Viktor Orbán’s twenty-year plan: empty promises

Perhaps “narancsblog” was right when he announced that it really doesn’t matter what Viktor Orbán said yesterday in front of invited guests about the state of the country. He is right. It makes no difference. It is also immaterial what the adoring fans of Viktor Orbán thought of the speech. Népszabadság‘s reporter was there, microphone in hand, and asked the same questions he asked a year ago, starting with: “What did you think of the speech?” Not only were the questions the same but the answers were as well: “Everything is wonderful, everything is going in the right direction.” They feel richer than ever and how nice that they will have to pay 10% less for natural gas. Nothing could change their minds. “What about the GDP? What about the drop in real wages? What about unemployment? What about the almost half a million Hungarians who live and work abroad?” The answer: statistics cannot be trusted.

As for the commentators, they couldn’t come up with anything terribly new either. Many labelled Orbán’s speech a pack of lies. They pointed out that Orbán again mixed up two famous Hungarian writers, Géza Ottlik and Sándor Márai, and that he recycled his jokes. They also emphasized that instead of talking about the present that is, let’s face it, unpleasant and even painful, he decided to look back over the past one hundred years and look forward to what will happen in 2030.

Viktor Orbán came out with a most ambitious “twenty year plan” (presumably already being implemented). Even Nikita Krushchev, as we were reminded by Endre Aczél, dared to plan for only seven years when in 1959 he promised that the Soviet Union’s GDP per capita would surpass that of the United States. And then came 1966 and no one remembered his boasting any more. Not only was the plan forgotten, Khrushchev himself was gone.

The slogan that was plastered all over the podium read “Hungary is performing better.” As it turned out in the course of Orbán’s address, this means that in all respects Hungary is doing better now than at any time since 1990. A quick look at economic indicators, however, reveals that actually the opposite is true: Hungary’s economy is in shambles. But then I guess these are just more untrustworthy statistics.

Ferenc Gyurcsány summarized Orbán’s performance in a single phrase: “empty head, empty speech.” Others were even less charitable. A blog writer called him “the national bullshit generator.” Klára Ungár, Orbán’s former friend and colleague in Fidesz, made a witty remark in which she quoted from Erzsi Gazdag, a poet who often wrote children’s verse. One of her best known poems is “A mesebolt,” a store that sells tales:

Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
abban minden mese volt.
Fiókjában törpék ültek,
vízilányok hegedültek.

I’m not going to try to translate it, but basically in that “tale store everything was a tale.” So, in Orbán’s speech there was not word of truth.

Another truckload of political promisesBy les mois de l'année / Flickr

Another truckload of political promises
By les mois de l’année / Flickr

In his brief reference to the last one hundred years he compared Hungary’s situation to an old folk ballad about Mrs. Kelemen Kömíves. A fairly gruesome story about twelve bricklayers who are hired to build the walls of the Fortress of Déva (Deva, Romania). Whatever they build during the day collapses overnight. So, they decide that the first wife who comes to visit will be killed and her ashes will have some miraculous powers to keep the mortar strong. According to Orbán, whatever “our great-great grandparents built was taken away by World War I and the peace (békerendszer) that it brought; what our great grandparents built was taken away by World War II and the system of peace created afterward; what our grandparents and parents built was taken away by the communist system.” The message is that, considering everything, Hungary’s situation is not at all bad. (I don’t know who the sacrificial lamb is supposed to be in this analogy.) I think I should also point out that from Orbán’s grandparents and parents nothing was taken away by the communists. The opposite is true. The Orbán family was a beneficiary of the socialist system.

