Gábor Vona’s letter to Viktor Orbán

It was on March 2 that I reported on the strange letter by Zsolt Bayer, a vile Fidesz propagandist, to Gábor Vona, leader of Jobbik. It was an open letter. Hungarians love to write open letters. If you recall, I mentioned two former Fidesz party faithfuls who are now in the top leadership of Jobbik. Bayer rather mournfully recalled the good old days when he and his old buddies got together to drink and exchange ideas in the Turul Circle and blamed them for deserting the cause and turning against Orbán and Fidesz.

The two men in question were prompted by Bayer's letter to write pieces in the new Jobbik paper Barikád. Sándor Pörzse excoriated Bayer in language straight from Bayer's foul-mouthed playbook. The most polite adjectives are "pitiful and untalented." Pál Losonczy refused to answer Bayer directly because he finds Bayer so contemptible. He did report, however, that the Turul Circle is alive and well and that ten of them, with the exception of Bayer, are still friends.

However, the story doesn't end here. Yesterday on Gábor Vona's website appeared another open letter, not to Zsolt Bayer but straight to his boss, Viktor Orbán. After all, says Vona, he is not a naive man and therefore he knows that although the letter might have been signed by Bayer it was Viktor Orbán who dictated it. He was taught by his parents that if he had problems he had to take care of them himself and not to send messages through someone else. "Because a decent Hungarian handles his affairs this way. But Mr. Chairman [of Fidesz], you didn't do that." The logical conclusion is that Orbán is not a decent Hungarian.

Then he moved on to the question of the recent Fidesz attack on Jobbik. First came László Kövér's damaging remarks against Vona's party. Usually it is his job within the party leadership to express strong opinions. But, says Vona, that didn't work. In fact, Kövér's attacks on Jobbik had the opposite result: the number of Jobbik supporters has grown since. "So the dirty work is now given out to the lunar halo" (holdudvar). In Hungarian politics those belong to the "lunar halo" who are not directly involved in politics but who by and large support the party through their writings and public utterances.

Then Vona brings up the question of "twenty years for twenty years" and that Bayer took exception to including Fidesz's four years in power in the twenty years that have elapsed since the change of regime. Admittedly the 1998-2002 period was better than the rest but that's not saying much. Better than what? Better than Antall, Horn, Gyurcsány, or Bajnai? "You are also responsible for the last eight years." Because Fidesz during this period was passive and cowardly. Moreover, they were part and parcel of the dirty deals conducted behind the scenes. Vona thinks that "the Fidesz parliamentary members should have resigned in the fall of 2006…. You were hiding for eight solid years escaping from responsibility."

Vona then moves on to the question of why he joined Orbán's civic circle in 2002. Answer:  "because you invited me … [and] because I believed in you…. But much more important is why I left in 2003. Because I recognized my naivete about the real purpose of these circles. That the goal was not the strengthening of the national right, the creation of a new age's foundation; they were aimed solely at the reorganization of a right-liberal party in which I didn't want to take part. I left, although I'm sure that if I had stayed in the company of the hangers-on I would have received a fat job. But I wanted something entirely different. Something better. Jobbik." (In Hungarian "Jobbat. Jobbikat.")

He proudly points out that Jobbik managed "to bury SZDSZ and here is the opportunity to bury MSZP." At "this historic moment" Fidesz should work hand in hand with Jobbik and instead Fidesz attacks the party. "It is pitiful to watch your agony." Orbán's party uses the most contemptible weapons. For example, Fidesz tries to convince the world that Jobbik is collaborating with "presumed terrorists." Here the adjective "presumed" is noteworthy. There is compelling evidence that the Arrows of Hungarians committed crimes and and were plotting the assassination of politicians. Among the people accused of belonging to this terrorist group is a Jobbik politician who not only supplied the ammunition used against the house of one of the victims but was  also on site during the attack. Krisztina Morvai steadfastly defends the mastermind behind Arrows of Hungarians, György Budaházy.

The real insult was left to the end. Vona repeated an old Orbán saying that "the eagle doesn't try to catch flies" uttered in connection with his negotiations with József Torgyán. Now Vona had a piece of advice to Orbán: "You ought to realilze that times have changed. You are no longer the lord of the flies. And we are no longer flies that can be frightened away by a couple of smacks in the face." Vona calls upon Orbán to have a television debate but if he refuse "we will meet in parliament after May where you will have to answer."

