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Tagged: / Posted: 6 September 2008

Following a stream of Daily Mail stories which were widely regarded as being racist and dishonest in their treatment of Poles in the UK, the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza in May 2008 published its own account of the Mail's behaviour. The Gazeta is a serious paper with one of the largest circulations in Poland and with its roots in the democracy movement which challenged the old pro-Soviet state. A reader of Flat Earth News, Mat Carmody, who speaks Polish, arranged for it to be translated for this website. Here's the text:

 The Polish Borat and a Dozen Tales From London

The tabloids portray the Poles thus: they sleep in toilets, have sex with vacuum cleaners, eat swans in the park, and fish for the carp that have been the privilege of British fisherman for many a generation. And then they get someone smashing them over the head with a table-top.

Tomek Somokowski* was 26 years old and cut a sporty figure. He used deodorant and put gel in his hair. He knew how to give a woman a languorous look. He had a cool T-shirt with the slogan “Crazy Love”. He could have been appealing, but the girls of Weymouth were turning him down on account of the dreadful way he set about trying to be so.

She was a typical English girl. A pretty little blonde thing, standing beside him at the zebra-crossing waiting for the lights. He patted her on the behind. She looked at him as if he were a lunatic. She said something but Tomek didn’t understand. He’d only been in the “Yoo-Kay” for eighteen months. He had a good job in the factory. Eight pounds an hour – enough to keep him in beer or to buy a girl a coffee or perhaps an iced-tea. A younger girl. Some of the teenagers looked amazing, especially the darker-skinned ones. Make-up, rings in their ears, dragons tattooed on their backsides with their tails running up to their backs, just so a bit of them is visible. This one was – as it turned out – 15 years old. He nudged her gently on the street. When she leant against the wall, he ran his hands over her breasts and started to talk. He can’t quite remember what he said on account of being aroused. He should have stayed quiet. She guessed immediately that he was a Pole. She scarpered, ran back to Mum and Mum ran to the police. And so they started looking for him over the whole of the south of England. Only he didn’t yet know about this. He continued going to work, continued spending his afternoons trying to meet people. The next one was his age. She was walking in the opposite direction to him across the cross-roads. He moved up with smile, blocked her way a bit, put one hand on her breast and the other on her. Just so that she would know he wasn’t begging for money but had amicable intentions. The young woman rather froze, so he took her by the arm. And she ran off to the police. She helped them come up with a picture and they showed it on TV.

Tomek didn’t watch English TV, so even then nothing changed. He managed to fondle the rear of a temptingly-dressed eighteen-year old and to get his hand up the sweater of someone rather a little older. And it was that 45-year old woman who let out an almighty scream on the cross-roads and then…well, you can guess the rest. A crowd, a policeman and an arrest. Ten charges were laid against him, as that was how many accusations had been made. But this would have been a minor story that the tabloids would never had picked up had it not been for the translator, a Russian by descent, who wanted to help him.

1. Do they grope women in Poland?

Svetlana Purkis’s statement to the court in Dorchester, a half-hour’s drive from Weymouth in the county of Dorset read:

“As a translator, I would like to add, and, if necessary, officially testify, that Eastern European societies are much more flirtatious than British society. Flirtation is based upon reciprocal admiration and manifestations of one’s admiration for the opposite sex do not mean there is a lack of respect. One would usually get away with the sort of behaviour committed by the accused, even if the woman didn’t like it.”

When Jonathan Kingdon, prosecuting, read what was taken down at the police station, he could not believe it. We still do not know whether it was him or someone from the investigating team who let the Daily Mail know about it. Nor do we know who coined the moniker “Polish Borat”, because the article under this heading was not signed. This is typical practice in the tabloids: an aggressive article that one could bring a lawsuit against signed by a “Daily Mail Reporter”.

One thing one can admit is that after what the translator said, the association with that most famous Kazakhstani would have happened by itself. For those who have not been to the cinema, journalist Borat Sagdijew from TV Kazakhstan is a fictional character created for a film by the London comic Sacha Cohen. Borat – a politically incorrect sexist and xenophobe – travels to the States and at every turn manages to break conventions in a way that shows himself up but also the ossified customs and manners of the West. Borat does what others can only dream of: he pinches women, makes fun of invalids and death, calls for a bloody war against the Arabs, and so on.

