MSZP’s vision of the future: “The Left, Hope, and Strength”

Now that MSZP’s leaked “working paper” has become available we have a better idea of what the party leaders have in mind as far as strategy is concerned. Although the MSZP politicians I heard speak about the document emphasized that naturally this is not the final word on the strategy the party will follow in the next year and a half, after reading the text I think it is fairly clear where the party is heading.

The authors of “The Left, Hope, and Strength” are convinced that MSZP shouldn’t try to cooperate with any of the other smaller democratic parties. It is in the party’s interest to divide the political spectrum sharply between MSZP and Fidesz, so MSZP shouldn’t be concerned with the other parties. While Fidesz’s interest is to be in the center of the political stage, flanked by the extremist Jobbik on the right and smaller opposition parties on the left, MSZP’s strategy should be to weaken Jobbik, LMP, and DK. According to these unnamed political advisers there is a good possibility of  gathering a sizable number of voters from Jobbik because many of them actually sympathize with leftist values. Moreover, when asked, Jobbik sympathizers doubt that the current Jobbik leadership could actually govern the country. On the other hand, some of these Jobbik followers consider MSZP much more capable. The document doesn’t mention any vote gathering from LMP or DK.

Those intellectuals and professionals who seem to be worried about the rule of law, democracy, and human rights are on the wrong track because most of the electorate are worried about their own material well-being. The document pretty well writes off these people. Almost as if MSZP gave up on them and let them gather in LMP and DK. It also looks as if the party has given up on people in their twenties. MSZP politicians naturally would like to see a few more votes coming from this group, but at the same time they know that young people are not the most conscientious voters.

What are the main problems facing MSZP? The document admits that people don’t think that the party can change for the better.  They are also not at all convinced that MSZP can actually win the next elections. So, the primary goal should be to change of the image of the party. A few simple messages should be devised, and the whole overall strategy should be based on these messages.

The messages should emphasize the values of the traditional left. They also have to convince the voters that there is hope and that their lives will improve if MSZP wins the elections.  And they have to change the current weak image of MSZP.

What are these traditional leftist values? Primarily, a welfare state, assistance to the poor, and a fight against inequality. A survey the party conducted at the beginning 2012 showed that people are angry about the huge income disparities that exist in Hungary today.

And yet it seems that the party leaders realize that returning to the traditional Hungarian leftist tradition is pretty hopeless in today’s world. They talk about something called “the modern left” without defining what they mean by it. But they say that the best example to follow is the French Social Democratic Party.

MSZP strategy should emphasize the material well-being of the individual rather than talk about the country itself because for most people such things as inflation, the deficit, and economic growth don’t mean much. They should concentrate on the “ordinary people.” They should return to the ideas of Gyula Horn. The party’s chief audience should be working men and women rather than intellectuals.

As for the economic plans of the party, fiscal discipline is definitely a dirty word in their vocabulary. The emphasis should be on economic growth and job creation. MSZP mustn’t even think of an austerity program. They shouldn’t offer immediate and dramatic improvements but  should send messages about catching up with the West that would entail an increase in family incomes. MSZP must redefine its attitude toward austerity and populism. Just because a promise is popular MSZP must not automatically reject it.

MSZP must radiate hope. All politicians who appear in the media must be shown as optimistic as far as the party’s chances at the polls are concerned. Attila Mesterházy must look youthful and energetic as a contrast to the less than exciting Viktor Orbán of today.

After winning the elections alone MSZP will get together with the other democratic parties and arrive at a consensus, will make public all the documents Fidesz kept secret, will control energy prices, will raise the minimum wage, and will create a 60% tax rate for the rich.

Anyone interested in voting for MSZP in 2014?

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Kingfisher
Guest

A good summary of a truly abysmal document. When I read it last week, my heart fell through my boots. The MSZP, or rather, the people who drafted this document, are purely interested in securing power but not in governing. There is not a single credible idea proposed on what they would do when in power, which given the disastrous state of the country is astounding. The people who wrote this are palpably out of touch with the real world. It is the document of a fantasist but a fantasist utterly bereft of imagination.

Kingfisher
Guest

Perhaps the most disgusting thing of all is that it makes voting for Fidesz seem barely the lesser of two evils.

An
Guest

This is how countries end up going back and forth between right wing and left wing populism. Not a pretty prospect.

Paul
Guest

It’s dificult to know where to start with this! I think I’ll just pinch Kingfisher’s summary, “The people who wrote this are palpably out of touch with the real world. It is the document of a fantasist but a fantasist utterly bereft of imagination.”

A fantasist utterly bereft of imagination should be an oxymoron, but MSzP have managed the impossible and made it a reality.

I’m almost inclined to say “carry on Viktor” – whatever he does has got to be better than having these fools in charge.

