A have a few favorites in the Hungarian media. One of them is “Elek Tokfalvy,” an obvious pen name that has a delicious early nineteenth-century flavor. And that this is exactly what “Elek Tokfalvy” had in mind because “his picture” shows the torso of a gentleman with a hair style and clothing that is typical of the period. And why the name Elek Tokfalvy? It is the Hungarian reworking of Alexis de Tocqueville’s name. After all, “ville” in Hungarian is “falú.” Here is our original Elek Tokfalvy.
Considering Elek Tokfalvy’s advanced age he seems to be very much at home in the twenty-first century and writes excellent articles on Hungarian politics. His latest, which appeared in Hírszerző, is especially instructive reading. It is a frightening article that unfortunately is not based on some fanciful ruminations of a “political scientist” but on a point-by-point comparison of the neo-Nazi Jobbik’s campaign promises in the spring of 2010 and the current Fidesz government’s actions. The results are rather alarming.
This latest article of Tokfalvy is an update of his earlier piece on Jobbik’s election program that was published in April 2010. Then he maintained that the programs of Jobbik and Fidesz were not radically different with the exception of Jobbik’s racist overtones, something that Jobbik didn’t advertise in its campaign literature.
Tokfalvy spells out on the basis of a Jobbik campaign pamphlet what the party considered the ten most important steps it would take if elected. How has Fidesz accommodated the far-right “opposition”?
1. In the interest of ending political criminality we would put an end to the right of parliamentary immunity. Fidesz hasn’t managed to fulfill this promise in its entirety yet but they have made great strides. They paraded a few important former government officials in handcuffs and revoked Ferenc Gyurcsány’s immunity. They may do the same thing to András Simor, the governor of the central bank.
2. We will decrease taxes and thus will save existing jobs and create new ones. The decrease in taxes has been achieved but the rest remains a pipedream. In addition, the move resulted in a large hole in the budget.
3. We will save forex mortgage holders from eviction by exchanging their loans in foreign currency into forints. The cost of these transactions will be borne by the banks. Most of this Jobbik promise was fulfilled by the Fidesz government with the well-known results: the forint weakened and sovereign debt couldn’t be controlled, as was predicted by many.
4. We will decrease the cost of utilities by nationalizing the energy sector. Half a billion forints was spent to purchase MOL shares and the government is working on shrinking consumer utility bills. This despite the fact that the undersecretary in charge of the energy sector resigned in protest because he is convinced that such a move will endanger Hungary’s electric supply.
5. We will place extra taxes on multinational companies to reduce the burdens of domestic enterprises. This suggestion was accepted and the deed has been done. Except Hungarian smaller companies are closing their doors because the multinationals can’t expand and therefore no orders are coming their way.
6. We will take away the extra large pensions from the most important MSZMP politicians and the money thus saved will be distributed among the other pensioners. Maria Wittner’s proposal was immediately picked up by Fidesz.
7. In order to put an end to idleness assistance will be coupled with public work. The pay thus received will not be given in cash but on a so-called “social card.” Public work programs began and plans for work camps are under way. There is still no “social card.”
8. We will change the law governing land ownership in order to prevent the sale of land to foreigners. Done.
9. In order to make life safer we will strengthen the police force by adding a new force, the gendarmerie. This promise hasn’t been fulfilled because, says our Tokfalvy, Sándor Pintér’s socialization is different. What he means here is that Pintér held important positions in the police force during the Kádár regime.
10. We will ensure Hungarian citizenship to Hungarians living in the annexed territories. Succeeded admirably and they are still perfecting it.
What is the lesson? There is a Russian proverb according to which “he who owns the pub also owns the tune.” Perhaps the proverb is not quite accurate: “the pub is owned by Fidesz but the tune belongs to Jobbik.”
So, now you have become acquainted with our very own Alexis de Tocqueville. He even knows Russian!