The two photos of S_omkowski and Borat took up a whole page of the Daily Mail. In the text, you could read how Tomek, accused of molesting women, didn’t understand what was so bad with pinching women on the street. His neighbour in Weymouth told the paper: “He’s found it difficult even to begin to grasp what ‘cultural differences’ are. The anonymous author of the article scrupulously listed Tomek’s sins, noting which of the women had been grabbed by the left buttock and which by the right breast.

After featuring in the Daily Mail, several other tabloids and freesheets repeated the story around the whole of the country. “Polish Borat” also made it to the top stories on the radio and television, to say nothing of internet news-sites. It came in two waves: first, after the “discovery” by the Daily Mail and second, after the verdict from the court. The sentence was harsh: a choice between nine months in prison and then deportation or being placed under formal supervision by someone specialising in delinquents. S_omkowski chose the latter.

2. Poles cook swans.

“As a result of this story, our female readers were asked, in all seriousness, at work, whether it is true that Polish men can fondle strange women without sanction.” Kasia Kopacz, the young, dark-haired editor-in-chief of “Goniec Polski” (The Polish Courier) welcomes us to a small newsroom on one floor of a narrow building just by Ealing Broadway station. From all the outraged emails that come to her concerning the Daily Mail, the one that sticks most in Kasia’s mind came from a Polish woman working for the Foreign Office. She wrote in detail how ashamed she was of S_omkowski and how she was even more offended by the “business of the swans” that appeared shortly after.

This time, a Daily Mail reporter had based his story on the account of an English fisherman. The man, relaxing by the waters of the River Lee in an expansive park East London, told the paper about the remains of the royal birds he’d found not far from an unofficial camp-site set up by Eastern European immigrants..

“One was still living, although it had a broken wing”, said the upset fisherman. “Nearby were loads of chewed bones and bits unsuitable for eating: feet, beaks, guts, and so on. The whole camp-site was full of feathers. It was horrible! I saw blood in places, where they’d cut up the meat before cooking it.”

In Great Britain, swans have been under protection for a century. Not surprisingly, the reporter personally took it upon himself to get out there. He found several tents by the river, but he didn’t manage to speak to those living there, as none of them spoke English. The journalist noted however: “In front of one tent were cooking implements and a cookbook.” Title of the article: “Polish immigrants eat our swans!”

We wanted to ask the Daily Mail how their employee managed to identify a Polish cookbook and ask why it didn’t seem strange that the homeless might not make use of such implements to prepare a meal, but the elegant secretary in the main site of Associated Newspapers Limited – refused us entry to the newsroom. Neither our press-passes nor our polite smiles had the slightest effect on her.

“There are millions of people living in this city and millions of things happening”, we heard. “If everyone wanted to pop in off the street because they had something to say to a journalist, we’d never get any work done.”

“In our country, readers have the right to see journalists…”, we protested, feeling rather like two Borats.

“London isn’t Poland”. With that, she cut short our conversation and an ageing security guard led us out with a smile onto a rain-soaked Derry Street.

Someone else would have to explain the puzzle of the swans. Jan Mokrzycki, president of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, took up the story. “Swans are a delicacy in Romania. Romanian gypsies have been eating them for decades, and it is they who are often found camping in suburban parks. Romanian – Pole – it’s all the same to a Daily Mail journalist. The tabloids often use the description “Pole” for anyone from the new eight member countries of the EU.

Mokrzycki, an energetic septuagenarian, holds a British passport. His father died in Pawiak and his mother came through Auschwitz and made it to England as a doctor with the 1st Tank Division of General Maczek returning from Germany. Born in Britain, he has for the last six years been in charge of the Federation, which unites around sixty Polish organisations. We sit smoking on the balcony of the Dom Polski club in Hammersmith, where he spends his days. Behind the window are concrete buildings and the tracks on which the tube trains run. Sasha Baron Cohen was born not far from here. Mokrzycki hasn’t seen Borat, but he’s read the piece about S_omkowski. He recalls another tale, also about a lecherous Pole. And a hoover. It featured in “The Sun”, the biggest British tabloid.

3. The Pole who groaned louder than a hoover.

Henry Hoover is popular make of vacuum cleaner in England. It looks like a little person on wheels or like the little barrel-shaped robot R2-D2 from “Star Wars”. On top of the cylinder is a dome on the front of which is a wide banana-ish smile and two large, happy eyes and, instead of a nose, the suction pipe.