After spending only a little time on his accomplishments he quickly moved on to his grand design, his “master plan” as he called it. Miracles will take place. By 2030 Hungary will not be financially dependent, although I’m not quite sure what he means by financial independence. The central government will not have to borrow money? Will not have to issue government bonds? Hard to imagine. No country works that way and the country that tried it, I have Romania in mind, had a sorry end. “We will end our energy dependence” by that date. Furthermore, everybody will be saved from “the slavery of indebtedness in foreign currencies.”  The population will stop decreasing. Everybody will find work who wants to live in Hungary. Hungary will be among the thirty most competitive countries in the world. From these sentences it is clear that Viktor Orbán envisages himself as prime minister of Hungary at least for another eighteen years because he and his team will carry out this master plan.

“By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex (a magyar ipart összeépítjük a némettel)…. We will build up ten thousand middle-size companies that will be competitive in the export business. Fifteen to twenty large Hungarian multinational companies will strengthen the global expansion of the Hungarian economy…. Four to five percent of the country’s GDP will be spent on research and development. Several of our universities will be among the top 200 in the world…. The living standards of Hungarian families will surpass the European average. We will achieve all this with carefully prepared plans, with a reorganized state, with committed experts, and with a society that wants and is able to work.

Shortly before Viktor Orbán delivered his speech came the news that the European Commission has its doubts about Hungary’s ability to hold the deficit under 3% in 2013. Commentators tried to guess what the prime minister would say about this piece of news. Would he say anything? Well, he did. Let me quote:

You shouldn’t be troubled by the European Union’s economic prognosis. For example, as far as the budget is concerned not once did they manage to guess it right. We keep fingers crossed that perhaps this time they will manage. We will help them because this year the deficit will again be under 3%.

Of course, what Orbán neglected to tell his adoring audience is that during 2012 the budget had to be rejiggered time and again to remain below the magic 3%. And surely, he didn’t want to tell them that most likely the EU prediction for 2013 is correct and that to remain under 3% new austerity measures will have to be introduced.

But Fidesz supporters can hang on to those twenty-year dreams and sleep unencumbered by the realities of today.

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Paul
Guest

“By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex (a magyar ipart összeépítjük a némettel)…. We will build up ten thousand middle-size companies that will be competitive in the export business. Fifteen to twenty large Hungarian multinational companies will strengthen the global expansion of the Hungarian economy…. Four to five percent of the country’s GDP will be spent on research and development. Several of our universities will be among the top 200 in the world…. The living standards of Hungarian families will surpass the European average. We will achieve all this with carefully prepared plans, with a reorganized state, with committed experts, and with a society that wants and is able to work.”

It’s depressingly ironic how similar these wild promises are to Krushchev’s back in the 60s.

Odd, too, that Fidesz should have chosen orange as their colour, considering the last time mad promises like this were made…

Paul
Guest

By the way, the government’s aim of hitting a 3% defecit target is based on the assumption of a 1% growth in the Hungarian economy this year…

gdfxx
Guest

For those wondering, Deckers Pumping on the picture is a septic tank pumping company in Michigan. This is one of their tanks, I guess returning from a job. For thos who don’t know what a septic tank is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_tank.

It seems to me that Orban did not finish his comparison of Hungary’s contemporary history to the Komives Kelemen ballad. He forgot to add that in order to save the country, he is planning the immurement of the majority of the Hungarian people.

Guest

London Calling!

Orban’s ‘Master Plan’ has parallels with Baldricks’s ‘cunning plan’ in Black Adder – and about as credible.

‘Empty head, empty speech’ – Orban

‘Brain-dead’ – Baldrick (with bad breath coming from Satan’s bottom!)

Baldrick is pure comedy.

Orban is just sad – does he really believe his own bullshit?

