In The Netherlands, the first "marriage" between three people is a fact. OK, it ain’t really a "legal" marriage. It’s a civil union. But don't forget that gay marriage, now possible in some four enlightened nations (among which, uh, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics of Belgistan) came about once civil unions were an established fact. I vaguely remember Mark from CO once saying something to the effect that once gay marriages were allowed, why stop at that and not allow marriages of three, four or more people? Naïve as I was, I dismissed the thought as utterly ridiculous. And this evening, smack, I got the facts on my plate. From the Dutch of course. Anyway, the newly"weds" are Victor de Bruijn (46) and Bianca (31) and Mirjam (35). Check out The Brussels Journal.
"I love both Bianca and Mirjam, so I am marrying them both," Victor said. He had previously been married to Bianca. Two and a half years ago they met Mirjam Geven through an internet chatbox. Eight weeks later Mirjam deserted her husband and came to live with Victor and Bianca. After Mirjam’s divorce the threesome decided to marry. Victor: "A marriage between three persons is not possible in the Netherlands, but a civil union is. We went to the notary in our marriage costume and exchanged rings. We consider this to be just an ordinary marriage."
Asked by journalists to tell the secret of their peculiar relationship, Victor explained that there is no jealousy between them. "But this is because Mirjam and Bianca are bisexual. I think that with two heterosexual women it would be more difficult." Victor stressed, however, that he is "a one hundred per cent heterosexual" and that a fourth person will not be allowed into the "marriage." They want to take their marriage obligations seriously: "to be honest and open with each other and not philander."
Let’s proceed with the former. While I was in Poland, parliamentary elctions took place, on Sunday 25 September. The left got whacked in the gutter, from 41% of the vote the previous time, to just 11% now. Winners were two center rightwing parties, the Civic Platform (PO – Platforma Obywatelska) and Law and Justice (PiS - Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc).
The 460 seats of the Sejm, the House of Representatives of the Polish parliament, got divided as follows:
Law and Justice (PiS) - 155
Civic Platform (PO) - 133
Self-defence (Samoobrona) - 56
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) - 55
League of Polish Families (LPR) - 34
Polish Peasant Party (PSL) - 25
The German minority - 2
From the onset it was clear that the government would be a coalition of PO and PiS. Now, the 25 Sept elections were for the legislative body. Today, October 9, presidential elections were held.
Of the two main candidates PO's Donald Tusk, a selfmade pro free market advocate, won the most votes, with until now (midnight) 38% of the total. The other rightwing contender, PiS strongman Lech Kaczynski, won 32%. Since a 50% majority is required for becoming president, it is possible that in two weeks time a second round will be necessary. Interesting detail: Leck Kaczynski has a twin brother, Jaroslaw (with whom he once starred in a movie for children) who is also strongly in politics. Theoretically, after the September 25 elections, it was not even thought impossible that one of them would become president and the other PM. However, in order to not appear too dominant (and to better Lechs chances for the presidency), the PiS has now proposed Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz as its candidate for the premiership.
Both men are pro free market, but Tusk more so than Kaczynski, who is more inclined towards a strong state and its role in welfare provisions. Also, it is Tusk who is a great advocate of a flat tax. On the other hand, Kaczynski is outspokenly Catholic and puts a lot of stress on family values. I would say that Tusks PO is more "right" on economic issues, while Kaczynski's PiS is more "right" on ethical questions. Anyway, it's going to become a coaltion of these two parties so no matter the actual outfilling of the key posts I think we got a big winner for Rightwing Europe in Poland.
With regards to the recent elections in Germany, I'd like to point out the obvious differences between the elections in both countries. Germany's federal government has for fifteen years, since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, been pouring gazillions of Marks and Euros in East germany, the former DDR. Yet it was in exactly this part of Germany that a powerful extreme leftwing party emerged, Die Linke under commie fossil Oskar Lafontaine. See the map to the right, from Davids Medienkritik:
Two thirds of the red on the map is in the former DDR. And in Europe, unlike in the States, red means, well, red. Those East Germans have been showered for 15 years with federal government money and STILL German unemployment is staggeringly high, especially in their neck of the woods. Yet they keep voting for the left. Now take Poland. Unemployment is damn high too, between 17 and 20%. The four years of socialist rule are not the only explanation for that. Poland has as yet still very much an agrarical economy, with (I think) something in the neighborhood of 25% of the workforce still in farms. With Poland now being in the EU, a dramatic rationalization of Polish agriculture is necessary, so even with sound governance I don't expect the number of unemployed to drop sharply in the coming years. And yet, Poland thrives. Since the beginning of the year, some 180,000 jobs have been created (Poland has a population of 39 million). There's massive infrastructure works everywhere, especially on new highways. In Zakopane, the Polish Aspen, where we stayed during our holiday, we witnessed a construction boom as never seen.
In short: Germans get so pampered that their asscheeks turn the colour of Code Pink slogans. When it is cautiously explained to them that they will have to work a bit longer for the same money, they protest vehemently and keep voting for the asshats that brought them in the shit they are in in the first place. Poles, on the other hand, have very little to expect from their gumint in terms of welfare provisions. My mother in law can tell you. Yet they work their asses off - with result - and vote right.
I am reminded here of a famous slogan on a Polish WWII poster. Polish infantrymen, pilots and sailors had been forced out of their country in 1939 and throughout the war kept dying in the thousands on other peoples soil - Italy, France, The Netherlands. That slogan said: "We don't beg for freedom - We fight for it".
Today, that slogan could read: "We don't beg for a good life - we work for it."