The English tabloid newspaper The Sun raised hackles when it published highly critical reports about the England football squad’s training facilities in Kraków during Euro 2012. Now the red top has done it again – this time slating Łódź and calling it ‘the Polish city that moved to Britain‘.
The report suggests that many of the inhabitants of Łódź have taken advantage of free movement within the EU, to build richer futures in the UK. It describes a ‘harrowing picture’ of ‘derelict buildings, boarded-up businesses, crumbling masonry – the poor and elderly getting in line to buy bread’.
The Sun quotes EU statistics which suggest that Łódź is one of the fastest depopulating cities in Poland, and cites UK census figures which show that Poles are the second largest minority population in the UK.
However, the report also includes an interview with a local travel agent, who says that, contrary to the bleak picture painted by the newspaper, most clients buy return air tickets to the UK because ‘Łódź is home’.
The Sun’s report got short shrift in the Polish press, and the city received support on its Facebook page – from Poles and ex-pats alike.
Hennie Van de Coevering wrote: “As a Dutchman I love and like Łódź it’s a great city and The Sun have already a big problem!”
Benjamin Rowe posted: “I am an Englishman in Łódź. I live and work in the city that I love, Łódź.”
Another Facebook poster added: “To our friends at The Sun: I am from Łódź. I do love my city, don’t want to leave it, as I work and spend my free time here.”