Monthly Archives: February 2010

Viktor Orbán’s thoughts on the “Hungarian quality of existence” (III)

We have finally arrived at the most controversial part of Viktor Orbán's speech. He describes the Hungarian political situation at least until very recently as a "dual field of force." In Hungarian it is "duális erőtér." That is not a term used in any kind of political discourse. People are not even sure what it means. But it looks that this dual field consists of the government on the one hand and its opposition on the other. The existence of these two poles is not a good thing according to Orbán because "there are … Read the rest

Viktor Orbán’s thoughts on the “Hungarian quality of existence” (II)

As promised, I'm continuing my close reading of Viktor Orbán's speech delivered in Kötcse on September 6, 2009, but released in full only about a week ago. Yesterday I outlined the "cultural" half of the speech where Orbán tells us about the role the intellectual elite must play in supporting the government's "cultural policies." In the second half he moves over to the political sphere. First he outlines the story of the Hungarian left between 1990 and 2010. He then continues by summarizing the victorious revival of the right after its total collapse in … Read the rest

Viktor Orbán’s thoughts on the “Hungarian quality of existence” (I)

It was on February 17, 2010, that the speech Viktor Orbán delivered in September at a "civic picnic" in Kötcse, a small village near Lake Balaton, was published in its entirety. It appeared in a new literary weekly financed by Fidesz or Fidesz connected foundations. At the time I didn't go into all the details of the speech though I did call attention to the fact that, as opposed to the Hungarian media, I noticed already on September 8, 2009, that this speech was something out of the ordinary.

I'm now returning to the … Read the rest

Hungarian parties and statistical “reality”

I always get annoyed when I hear people quoting Winston Churchill’s saying that “the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself.” Hungarians like that one very much, although perhaps they would be better off with the Benjamin Disraeli quotation: “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” When a Hungarian quotes Churchill, that usually means that he doesn’t believe in any statistics, especially if those statistics are used to prove that life is better than, let’s say, eight years ago. Both Fidesz and MSZP … Read the rest

The strength of the Hungarian far-right

All those "political scientists" who have mighty little to do with "science" are busily trying to predict what will happen on April 11 and after. The latest is that they are predicting on the basis of current polls that don't include about 40% of those who are still undecided that there is a possibility that Jobbik will do better than MSZP. And therefore they suggest that the two established parties should pay attention to the strides Jobbik is making instead of worrying about each other.

I'm not saying that Jobbik … Read the rest

The farewell speech of the Hungarian prime minister

Yesterday, on the last session of parliament, Gordon Bajnai made his final speech lasting about 40 minutes. I was unable to listen to it live given the six-hour difference, and yesterday's session is still not available on video. However, people whose opinion I value called it a "statesmanlike speech." But Bajnai's speech, which emphasized the necessity of cooperation between Fidesz and MSZP, didn't make an impression on Fidesz whose chairman didn't even bother to attend. Tibor Navracsics, head of the party's parliamentary delegation, wasn't impressed by the prime minister's somber words as this picture shows.


The chief … Read the rest

The Hungarian socialists’ program

As I reported earlier, the programs of Magyar Demokrata Fórum and Jobbik have already appeared. I outlined these programs at the time of their appearance. Both are available online. MDF's program, Munka és méltóság (Work and Dignity), can be found on the MDF website and Jobbik's lengthy program, "Radikális változás" (Radical change), is also available. I spent quite a bit of time on Jobbik's program and someone, most likely a Jobbik sympathizer, predicted that I wouldn't dwell much on the MSZP program. Another person couldn't understand why I kept complaining about the … Read the rest