Coffee House

If I were Polish, I’d side with Radek Sikorski — not David Cameron

25 June 2014

In his Spectator Notes this week, Charles Moore discusses Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister and former Spectator contributor, who made some disobliging comments about David Cameron this week. Here is a preview of his column…

Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, is undoubtedly one of the most dashing figures on the world stage. I first met him in the mid-1980s, possibly when I was a guest of the Oxford Union and Radek who, I seem to remember, was wearing white tie and tails, was on the standing committee. At that time, he was a refugee from communist Poland, having helped organise resistance to martial law, and — though I did not know it then — a member of that nursery of world rulers, the Bullingdon Club. I made him The Spectator’s Afghanistan correspondent and he filed brave and fascinating reports from within the ranks of the mujahedin (read here and here on our archive). In his mind, the Soviets’ retreat from Afghanistan was a dummy run for getting them out of eastern Europe. In this publication in April 1990, he described how he had just bought a ruined country house and estate in Poland and would restore it. He foresaw a good future: ‘On this patch of land it will seem as if communism had never existed. Only when our surroundings, as well as our heads, are cleansed of the grime of 40 years will we be able to breathe freely again… We have won the clash of ideas. It’s now time to stop wagging our tongues and get down to work.’



Radek has realised his dream. He and his wife Anne Applebaum, the distinguished historian, have restored that Polish manor house, Dwor Chobielin. She and Danielle Crittenden have published From a Polish Country House Kitchen (‘90 recipes for the ultimate comfort food’). Radek is the most renowned Polish politician and, in the Ukraine crisis, has emerged as the most eloquent scourge of the nationalist/communist legacy embodied in Vladimir Putin.


But perhaps he has not entirely stopped his tongue wagging. Sikorski has just been exposed for rude remarks he made privately about David Cameron’s European policy, especially his attempt to block Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission: ‘He fucked up…His whole strategy of feeding scraps just to satisfy them [his eurosceptic critics] is, just as I predicted, turning against him; he should have said “Fuck off”…’ Last week, before this story broke, I met Radek in the garden of Hatfield House, where we were gathered for the dinner of the Margaret Thatcher and Liberty conference. His conversation was, as always, refreshingly frank and may possibly, in the Slavic manner, have included a bit of swearing. I find his approach to the European question very interesting. He is a robust conservative, and also an anglophile, but he is fiercely pro-EU. For him, the EU is the answer to the problem of Poland. In a speech at Blenheim Palace three years ago he gave an illuminating analogy. ‘Size matters,’ he said. When he was on the Union’s standing committee, he had stood for the post of secretary, and lost. This had been because his college, Pembroke, was too small, so he was beaten by a rival from Christ Church: ‘That was my formative political experience.’ In the same speech, he urged the British not to ‘underestimate our determination not to return to the politics of the 20th century. You were not occupied. Most of us on the continent were. We will do almost anything to prevent that happening again.’ Poland must not become once again a ‘buffer between western Europe and a less democratic Eurasian political-economic space dominated by Russia.’ His is good advice for a British audience because it punctures the illusion of our European policy. It shows how the European project really is different from the way most British think: continentals fear the independent nation state, and we instinctively trust in it.


I expect that if I were Polish, I would agree with Radek Sikorski about the EU, especially now that the United States (another object of his private, leaked irritation) is so weak. But be careful what you do not wish for. European anti-nationalists sometimes remind me of the children of divorced parents who constantly express their determination not to repeat their parents’ mistakes and then end up doing so. The failings of the EU, and the growing power of Germany, are now giving rise to just the resentful nationalism which Europhiles understandably abhor.

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  • bb

    so late for this post/ but i will find you/ apparently and seemingly brits do not like poles/ and i for one loathe the diapered queen/ the
    pretentious shitters there/ and Cara De./ so you all in this discussion
    thread can go and eat- //all etarded/ shallow-ended/ small-minded/ #stupid as
    they come / and it must suck to be proven stupid and wrong constantly/

  • Artur Obrzut

    Dear Mr Cooper and others, contributing to the comments,
    First of all let me take on the problem of grattitude. Poles have had their lesson of what grattitude is, when after the WWII, despite their immense role in defending Britain on all fronts, they were sold to the Soviets by HM Government. They were even forbiden their participation in the Victory Parade ! What grattitude are You talking about?
    Second – the benefits of having Poles now in Britain are obvious. The economy gained bilions in added value; taxes are paid, work is done.
    Being in EU means for UK not only to pay to the common budget – it is also to benefit from free trade, capital movement and many other things.
    Stop talking about things You have no idea about.

  • Malpa

    Isn’t the article about Sikorski’s very un-diplomatic comments made during a dinner which he calls private but paid for using tax payers money?

  • Denis_Cooper

    Well, thanks to the Poles commenting here for proving my point.

  • Маrcus Campbell

    I lived in Poland recently (before moving to moscow, ironically), and was struck by how pro European while also so frighteningly nationalistic they all were. Not wildly keen on us, the British too, it has to be said. Strangely enough, when I’ve been back to the UK the general attitude towards the poles seems to be one of pity and sympathy towards these ‘poor Eastern Europeans’ who have thankfully shaken off the yoke of those beastly Russians. Absolute tosh really, all the poles met were the most aspirational, money grabbing noveau riche fellows ever, infinitely more so than anyone in moscow. Be wary of the poles, mark my words…

  • Jack TheRipper

    I really hope that Britain leaves the EU… the sooner, the better…. It will really make the Europe stronger and more united as they always just gonna oppose and prevent further integration… GB is really an american troyan horse in the EU..

  • Piotr Sitarek

    The Brits commenting here say quite a lot about the alleged lack of Polish gratitude for British help during and after ww2. Not getting into any heated historical discussions and respecting those views, as well as having lots and lots of fondness for Britain and the British and not living in the UK, not intending to, claiming no benefits and having a history of spending rather than earning in the UK…let me tell you quickly why those points sound extremely hollow in any Polish ears.

