively on the matter. They may be baffled to read that in his eagerness to appease the Eurosceptics David Cameron has cosied up to a man who argued strongly for the Lisbon Treaty within his own party: “I was on the side of those who were in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. It is well known in Poland. It is not a secret,” he told me.

    Meanwhile, reporters continue to chip away at Kaminski’s account of himself. None more so than Toby Helm at the Observer, whose latest blog suggests that the Tories are getting nervous about Kaminski. My own analysis is that David Cameron undermines his own claims to be a progressive politician when he yokes himself to an ultra-right Catholic Nationalist like this.

    The jury is still out on Mr Kaminski. David Cameron would do well to read the answers his new ally gave to the JC before making final judgement on his new best friend in Europe.


  2. Thanks very much for this Scatts, especially your comment.

    Kaminski’s interview highlights for me one of the hardest things to understand about people from Poland. The way people speak is so culturally ingrained with anti-Semitic, homophobic, Russophobic ideas and perspective that it seems obvious that Polish people feel this way. However, in conversation it is often clear that people who use this language consider themselves normally neutral and unconcerned, but sometimes completely supportive. At the simplest level, I felt shocked when I first heard someone picking out all the Jews in the credits of a film: it seemed such a strange thing to do and obviously anti-Semitic. When this had ended, I heard a complete eulogy on the talents and capabilities of Jews, including a proud listing of great Polish Jewish actors, directors, etc. I still believe there is some sort of schizophrenic love/hate attitude, but I find it impossible to judge the appropriate balance between the two. Kaminski did well in the interview to suggest he is not anti-Semitic or homophobic, but he has just spoken in the past in line with the general Polish cultural background. However, I can’t eliminate the feeling that the truth is more complicated.

    Thanks again for this post. This is something I want to address myself in the future, but you have given me the heaven sent opportunity to organise my thoughts a little. (Which heaven, I don’t know.)

  3. Sorry Steve but your example is not “obviously anti-semitic”. Your post is “obviously anti Polish” ;)

    Western europeans will probably never understand the Polish Jewish relationships, because they simply do not get it that Poles and Jews were not two separate nations but one “family” living together for ~1000yrs. And it was/is totally normal that brothers and sisters argue with each other and often show a love/hate relationship. Poles simply treat the Jews in a normal way and do not use the fake political corectness, which is common in western europe. And at the end of the day, when Jews will be in danger, once again the “anti semitic” Polish brothers will save them and risk their lives


    And their western “caring” boyfriends, will run away…

    ps: I recommend this blog. He is a Polish/Jewish journalist living in Israel


    and there you will see how Poles and Polish Jews discuss and argue with each other. In a way which is only possible between family members ;)

  4. In the Polish news it was clearly said Mr Cameron had told Mr Kaczynski. But the case is that Kaczynski doesn’t understand a single word in English. So maybe an interpreter’s fault? There’s much obfuscation about circumstances of the incident.

    Scatts, the blog is OK, lower number of visits may result from posting frequency. The more sluggish you are, the fewer people want to pop over. And lack of time is the other story. On Thursday and Friday I turned my computer on for five in the evenings for instance.

  5. Don’t you just love the way ‘ultra-right Catholic Nationalist’ means fascist bastard. The bullshit and brainshit NLP put out by some sources, including Newsweek, sometimes surprises even me :) The dirty smear tactics against the Tories by way of PiS and Kaminski are only that.
    And as for Kaczyński, if he did read it the way it is reported then good for him.

  6. Great follow on from guest. Thanks, but don’t you see some similarity between my ‘Kaminski’s interview highlights for me one of the hardest things to understand about people from Poland’ and your ‘Western europeans will probably never understand the Polish Jewish relationships’. We are saying much the same thing different ways, except that I’m slightly more positive.

  7. But I thought ‘guest’ was warning against fake political correctness. Therefore, despite your near manic desire for self-flagelation in public, it is hardly strictly necessary to tolerate intolerance.

  8. Do Jews themselves believe themselves to be a part of this close family which you describe? Well, at least you had the decency to put everything in the past tense, as despite the near frantic efforts of their loving Polish brothers, a great many Jews would appear to have fled the family home. And despite the callous Western indifference you descibe, Jews are are far more common sight in the U.K. and even Germany than Poland at the time of writing. Of course, the reluctance of Jews to live in Poland would have nothing whatsoever to do with anti-semitism, which is a figment of the imagination of anti-Polish bigots …

  9. Steve wrote: “At the simplest level, I felt shocked when I first heard someone picking out all the Jews in the credits of a film: it seemed such a strange thing to do and obviously anti-Semitic.”

    It do seems strange to me, but what’s racist about it? Did this man insulted Jews? Or do noticing somebody is Jew is racist? Why?

    Do noticing somebody is Irish is also racism?

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