Walesa jumps gravy trains

Published on 27 May 2009 at 14:44

A couple of weeks back Lech Walesa caused mutterings in the Irish and Polish press for having been a guest speaker at theLibertas convention in Rome. Papers speculated whether this was not a ringing endorsement of Irishman Declan Ganley’s crusade against the Lisbon Treaty on a “pro Europe - anti EU” ticket.

“We need to heed the Libertas message and put the people back at the heart of the project,” he said. Rumours soon surfaced that for such chiselled gems the Nobel Prize winner and former Polish president had received €50,000 for his pains. A week later Polish daily Gazeta Wyborsza reported the figure was €100.000 and called him a “disgrace”. A tightlipped Declan Ganley refused to disclose. “Gentlemen do not talk about money to other gentlemen. The word honorarium includes the word honour.” And indeed for this Latin-monikered party whose Europe-wide candidates include Czech tax-evaders, a Holocaust negationist from Poland and France’s own Islamophobe-in-chief, the Viscount de Villiers, they are all honourable men, as Mark Anthony once said over the corpse of Julius Caesar. Later, Walesa bragged to fellow Polish journalists that for speaking he got more in one night than they earned in a year, which has a Linda Evangelista ring about it, though the model who would not get out of bed for less than 20,000 dollars does not apparently have to live off a Polish state pension.

Here’s where it all goes awry. After Rome, Walesa’s son told the press that “my father doesn’t agree with Libertas, their opinions or how it works,” As far as Poland was concerned, Libertas, he said, “don’t exist”. Walesa, on the defensive, grumpily asked impertinent journalists - “Should we lock them up and beat them?” After all he only wanted to take part in open debate with these honourable men. This week, reports the Irish Independent, Walesa now has personally distanced himself from the party which will be running some 550 candidates in 16 member states this June. He now urges Irish voters to say yes to the treaty rejected last year. “I don’t like the Lisbon treaty as a driver but it’s better than no driver at all.” There are bad drivers and bad drivers, however, so one assumes that the inference here is that the Lisbon treaty might go up over the kerb, jump a few reds rather than plough wildly through a crash barrier and plunge us all into a 300 foot ravine. In the meantime, Libertas hasn’t asked for a refund.

Gerry Feehily

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