“A Polish builder working on the refurbishment of a London children’s hospital lost his job after being discovered masturbating with the aid of a vacuum cleaner. The man was discovered by a hospital security guard, because he was groaning louder than the hoover.” (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article868092.ece) According to the guard, the man, caught in the throes of passion, had only his pants on, and they’d been partially pulled down. He had the hoover switched on between his legs and was holding the suction tube over his crotch.

The Sun informed its readers that the guard ordered the embarrassed builder to get his clothes back on and to clean the hoover. Inside and out. Then he kicked him out. He also told the manager of the hospital, who immediately summoned the Pole, who explained that cleaning one’s underwear with the help of a hoover was common practice where he came from. The manager didn’t believe this. He informed HG Construction – the parent company employing the builder – who fired him in double-quick time.

The firm didn’t give out the details of the employee concerned – to the regret of “The Sun”. They ended the story with the admission by the well-known comic Russell Brand that he had had “a session with a hoover”, albeit at the age of 14.

We took a look at the readers’ comments on the web-edition of the story. Amongst the posts, we found descriptions such as “rats”, “bums”, “pukes” [sic], “tanks” [sic] and others that are hard to translate, but roughly in the semantic field between filth, dossers, and dimwits.

[note from translator: there are no such comments on the story. I had a look to see what the untranslatable terms were. However, this does not rule out the possibility that those comments have been deleted.]

4. The Poles are taking our £50 notes.

“The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express… they all have similar political views on the subject of immigration.” Mr. Mokrzycki invites us in from the balcony to his office. On the wall hangs a picture of the Pope wrapped in a pall. His desk is covered with papers. “On the surface, they are criticising the Labour party for letting in too many people who then take all the jobs, but in reality, they are baiting their readers against foreigners and in the nastiest, Nazi-like way. Did you know that, before the Second World War, the Daily Mail defended England against the influx of Jews attempting to escape the Third Reich? Because they didn’t assimilate, they didn’t integrate, because they have these weird customs…today, it’s the Poles they’re accusing.”

“What’s their concern?”

“Stopping immigration. And, longer term, getting Britain out of the EU. Those are the clearly-articulated expectations of the Conservatives and the extreme right. And it’s not just Poles they’re attacking. Muslims are constantly portrayed as terrorists….In the Daily Mail, you never read that 99 of Arabs are a peaceful, God-loving people. You just read that they have too many children, that the women can’t speak English even after thirty years here….”

“And the Poles?”

“We’re taking the money of Britain. Thanks to us £50 notes are disappearing out of circulation. You have to understand that this is the sort of rubbish the Daily Mail writes. And the readers believe it – even, it would seem, serious British friends of mine. Because, unlike the Sun, the Daily Mail is not a rag. They don’t write about flying saucers. Their target audience is made up of housewives and – as we would say in Poland – averagely educated people – and they are faithful to the paper. I mean, they’re not going to print downright lies. A Polish man molests a woman? Yes, he molested her. Immigrants eat swans? Yes, they do. It’s manipulation on that level...So, there were until recently 10 crimes committed each year by Poles in some part of the country. And a year later, there were 27 because of the arrival of immigrants. And the headline: “Polish crime grows by 270%!” Another example: as the wave of emigration increased, this yielded “The Poles flood England”. As it began to fall: “The Poles desert England!” It’s never good news! And they could have simply written: they came, they left…But then that’s not sensational…Sensational is when Poles eat carp!"

5. Poles! Keep off our fish!

It was The Evening Standard that wrote about the fish-guzzling Poles. (The Evening Standard is paper that comes out in the afternoon and owned by the same corporation as the Mail.) Headline: “Warning Signs to Stop Poles Fishing in Our Rivers For Their Christmas Dinner”.

It has been the custom in Britain for several decades now amongst fisherman, that fish are to be fished, photographed and released back into the water. He who has a harder heart (and a fishing licence) might exceptionally take one home; but then, most likely in order to show off before his friends than to eat it. The consumption of carp and pike caught by one’s own hand is not illegal but rather just not done. Besides, many stretches of water are owned privately.

Before last Christmas, signs were put up by several rivers, canals and lakes. They were modelled on the no-turning road signs: a speared carp in a red circle crossed by a red bar. A second sign crossed out a man running away with a carp under his arm. A third barred a carp cooking on a hot-plate. The Standard wrote: “To any peckish Poles or ravenous Romanians, the message could not be clearer: Keep off our fish!”


