Those effing Poles!
Effingham? They must be effing joking? But it appears not. What a wonderful name for an alleged spy who relied on sexual charms to woo men into indiscretions.
MI5, in the released papers, said the Polish-born Malwina Gertler only married Lord Howard, a bankrupt whose inheritance had been cut off, to gain British nationality. Her lover, the notorious Polish arms dealer Edward Weisblat, kept a chauffeur and a Rolls Royce and Cadillac in London. Lady Effingham used his money to pay her husband 500 pounds plus a weekly allowance of 7 pounds.
She was jailed for five months in 1941.
"It's just like a rather cheap finishing school," she said in a newspaper interview on her release. "I had my own cell. I made little chintz curtains for the window and had my own bed cover."
I don’t think many of today’s inhabitants of Holloway Prison would describe the place like that but, then again, most prisons tend to be finishing schools of quite a different sort nowadays – they polish (please don't groan!!) the skills and talents of today’s criminals.
These days, many in the UK complain about the poor Poles coming over here and depressing the wage market for British nationals.
Despite statistics that show that the Polish influx has been good for the country, liberal commentators, like Polly Toynbee of The Guardian, have argued that future immigration from EU accession states should be limited until their GDP matches that of the UK. ‘Workers in Britain should not have their wages depressed by the flood of immigrants from low-pay economies,’she says, claiming that the day rates of building workers have halved since 2004. The Sunday Herald coments that ‘by suggesting that the very integrity of British society could be imperilled by immigration, Toynbee is treading ground which the liberal left in Britain has long feared to go near, for fear of being accused of sounding racist. Indeed, this argument could equally be applied to immigration from non-white countries. But because we are talking about Poles and Lithuanians, rather than Pakistanis and Indians, it doesn’t sound like Powellism.’
Sixty or so years ago, Poles arriving with money that they used to prop up the aristocracy were being accused of espionage.
The poor Poles, they really can’t win, can they?