The lurking suspicion surrounding the Oder-disaster mystery is that the natural world, as ever, must absorb the venality of the kind of Pole who believes in the manifest destiny of GET RICH QUICK.
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At the time of writing, the eco catastrophe has yet to be attributed to anyone. The deputy minister for infrastructure refused to be held back though. In a bid to deny the worst environmental holocaust in decades, he volunteered to swim in what was believed at the time to be mercury-infested waters. Now that's what I call loyalty to the cause. A promotion surely awaits poison-proof Grzegorz Witkowski and don't be surprised if he pops up soon as Jaro's personal food taster.

Somehow this government's reaction is always less about law and justice and more about sustaining the impressive levels of physical comedy that have been a hallmark of Polish politics since Jaro's Circus rolled into our lives. I am currently holidaying in Swajszewo, a village gripped by protests against the potential construction of a nuclear power station. In actual terms, Poland has been visited by "Chernobyl lite", and whether it turns out to be a criminal action or not, there is no doubt the catastrophe affects our international standing.

Figuratively and literally, the country is stained. It took three weeks for Poland to do the decent thing and inform the Germans what was coming their way. Imagine the outcry here if the roles were reversed? But Jaro's Circus is determined to make Poland synonymous with clownish behaviour. In the eyes of Europe, our good work from February 24 onwards, the selflessness of housing three million refugees will seem like an anomaly, a glitch, as Poland reverts to being a macro version of the kind of neighbours who stink up the entire street by burning tractor tires in their garden - a fate that could soon be in store for rich and poor alike. With the threat of fuel poverty hanging over the country, the only solution Jaro's Circus can muster is the salve of free coal.

As Plan B's go, this is as retro as they come. Expect the government to roll out Cabaret by candlelight when the country is plunged into three-day blackouts. While other European governments were preparing for the tough times ahead, PiS had more important things to attend to such as hosting the Putin-funded Marine LePen and selling off national assets like Lotus to a Saudi/Hungarian consortium. Compare that to Italy, who pays 110% of the costs of all home energy improvements or Germany, who has allocated 55 billion euro for house renovations. Finland, who knows a thing or two about Russian chicanery, wisely spent the last two years equipping one third of its homes with heat pumps.

Here's a short quiz: when faced with a choice between saving Poland, the planet and the elderly from freezing to death this winter, PiS chose to:

A) Keep their head stuck in the money trough?

B) Order more popcorn and download the Ordu Iuris sex-scandal/boxing match?

or C) smoke some bad weed and shout COAL! at the top of their voices?

Trick question, PiS did all of the above, The naked truth is that PiS have failed in the most basic of tasks: a duty of care to their citizens.They are negligent. They are an absentee landlord. Their only concern is to milk Poland for as long as their greasy hands can cling to the teat. They are a semi-literate group of amateurs whose days are numbered. To distract us, they resort to the Putin/Orban contingency of creating new problems and turning Pole against Pole in the hope that we will fail to notice their ineptitude. PiS have withdrawn from public service. An absence of leadership only leads to a vacuum where lawlessness and turmoil grow. A vote for PiS is a vote for chaos.

Venezuela awaits.


Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. Our journalists are on the front lines in 32 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

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