Guest
London Calling! “The emphasis should be on economic growth and job creation. MSZP mustn’t even think of an austerity program. They shouldn’t offer immediate and dramatic improvements but should send messages about catching up with the West that would entail an increase in family incomes.” What a flabby message – well that should do it then? Lose! No aspiration; no convincing message; nothing for the youth vote (for those that remain) – no hope. That should do it – Fidesz the Victors! Such a sophisticated and professional message – from such a mature historical democracy! er..I meant bunch of amateurs. This is the reality: Hungarian elections are proof of the ‘least-bad’ principle. (It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. – Winston Churchill) or (Democracy: An institution in which the whole is equal to the scum of the parts. – Keith Presto) Take your pick! The stark truth is you may have to team-up with the least-bad partners. (You must take the compromise to win, or else nothing. That means: you race or you do not. – Ayrton Senna) The voters have to choose the least corrupt politicians:… Read more »
Ron
Guest

On Austria’s television a German speaking documentary about the situation in Hungary from 1990 till today.

http://www.politics.hu/20120928/austrian-state-television-airs-stinging-documentary-about-hungary/ included link to video.

Piroska Markus
Guest

Hi, I am not sure if it will be appreciated if I post a new Hungarian petition link here, but I think some of the readers may be happy to hear that this was initiated by 4 people who don’t share their political sympathies otherwise. (It was sent to me this morning, and I think it was only written yesterday). I think the cooperation of these four people is amazing, as Hungary has always been a very polarized country, where often people don’t talk to each other, don’t enter into dialogue if they support parties which present themselves as the opposite of the other (while in reality they are too similar in many ways). The petition is asking for a joint stand against the increasingly anti-racist right-wing tendencies of the current government. If you would like to read it (it starts in Hungarian then it is in English) or possibly sign it, please click here: http://www.peticiok.com/ne_hagyjuk__dont_let_it_happen

Guest

This petition is something which probably everybody here can agree with. It already has a long list of signatories, Agnes Heller e g.

Guest

London Calling!

O/T The Armenians are getting nasty. – They’re telling the truth!

Interesting ‘litany’ of Hungarian failure. (Many of the items dealt with by Eva.)

Did Orban really blow most of the pension money on MOL ? – 9% of GDP?

(With 99% decrease in profits and big lay-offs – a real disaster.)

Not a pretty picture.

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/details/125111/

Regards

Charlie

oneill
Guest
“Those intellectuals and professionals who seem to be worried about the rule of law, democracy, and human rights are on the wrong track because most of the electorate are worried about their own material well-being” Not any less true for its cynicism. Perhaps in one or two Budapest districts will folk in any numbers vote on the issue of Orban’s assault but the vast, vast majority will look at the promises of the parties and see how much they can gain personally financially from their election. The rape of the independent media and the judiciary- no one cares and it will not be a factor one way or the other in determining whether the Fuhrer gets to continue his reign. A promised extra couple of thousand forints in the typical voter’s back pocket may well win it for the MSZP, if the working class get the luxury of a vote this time. Forget anything tricky like policy or a truly apolitical strategy to get the corrupt, incompetent morons flushed out of the country’s political and economic elite (mainly because the MSZP will be flooding those elite with their own corrupt and incompetent morons). Forget any kind of long-term strategy to… Read more »
petofi
Guest

CharlieH :
London Calling!
O/T The Armenians are getting nasty. – They’re telling the truth!
Interesting ‘litany’ of Hungarian failure. (Many of the items dealt with by Eva.)
Did Orban really blow most of the pension money on MOL ? – 9% of GDP?
(With 99% decrease in profits and big lay-offs – a real disaster.)
Not a pretty picture.
http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/details/125111/
Regards
Charlie

Thanks for the Panarmenian connection. Interesting reading. It makes Fidesz attacks on Bajnai based on some goose-scandal somewhat ridiculous.

Also interesting to note that the article does not mention Gazprom–a major Putin resource–which owns Mol. Of course, Russia is a strong backer of Armenia.

petofi
Guest
oneill : “Those intellectuals and professionals who seem to be worried about the rule of law, democracy, and human rights are on the wrong track because most of the electorate are worried about their own material well-being” Not any less true for its cynicism. Perhaps in one or two Budapest districts will folk in any numbers vote on the issue of Orban’s assault but the vast, vast majority will look at the promises of the parties and see how much they can gain personally financially from their election. The rape of the independent media and the judiciary- no one cares and it will not be a factor one way or the other in determining whether the Fuhrer gets to continue his reign. A promised extra couple of thousand forints in the typical voter’s back pocket may well win it for the MSZP, if the working class get the luxury of a vote this time. Forget anything tricky like policy or a truly apolitical strategy to get the corrupt, incompetent morons flushed out of the country’s political and economic elite (mainly because the MSZP will be flooding those elite with their own corrupt and incompetent morons). Forget any kind of long-term… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!

“Perhaps there is a threshold of learning and sophistication necessary for any Democracy to take root and work? – Petofi.

See above:

(Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. – Roosevelt)

Regards

Charlie

Kingfisher
Guest

When I see reports like this, Orbán inaugurating a Turul bird statue (http://index.hu/belfold/2012/09/29/orban_uj_torvenyek_vilaga_kozeledik/), it makes the impotence, cowardice and incompetence of MSZP all the more maddening.

Dubious
Guest

To be fair, the MSZP strategy document doesn’t seem to be trying to lay out a blueprint for government, but how to win an election. Which is not wrong – maybe they will have another document for government. And they are right that they won’t win the election on “intellectual issues”.

