Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Eustonlike - Poland's fascination with the UK

A busy day; three live TV interviews, one live radio interview and one recorded TV interview - all about the English rioting. (Moni's in Ealing and reports that the Polish shop on Haven Green has had its window stoved in.) The third of my five interviews was in the Superstacja studio in Praga. On my way there, I passed the Warsaw directorate of Polish state railways PKP on ul. Targowa (below).

Why does this look historically familiar? Hints here of the famous, long-gone and lamented Euston Arch. The Warsaw building was completed nearly a century after Euston station's Doric arch, and is much smaller in scale, but even so, an interesting and imposing building. Across the road from Centrum Handlowe Warszawa Wileńska shopping mall.

With regards to the riots - while driving from studio to studio this afternoon, I'm listening to TokFM and Radio Trójka - the riots are not only headline news here in Poland, they are a major talking point. So much more coverage than the recent riots in Spain or Greece or previous disturbances in the French banlieus - indeed, and far more than the so-called Arab Spring. Britain exerts a much more important place in the Polish imagination; on par with America, Germany or Russia.

This time last year:
A place in the country

This time four years ago:
I must go down to the sea again


Paddy said...

I have posted about this subject from the opposite angle over at PzU.

student SGH said...

Bartek, come along, isn't your acquaintance from Jeziorki who runs a blog in the box?

Now that you've become a recgnisable figure. Well done!

Today it finally occured today that for many turmoil on financial markets has outshone riots in London.

BTW - I was just back home as you were putting in an appearance in Minęła dwudziesta, so I had no chance to listen. Tough luck...

DC said...


How disappointing.

Anonymous said...

I could admire beauty of this building on last Saturday when we were riding (via right side of Warsaw)for a short weekend to our beloved Biebrza National Park. This part of Praga has its own v. special charm!
Riots in London seem to be completely nonsensical. I feel pity for Londoners. They don't deserve such stupid violence (actually nobody deserves).

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know yor views on the riots given you have been away from the UK for so long. In my day it was disaffected youth from ethnic minorities going on a rammy - wonder what you think has changed. Also interesting that my prediction to my wife that the riots would stop only when it started to rain seems to have come true. They dont like a good soaking no matter the age or generation.

Michael Dembinski said...

@anon: The rioters are vermin and scum. But it was British society that allowed them to become vermin and scum. Crap education - the result of a liberal experiment that went badly wrong - no one wants to employ these innumerate and illiterate youths.

Nu-Labour's deal with the underclass was - 'we pay you decent benefits - you vote Labour, don't riot'. All went well until the taxpayers who funded this lifestyle got caught by the global recession. 'The cuts' - an attempt to claw back the benefits. But it's also about expectations; each boy wants to be a gang overlord, each girl a gang overlord's girl.

There's no politics, ideology, religion in any of this - greed, malice and short-term stupidity.

Having said that, this is a problem that requires deep structural attention, or else it will only get worse. The barbarians that overturned the Roman empire were from without; the danger to Britain is from within.

DC said...

Deep structural attention, yes. What would that look like, especially when the government is being forced to cut costs?

Did you see the e-petition to disqualify rioters from public housing? Apparently in the UK, if they get 100,000 signature, the Commons has to at least consider the petition. What a great thing - wish we had it in the States.