Wednesday, 30 March 2011

How is Poland and are Poles seen by people other countries in the EU?

A poll (if you’ll excuse the pun) of 5,000 people of working age by The Guardian was published a few weeks ago (you can see the full data here).

Young people were asked online in GB, Germany, France, Spain and Poland.  (Yes, the EU is a massively bigger than that, but this is a British newspaper we are talking about so don’t expect too much.)

How do you think Poland did?  Do you think Poland is seen negatively or positively by young people in other countries?

When it comes to lifestyle matters, Polish people did quite well.
·       Cuisine: Poland comes out quite high.   
     Only behind France and Spain.
·       Friendly people: More friendly than the other four countries 
     apart from Spain.  More or less averagely unfriendly.
·       Attractiveness: Compared to the other four countries, Poles 
     were said to be the most attractive.
·       Best at holding their drink (alcohol): Poland.

Don’t ask how GB did.  It confirms my view that many people have prejudices about British things.  There was me thinking that people didn’t like Polish food (thinking that Poles only eat cabbage), but Polish food did quite well.  I’ll have to promote food from Britain more (and with good reason!  British food is very tasty.)  German food also did badly.  With good reason.  Anyway, my view is that French and Spanish food is more famous than Polish food, which is why they came out higher. 

Otherwise, the view of a Polish person is someone who is friendly, attractive and can drink a lot of alcohol.  (It should be said that no differentiation was made between men and women.  Whether men and women in Poland are equally seen to be attractive is open to debate).  Of course, whether any of these views show reality is another question.  The question of whether Poles or Spaniards are friendly is entirely contextual.  Poles in GB may be friendlier in than in Poland, for example, as they are wanting to practice their English.  Perhaps it is also due to body language.  Poles, I tend to find, touch other people more.  This may not be meant to be very friendly, but people from cultures where less touching happens can see the touching to be friendly.  Or flirtatious!

[Edit: It has been brought to my attention by a reader of this blog (readers don't comment here, they tell me directly, so I'll have to pass the news on) that the interviewees could answer for all countries, which included their own.  Did Polish people appraise their compatriots positively and therefore skewered the results?  Did other people vote negatively against their compatriots?  We demand answers.]

Now, onto economic and political matters:

·       Poles were the second most optimistic about the 
     future of the country’s economy
·       However, Poles are also the second highest more negative 
     about the future of the country’s economy
·       Generally, however, Poles are the second most 
     optimistic to the question of whether things 
     will get better for people.
·       Poles distrust their politicians the most.
·       Poles are the most likely to not want their government 
     to cut spending (come to the protests in GB!)
·       Apart from Spain, Poles are the most likely to 
     approve of emigration within the EU.
·       They are the most likely to approve of immigrants 
     from outside the EU.
·       Of the five countries, Poles are the most traditional 
     with regards to marriage, women’s and gay rights
·       However, just under half of Poles (49%) said they considered 
     themselves to be liberal with regards to such matters.

Regarding their attitude to GB, Poles came out overwhelmingly pro-GB compared to people from the other countries.  I guess this is down to the number of Poles who have lived in GB.  Also, there is less of a history of prejudice against GB in Poland.  We’ve had wars with the other countries within the past few centuries.

Anyway, back to Poland.  Generally Poles came across as positive about the future of their country.  This makes sense for me.  While some in Poland did worse after 1989, many have done better.  That the survey was done online shows that a certain social group of people from Poland took part in the survey: those with access to the internet and who could speak English.  In any case,  despite the lack of trust they have in politicians, things are better now than in the time of young people’s parents, when there were food shortages, rationing and martial law.  By German or French standards the standard of life in Poland may seem worse.  It’s all very relative.

[Political opinion alert] Some Polish politicians give good reason for distrusting Polish politicians in Poland.  Things in Poland have been quite divisive since the rise and then more-or-less fall of PiS.[/End of political opinion alert]

With regards to being either 'liberal' or 'traditional', it may be surprising to see that just under a half of Poles consider themselves to be liberal regarding marriage, women's and gay right.  Do you think this is true?  Or could it be the case that the interviewees considered the term 'liberal' to be a good thing to say to a British newspaper and therefore said it?

I am putting 'liberal' in inverted commas, for reason I am sure you understand.  You may have heard the 'I am not racist/sexist/anti-semitic/homophobic, but.....' line.  I mean this point generally, not specific to Poland.

Such a liberality however seems to be clearer with regards to immigrants.  While Polish immigration (which has taken place for centuries) may help Poles to be more pro-immigration, Poles are also more likely to accept immigrants from outside the EU.  Maybe that means Ukrainians and Belarussians?  What do you think?  Please write underneath.

Anyway, please take part in the poll on the right side; Do you see the future of Poland to be positive or negative?  Please write underneath in the comments why you have made your choice.  Let’s make a good poll (pun most definitely intended this time).

1 comment:

  1. Please write your comments regarding the poll or any other question I have asked in this area :)