Węgrzyn is, at best, a third-rank MP, so one needs not ascribe too great a weight to his calamities. It is much more discomforting, however, that the foreign minister Radosław Sikorski came to his rescue. "Journalists complain that politicians are boring and speak only in slogans, but when someone makes a dubious joke they crucify him," he said on radio. And he added a joke of his own, saying that Węgrzyn "should get a rap across the knuckles and be made to do 30 push ups." Some may find Sikorski's sense of humour no less embarassing than the Węgrzyn's. The implied acceptance of corporal punishment is hardly enjoyable, as is the way the minister reframed the debate. Instead of taking the issues of sexism, homophobia and verbal aggression as seriously as they deserve, he seems to focus attention on the possible inconvenience into which the MP's words may have put the governing party.
The political correctness is still shallow, and the aacceptance of homophobic language within the political class seems to be widespread. But in what extent does this reflect the popular mood? When we look at the developments in public opinion during the recent decade, we can see that anti-gay opinions remain widespread, but the overall trend is progressive.
|Trends in anti-gay attitudes in Poland, 2001-2010 (CBOS, June 2010)|
|The opinion is divided on civil unions. (CBOS, June 2010)|
The attitudes of the Polish population towards LGBT rights are on average more conservative than in the West of Europe, and in some respects more conservative than in other Central European countries, like the Czech Republic or Hungary. But the Polish society is neither as conservative or as homophobic as our political class. One may expect that a moderate LGBT rights agenda should attract as many voters as it might repel. Oddly enough, the society has already moved on. It is the elite that seems set to stay behind.