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The man who wasn’t there

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The Czechs have seriously damaged the European Union when they threw it into doubt and fear of accession of the main Eurosceptic Václav Klaus in the middle of the economic crisis. Let’s try to cold-bloodedly investigate what it is that the Czechs really want and what values is their society based on. The question of what an average Czech wants and believes in is even more urgent in the light of the fact that the Czech government might be led by a man called “Dear Average” and the “Broadest denominator” by Hospodářské noviny.

The way the Czechs vote in the elections show that they do not wish to go back before the 1989. They want to be part of the West, which, however, they do not see as a community based on freedom and individual responsibility, difference and human rights. They usually understand it on a utilitarian basis, according to the benefits it brings them. They perceive the West as a space, in which one can freely travel, enjoy a good standard of life, shop in stores overflowing with goods and, in the meantime, preserve as many social securities as possible. A New York 5th Avenue moved to Sweden.

Everything outside this simple view is rejected by the Czechs. Sometimes that is a positive but most of the times negative approach. Let’s try to remember, without attempting to evaluate who’s “good” and “bad”, all of those who failed in the Czech politics, who are losing power, who are leaving and so on. It is usually those having some kind of an opinion, even a very doubtful one, on where we should be heading: supporters of civil society, fighters for clean politics without obscure financial and other machinations, opponents of abortion and registered partnership, radical and moderate Greens, US radar supporters, defenders of the opinion that the Czech diplomacy should stand up for the dissidents and push through integration of the former Soviet satellites into western structures, propagators of health, education and pension reforms, and the xenophobic parties. Representatives of the extreme, or even of somehow distinctive views leave and what remains is the “healthy core” of the two big amorphous parties – the Eurosceptical, anti-ecologist but pragmatically acting ODS and the left-wing and populist ČSSD. One would want to say that these parties recall two grey, mutually almost interchangeable clouds impersonating certainty that the things will stay as they are. Two machines operating reliably even without any more courageous glimpse into the future.

This situation seems to bring to life and into the lime-light, a man perfectly personifying all that has been mentioned above. A man without a face, a man that Mirek Topolánek calls a reliable expert aware of the governmental operations. A man that Jiří Paroubek does not object to, and who used to visit some bucolic pub near Benešov with Václav Klaus thirty years ago when they were both spending time at their cottages. It seems almost impossible that some such man could really exist. What if the politicians made him up, created him as some homunculus during a secret session? We do not want to offend engineer Fischer, it is likely he materialised as a good and careful mathematician who is trying to do his job properly. Should not, however, the country, in the middle of the economic crisis and EU presidency, be led by someone more tangible, someone who tried to leave a mark on the face of the world in the past in some other way than by entering Husák’s KSČ at the age of 29?

If engineer Fischer materialised in some supernatural way, his skills should be supernatural too. How else would he be able to satisfy Topolánek, Paroubek and Klaus at the same time in case he becomes the Prime Minister? Yet, there is one possibility. One can imagine him becoming invisible and choosing to listen only to one out of those three. Topolánek and Paroubek will not want to call him off even though their possibilities of how to keep control over their own creation might be limited. Who is left then?

The President can be happy. Weak Prime Minister, against which Klaus will easily assert himself, seems to be coming. And he did not even have to be bothered with choosing him. Others did that job in his stead.

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