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Mr. Walesa: Between surprise and sellout

Lech Walesa
„Oh, who cares what I have been telling you yesterday“ (photo: David Norfolk, Flickr)

In Poland, there is a saying about Solidarity icon Lech Walesa: “I am for it, I am even against it!“ is a quote by Mr. Walesa that characterizes the former Union leader. Ahead of the European Elections, he has managed to confuse us, once again.

In the last couple of weeks, he made some appearances for the Euro-sceptic Libertas-party of Irish millionaire Declan Ganley. This is surprising, not the least because Libertas has became a haven for the right wing activists Mr. Walesa has fought against for years. At the conventions themselves, Mr. Walesa surprised the audience as he said he backed the Lisbon treaty at a convention in Madrid. He is also said to tell Libertas party members in Ireland to approve the treaty at a referendum due to be held later next year when he speaks to them at a party convention in Dublin.

Mr. Walesa’s motives are as simple as sad: He is in need of money and reportedly was paid 100,000 US-Dollars for his two convention speeches in Madrid and Rome. He may damage his reputation as critics argue, but at least he stays true to his views this time. The question is whether out of steadfastness or because he knows the political mainstream has the bigger checks in the long run.

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