On a noisy pavement next to the Earls Court exhibition centre in London, two Polish-Australian documentary-makers are filming a Russian TV crew filming the Guardian’s photographer as she urges Artur Debski to loosen his crossed arms and smile a bit. A couple of pedestrians glance as they pass but, not spotting a face they recognise, hurry onwards with an impatient tut.
The 45-year-old Polish MP may not be a celebrity, but a fortnight after he landed in the UK he is in so much demand that his two phones buzz continually throughout our meeting. “Journalists,” he says. “I get 100 calls a day. But this is good. This is meant to be a provocation.”
Debski was criticised as a publicity-seeker when reports first emerged that he had come to London to live like a Polish immigrant, with a plan to pick up casual work and survive on £100 a week. The politician, a member of the liberal opposition party Twój Ruch (Your Movement), is happy with that. “In Poland, 70% of young people are thinking about emigration. Last year more people died than were born. This is very dangerous for our country.