    The alliance between Poland, France and Britain had, as its goal, the containment of resurgent Germany. The main idea was that if one party was attacked, the other would attack Germany from the back. Poland was sounded out by Germany repeatedly about a possible alliance, yet it held steadfastedly anti-Nazi stance and German intelligence warned Hitler that in case he attacked France first, Poland would attack Germany from the East. Of course, Britain’s guarantee to Poland had very little to do with any empathy to Poland, but was another part of the centuries old British strategy of forging alliances with various continental countries aimed at preventing Europe from being dominated by one force which could then threaten British colonial Empire. Poland had little empathy as well, it wanted to ensure its survival, yet it was ready to honour its obligations should France be attacked first.

    When Poland was attacked by Germany in one of the first applications of the “total war”, Britain and France declared war and did nothing. Well, they threw some leaflets on Germany. We were being slaughtered and our allies did absolutely nothing, in clear violation of the obligation of military help (I blame the French much more for that, tbh). Especially since the German ally, USSR, turned out to be more trustworthy and joined the German massacre of Poland on September 17, 1939.

    Of course, the later history of the war is known to everybody. There were Polish pilots playing important role during the Battle of Britan (two members of my family were fighter pilots who died protecting London from the Blitz). British successes in breaking Enigma code (which later turned out to be so crucial for Marshall Montgomery’s African campaign) were based on breakthroughs made by three Polish mathematicians, who shared all their results with the British and it was on that basis that Alan Turing& co could continue their brilliant work, adding their own brilliance and matching later German modifications, of course. Around 200,000 Polish troops fought directly under the British command, not to mention those who fought under Russian command and directly in Poland, in the resistance. Poles fought in Battle of Britain, in Africa, in Italy – including the heroic battle for Monte Cassino, in Holland (where they were shamefully made scapegoats for the British commander’s mistakes, after the Arnhem fiasco, and on the Eastern front.

    Of course everybody knows what happened to that one member of the victorious coalition who fought against Hitler from day 1 of the war. We were left in the clutches of another monster for 44 long years, our few surviving heroes murdered, our country enslaved, We lost 20% of the population and the country lay in ruins, as compared to less than 1% for the UK. Our soldiers were not even allowed to take part in the London Victory Celebrations of 1946, out of consideration for the great ally, Stalin

    There are some Brits we Poles are grateful to. First and foremost, those volunteer pilots who gave or risked their lives to bring some supplies to the dying Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Despite Stalin’s denial of a chance to use Soviet airports, they took a huge risk to go for a highly dangerous route just to assist an embattled city. Those pilots were heroes who gave everything to help us and each single one of them deserves a monument in the Polish capital. We remember and honour them, with gratitude and admiration.

    But Britain as a whole did not help us, rather used us and discarded us when the war was over. Of course, each country pursued its own interests and some things could not have been done differently. There is no basis for regrets or bad blood after all that time has passed, but neither is there any basis for particular gratitude. Let us hope just for mutual respect instead.

    • Makroon

      Many of us know that this is true, and don’t expect “gratitude”, we also know that the Czechs were badly betrayed by Britain (as formally recognised by Margaret Thatcher).
      But you need to understand that Britain was unprepared for war and desperately racing to re-arm in 1939, after Dunkirk we were in no position to help anyone. We had a huge, sprawling Empire and dominions to defend, a powerful navy, but a small and poorly equipped army.

    • MCDuguesclin

      yet Poland made a friendship with Nazy Germany in 1934, Poland benefitted of such a friendship to grasp some Czech territory in 1938, then suddenly Poland remembered that London and Paris existed in April 1939, when its good friend Hitler was requesting for the Danzig Korridor…

      inducing that Britain and France decleared war on Nazy Germany in september 1939… when we could have avoided being then trapped into the war, since the Nazis wanted to extend their territory at East, Barbarosa was programmed since the beginning, the war on the commies that the US bankers financed

      oh and it’s not Churchill that sold Poland to Stalin, but Roosevelt

  • pinkgunnergirl

    Of course the Polish love the EU. They are getting enormous amounts of money out of it, not least from tax credits and benefits from the BRITISH taxpayer.

    • LMB

      Let me refresh your memory on who pays most:

      1. Netherlands
      2. Denmark

      much lower: UK.

      What I personally find absolutely shameful is that UK still keeps its “rebate”. UK pays much less than France, Germany and other net payers. You of course would not mention that. Or perhaps you’re ignorant about the “rebate”.

    • irena mangone

      Those Polish who came straight after the war because if they returned stalin would have them killed worked bloody hard here I. England paid their taxes. many died here never seeing their motherland free so don’t say we Poles don’t pay our way my father always worked untilil his retirement. As did many others. And 2nd generation works. And even 3rd. We are not lazy good for nothing’s

  • Terrence Hansen

    As an American one might think I would be offended by Sikorski’s remarks. On the contrary, my first reaction was “it’s about time.” I heard him speak in Chicago several years ago, he was simply superb. He complimented his staff, held up his briefing book for the speech he was about to give, looked at it, put it down, and gave about a 30 minute off the cuff speech. Among his most memorable comments was something akin to – yes, we want US missiles on Polish territory. When was the last time a US missile base was attacked?
    He is practical, he is direct, and if he accurately reflects Polish opinion and factually describes the current confused US foreign policy and, in the process upsets 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Foggy Bottom, and the Congress, so be it. It is about time somebody did. Europe, through the EU, continues to represent one of the best opportunities for over 500 million people to put aside their prejudices and work together for common goals that once achieved could consign characters like Putin to history’s dustbin of failed despots.
    Bravo Mr Sikorski, don’t you dare think of leaving the kitchen yet.