The paper explained to its readers that carp and pike are traditional Christmas delicacies in Poland. Poles need a lot of then, for they are not just cooking for themselves – they prepare an extra portion and “a place is left free at the table, apparently in case Jesus turns up.” A feverish hunt for fish starts up a few weeks before Christmas – and now it is threatening to happen in the U.K. What’s worse – as an environmental protection officer told the reporter – alongside the individual fisherman, whole gangs are appearing who carry out organised fishing trips with the aim of selling the fish on. Horror of horrors!

6. Poles – The perfect political targets.

”Associated Newspaper Limited aim to stir up their readers’ fears,” explains Peter Wilby, a lecturer working in the Media Studies department of Birmingham University. “They aim to arouse the sentiment that the material being and status of the English is under threat. This is why they have to be informed as a matter of urgency about the causes of the threat. And it is the Daily Mail or the Standard that will point them out and, thanks to that, they sell splendidly and draw in the advertisers. The tabloids are fighting for the favour of ‘Middle England’ – a class of people who are afraid of the destruction of indigenous culture by outside forces, regardless of whether they be religious fanatics, EU bureaucrats, gypsies, drug addicts or immigrants.”

“For these people, Poles are a perfect target for several basic reasons”, says Wiktor Moszczyski, representative of the so-called Old Emigration (and press officer for the Federation of Poles in Great Britain), who met us in the Polish Cultural Centre POSK in Hammersmith. First, there’s enough of us to frighten the average Englishman with the idea of a ‘flood’. We’re not black, so they can insult us without the suspicion of racism. We’re also sufficiently foreign: I reckon that a Mail-reader would have trouble finding Warsaw on a map. But at the same time, everyone here has heard of Poland. You can’t say that about Latvia or Estonia. There’d be no profit in witch-hunting the Latvians.

Wiktor Moszczyski, by day manager of a firm that imports honey, is active in POSK in the afternoons and evenings. He and Mr. Mokrzycki have prepared a complaint against the Daily Mail which the Federation of Poles have sent to the Press Complaints Commission (the equivalent of the Polish Committee on Ethics in the Media). They have accused the paper of breaking the Editor’s Code of Practice, which forbids offensive descriptions of race, physical disability or creed. Accompanying the complaints are copies of slanderous articles and comments on them on the Daily Mail’s web pages. Over two years, they have collected 3.5 kilograms of paper.

The PCC’s reply came several days ago: the complaint has been given a number and will be considered. But they are not deluding themselves that something substantial will come of this.

“The Mail won’t shut down, that’s for certain. But just the realisation itself, that the Polish people will not simply let themselves be offended has some value, right?” Moszczyski sits low in his chair. He is visibly tired. He has just left a ninety-minute meeting with Polish journalists and the mayoral candidate Brian Paddick. All three candidates – Paddick, Boris Johnson and the current incumbent Ken Livingstone – are urgently trying to curry favour with Poles, because it turns out that 90,000 of them have already registered to vote. And the vote is soon: 1st of May.

Ken Livingstone officially supports the complaint lodged against the Daily Mail by the Federation of Poles. Paddick has also promised that he won’t be inactive.

“The anti-Polish claims of the tabloids are complete nonsense and are just another attempt to blame immigrants for the problems found in the cities and the country at large”, he asserted a half-hour ago, to the applause of the thirty people in the assembly hall in POSK. “The problems have been caused by those currently in government, and not by immigrants! The Mail has attacked in its time Jews, Muslims and the Irish and now the Poles! And I’m not going to put up with it!

7. Poles creep into toilets at night and don’t want to come out.

The story that really caused the bitterness towards the Daily Mail to brim over was the one entitled “The superloo where Polish migrants are fighting to spend the night for 20p”

“In Hackney, on one of the main streets, the council opened a shiny new toilet for disabled users”, relates Moszczyski with a sour smile. Its selling-point, from an inhabitant’s point of view, was it its size. And, yes, several Polish vagrants did indeed settle in. They had mattresses and sleeping bags and they weren’t going to get thrown out. So what’s new? New York is full of homeless people, right? But the story itself wasn’t as offensive as the commentary. The writer added that it was of course well known that Poles could earn five pounds an hour. They have low personal expenses, since they sleep for 20p a night.

