I was invited to the Lewiatan “Gala” which was held a few weeks ago at the National Philharmonic. For those of you who don’t know, Lewiatan is the federation of medium and small businesses. Since the main event of the “Gala” was to be a discussion about culture in Poland followed by a performance by the Juventus Youth Orchestra, it seemed like a golden opportunity to distribute my flyers calling for a public enquiry into the state of music.
Seven volunteers joined me outside the Filharmonia to help. The arriving public took the flyers willingly. After reading the flyer one young executive came up to me, “I agree with you 100%.” He elaborated but quickly discovered that my command of Polish was not up to debating-on-the-pavement standards.
“But how come an Englishman is doing this?” he asked with surprise. I assured him my fellow flyer distributors were entirely Polish.
“Well, yes”, I conceded.
Shortly before the “Gala” was due to start, a black top-of-the-range executive Mercedes stopped by the pavement in front of me. In the back was Minister of Culture Zdrojewski. I was perfectly positioned to shove a flyer into his hand (though I had already delivered copies both by hand and email to his office. No result so far).
After a short space of time, no doubt used to plan the strategy, the Minister’s shiny-grey-suited young assistant got out of the car on the pavement side. He rejected my offer of a flyer and turned his back on me. His job was to shield the minister from me. The minister got out of the car followed by a woman, cigarette in hand.
The huddled group moved up the pavement away from the hall door and me, from King to Rook so to speak, and so doing walked straight into a young man who directly gave the Minister a flyer.
However, before the minister had had the time to read it, the shiny assistant removed it from his hand. I wonder why? To protect his master from the truth? I suppose with elections drawing close the truth is not what ministers want to hear. But they should.
What really amazed me about the incident was the Minister’s lack of political skill. Surely, he ought to have shown some bravado. Getting out of the car he should have come up to me, taken a flyer, glanced at it, patted me on the back with a comment like, “Good man. Fighting for culture. We need more people like you. I’ll keep this, if I may?” and gone into the building leaving me surprised and winded.
Of course, this breed of politician does not expect to be challenged. When they are, they don’t know how to react. The gutter is no place for a minister and scurrying off in the gutter indicates that this Minister has something to hide. He has.
Wait till you hear what happened during the Gala inside the building.