    • Makroon

      Talk is very cheap, but then Americans have always had a weakness for glib talkers. Your dreams of a “Euro bloc” of 500M people happily accepting American leadership will never happen. You simply don’t understand the nature of the beast.

      • Terrence Hansen

        Where in the world did you get the idea that I was suggesting American leadership for any kind of a “Euro bloc.” I would not suggest that America lead anything in Europe, including selecting the monthly choice for the Book of the Month Club. Besides, our experts are too busy still looking for the weapons of mass destruction in Mesopotamia.

        My comments were based on a hope that the EU experiment would continue, it would eventually succeed and a United Europe would share the world stage standing between the US and Russia, not behind them.

  • NM

    Charles Moore, thank you for one of the few insightful pieces on the Juncker (teacup) storm. But I’m afraid even you don’t seem to entirely get it. It’s not that we continentals “fear the independent nation state”. We’re not even necessarily particularly “anti-nationalist”. The EU is not about war guilt, obsessive distrust of the nation state, or a belief that war is about to break out again. To most continentals, the EU is an eminently pragmatic proposition. We believe that to maximize our sovereignty we need to pool it. Two reasons for that:

    1) Only as a union can we be strong enough to stand up to the big powers of this century — China, Russia, India, Brazil. Just listen to how contemptuously the Chinese speak about Britain today. That’s your writing on the wall. Size matters. Europe’s small and mid-sized nation states will just get pushed around on their own. But through union we can be strong.

    2) Most of the big challenges of this century are cross-border challenges, whether this is managing the deeply integrated economy of the different European states, populations flows, climate change, terrorism, …

    Because British Euroscepticism basically fails to engage with this argument, it comes across as head banging to us.

    • Conway

      The EU is not about war guilt, obsessive distrust of the nation state, or a belief that war is about to break out again.” Au contraire, mon brave. Germany is constrained by war guilt, France wanted to shackle them so that war wouldn’t break out again and on the walls of the EU parliament building it is written that the sovereign nation state is “evil” and it needs to be destroyed by a federation of the peoples.

    • Makroon

      “British euroscepticism”, what do you understand by that ?
      UKIP is europhobe. Most Brits are eurosceptic.
      France and Germany always know best, despite their serial failures as states.
      Britain could, nonetheless, live with that, but the know-alls insist on trying to force their naive and usually self-serving notions down our throat, that is the problem.
      I know China exceedingly well. They have many old bones to pick with us, but find the UK highly intriguing – how did this small country build a world empire with a surprising level of acceptance ? Why was this small country the crucible of the industrial revolution and astounding numbers of inventions/discoveries ? How did the UK manage to evolve a flexible, harmonious political system without regular, bloody, revolutions ? How is it that four of the seven continent-sized states (and the most stable four), were founded by the UK ?
      Chinese institutions examine all of these questions in depth to see whar can be learned, but our neighbours are sure we have nothing to teach them.

  • Lina R

    Most countries within the European Union want to stay in because they get a lot more out of their membership than they put in. This isn’t the case for Britain. How many Brits are seeking work in Poland/Spain/Italy/Greece et al? How many Brits are claiming benefits in Poland and sending them back here? Besides trade, I really don’t see the point in our continuing membership.

    • Conway

      We don’t need to be a member to trade (Mexico, among other countries, trades with the EU without being a member), so there is absolutely no point in our continued membership.

  • cromwell

    Germans invading Poland from the west Russians from the east who does a poor Pole shoot first? The German because its business before pleasure, or was it the other way around? No matter England went to war against a more powerful enemy with little hope of winning to honour its promise to Poland, Poles should never forget that

    • Fergus Pickering

      Little hope of winning? But we did win.

    • Mariool

      Stop live only in a dreams and learn the history, the true history and not that you would like to know, because this is a misleading.

    • pantherblue

      “A more powerful enemy’? “Little hope of winning”?
      While the Luftwaffe was busy smashing Polish cities and Hitler’s troops were marching east in September 1939 the entire western flank of Germany was exposed to the RAF and a SUPERIOR in numbers French army and what happened? Nothing.

  • Mike

    Little to choose between them, a Polish federalist or a British PM who lacks any backbone.

  • cromwell

    Never mind about siding with a Bullingdon Pole or Bullingdon traitor, what of England?

  • D Whiggery

    “Poland must not become once again a ‘buffer between western Europe and a less democratic Eurasian political-economic space dominated by Russia.’

    And if she were to remain a sovereign democratic country within NATO she never would. Sikorski may not realize it but he’s defending a kind of new USSR i.e. a politically centralized block, but one in which he has access to the highest levels. He didn’t have access to those giddy heights in the USSR and so he used his intelligence and energy to help change it.

    It doesn’t matter what label you stick on a nation, empire, or other sphere of political influence, be it socialist, communist, European, democratic or whatever. The elite always protect their access to the palace of privilege in denying access to others. Eventually it becomes unsustainable until the poor sods outside break in, wreck the place and throw them out, before locking themselves inside and starting the process all over again.

    “It shows how the European project really is different from the way most British think: continentals fear the independent nation state, and we instinctively trust in it.”

    And that’s fine, but it shows why we need to leave. They have a different story and so a different outlook. Nations in political union having different outlooks does not present a problem in itself, as long as the differences are minimal or that one outlook doesn’t impose itself on another.

  • Baron

    In his posting, Baron used the same word Mr. Moore doesn’t dislike if articulated by a Pole he also admires, the posting went into moderation, vanished.

    In the age of elastic equality one mustn’t complain, mustn’t one.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Here’s a long comment that I posted on another blog just over a year ago:

    “BBC Newsnight had the Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski on last night, and listening to him brought home the total failure of the Tory party’s advertised strategy on EU enlargement.