“And it’s just here that we get to something more serious than the conduct of a few driftless drunks”, says Moszczyski. Pay, the job market and benefits are favourite areas of attack for the Sun and the Mail. Attacks and anti-Polish propaganda. Here’s a simple example: an article appeared under the headline “Immigrants earn more than the average Brit” Beside it, a photograph of people working in a field. With, of course, a line saying that these were Poles. And it’s only at the bottom of the article itself that we read that in fact those immigrants who are earning above the British average are specialists from the USA and Australia! But for the majority of readers, the headline and photo will be enough. You’re from the press – you know how it works.”

“We know.”

8. Poles wait outside the embassy to get visas to stay here.

Another example of tabloid manipulation: there’s a photograph of people, many with young children, standing in a long queue leading to the Polish embassy. Text: “They’re all waiting for a visa so that they can stay in Great Britain”. In fact, they’re people wanting to register themselves so that they can vote in the parliamentary elections in Poland.

“It shows what kind of reader the Mail and the Sun are addressing themselves to”, says Mokrzycki. They’re using us to frighten people who don’t know that we don’t need visas. They’ll use what comes their way, regardless of its connection with reality, just so long as it frightens. Once we’re allegedly earning too much, then we’re happy with low wages, which destroys the job market. For the Mail, the kind of Pole they like is one that doesn’t come here. Yet we contribute close to six billion pounds to the British Economy each year! The head of the British Employers’ Corporation recently put it bluntly: businesses prefer Poles, not because they are cheaper but because they are better. They’ve got a better work ethic. In a recent survey of 500 heads of companies, 61% said that we were their most valued employees!

Another tabloid – this time, the freesheet Metro – commented on this result with a cartoon: an Englishman goes to the job centre with and complains, “I can’t find work” “And have you tried talking with a Polish accent?” asks the officer.

9. Poles come to the UK to break the highway laws.

Some more headlines from the Daily Mail: “Polish baby boom: thousands of Polish children are born in the U.K. each week”, “They’ll never go home…300,000 immigrants plant to stay for good in the U.K.”, “Immigrants send home millions of pounds every month in the form of family benefits.”, “British people can’t find jobs because they can’t speak Polish”, “Poles take out a BILLION pounds from the British economy.”

“How are we taking money out of the economy”? Kasia Kopacz from Goniec Polski raises an eyebrow. I go to a British dentist, I buy my food and clothes here, I rent a flat, and I even keep my savings in a British bank. And above all, I pay here all the normal taxes that everyone working legally pays. Meanwhile, the Mail comes up with some sort of pie-in-the-sky calculation. Everyone seems to calculate something different!

Indeed: in response to the tabloid accusations, a Polish accountancy firm in London published on the internet that Great Britain has saved 300 billion pounds through attracting expert workers from Poland. That’s how much it would cost to feed and teach around half a million builders, nurses, plumbers, waiters, and so on.

“We’ve tried to interest the Mail in these arguments, so that they see the other side of the coin, but they’re impermeable.” Wiktor Moszczyski sighs heavily and sinks into his armchair. “You could be forgiven for thinking that they’ve gone to war with us. I was recently contacted by someone who was offered £100 for any documented stories about Eastern Europeans who’ve stolen from their employers or quit work without notice.”

This is not an isolated incident. Last year, a blogger writing under the name “beetrot” described in detail how a female journalist from the Daily Mail tried to buy for £800 evidence that could support the thesis that Polish are coming here en masse in their cars bearing Polish plates so that they could break our road laws with impunity. In England, the police do not stand by the side of the road with a radar gun and a pad of speeding tickets. In London, a camera catches the speeders, a computer prints out a speeding ticket and it gets sent to the car owner’s home. Polish registration plates confuse the computers.

The article didn’t however appear. The reporter forgot that Polish cars have the steering wheel on the other side and hence it would be difficult – certain enterprising individuals excepted – for them to cruise round the U.K. in great numbers.

10. The Poles as the Vikings of the new millennium.

After the complaints from her female readers, Kasia Kopacz decided to ask the Daily Mail officially, why they were doing what they were doing. Goniec Polski requested a comment. Their unsigned reply from the editor read: “We’ll contact you when we have time.”