This is a serious situation for Fidesz; most likely they moved against Jobbik far too late. The latest poll claims that with first-time voters Fidesz has only one opponent, Jobbik, and that Jobbik has twice as many potential voters as MSZP. The prospects are rather frightening and not only for MSZP. 

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Thrasymachus
Guest

” “Because a decent Hungarian handles his affairs this way. But Mr. Chairman [of Fidesz], you didn’t do that.” The logical conclusion is that Orbán is not a decent Hungarian. ”
—-
You imply much nastier things about Orbán here, almost every single day. Hardly a day goes by when you do not question his ethics, intellect even his sanity.
“There is compelling evidence that the Arrows of Hungarians committed crimes and were plotting the assassination of politicians.”

John T
Guest
It’s sad but fascinating to see a country going backwards. But if the Hungarian population want to take this path, then so be it – that’s what democracy is all about. But when everything goes belly up – and it is definately when, rather than if, I certainly won’t care when Hungarians bleat about how bad their situation has become. This time they will have chosen their destiny. No doubt the likes of Thrasymachus will drone on about a international conspiracy against the country, but it won’t be. It will be simply that you have lost the goodwill of the international community. Why should international banks lend money to the country when Jobbik are threatening not to make repayments. Why should foreign companies like Audi invest when Jobbiks policies are laced with anti-foreign sentiments. Why should Hungary remain part of the EU or NATO when it becomes insular rather than outward looking. Additionally, Thrasymachus and his colleagues have never said how they intend to fill the void left when foreign companies either leave or are driven out. Whether you like it or not, these companies, and the ex-pats who work there along side Hungarians are carrying the country at the… Read more »
Thrasymachus
Guest

@John T
“No doubt the likes of Thrasymachus will drone on about a international conspiracy against the country, but it won’t be.”

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

This is a bit off topic but it seems that it is becoming clear to Orbán that he will not be able to change the economic policy of the Bajnai government. Especially after the Greek fiasco the European Union will simply not put up with higher deficit again.
Barroso was in Budapest a couple of days ago and Orbán had a conversation with him. I am pretty good at reading faces. Orbán looked devastated. I think Barroso made clear to him the EU’s position: no more spending to bolster Fidesz’s popularity after the elections. Perhaps I will make the picture available on the blog and ask you what you think.

John T
Guest

Thrasymachus – It’s very simple. If people have supposedly broken the law and been charged, then they should be put on trial at the earliest opportunity and judged according to the evidence put before the court. I don’t believe that people should be languishing in prison for a year.

Thrasymachus
Guest

Then we are, in fact, in agreement. I won’t push my luck, by asking whether you think there must be some political motive behind people being deliberately held for so long without trial.
Anyway, over to you. The debt, the Roma, the EU? Whatever is your pleasure. Feel free to ask.

John T
Guest

Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. We won’t know that until the evidence is presented in court for each side. But then the current overseers of the judical system seem as useless as the politicians.
I don’t disagree with Jobbik that corruption needs to be clamped down on by the way. But if you did it by my definition of what is a crook – stealing, tax dodging etc, I fear that about half the country at least would be doing time.
As for broadening the discussion, please answer me on the point about how large investors like Audi would be replaced, if they left following the election of a Jobbik government? Thanks

John T
Guest

I would just add that I abhor the idea of someone being framed because of their political beliefs. But equally, I find the notion of people using terrorism to support their political aims abhorrent too.