    We are subsidising his country; we have dutifully accepted countless of his countrymen here, taking up jobs instead of our own people, and sending money back to Poland while we provide welfare for our unemployed; and we not only provide welfare for Poles here but even provide welfare for Polish children back in Poland; businesses have moved from here to Poland giving jobs to Poles while putting our people out of work, and then our trade deficit is increased when we import things from Poland which were previously produced here; moreover having spent a fortune during the Cold War and helped to liberate Eastern Europe from Soviet domination we have warmly welcomed Poland into NATO, thereby committing ourselves to the defence of his country against any armed attack,
    even to the point of nuclear war.

    So was there any hint of gratitude?

    No, just an arrogant sense of entitlement driving a patronising lecture about the British people, and especially some Tory MPs, needing to be educated about the benefits of the EU – and that after just 9 years of membership rather than 40 years – with what amounted to veiled threats about the consequences of withdrawal, including that the US “would take a dim view”.

    So was there even any indication that with Poland having so recently regained its freedom the governments chosen by the Poles would be natural allies of the British Tories within the EU, a prospect that the Tories held out as a benefit of EU enlargement?

    No, exactly the opposite; this man’s party is happy to be affiliated to the federalist European People’s Party from which the Tory MEPs have finally been detached, and basically as elsewhere in Eastern Europe the British have not gained allies, but instead have helped the Germans to line up more countries against us.

    But for all that strongly pro-EU and distinctly anti-British sentiment, Sikorski demurs about joining the euro despite Poland having entered into a solemn treaty commitment to do so at the earliest opportunity.

    So apparently he wants Poland to have its cake and eat it, as well as eating our cake, while simultaneously treating us to a lecture about how wonderful the EU is – which of course we would also see, if only we were bright enough to understand it – and how stupid we would be to leave.”

    • HookesLaw

      There is nothing wrong with Europe’s wealthier countries helping its poorer ones to grow economically. We can argue about if the money is spent wisely, thats a different matter. But helping countries grow so they become markets for our goods is not a bad idea far from it.
      There is also nothing wrong with the concept of Europe working together, something you seem to despise. How it does that is open to debate which is what the conservatives are promising with a referendum at the end of it.
      There is no need for long rants you just have to accept the will of the British people.

      • global city

        Why do you couch the condition of EU membership in intergovernmental terms? Why do you also promote it’s function as merely an economic association?

        • Wessex Man

          Because he wants us to think he’s best mates with Call me Dave.

      • Denis_Cooper

        “You just have to accept the will of the British people”

        And when have the British people ever been asked whether they want another country to join the EU?

        Never, not since 1981 when Thatcher decided that she would agree to Greece joining without a referendum, even though in 1975 she had campaigned for our direct approval of a contract with just eight other named neighbouring countries.

        Anyway, why do you pretend that you are even interested in the will of the British people?

        • cromwell

          When were the British people ever asked if they wanted to join the EU? A few years after Heath took us into it a Labour government gave us a belated referendum based on a lie that it was a trading pact not a political union, Enoch Powell and Tony Benn were united agen it, left and right but to no avail, we will never be allowed to leave the fascist EU without a bloody revolution.

      • Wilky1

        Not with my taxes!

        I want more of my money to pay the 2 x £27,000 University Tuition fees (plus another £5K fro accom) for my kids, not someone else’s in a far away land!

        It’s about consent & the UK Govt. never got the electorates consent to fritter our money away on a socialist project to bring the former eastern block countries out of the cold war!

        Worse yet, lots of our manufacturing & services industries have been moved to these states because it’s “cheaper”!

        The EU is intrinsically a Socialist Project with Socialists at it’s heart. We on the other hand are not and even with Labour, don’t have socialists!

        • cromwell

          Don’t agree that it is socialist, remember Tony Benn was against it and he was the last socialist in the Labour party. I agree the EU is not democratic as we British have evolved and understand democracy and we should get out before it ends up as it inevitably will, a totalitarian super state as wished for by the likes of Napoleon and Hitler.

          • Wilky1

            What else do you call redistribution of wealth?

      • Baron

        It’s not countries that help, HookesLaw, it’s the money of the taxpaying individuals, keep that in mind.

        Denis’s spot on, Poland is the most ferociously pro-EU country – they are the largest net receiver of EU money, but they won’t join the Euro – they fear it may cost them to back the synthetic money as it runs into trouble again. Not a bad strategy, for Poland.

        • Count Dooku

          What REALLY annoys me about Radek’s view is the sheer ingratitude.

          We went to total war for the Poles and fought side-by-side till the end of WW2. We, more than any European country, supported the rebels during the Cold War. We supported them after the fall of the S U. We supported them when they joined the EU. We took hundreds of thousands of their citizens after 2004 without riots on the streets.

          I can’t believe the cheek of the man. They have no greater friend in Europe but they remember nothing of it.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Agreed. The ungrateful b****rd. Educated courtesy of one of our finest universities and completely ignorant of the fact that this country went to war on behalf of his country and was part of an alliance that eventually liberated his country. Charles Moore should be utterly ashamed of supporting this ignorant scumbag.

            • Mike

              Obviously he didn’t do European History at school or Uni !

            • Jambo25

              What an unpleasant person you are. You appear to be an all purpose hater.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                And what a thoroughly dishonest person you are. Still waiting for an answer on the currency union and why it would benefit UK taxpayers. Then again, you are far too dishonest to provide one.

            • LMB

              “this country went to war on behalf of his country”

              Let me refresh your memory: at the beginning of the said war,UK refused to send the fleet, contrary to earlier military pacts.

            • Makroon

              I think you should save your outrage for Douglas Hurd.
              It was his master-plan to extend EU membership to the whole of eastern Europe “because they would support the UK in creating an open, democratic and competitive Europe”.
              You have to laugh (bitterly).

