Final Word from Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All of Czech politics used to revolve around Václav Klaus, but now it's Miroslav Kalousek in the role. Oh, Klaus still causes the occasional commotion, when he threatens to veto a bill, for example, but Kalousek is in the thick of things on a daily basis. His reach is even palpable when the West goes to war with Libya without the Czechs, because of his role in buying expensive military equipment that is wholly unsuited for combat. Kalousek's biggest political skill is getting people to take their eye off the main issues. Instead of looking at ways to prevent the theft of so much money from the public budgets, he gets people talking about whether this or that tax rate should go up or down or whether a given tax benefit should be abolished. Like Klaus before him, Kalousek is so effective in setting the agenda because no one in politics, business or the media is willing or able to stand up and confront him.

Glossary of difficult words

commotion - a state of confused and noisy disturbance;

in the thick of things - very involved;

palpable - able to be touched or felt;

wholly - entirely; fully.


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