Sunday 5 March 2023

Why will Poland be richer than Britain?


In 1914 Britain was indisputably one of the Great Powers including France, Germany Russia Germany and the USA. Not only were we powerful we were one of the richest countries in the world. At that time Poland did not exist. It was divided between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. Now we are told Poland may in a few years be richer than Britain. How could this have come to be?

Poland came back to existence due to the First World War and in particular the collapse of the German, Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires. But it still had a tough fight on its hands particularly against the Soviet Union. It required The Miracle on the Vistula in 1920 where at the Battle of Warsaw the Poles turned back the Red Army and then was able to extend the borders of Poland into modern day Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine.

Polish president Andrzej Duda meets Rishi Sunak

Less than two decades later Poland was partitioned again. 1939 saw it attacked by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The result of the Soviet Union’s attack still stands today. Poland forever lost Wilna [Vilnius], Lwów [Lviv] and other places where Poles had lived for centuries. It also lost approximately 17% of its population. About the same number of Catholic Poles as Jewish Poles were murdered by both the Germans and the Soviet Union. Only present-day Belarus, 25% lost a greater percentage of its citizens in the whole world.

Poles fought heroically for the allies. Polish fighter pilots may have been the difference between victory and defeat during the Battle of Britain and Polish troops made significant contributions to the allied war effort. But during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 the Soviet Union chose to watch rather than help and the Western Allies could do little more than drop supplies. The result was the near complete destruction of Warsaw by the Germans as punishment.

Poland remained occupied by the Soviet Union until 1989. If you watch films from this period, you will see people using clunky old telephones, wearing scruffy clothes and driving ugly little cars. How in the space of 40 years could Poland surpass Britain?

We have an idea that Britain suffered hugely during the Second World War, but the truth is that we only lost 0.94% of our pre-war population, which was less than Belgium and only a little more than New Zealand.

But contrast the post war experience of Poland with the UK. In the UK we were told that because of the losses during the War we needed to import people from overseas to do the jobs that the dead couldn’t do. In Poland despite moving its borders westward, despite massive destruction, loss of industry and loss of people, almost no one was imported.

If you walk around Warsaw today, you see a population that is almost 100% ethnically Polish. Since the Russian attack on Ukraine a large number of Ukrainians have arrived, some may stay, but they quickly learn Polish and become for the most part indistinguishable from everyone else.

If Poland could manage without mass immigration after World War II, why couldn’t we? In 1950 there were around 20,000 people living in the UK who were from ethnic minorities. 99.9% of the population in 1950 descended from people who had lived here since at least the Middle Ages.

We were told by successive governments that we needed immigration, partly for economic reasons. The result is that the population of the UK has increased from around 47 million in 1939 to 67 million now. Much of the increase has been due to immigration. The percentage of people from ethnic minorities has increased from 0.1 % to approximately 18%.

The London that was bombed in the Blitz was 99.9% white, but in the course of a lifetime 40% of its population have become people who were born abroad. The blitzed would not recognise their fellow Londoners and would be astonished at who was their mayor.

I don’t want to be nasty to people whose families have moved to Britain. They are British citizens, most frequently born here. We cannot have a distinction between Native Britons (like Native Americans) who can trace their ancestry back to 1066 and non-Native Britons who cannot. We are all equal. We are all Brits. There are also both positives and negatives about free movement of people around the world and it is probably unstoppable anyway.

But look what successive governments have done and compare it with Poland. If Poland is to surpass Britain (and why shouldn’t it if Poles work harder?) it will have done so without mass immigration and without the difficulties that go with it.

Poland does not have a problem with racism, because there is no one to be racist against. You cannot discriminate against someone because he is a different colour or comes from a different country because hardly anyone does.

We on the other hand saw our population grow by 20 million. We imported vast numbers of people from other races and religions. We did so because we were told it was necessary and for the good of the economy, but in 7 years perhaps Poland that did none of these things may surpass us by GDP per capita.

Britain may have some advantages in having a multi-cultural society. We may have more diverse restaurants and we also have gained some very talented people. But it hasn’t made us richer.

The Second World War created present day Polish society which is more uniform and united than Pre-War Poland, which had far greater numbers of minorities. But the result given the chance since 1989 to adopt free market capitalist policies is to create a society that is more successful than Britain.

Poland knows what socialism is and doesn’t therefore want to try it again. It is also absolutely clear about what a Pole is and has no one at all who wants his part of Poland to separate from the rest, nor would it allow its neighbouring countries to claim parts of Poland that used to be theirs.

Some Poles particularly on the Left would like Poland to be more multi-cultural and diverse, more like the Western European countries they used to live in and admire. I would advise these people to be careful what you wish for. It won’t make you rich. Despite what everyone in Western Europe has been told about the benefits of multi-culturalism and mass immigration it may prove to be a disadvantage and a cause of decline.

Be grateful you speak a language made up of consonant clusters that sounds like someone lisping and which almost no one in the rest of the world can pronounce let alone speak. But if you are British begin learning Polish. It’s not as hard as it looks, and it may prove useful.