The Frog and the PSL
July 25, 2014 By Cezary Kaźmierczak
Situation one: Put a frog in hot water. The frog doesn't like it and jumps right out.
Situation two: Put a frog in lukewarm water. The frog likes it. It feels good. Now heat the water up. The frog couldn't be happier. But the water starts to boil. The frog is too weak to jump out and gets cooked.
The Polish People's Party (PSL) used to have a reputation as a pragmatic party that knew how to look after its own interests and knew when to put its foot down. But I get the impression that after seven years in power as a junior partner in the coalition government-seven relaxed years of holding cushy jobs, the party isn't nearly as vigilant as it used to be. Just like that frog in lukewarm water, the PSL lacks the strength to jump out.
I have spoken to quite a few people in villages and small towns and it turns out that when it comes to the eavesdropping scandal that has shaken the government, these people are the most shocked by the language senior officials used in private conversations.
I don't know if any of this will matter when people go to the polls, but the way the PSL has been navigating this scandal reminds me more and more of that lazy frog and this could be very dangerous to the party.
I am writing this with concern and I'm not being ironic. The PSL has shown common sense in many ways, such as their stance on imposing personal income tax on farmers. Such a tax would be devastating, because red tape would simply ruin the Polish countryside. The present agricultural tax is the only good tax in Poland (it is cheap to collect, simple and cannot be evaded), whereas the costs of collecting personal income tax in rural areas would outweigh the value of the tax itself. Sadly, that does not seem to be a problem for various ideological lunatics. To them, this is all about oppressing people just for the sake of it!
The PSL has acted as a watchdog on several other important issues and it would be a real shame for the party to get itself cooked. For the past seven years, it's been so nice and warm and now the party is too weak to jump out of the pot.