          • Pax

            “We went to total war for the Poles and fought side-by-side till the end of WW2.” Actually you did diddly squat, which allowed Hitler to take over the entire continental Europe. In fact Chamerlain would be perfectly content to suck Hitler’s little Wermaht guy all the way until Germany was done bombing England into the stone age. Then it still took the goold ol’ US of A to bail YOU out as it seems you were unable to really defend yourselves. So you did not go into war for the Poles, heck you did not go to war to save your own butts, you just provided a base of operations for USA to save everybody’s butt.

            • atticus1900

              Wrong. You seem to forget that we were fighting the Japanese and Nazis on three continents whilst America tried to ignore the world going up in flames.

              Perhaps look at General Slim and his exceptional victory against the Japanese in Burma. Do you know where Burma is?

              • cromwell

                Correct 20% of all Japanese casualties were in Burma against the British and their commonwealth allies. My
                uncle been in the Chindits made me aware of this and of the valour of the Indian, Gurkha and African regiments who fought for us because they respected us not through fear., Though nice citizens of the USA cannot be expected to understand that as apart from been our allies the USA was working to undermine our empire and take over our trade after the war was won.

              • LMB

                > Do you know where Burma is?

                You’re much better at diverting attention than, let’s say, Americans.

            • cromwell

              You yank bastards would not be in world war 2 yet if the Japs had not bombed Pearl Harbour, probably not even then except you’d already bled us Brits dry by then.

              • pantherblue

                It was a big mistake for the “yank bastards” to bother with Europe in the First World War…

            • Inverted Meniscus

              A quite fabulously ignorant comment. Britain stood alone resisting Hitler between june 1940 and mid 1941 when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. During this period, the USA happily bankrupted Britain, sending a warship to collect the last of our Gold reserves and stripping us of every technical innovation. We went to war to honour a treaty obligation to Poland and remained staunch members of the NATO alliance which eventually brought freedom to Poland following the demise of the Soviet Union. We expended vast resources as part of NATO and we still do and so when some jumped up little idiot like Sikorski throws that back in our faces, some of us feel a little aggrieved.

              • Jambo25

                “Britain stood alone” apart, of course, for those horrid, ungrateful Poles who we had done nothing to help in September 1939. We also had the small matter of millions of imperial and commonwealth troops as well.

                • Conway

                  The Poles were not fighting for us, they were fighting for Poland. We happened to be convenient because we were the only ones who hadn’t been over run. I’m glad you mentioned the Commonwealth troops. They fought for us because they thought it was their duty to fight fascism and through ties with the home country. Such a shame (in all senses) that Heath shafted the Commonwealth in his haste to tie us into the EC.

                • Jambo25

                  They were incorporated into the British forces and fought with great gallantry in the Battle of Britain, Italy, the Falaise Gap and other toothy places. At the end of the war we abandoned them and many of the British (mainly on the left and in the Unions) demonised them in the way that immigrants are being demonised now.

            • Tom M

              Ahh Pax an American point of view. Unfortunately for us here you are uncomfortably near the mark. As someone with an interest in history I see Great Britain initially being saved in WW2 big time by nothing more aggressive than the English channel. Without that there would have been no base for the US of A to save this part of the world from.
              Later on in the war it was uncle Joe Stalin whose soldiers who took on the Wermacht whilst we were being made fools of by Rommmel in North Africa. Stalin knew we benefitted from this and I suspect so did Churchill.
              However in the long run American business acumen made all of Europe pay for that help and we did big time. Kept the US of A factories at the top of the world commercial ladder for the next 50 years.

              • pantherblue

                When all else fails, you can always blame the Yanks…

              • pantherblue

                We must NEVER forgive the Americans for the Marshall Plan…

              • Makroon

                Your “interest in history” is evidently rather shallow. We drove Rommel out of North Africa, won the Battle of Britain and won the Battle of the Atlantic.

                • Tom M

                  Clearly we did the things you refer to however I was making the point that without, in the first instance, The Channel, we would have survived to do those things.You are aware of Dunkirk I suppose.
                  In the second instance it suited us to let the Red army slog it out with, and weaken, the Wermacht for us.
                  Seems there are degrees of shallowness.
                  The RAF could never have beaten the Luftwaffe, it survived the Battle of Britain. As I said, thank God for The Channel, without it there wouldn’t have been a Battle of Britain.
                  If you read a bit more than the last page of our activities in North Africa you will find total incompetance on an epic scale in the leadership of the British land forces.
                  Rommel was beaten only because Chuchill gave Monty in charge and gave him all the men and material he wanted. Conversely Hitler gave up on Rommel and gave him little. If Hitler had wished to he could have supplied Rommel and we would have been pushed out of North Africa completely. Such was the differences in the respective armies capabilities at that time.

                • irena mangone

                  And Polish troops were there every step of the way

          • Mike

            Thats gratitude for you but I would label most Poles that way.

            • irena mangone

              You are an ignorant person how dare you bad mouth Poland and its people you ungrateful cur

              • WTF

                I have nothing against Poles and my wife is American part Polish but I’ll ask you this, could a British worker living and working in Poland get wife & child benefits from the Polish welfare system (assuming there is one) and send the money back to his family in the UK ?

                That’s not ignorance, that’s fact. I have no issue with anyone of any race color or creed who works in the UK getting the same treatment but dependents who are getting welfare benefits should be resident in the UK as well.

                Its perverse that after 2016, even British spouses who receive state pensions based on their partners contributions will be denied that pension if they leave the UK to live elsewhere whilst Polish wives and kids living in Poland will still receive family welfare benefits. Is that fair ?

                • irena mangone

                  I apologise I was crabby. But. Don’t understand if a person is working they can send your wages back verse as. But I don’t se how you can be claim welfare if you are not Living here. It’s different surely if you worked here and then receiving aged pension that can be transferred overseas.

