Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an Open debate on ACTA, held at the University of Silesia in Katowice. Among many distinguished guests (including the Polish Ombudsman, representatives of NGOs and ZAiKS) a member of the Polish parliament, Mr Andrzej Gałażewski earned a special mention – and an award for the best quotes of the day, hands down.
I think all the participants were surprised with Mr Gałażewski’s defence of ACTA signing decision, taking the form of a claim that no negative signals about the treaty surfaced before the decision was made. After a quick reply to this misconception by Robert Partyka of the Polish Linux User Group, Mr Gałażewski commented:
Outside arguments that reach us impact our decisions only when they are suitably intellectually packaged
Apparently, substantial arguments submitted by NGOs against ACTA were not “suitably intellectually packaged”. As we all know, what had impact on the decision were the protests. We also know the slogans used during those protests – so we have some examples of what, in fact, is a “suitably intellectually packaged” argument. And thanks to a member of the Polish parliament, no less!
That, however, is not all! When talking about the future of ACTA, Mr Gałażewski remarked that at this point
"this agreement is passé", and asked directly how is he planning to vote when (if?) the ratification vote comes to the Polish parliament, he replied:
We are not going to commit political suicide
Well, at least it’s all in the clear now! I mean, how the politicians make their decisions. That substantial, on-topic arguments are not the best way to influence such decisions (they are not “suitably intellectually packaged”), was public knowledge for a long time. That many politicians are political opportunists is also not that surprising.
It is, though, great to know that, besides opportunism, there are some additional criteria – even if it’s just fashion.