The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Condemned to Irrelevance

The "staunchly Roman Catholic" Polish government (it is not, you will observe, militantly Roman Catholic, any more than the government of Venezuela is staunchly left-wing or Hamas is staunchly Muslim) is blocking a move by the rest of the European Union to make 10 October a "day of protest" against the death penalty. "The Poles think it's very restrictive to talk only of the death penalty," said one source. "They want a discussion on a larger scope, on the right to life, on abortion, on euthanasia", and hence are prepared implicitly to condone one alleged abuse of human rights in order to facilitate discussion of the others. It makes at least as much sense as killing six hundred thousand Iraqis to get rid of Saddam Hussein; but the British Labour MEP Richard Howitt has said that the Polish government's "commitment to European values" is nonetheless in question, though it is difficult to believe that Poland has any less commitment to capitalism, bureaucracy and hypocrisy than the rest of us. The Polish government is "arguing for parallel European condemnation of abortion and euthanasia", those dreadful Nazi practices so staunchly opposed by the Venerable Pius XII; while the president has called for the European ban on the death penalty to be "re-examined", and a former deputy prime minister, who is presumably not quite so staunch a Roman Catholic as he might be, wants it reintroduced for paedophiles. "Our position is quite clear," said one official. "We want to discuss this in a broader context." Since it's a mere "day of protest" that is at stake - an event with approximately the seismic potential of Tony Blair's occasional whimpers about the Guantánomaly - perhaps the EU should accede to their wishes. We shall continue scraping out our foetuses and yanking our grandmothers' feeding tubes, and they can re-examine the need to string up a few priests, and we can all save the bunting for a "day of protest" against apathy, or whatever.


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