                • WTF

                  Gratefully accepted and the real ‘fairness’ test in my opinion is what does an immigrant bring to or take away from their host country.

                  Generally speaking I would argue that immigrants should be viewed like employees and allowed in when its beneficial for both parties whether they are working or not. If there is a skill shortage deficit in any area then a country should be able to advertise for foreign staff and the ‘conditions’ of immigration (employment) should include the right to settle in the country after a probationary period. Additionally that should also include the right of citizenship if so wished by the immigrant.

                  The issue of Polish wives & children living in Poland and receiving benefits from the state (UK) just because the father is working there is unfair on other UK tax payers. The UK is mainly to blame here because of its generous welfare benefits but if outside the EU it wouldn’t be a problem. Being part of the EU makes our generous benefits system a honey pot for all economic migrants trying to get into the country. The migrant camps at Calais are a perfect example of this.

                  I’ve long argued that the UK needs to reduce its benefit culture for all whilst a EU member and then it wouldn’t be as attractive to others in the EU and certainly not from outside the EU. For example, Brits who move to countries like Spain get ZERO in benefits and have to fund everything themselves. The EU with its ill thought out ideology has created this imbalance between member states and its now come to a head over Syrian migrants.

                  There’s a discriminatory anomaly that the UK’s DWP exercises on pension credits for pensioners. If your pension is below a certain level (means tested), it will be topped up by the state but only if you live in the UK. If living in Spain for example, it will be denied you, but there again, those family tax credits (benefits) can be sent to wives and children living in another EU country if the father is working in the UK.

                  In the scale of current EU issues, this UK anomaly is minor and although annoying to many, it will not cause racism or the rise of fascism. Germany right now is already showing signs of this due to the massive influx of Muslims from North Africa & the ME as they’ll be getting generous welfare benefits whilst many Germans will be going without.

                  The root cause of the current disharmony across Europe is due to a bunch of social engineers playing “God” in Brussels and crafting their plans for the region without taking any consideration of the vastly different tax regimes, welfare regimes, benefit systems, legal systems and even culture.

                  Having lived in Spain for 10 years and now recently in the USA, I have first hand experience of the differences between these three countries. The UK & USA are very similar on tax, bureaucracy, welfare and immigration whilst Spain is not. Tax in Spain has always been draconian hence most Spaniards use the black economy and hide their assets from the state. State corruption through quasi legal schemes is rife at all levels of governance and nothing is transparent unlike the UK & USA. Try and find out if a property is legal in the USA, no problem, just get on line and you’ll know in 2 minutes. Try that in Spain and you´ll never know as its impossible to get a straight answer from the town hall. Even if you managed to get one, the Province could come along later and tell you its illegal and tear it down.

                  The reason I’ve ranted a bit about Spain is because the EU takes no account of the very different aspects of life that affect individuals across the EU as there are no EU wide laws that protect the individual and you’re left at the mercy of the country you live in. You might be better off as in the UK or Germany or worse off as in Spain or Portugal, its a lottery thanks to Brussels.

          • Leszek Strzelecki

            “We went to total war for the Poles and fought side-by-side till the end of WW2″.

            No, you did not, Count Dooku! UK and France declared war three days after the German invasion of Poland – something they were obliged to do based on an earlier agreement and to attempt to repel Hitler’s aggressivenes – and then what happened…? “Foney war”. That fierce war of dumping some leaflets lasted until Germany invaded France and the entire West had no other option short of surrender. You didn’t fight for Poland, you fought for your own independence. In self-defense.
            Sure, Hitler wanted to settle with England but Churchill saw better what it would be like if Hitler had a free hand in Europe.

          • Thomas Darkmann

            “We went to total war for the Poles and fought side-by-side till the end of WW2. We, more than any European country, supported the rebels during the Cold War.”

            Are You kidding, or just będzie in it?

          • LMB

            I’m sorry, but your post contains so much fabrication that, despite it concerning events long time ago, I feel the need to correct.

            * The biggest supporter of the Solidarity movement were the US and German unions.

            * UK did nothing to help Poland in WWI. Au contraire, your country refused, contrary to earlier military pacts, refused to send the fleet to the Baltic.

            * A little, but quite representative detail: during the war and for decates after it, UK claimed it was behind the cracking of the German Enigma machine, until the person who actually did it spoke up.

            * As for “taking” educated citizens, I am quite sure your country will never pay back what it cost to educate them.

            • Count Dooku

              1. You’ll not I said EUROPEAN. And let’s forget all that West German trade with the Soviet Union shall we…. Or the fact that Germany was the country that invaded them and killed their citizens just a few years previous.

              2. Who mentioned WW1?

              3. What has the cracking of Enigma got to do with British-Polish relations?

              4. The UK accepted a million citizens in a decade. Outside of war & famine, I cannot recall such a large number of people ever moving from one country to another in Western Europe.

              Work on your reading comprehension.

          • Magda Lena Niech

            You did not! You let Poland to slaughter! and never ever apologize for it, by saying thank you, you did excluded polish pilots in RAF from victory parade, never returned polish reserve money, never exapint what happened in Gibraltar, appropriated merits of breaking Enigma codes and named university with wrong surname of Maria Sklodowska-Curie. This is that great support you are speaking of?

            • Count Dooku

              So it was Britain that invaded Poland? It was Britain that sent Poles to concentration camps? Your memory is very very short. The Germans were the occupiers, the Italians were their allies. The French were invaded and the Spanish were on th the sidelines.

              These are your so called “allies” now and after half a century of occupation you are again subjugating yourselves to a foreign power under a German hegemon. Have you learnt nothing?

    • dado_trunking

      You misunderstand the Polish position entirely.

