The talk of Hungary: The latest Orbán stories

There is always something that raises eyebrows in Hungary. Lately Viktor Orbán himself has made a few remarks that were most unfortunate and that, alas, can be considered somewhat typical of the man. After days of futile talks between Sándor Pintér, minister of the interior, and the representatives of the trade unions of police, soldiers, firefighters, and prison guards, it became obvious that Orbán's minister cannot make any decision whatsoever without getting permission from the prime minister. Eventually the trade union leaders smartened up and demanded to talk with Orbán himself. That meeting was equally pointless because Orbán talked for about twenty minutes, during which he outlined the dire state of the Hungarian economy which–for this occasion–according to him is close to bankruptcy. He urged the trade union leaders to accept the government's decision to retroactively wipe out the eligibility of early retirees; this measure, he claimed, was an absolute necessity given the state of the economy. The trade union leaders also had a few minutes to voice their opinions, but it was clear that this meeting wasn't called together to discuss anything seriously.

At this point the trade union leaders asked Orbán to meet the members of their unions who were standing outside the parliament building. Orbán declined, saying that in his stead he would only send his undersecretary for clown affairs (bohócügyi államtitkár). The trade union leaders didn't find this comment amusing and right after the meeting they told the story to the reporters waiting outside and repeated it at every subsequent interview. One newspaper drew the conclusion–not without reason–that Orbán called the members of the armed forces clowns.

So, he wouldn't talk to clowns (or, more precisely, about clown affairs) but earlier he promised to talk with the trade union leaders "man to man." This is also a very typical Orbán-Fidesz attitude. Fidesz as a political formation started out as a "boys' club." Macho soccer-playing guys with some girlfriends who either became their wives or left the group because they were not really welcome. Most of the original Fidesz leaders have large families, and their wives by necessity take care of the brood and run the house. According to some people Anikó Lévai, Orbán's wife, was considered to be the more talented of the two, and she is still teaching financial law at the University of Gödöllő. At least according to Viktor Orbán's web site. However, she is rarely seen at political functions and almost never accompanies him on his travels. The only exception I can remember was the audience with the pope. This macho attitude can also be seen in the composition of the Fidesz parliamentary delegation where one can barely find a woman. Or in the government where there is not one woman minister. I'm sure that Orbán feels more comfortable with guys, and when he picks a woman to fill a position these women are light-weights. This man-to-man talk says a lot about Orbán. I'm sure that he, who cannot take any criticism even from men, must find it unbearable to submit to a woman. As György Bolgár pointed out in an sarcastic opinion piece today, it would be interesting to know how Orbán manages to have a conversation with Angela Merkel, for example. As man to man?

And finally, Orbán invited himself to the soccer match between Barcelona and Manchester United held in Wembley Stadium in London on May 28. Or at least this is what people suspect. He was seated among all the important people in the world of soccer in the grandstand. No other European politician was there, and Hungarian soccer fans are convinced that he used his position as prime minister of the country that holds the current European Union presidency to wheedle a place in the grandstand. Because, let's not forget, the League of Champions is organized by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA).

Péter Szijjártó claimed that the Hungarian prime minister was invited by Michel Platini, a former French football player and manager and current president of UEFA. The Budapest Report, established in 2009 by unnamed Hungarian journalists, claims that "in Hungary PM Orban is referred to as the 'Magyar Messi' of Hungarian politics after (as head of the centre-right party FIDESZ) he played tactically to sweep away the general elections last spring."  Not only that, but Orbán "was also allowed to shake the hands of his icons alongside UEFA President Michel Platini, watched by hundreds of millions of football fans worldwide. Political anaysts say that he couldn’t have received better political advertising for his future ambitions as an EU politician as Hungary is currently heading the presidency of the European Union." A bit of an exaggeration, I would say.

Well, real soccer fans can't get over the comparison of Orbán to Lionel Messi, "the greatest soccer player of the world." Moreover, the mysterious reporter's claim that in Hungary Orbán is known as the "Magyar Messi" is the figment of the gentleman's imagination.

So, all in all, within a few days Viktor Orbán managed to alienate a lot of people: members of the armed forces, women, and soccer fans. People also wonder on whose money he is flying to South Africa, Sweden, London, and who knows where else in the future to attend soccer games. He might not have time to talk to the representatives of the IMF or trade union leaders, but he always has time to watch a soccer game. It's all a question of priorities.

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Kirsten
Guest

For me this all fits with his “conservative” and “traditional” revolution, even that he makes fun of trade unions (certainly Communists of sorts). But that he wishes to speak “from man to man” with the trade union leaders for me sounds as if he thought it unnecessary to accept that they are an organised interest and that there could be established rules and procedures how to deal with an established organised interest of workers but certainly this could be extended to other interests too. “From man to man” I would interpret as a refusal to give them formal rights, just meetings at Orban’s will. As if they were pals who do not need any formal procedures. (If I count it, for me this is a dissolution of the past (archives), weak police (Home Guards), small number of ministers, now wishing to speak to the trade unions on an informal basis only, perhaps someone should remind him that he is in charge of a modern state not of some estate in the 16th century.)

Odin's lost eye
Guest

Kirsten What puzzles me is why Fidesz has not taken over the unions? This would the forging of one of the last links in the chain which would forever establish Fidesz as the party of sole power.
Professor I know this is not part of this topic but I noticed an article on Politics.hu a few days ago to the effect that a bill was coming that would require a 2/3rds majority in the House for any act involving finance or pensions. If this was true it has slipped under the RADAR or has been given a ‘stealth covering’.

