Thursday, October 07

The choices for the Prague voters


If you are still with me, perhaps I can interest you in how I see the choice (I won't bother discussing the Communists, or petty nationalists, as I assume none of you will bother with them either).

ODS. When a party in power has done so many bad things, they have to be kicked out. It is not enough that they rearrange their top team and say "look, we've changed". Tunel Blanka, Opencard, the Blob, the cycle lanes that go from nowhere to nowhere, the various scandals at Dopravni podnik, the proliferation of herna bars, casinos and general squalor in the heart of the beautiful city, the widespread allegations of corruption in various departments... all these are reasons not to vote for ODS.

CSSD. I actually like the manifesto of Jiri Dienstbier Jr. But I do not for one minute believe that he is typical of the party he represents. I would not trust CSSD members in Prague City Hall. Maybe next time.

TOP 09. Zdeněk Tuma did a very good job at the ČNB. I have met him, and a good friend worked with him. I believe he is a man of integrity, and that he would exert control over the money in City Hall. I am not sure though that he has the right vision for Prague as a "living city". Why for example, is he so lukewarm about cycling in Prague? He says it can never be a paradise for cyclists. That is true, in so far as it is more hilly than Vienna. But that is no reason to pretend that it is enough to put some red paint on a road and call it a cycle path. Finally, TOP 09 is a new party. We don't yet know what it really stands for. And I would not trust Mr Kalousek with a koruna of Prague's money.

Veci Verejne. What are the principles and values of this party? Indeed, what are the principals and values of its main candidate, Marketa Reedova, who a year ago was a member of the SNK/ED party? Why did she join VV? While with SNK/ED, I thought Mrs Reedova had taken a principled stand against the blatant waste and corruption behind the Opencard project. But no, having been to a meeting at the Respekt Institute, I discovered that Mrs Reedova is against Opencard. Any Opencard. It's enough, according to her, to buy your tram tickets by SMS. She thinks that we can build the Blob, but at Pankrac. Just lift it up, and put it down in Pankrac. She is a useless political prostitute. And as for VV, a Czech journalist friend summarised it for me "Its not a political party. Its a company."

KDU/CSL. Kalousek has ripped the heart out of this party. I haven't heard it say anything of relevance since TOP09 was formed.

SNK/ED-Green alliance. Green politics is most effective at local level. At this level you can trust their members to be there because they passionately believe in what they propose. SNK/ED is a small party comprised of people with principles with which I can identify; pro-Europe, pro business, but anti-corrupt business. Petra Kolinska has been a leading critic of the Opencard project, but she knows that smart cards work effectively all over Europe for city transport. Jana Ryšlinkova has passionately supported the Blob in City Hall ( she is seen in the film doing exactly that). So they may not be at the 5% level in the polls. That would not stop me voting for them. The only "wasted" vote is one that is not used at all.


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