Saturday, September 25, 2004

Oh and one more thing

I just wanted to get this off my chest before I left (I think I will have well and truly exhausted Krakow's comic potential by then - and I have to spend a whole month here in October/November, so as you can imagine anything that gets blogged during that time will truly be scraping the bottom of the barrel)

Krakow old town is policed by a private security firm. Now I know that after 40 years of a failing command economy the Poles wil have been anxious to jump on the free market bandwagon, but a private police force? They don't even do that in the US. Every store has the sign up in the window, indicating presumably that they have contributed to paying. The cynical side of me (and having spent most of my life in a capitalist society, I have a fairly well-developed cynical side when it comes to privatisation) wonders what happens to the places which refuse to pay. Do they get visits by baseball bat wielding "advisers" who suggest that they join in? Do they get robbed with impunity while these mercenary policemen stand around watching and sniggering? I'm a bit stunned. It seems to only be the old touristy bit of Krakow, as I've seen regular police elsewhere. This security firm is named "Justus", which is presumably derived from the same route as "justice", but obviously sounds slightlky more comical to an English speaker. When they kick your door down in the middle of the night for non payment of protection monies, oh sorry I mean security tax, do they say "It's just us!"

Oh, and Sheffield Wednesday just won 3-0 at Wrexham in their first match under Paul Sturrock, you'll all be glad to hear.

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