VISITsadBUDAPEST
Guest

obama practice this same rotten governing.
1.destroy all enemies.
2.act like a clown
3.ally yourself with the churches.
The main responsibility for the acts of the clowns in Budapest lies with the Vatican and Esztergom’s cardinal. The cardinal welcomes all bribes from the OV.
What is this reactionary campaign?
Preprogrammed suicide?

Kirsten
Guest
Odin, in my current working hypothesis his political ideas come from two sources and both do not see politics as an instrument for balancing different or even opposing interests. In one the nation has always one will (which makes trade unions dispensable and “clowns” as in a united nation such divergent interests as between employees and employers cannot occur), in the other (more traditional) it does not matter what the will of subjects is because what decides is the will of the ruler or landlord (who in some way “care” for their subjects). It is a denial of diversity and of the establishment of procedures how a state is run and in particular controlled. “Co-ordination” (in modern terms) should be possible in an informal way and on an ad hoc basis, on “words of honour”. I have not yet been convinced that he indeed tries to establish a totalitarian state (would require more stringent organisation compared with what he is doing) and therefore there is no need to fully control trade unions, they do not even fit into the whole concept. And if it is similar as in the Czech society, it certainly comes very handy that trade unions are… Read more »
Öcsi
Guest

Although Orbán displays some macho attitudes I would characterize him and Fidesz as sexist.
Men can be macho amongst themselves–showing off their masculinity, etc–but when they oppress women, when they have a sense of their male superiority, then they are clearly sexist.

Johnny Boy
Guest

The usual falsification going on, and those who cannot check your claims may even believe it.
One trade union leader told Orbán to go outside and conduct his ‘social consultation’ among the protesters. This was what earned the response about the undersecretary of clown affairs.
This is what is needed to make the case understandable and drawing the conclusion that the demonstrators were called crowns proves:
a) complete incompetence in understanding the basics of the Hungarian language;
or,
b) falsification.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Some of your other comments are plain ridiculous.
Almost all soccer fans in Hungary are right-winged, so for one, it is absolutely untrue that Orbán would have alienated himself from them. Frankly, nobody cares that he was on the tribunal alongside Platini and the others, and surely not with the frustrated outrage that you display. This whole ‘scandal’ lives entirely in your imagination only.
Second, no sane woman is outraged by the fact that Orbán said he would handle the matters with the protesters as man to man. You try to make another scandal out of it but all you do is splitting hairs, and on top of that, meaninglessly. Nobody picked up this expression of him as a basis of any scandal, and your sweating effort to make it one only makes you lamentable.
It shows how deep you all are, these are all the matters that remained for you to feed upon.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Of course, I meant grandstand and not tribunal (jury), this is a catch from Hungarian.

Member

Johnny “Almost all soccer fans in Hungary are right-winged”
Say what?? Why? Both groups are violent? Have you ever mingled with Fradi or Vasas fans?

Member

Johnny Boy: If any of non-sense you are talking about were true, I am not sure that why all the press is full with it. Also, there are many people who would like to know who pays for all the soccer trips (do you remember the private jet Orban likes to use at his personal disposal). I am not going to go on as it it senseless. You are like a horse in a mine, just walking along and cannot look outside, just straight ahead, and even then it is dark there. Poor johnny Boy.

Member

@Johhny “Second, no sane woman is outraged”
And just what is the definition of the “sane women”, Johnny? Everything Orban does clearly shows he is sexist and perhaps even misogynists.

John T
Guest

Every club has it’s “Ultra’s” and in terms of Fradi, there is a larger right-winged, racist element, which I witnessed first hand when they played Millwall a few years ago (the English equivalent these days). I realised there would be an edge to the game, but I was taken aback at just how tribal and backwards the behaviour of the fans was (on both sides).
But I normally go to Haladás games when visiting, and there, the crowd is very mixed and mostly good natured.
And Eva – please call the game FOOTBALL 🙂

Johnny Boy
Guest

someone: there is no press full with neither the ‘sexist’ attitude of Orbán, nor with his place on the grandstand.
No such press exists.
Save for Népszava and this blog, but these don’t qualify.

Ivan
Guest

So, Johnny Boy, if you don’t believe that Orban has ‘sexist attitudes’, how do you explain the fact that when he came to power last year with his ‘super majority’ with which, as we’ve seen, he could do whatever he wanted, he decided to kick off his era by appointing a grand total of ZERO women to both his Cabinet and the Constitutional Court?
Not very progressive, at the very least.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Ivan: if only your kin could, just for once, leave off this idiotic buzzword “progressive” whose meaning you don’t even seem to know…

Öcsi
Guest

Why don’t you answer Ivan’s question, Johnny Boy?

Ivan
Guest

My ‘kin’? Care to elaborate?
And please answer the previous question regarding Orban’s appointments – a question arising from your assertion, after all, so you really should answer it.
And enlighten us, please. What does ‘progressive’ mean? Once you’ve told me, I’ll happily relay the meaning to the rest of the ‘kin’.
Thanks.

Member

Johnny Boy: I am not sure how your nonsense reply relates to “Also, there are many people who would like to know who pays for all the soccer trips (do you remember the private jet Orban likes to use at his personal disposal).” but, whatever makes you happy. Bt on the same note, he is sexist, big time.

Member

“My ‘kin’? Care to elaborate?”
Don’t bother. It’s just Johnny speak … His Hungster accent (Hungarian-Hamster).

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