Friday, June 22, 2007

Poles in Wales

Forced to look outside Welsh politics for interest again today, because Ieuan Wyn Jones is STILL considering his options. He's going around Wales asking party members what they think today. He doesn't seem able to make up his mind. Expect some referendums if he becomes First Minister. So I will post about the people of Poland instead, who have come to work in Wales in very large numbers.

I enjoyed only one year's university education, having left Caereinion High School, aged 16, because my father was seriously ill. I was in my early 50s when I became a full-time student at Aberystwyth. The course was International Law and Relations, and one of the modules was International History. The lecturer was an amazing character named David Steed, who seemed to share my politics - in contrast to the International Relations lecturers. No-one would accuse Richard Wyn Jones of Tory sympathies, though the cruel revelation by Blamerbell on his blog today that I voted Plaid Cymru when my vote was based on instinct rather than philosophy could be more to his liking.

Anyway it was the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and I became deeply interested in this aspect of my course. And developed a respect for the Polish people that will never leave me. This has relevance in Welsh politics today because there are many people (and several approached me when I was an AM) who have what I will refer to as a 'fear of community disruption' because so many have moved to Wales to work over the last two years. I always listened - but I don't believe that there is any real justification for this fear.

This high regard for the polish people is irrational because I have never been to Poland and it stems from reading about the awful suffering inflicted upon the Poles over 50 years ago, which would have been hugely lessened if they hadn't been utterly determined not to give an inch to the enemy in their fight for freedom. But I do think it is time to put what happened behind us, as far as we can. I thought that Poland joining the EU would achieve that.

And then I opened today's Times to read what struck me as an astonishing story. Its reported that Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the Prime Minister has demanded at this week's European summit in Brussels that EU votes should be allocated to Poland on the basis of what the population would have been if the war hadn't taken place. Instead of Poland having a voting strength based on the current population of 38 million, it should be on an assumed population of 66 million. The Prime Minister is reported to have told Polish Radio "It was the Germans who inflicted unimaginable injury, terrible harm on Poland - incomprehensible crimes - and Poles like Germans, while Germans do not like Poles". Bearing in mind that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor is chairing the Summit, this strikes me as a truly astonishing line to take. I don't think a British Prime Minister would survive similar comments.


Anonymous said...
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Glyn Davies said...
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Glyn Davies said...
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Mike said...

From what I understand about the guy. He must have been taught to hate the Germans at his father's knee (his dad apparently was a veteran of the Polish Home Army, of you know what the Germans did to the Poles and Warsaw).

However I think its a bit of populist politics, and he just could be barmy.

Anonymous said...

The present Polish government consists of a bunch of extreme right wing loonies. The problem with people's perception of Poland is that it is coloured by the Geran invasion of 1939. The Polish government in 1939 was a right wing military dictatorship with fascist tendencies. Many pre war Poles were anti semitic and this tendency has been reinforced by the number of Jews who were active in the communist party. One thing that does unite all Poles is a hatred of both the Germans and the Russians. You can expect more nonsense in the next few years if the present Polish government stays in power. It makes the Conservatives look like a bunch of extreme left wingers.

cleckanndra said...

Glyn, what are you doing languishing in political purda?

You are in a different league to trhe others in the Tory Assembly group.

Castrated because of you abiltiies? A threat to non-entities?

What are you going to do about it?

Wales requires people of your abuility.

Fight back - for all our sakes.

Glyn Davies said...

Odd thing. I've had to delete comments because statements were posted that I've been told were completely untrue. That sort of thing just brings discredit onto the blogosphere.

My instinctive regard for the Polish people was as much to do with events of 1944/45 as 1939. I enjoyed today's cartoon caption in the Telegraph "Don't mention the twins"

Glyn Davies said...

cleckanndra - you are very kind but I do not agree with your assessment of the Tory Assembly Group. I don't know the 5 new members very well - but in Alun Cairns, Jonathon Morgan and David Melding we have three of the best politicians in Wales.