      This is not about ‘gratitude’, it never is and never should be – this is about the fact that after centuries of foreign rule by various foreign powers, the Poles are now in the position to stand up for their interests on an international stage. That is why they unequivocally backed the US early on, that is why they support the spirit of shared European responsibility and governance.
      You might find that difficult to understand – for the Poles this is an entirely rational argument.

      • cromwell

        “the Poles are now in the position to stand up for their interests on an international stage” No they are not, they have merely changed a Russian master for an American one, time will tell whose is the lighter yoke to bear.

        • Jambo25

          For an example of sheer, purblind idiocy; this comment is hard to beat.

        • Leszek Strzelecki

          American “Master” is on the other side of the pond (as English like to say), Russia is just next door. Besides, Poland has expirienced Russian rule before, what’s the American yoke like? Explain that.

        • Jack Clifton Walters


      • XH558

        Indeed. There is no gratitude in politics anywhere, ever. States have interests not emotions. Citizens may feel gratitude and other emotions with respect to each other’s nations and, in a given place and time, those may happen to coincide with the interests – but it is merely coincidence. My opinion is that we should ruthlessly pursue our interests outside the EU.

        • LMB

          ” There is no gratitude in politics anywhere, ever.”

          Prime example: Polish pilots having been excluded in the victory parade after WWII.

          It was not well received.

          • XH558

            I did not know. Without researching it, that sounds more like a shameful discourtesy than an an act in furtherance of some political objective of any significance, but of course I can be wrong and the borderline between the two is not necessarily clear cut.

            • Magda Lena Niech

              Better learn more about history of GB and PL and afterwards try to criticize if you still can.

              • XH558

                I didn’t criticise anybody. I expressed the opinion that analysing relations between nations in terms of “gratitude” and similar emotions is inappropriate. That applies to all of them. Further, if a state considers it to be in its interests to merge federally with some other(s) that is just fine by me. I simply oppose that kind of sovereign suicide at the moment and in the case of my own nation, which happens to be the one I care about.

          • Magda Lena Niech

            Finally!! Someone without amnesia!

        • Makroon

          I think you are missing the point, i.e. STFU Sikorski !

        • Jack Clifton Walters

          But there are emotional ties between people. Just as the Polish people were miserable under Stalin, they knew of many emigrants who were happy in the US and western Europe. Poland will not go socialist again.

          • XH558

            Indeed, and it would be better if the emotional ties prevailed over political reality, but it never has. I echo hope hope for the future of Poland.

    • cromwell

      Typical 2 faced foreigner.

    • Con Rad

      yeah right – have you managed out of your grammar school

    • Konrad Wallenrod

      “…we have warmly welcomed Poland into NATO, thereby committing
      ourselves to the defence of his country against any armed attack,
      even to the point of nuclear war…”

      thank you very much for kindly accepting us (!) in the NATO – but as
      far as I am concerned there are no “better” or “more important”
      countires in NATO. Also sInce when we Poles are to be subservant to you
      Brits in NATO? Aren’t we supposed to be partners ?????? I guess that by
      becoming a memeber we have commited ourselves to exactly the same thing
      !!!!!! Don’t worry we would defend you even if we weren’t a memeber just
      like our pilots did during WW2. They defended England and then you
      disgraced them and their families after the war – read about ” Dywizjon
      303″. I was hoping that you would at least mention them during last
      years Remembrance Day…

      Well unfotunately the world doesnt revolve around you guys anymore so learn how to live with this…

    • Dawid Wróbel

      “We are subsidising his country; we have dutifully accepted countless of his countrymen here, taking up jobs instead of our own people, and sending money back to Poland while we provide welfare for our unemployed; and we not only provide welfare for Poles here but even provide welfare for Polish children back in Poland;”

      “Stealing jobs”, This is such a b**t argument and it’s been proven to be ugly Cameron’s populism so many times that I am really surprised well-spoken (and thus presumably educated) like yourself keep repeating this. Here, read this: (2011) (2013)

      .. and then look at this:

      Notice how UK employment is steady until financial crash at the break of 2009, when unemployment rapidly increased in each country shown. Poland’s rate was on the other hand steadily reducing starting with 2002 until the same moment in the end of 2008. So by your logic, Polish people emigrated to UK/Ireland and in fact HELPED UK by NOT increasing it’s unemployment. Also note how in recent years rate is falling in UK bot not so much in Poland – again, by your logic they would rather move to UK instead of staying back in country?

      As for the unemployed Poles with UK benefits: (2009). The percentage of Poles on benefits is LOWER than of Brits and MUCH LOWER than Indians and Pakistanis, so if there’s anyone who’s abusing the system it’s definitely not Poles. But you won’t go ahead and poke your finger at Indians or Pakistanis, because they are too well rooted into the land now, aren’t they?

      And finally, why would you care what they do with your money? Why is this your business? Do you also complain about Indians sending money back to India, Spanish to Spain or Irish to Ireland?

      “we have warmly welcomed Poland into NATO, thereby committing ourselves to the defence of his country against any armed attack, even to the point of nuclear war.”

      You warmly welcomed Poland because it was in YOUR OWN interest for having three more countries on YOUR side permanently and thus reducing the chance for Warsaw Pact ever happening again. This was NOT your courtesy, as you put it. And it makes us responsible for invasion as much as it does you. You fail to recognise that polish army is getting stronger and stronger and Poland is one of the few countries (if not the only) in NATO/EU to actually increase their spending (in terms of % of GDP) in next years. This is a direct response to the same steps Russia undergoes with their army.

      And besides, to Poles, this “promise” as you put means almost nothing – and this is precisely what Sikorski referred to when he talked about us giving US a blow***b. We have learned our mistakes, every Pole is fought at young age about Western Betrayal (, out of which UK was the most disillusioning. Do I have to mention about Churchil giving up Poland to Stalin in Yalta for him to slowly consume us for 60 years while at the same time laughing in our faces? Heck, how about we talk about Brits showing a hint of gratitude for Polish contribution to Battle of Britain ( that almost NONE of Brits realise because are almost not taught at school? Want to talk about Enigma that each Brit will fight to death was descrambled by Brits, whereas it was merely only BUILT and all the thinking was done by Poles?