That time came only when Dorota Bawo_ek, a co-worker on the Goniec Polski phoned the paper. Being also an employee of the BBC, Executive Manager Editor Robin Esser didn’t take the liberty of disregarding her but gave the following reply:

“Our paper is in no way anti-Polish! We do not come out against any ethnic minority. We only reserve the right to criticise inappropriate asylum claims, benefit fraud and tax-dodging. The Daily Mail is entitled to write about immigration and in the last few years it has taken on a dimension unmatched since the Norman invasion in the 11th century. And 66% of those who have come here are Poles.”

“And so the cat is out of the bag”, smiles Kasia as she photocopies Esser’s reply for us. “’We’ve got nothing against Poles, but you are the biggest invading force in a thousand years…And you’ve got to defend yourself against invaders’. Unfortunately, the jokes end here and blood starts to flow.”

11. The Poles as the new whipping boys.

Cases just from the spring of last year.

7/3/2007: A taxi driver recognised as Polish was insulted and gravely beaten by several locals.

11/3/2007. Wrexham. Anti-Polish graffiti appears on a railway viaduct.

11/4/2007. Reading. A British driver and Polish pedestrian argue on the pavement. The British man calls him a “fucking Pole” and then drives his car over him.

22/04/2007 Cheltenham. A Croatian woman is beaten up by English hooligans who – they confess to the police – they took for a Pole.

23/04/2007. Magda, pregnant, is called a “Polish cow” then beaten and has a Doberman set on her in a park in Glasow. The woman and her sister are attached by two young thugs armed with cans of beer and dogs. They launched themselves on the women when they heard her speaking in Polish, beating her with their fists and kicking her. They were chased away by Artur Boruc, the goalkeeper for Celtic, who ran to them after hearing them crying and screaming.

20/05/2007. A pub in Leyton. Some English men smash a table-top over the head of a Polish man who only escapes death by a miracle.

The Federation of Poles has drawn up a list of 50 similar incidents over recent months. They include only attacks with a clear racist motive. Police data from Northern Ireland – the area of Britain worst in this respect – shows that in 2007 around 200 Poles were attacked and injured just because they came from Poland.

“They’re called ‘hate crimes’ here”, explains Kasia. “No-one has proven a direct connection between the what the tabloids write and the attacks, but I have no doubt that it is one of the causes. Guardian readers don’t beat up Poles. It’s the Sun readers that hassle them.

Mokrzycki shares this view. “Educated England accepts immigrants positively. I think indeed even better than we would treat them, were a million people to appear in Poland from somewhere else. The problem is with poorly-educated groups of people from small towns, who are impressionable and manipulable. If one consistently keeps pushing the views that Poles are a dirty, delinquent people who eat birds and sleep in toilets…well, you know, that’s going to have an effect. You must remember that in the crisis-times of the mid 70’s, the sport of Paki-bashing grew up in provincial towns. And what’s going to happen when the economic situation goes bad again, God forbid? When unemployment jumps. The guilty have already been named and dressed up for a beating. This is why we’ve decided to be wise before the event and lodge another, more serious complaint with the Human Rights Commission. This is not just some ethics committee. They’ve got real bite.

12. The Pole as heroic pilot.

The Human Rights Commission is a government body. If they decided that English journalists were violating the human rights of Polish people, that is violating “race relations”, those responsible for the hate campaigns of the tabloids could end up in court. Perhaps this is why in the last few weeks the Daily Mail has unexpectedly performed a volte-face. Since the beginning of March, there have been no anti-Polish articles and in the middle of the month – when it so happened that they were writing about new laws making it simpler for immigrants to work in the armed forces – the paper included a photograph of a proud, beaming Polish pilot, a hero from the Battle of Britain.

“Polish fighter pilots, fighting against the Luftwaffe, achieved the most impressive results of all the British squadrons. Comprising just 5% of the allied air forces, they accounted for 12% of the German planes shot down”, we read beneath the photograph.

“Perhaps this heralds a new politics for the paper”. As he gets out of his armchair, Wiktor Moszczyski doesn’t hide his tiredness. It is ten in the evening and next door there’s a cameraman from TVP (Telewizja Polska) waiting for him as they are filming some material on Polish aspects of the mayoral election. “Let the men from the Mail keep trying, because we’re not going to go away. We’re not going to be kicked around. We work hard here. If by some miracle all the Poles disappeared one day, England would come to a halt. We deserve some respect.”

* The name of the “Polish Borat” has been changed so as not to embarrass him further.

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