Thrasymachus
Guest
Regarding the economy there are two points to be made, I think. First, I shall attempt to be specific, but you must grant me the patience of recognizing that as I do not work for the party, there is only so much specificity I can give you on the matter. Anyway, in short I do not believe, provided that it respected its workers’ rights (and I do not know its record on this subject, do you?) I cannot see how a Jobbik government would be any sort of a threat to a company like Audi. This is not to say that several companies would not feel Jobbik’s ire. Chiefly, domestic utility companies, and food retailers. If you read the Jobbik manifesto, what it is shot through with, repeated almost ad nauseaum, is the phrase “level competitive playing field.” They object most strongly to multi-nationals being given the kind of subsisidies and allowances which severely disadvantage local domestic competition. But as I cannot think of any local competitor to Audi, I don’t see how they ever would be affected. The second point has to do with debt renegotiation. No external power or company, has, to my knowledge expressed any concern over… Read more »
John T
Guest
Thrasymachus – I think the difficulty for Jobbik is that for companies like Audi, the factors go beyond workers rights. It will also be about employers costs, corporation tax and also, importantly, whether or not Hungary stays in the EU (either leaving of it’s own free will, or being suspended or expelled). For a city like Gyor, which is heavily reliant on Audi both for primary production jobs and also for supporting jobs – component suppliers, logistics etc, if Audi went, then the result would be disasterous. As for food retailers, I suspect again that in trying to level the playing field, Jobbik would fall foul of EU competition or subsidy rules. Whether you like it or not, companies such as Auchan and Tesco are firmly established, with Aldi and Lidl in a strong position too. And to some extent, the Hungarian comsumer has been responsible for many of the problems that have faced key sectors of the food industry. I was surprised just how far people took the “west is best” attitude in retailng to heart. In recent years, this attitude seems to be changing, but often after the damage has been done. And to be honest some companies… Read more »
John T
Guest
I’m not sure that the “no stone left unturned” approach is going to be particularly helpful. As I said in my earlier comment, if you actually punished everyone guilty of crooked behaviour, millions of Hungarian’s should have to face the music. But if that is going to be the approach, then I hope that Jobbik apply it consistency across the whole of society, whether it is the employee fiddling his taxes or the corrupt MP. I trust they will also fire all of the health service doctors and employees who receive all those nice little envelopes of cash from people when they have treatment. I trust they will also ensure that all public appointments are made transparently and on merit, rather than through patronage. I trust that all tenders for public works will be awarded on the basis of best value for money rather than as favours to friends. The difficulty for Jobbik is that patronage and corruption are ingrained in Hungarian society and it will take decades rather than years to clean up the system. On a final point, I trust that if Jobbik are making this a key plank of their programme and their members support it, then… Read more »
John T
Guest

Actually, scrub my Globus mention in my earlier post as I see that they are now part of Unilever! But I hope they are using less salt in their canned meals these days and there is actually some meat in the stuffed cabbage.

GDF
Guest
John T: “As for food retailers, I suspect again that in trying to level the playing field, Jobbik would fall foul of EU competition or subsidy rules. Whether you like it or not, companies such as Auchan and Tesco are firmly established, with Aldi and Lidl in a strong position too. And to some extent, the Hungarian comsumer has been responsible for many of the problems that have faced key sectors of the food industry. I was surprised just how far people took the “west is best” attitude in retailng to heart. In recent years, this attitude seems to be changing, but often after the damage has been done. And to be honest some companies have just not adapted. I’m thinking of Globus here – some of their product line is truly appalling.” There is one thing that Jobbik and its sympathizers choose to ignore: when the Tesco and similar others appeared in Hungary, they were the only ones with the capital to build these stores. Now, if they are going to be chased out of Hungary (maybe at the price of Hungary being kicked out of the EU), if they chose to demolish their buildings before leaving, who is… Read more »
Odin's lost eye
Guest
Corruption will always occur if there is a loophole or opportunity for it to do so. To prevent it you have to separate out (and audit regularly) those who pay out or receive money from those who sanction or order payment etc. The example is the UK parliamentary expenses fiasco. Until the U.K. joined Europe the Stock exchanges of the UK were self regulating. Their system had to be changed to comply with European ideas and the Stock Market became a ‘free for all’. The U.K. had to institute a huge ‘Financial Services’ outfit to police the system. In the matter of Hungary’s fate from what I have read of their history (and I am only up to the business of 1848) every time the Hungarians get a chance to advance they shoot themselves in the foot! I fear it will be the same again this time around. Mr GDF you ask the question *** “if they chose to demolish their buildings before leaving, who is going to finance the new “national” stores?” *** Actually the original stores were little more than warehouses with stacks of boxes in them. If you have ‘National Stores’ there is no competition and no… Read more »
Odin's lost eye
Guest

The problem of the Roma is can also be traced to their history. The Roma/Romany were in the main itinerant metal workers/traders/casual workers. Amongst the Romany in the UK the name ‘Smith’ is very common (it is in the rest of the community as well). If there was enough work for a metal worker to support his family all year the Romany would settle and be absorbed into the local community. He would disappear from the itinerant community. Their decline in this was due to the Industrial Revolution and the introduction of machine tools which were far more accurate than the hand working methods of the Roma which were they learned from their fathers and grandfathers. The Roma/Romanys have no tradition of learning from any other outside source.

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