      “So was there any hint of gratitude?”


      Gratitude? For what?

      And don’t you forget that there are 38 million people still in Poland and that only a fraction have emigrated. That these people in Poland care about Poland. Why would they be grateful for those who emigrated?

      This is sheer populism, sir. You miss the basic numbers and lack the basic economy knowledge, but I hope I have helped you a bit here and your alike.

      Last, not least: in 20 years there will no longer be big economical differences between the countries and all this subsidising discussion will no longer take place. I hope that EU survives by this time stronger and that we will finally talk about EU in terms of what it initially was created for, which is engraved in Schumanns’ Treaty:

      And no one else than Poles could understand the roots of EU better.

      • Joanna

        Brilliant. Thanks so much for you post.

      • Piotr Miazek

        Thank you so much for writing all this. I rarely ever respond to comments such as those that Dennis Cooper posted simply because it takes a lot of time. The post, however, contained so much false information that I felt compelled to react somehow. It was nice to see that somebody had done that already.

      • Kris

        Wonder why you even bothered to bring some enlightenment into this uneducated muppet’s world?! F**k ’em.

      • irena mangone

        Don’t forget Tobruk. And operation market. Garden my father 98 years. N Both places with PolIsh army. Karpacka brygada. And. polish. Spadochroniarze

    • Sinceyouask

      As DeGaulle and others have said, “No nation has friends, only interests”. Sikorski is doing what he thinks best for his country., and doubtless reaping the reward from within for doing so. The UK would be better served by having politicians (hard to call them leaders) who had a clearer analysis of what is best for it. Describing other countries self interest as selfishness won’t progress the argument.

  • HookesLaw

    But you are not Polish – you are British. Its surely no surprise that people would want the best deal for their country – certainly their voters.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Yes, well let us not forget that it was Tories like Charles Moore who spun the yarn that it would be good to have the Poles and other eastern Europeans in the EU because they would be our “natural allies”, and that widening the EU would help prevent it deepening. Wrong on both counts then, so why should we believe any
    new yarn he is spinning now?

  • dado_trunking

    I am not Polish but it like swearing in order to get a point across.

    Others who do not do that end up enjoying a range of treatments from light spanking to rather severe forms of domination. Our society is riddled with this kind of fatuous and degenerate nonsense. It’s a mental illness, frankly.

  • Smithersjones2013

    The failings of the EU, and the growing power of Germany, are now
    giving rise to just the resentful nationalism which Europhiles
    understandably abhor.

    The thing is such an outcome was always inevitable. That is why self serving vanity projects like the EU are so dangerous…..

  • sarah_13

    Absoutely right. My mother left Spain in the late 50’s as a very young woman because of Franco’s fascist regime. She had heard of Britain and knew she could be free here. Her family was split between socialists and fascists, literally people were killing each other within families. I rarely go back to Spain, but when I do I see the intellectual contortions people go through to blame everyone but the EU for the present problems. We forget Spain is a very recent democracy. Of course they want to remain in the EU, its understandable, the alternatives for them are awful and recent. But just because they have never known democracy, and even the illusion of it is better for them than a fascist regime, doesn’t mean we should forfeit our real democracy.

    • Ed B

      Quite so – and it isn’t just Spain. Greece, Germany, Italy, Portugal, all of the former Soviet Bloc countries, even France… all of these countries have seen unpleasant and undemocratic regimes in living memory, and I completely get why they see the EU as guaranteeing a better future.

      • William Haworth

        Quite right; but I fail to see how we should pay £50Million a day to make them feel better about themselves.

        • Ed B

          Oh, I agree 100%. I’m a committed BOO’er. It is just that I think that there is a big difference between being a Eurosceptic and a Europhobe.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Agreed. But that swine Sikorski is certainly an Anglophobe and we have to pay for the privilege.

        • sarah_13

          I agree, we should not have to be a part of it if it undermines our sovereignty. My point was that it is entirely understandable why the countries with terrible recent histories should cling to any vestige of democracy, but their reasons are not ours.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          And take their filthy abuse for the privilege.

          • Kitty MLB

            Indeed, they move here to escape there wretched lives,
            and are hardly appreciative. And that is after we supported them in their own countries, without even being asked.

      • DWWolds

        Perhaps the words … “why they see the EU”…. That is, however, a completely different matter as to whether the EU is actually doing that.

    • HookesLaw

      Spain has a democracy – it may hve been badly served by its poiliticians – its people may have been fools – and be in an economic mess, but it is a democracy. It was free to do what it wanted and its mess is of its own making.

      • sarah_13

        Yes Spain is called a democracy. A democracy whose system of elections involves list systems which are in my view extremely undemocratic as one simply does not know who one is voting for. This no doubt is preferable to what went before however. My point is we in the uk have had hundreds of years of uninterrupted democracy and rule of law and thus we will have a different tolerance for undemocratic practices within our country. We have a different history and different requirements. We have no reason to forfeit our democracy in order to settle for a lesser democracy. This may be right for many other countries but is not right for the uk and the likes of the scandinavian countries.

  • MaxSceptic

    “….and the growing power of Germany”.

    Is Mr Moore suggesting that the sainted Nicholas Ridley was right?

    • HookesLaw

      What is wrong with is if we are not as good and efficient as the Germans? One thing is sure – we won’t be if we return a Labour government.

      • global city

        Your dogged and utter tribal political loyalty makes most of your comments a waste of time.

        Take a step back from the ubertory nonsense for a bit.

    • Flintshire Ian

      He was and so was the Blessed Margaret.

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