But to introduce, or even raise the spectre of reintroducing, ridiculously high tax rates gives Fidesz an instant point to attack. Still I meet people who say the only good thing Fidesz did was lower the tax rates. Fidesz are a bunch of vengeful, criminal buffoons who have done incredible harm to Hungary. But if MSZP are going to introduce 60% tax rates, I don’t know for whom I’d be voting.

Jano
Guest

Eva: “In that case people’s trust in politics will again receive a severe blow.”

Exactly my point. This is the old recipe, the goal is the power and once we have it we’ll do something with it, but it doesn’t really matter what as long as we have it. Also 75% of tax on the anybody ever?? Are these guys insane?

Jano
Guest

“And what is amazing is that every day he is capable of coming out with even stupider remarks than the day before.”

I’m not sure if there are still different categories of levels of stupidity where he is. World of new laws is coming… I thought it has already been on in the past two years…

Jano
Guest

“I assume that talk about the really, really rich! At least I hope so.”

Or they have absolutely no idea, but it sounds good as a populist message…

Sackhoes Contributor
Guest

My hope for 2014 is a new, centrist, pragmatist political movement/party that would contain people from both the left and the right. It could include people like Zsigmond Jarai and Gergely Prohle from Fidesz and most definitely Gordon Bajnai as an independent. As long as it would not include in its name the word “socialist” and would not be endorsed by Gyurcsany, it could attract the more centrist faction of Fidesz, the socialists and – most importantly – a large chunk of independents, who today find themselves outside the tent.

Kingfisher
Guest

The problem with that is Jarai is too deeply compromised by Fidesz’s shady business world to ever be able to stand against them. The same is probably true of Prohle (but I don’t know that).

Member
Eva S. Balogh : Kingfisher : When I see reports like this, Orbán inaugurating a Turul bird statue (http://index.hu/belfold/2012/09/29/orban_uj_torvenyek_vilaga_kozeledik/), it makes the impotence, cowardice and incompetence of MSZP all the more maddening. And what is amazing is that every day he is capable of coming out with even stupider remarks than the day before. I’m getting very pessimistic about this. We are underestimating Orban’s skills to “feel” what the majority wants to hear. I’m afraid he is saying this because he knows this sells. He is playing on the “no need for sacrifice or hard work – you only need a strong hand” sentiment. I think the sad news is this. To fully oppose this nationalistic, turul-holy-crown excrement tauri is not a good platform. Parties outside the FIDESZ and the Jobbik have to start growing their Kover mustache. I have the feeling we are waiting for an intellectual revolution in Hungary that will not happen. Just look around. Talk to the average Joe. We have to try to beat populism with populism. I know this is a slippery slope and also can backfire if you overdo it. Many of their views are unacceptable – but we need to start clapping… Read more »
Sackhoes Contributor
Guest

^There is hardly anyone in Hungary who is not compromised, one way or another. I cite Jarai and Prohle because in the last year or so they voiced criticisms o the Orban policies. Orban is too locked in with Matolcsy and can not make a major course correction, but there must be a group of people who would be willing to male a break to the middle.

Dubious
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
The problem is that it is not enough to win the elections. The French Social Democrats also promised no austerity program and yesterday they had to cut expenditure radically. The high tax rate for the rich also came from the French socialists. They talked about a tax rate of 75%. I wonder what’s happened on that front.
What I’m getting at is that it might happen to MSZP what happened to Gyurcsány in 2006. In that case people’s trust in politics will again receive a severe blow.

Éva, I completely agree. I hope that they pull their socks up and start to at least come up with some responsible policies for government. But before then, they have to get into government, and this document won’t do that either. Also, I think MSZP are underestimating the negative feelings towards them out there in voterland.

szerkesztoseg
Guest

Kedves Eva sajnos nem talaltunk e-mail elerhetoseget az oldalon, szeretnenk onnel felvenni a kapcsolatot,megkoszonnenk ha kuldene egy levelcimet. Udvozlettel

Guest

London Calling!

O/T

The German courts have upheld the Roman Catholic Church’s actions withdrawing burial services etc from Roman Catholics nominating away their hypothecated tax back to the state.

I feel another court challenge coming on! – Now that the connection has been made between ‘services’ and nominal ‘payments’ – then surely these services should attract VAT? Say €10 per communion, €500 for a wedding, €400 for a funeral – plus VAT.

Should raise a decent amount of tax revenue.

I think RC’s in Germany should opt for a ‘green’ burial – a cardboard coffin, under a tree – in one of their splendid forests. I’m sure their God would look favourably on such an act.

Would make a change from all those cheap plastic statues and artefacts that ‘church shops’ sell – and might stop all those ‘weeping’, ‘bleeding’ and ‘swaying’ Virgin Mary statues that cash-strapped villages dream up for gullible ‘pilgrims’.

I hope the German boycott gains momentum until the Roman Catholic hierarchy opens up all their files in a genuine effort to come clean – compared with their the damage limitation exercises to date.

I am quite surprised how Hungary has remained ‘clean’ in this scandal – if it has.

Filthy priests – Filthy lucre.

Regards

Charlie

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