There’s a massive scandal in Poland right now. The party in government has been embroiled in an issue involving visas sold illegally to thousands of immigrants.
The Opposition Party has accused the government of being a knowing participant in this scandal. It is no help that the governing party is a Right party investing in anti-immigrant rhetoric.
The sale of visas is harmful in many ways. Harmful to Poland’s Schengen partners and harmful to the United States, which seems to be the preferred destination for many of the acquirers.
The Polish Opposition had to resort to devious means to get this news out in the open, particularly since the government has a stronghold on the media. In the end, the Opposition exploited a constitutional right of the Head of the Senate to address the nation on national TV.
The government reply was not long in coming. They promptly accused the Opposition of being immoral and corrupt, adding that should the Opposition make it to power, there would be a greater flood of immigrants. They also denied any rumours of sales of visas.
The truth is that the sale of visas was being made from Polish consulates.
It was very much what you would expect from an authoritarian government. The reaction of Abela’s government to the benefits scandal was no different.
A leaked story to government lapdog papers claimed similar scandals under the Gonzi government. The minister responsible for social affairs has refused to resign, claiming that he was extraneous to the goings on.
The Stalinist medical boards peppered with Labour sympathising “specialists” (or should I say ‘persons of trust”) wept crocodile tears, claiming they were the victim of a huge scam. The impression is that the person responsible is “Nobody” of Homeric fame.
The bitter irony of these scandals in modern European politics is that corruption is the work of Parties betraying the very values they are meant to represent. The Polish Party, tough on immigration, sells visas, opening the floodgates to thousands. The Maltese socialists abuse the system to perpetrate fraud on the backs of taxpayers.
It is telling that their reaction is to counterattack. The reaction is the weak defence that everybody is corrupt and the Opposition would be up to no better. These are also the Parties that thrive on the weakened image of the European project based on collaboration between States.
Confidence in the European project is at an all-time low in both countries. What is often missed is the fact that the EU is weakest when Member States fail to agree on a course of action because national interests trump that of the common good.
Only this week, Poland was among a group of renegade States (including Hungary and Slovakia) that refused to remove bans on Ukraine-produced wheat to protect their national markets.
Forget about solidarity. Forget about acting in the interests of the Union. It is the way of corrupt authoritarian governments to act in the interests of the governing elite.
In most cases, the elite is a web of power-mongering leeches thriving on the common good. Any attempt to uncover their actions is met with a sturdy defence of their assumed royal prerogative. The King’s Defence.