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Battle of Britain

Oh no I have done a copy and paste :-)

The Poles are calling it the Battle of Britain. From Edinburgh to Southampton, Polish politicians are trying to persuade 600,000 compatriots to cast what might be decisive votes in next month’s general election.

“Poles abroad have become ashamed at the way the Polish image has been destroyed by this coalition Government,” said Bronislaw Komorowski, the deputy chairman of Civic Platform (PO), the main centre-right opposition party.

The coalition has been tearing itself apart over the Government’s ultra-nationalist policies. It is calculating that the votes of Poles in Britain and Ireland (where there are 200,000 working Poles) could sweep the Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, out of office. The election date has been set for October 21 after parliament dissolved itself last Friday.

Mr Kaczynski’s ultra-nationalist Law and Justice Party and the former communist Left also reckon that there are votes to be won among the Poles who have come to Britain.

All the parties are trying to tempt émigré Poles with the promise of relaxed regulations on setting up companies in Poland with the capital they have earned in Britain. Politicians are pledging to scrap the tax on overseas earnings – in other words, if Poles can dodge the Revenue while in Britain they stand a good chance of keeping all of their savings.

The strong Polish presence has changed the face of Britain – it has filled Roman Catholic churches, put the Polish language on school curriculums, cabanossi sausages in Tesco and Polish-speakers in high street banks.

Now the émigré Poles, many of them young and new voters, have political clout. They make up a sizeable chunk of the 30 million Poles entitled to vote. The two latest opinion polls show that half a million votes would be decisive. One poll shows the PO and the Law and Justice Party neck and neck, another has Law and Justice three points ahead.

“Those living abroad have an enormous potential to influence public opinion at home,” said Mr Komorowski. According to the ARC Market and Opinion polling institute more than half the Poles living in Britain have access to the internet and most have a mobile telephone. The parties are considering direct messaging people on their phones or reaching voters through blogs. Donald Tusk, the PO party leader, is expected to begin campaigning in Britain in the final week of this month.

Poles will cast their votes in London and Edinburgh. The Foreign Ministry is planning to set up several other polling stations. Ballots cast in London are likely to influence the outcome of marginal Warsaw constituencies and so the parties are planning to send over politicians from the capital. The main left-of-centre campaigner will be Marek Borowski, head of the Warsaw list for the Left and Democracy grouping.

The decision to dissolve parliament came as a relief to many Poles. The slow collapse of the governing coalition, which grouped Mr Kaczynski’s party with the smaller clericalist League of Polish Families and the agrarian Self-Defence party, had begun to become farcical. Cabinet ministers were bugged, the Interior Minister and the chief of police arrested and then released.

Within hours of the date being announced, campaigning had begun. Mr Kaczynski – whose twin brother, Lech, is the Polish President - addressed a farmers’ rally where he said that his aim was to break the power of the uklad, the corrupt politicians, businessmen and communist sympathisers who he says run Poland. The pitch is popular in rural communities who feel left behind by the reform process.

Mr Kaczynski’s goal is to win the votes of rural Poland and build a Roman Catholic-core grouping that will have to be the base of any future government. The PO and the Socialists also have hopes of forming a future majority with a farmers’ party.

Adding it up

360,000
work permits for Poles since 2004

80%
are aged 18-32

15%
Poland’s unemployment rate

25%
Unemployment under25s

600,000
Poles in Britain

350,000
votes. Margin of victory 2005 poll


My personal comment, I agrre with is

Re: Battle of Britain

Shurely shome mishtake - the Battle of England??

(to accurately reflect the underlying historical Polish - bitwa anglii ... this would be the official approach taken by the legal translators association - don't trust English-speakers with the English language)