Regards

Charlie

Member
Oh, Lord! What a freak show! Dr Schmitt among the “distinguished” guests, greeted by Orban the 5th at the beginning of the speech. How tacky is that? A president (ex Dr) at a party gathering. Only on Planet Hungary Circus. I couldn’t help but notice the differences between Orban’s bullshit galore and the State of the Union address here in the US. Firstly the State of the Union is presented to both sides of the isle, not like this holy mess celebrated to only the faithful believers. But to me the biggest difference is that here in the US, right after the speech, the oppostion has a chance to give a speech about the president’s talk. Orban doesn’t have the balls to allow a rebuttal. What a hero. Not my PM that’s for sure. I friend brought me this week the book professor Balogh was talking about recently. The book about the events of the 2006 demonstrations. I just started it. At the beginning it puts Gyurcsany’s Oszod speech into context and then you can read, unaltered, the whole speech. I mean the second, more emotional speech, the one that had the infamous “we f*d up” part. It’s less talked… Read more »
ambator
Guest

Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
abban minden mese volt.
Fiókjában törpék ültek,
vízilányok hegedültek.

There was once a store of tales,
In it only tales for sales.
In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
water nymphs on viols fiddling.

Member

ambator :
There was once a store of tales,
In it only tales for sales.
In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
water nymphs on viols fiddling.

This is great!

Guest

20 Year plan ?

Much better than the communists – they only had 5 year plans – and we all know how those worked …

Will be back later, have to walk the dog thru the snow now!

Member

An analysis of 10 of Orban’s statements in his “state of Hungary” speech reveals that only 1 of them were completely truthful and most of them were pure lies:

http://tenytar.blog.hu/2013/02/23/hazugsagok_es_nagyivu_igeretek_evet_ertekelt_orban_viktor

I maintain that even the statement judged true (10% decrease in the heating bill) is false for hundreds of thousands of people. The unit price was decreased, but the number of units claimed to be used, never metered, for district heating was increased, resulting in paying more than a year ago.

kkikkj
Guest
Why, of why, do we need to deal with his sh*t? O. will never say anything meaningful publicly, he never opens himself to debate or real interview (especially not to skilled interviewers; perhaps only to some amateurs or Fideszniks), why would anybody expect that he says something on a rainy Friday?? This speech is a (stupid) custom, and obviously older people from the most reliably conservative disctricts I. II. and XII. were in attendance. For those who are not familiar with Budapest’s map, the venue of the speech is located at the intersection three of the most relaibly right-wing electorate: in districts I and XII never in the six democratic elections could a lefty win, in dictrict II. the left won once out of six. This speech was held during a workday, it is quite obvious that only believers will go (I think many were organised by church congregations from the neighbourhood). This is again the power of Fidesz. They force their discourse onto everbody else, who abide, who feel almost obligated to deal with Fidesz and O. They can always count on that. O. says something and everybody else (all media, all pundits) jump on it. Why? I will… Read more »
V14
Guest

The Orban leadership was a stillborn baby. His 1-2 million supporters are morally defective.

The Western political, academic and religious leadership has failed to stop another European derailment.

The stigma will live very long on the pages of the Hungarian and European history.

V14
Guest

kkikkj is our new Petofi. I hope Petofi will regain his voice.

“They force their discourse onto everbody else, who abide, who feel almost obligated to deal with Fidesz and O.”

The FIDESZ has been practicing the usual often tried feature: Teflon Moral like the Reagans, Obamas, Berlusconis, Putins etc.

Another definition is the “stinking mental and financial corruption”.

Guest

London Calling!

Eva, I’m sure the Galamus article demonstrates a deterioration in all or most of the Hungarian indices. Even if I can’t understand Hungarian.

And yet Orban claims that Hungary is doing better than most other EU countries. Still?

Is he claiming (again) that Europe is ‘following Hungary’ in their Economic strategy? – I expect so.

I am visiting Hungary next week – and I already know that the situation as regards living standards, happiness and wanting to leave is dire.

Why is Orban’s rhetoric – lies – allowed to prevail before the election with little contesting of the facts?

The job of the opposition is, yes to unite – but they must find a way to break into the ‘trance of belief’ that Hungarians appear to show.

It will have tragic consequences for life after the election.

Regards

Charlie

Guest

“By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex”

So again it will be the German’s fault if something goes wrong ? Funny and sad …

This BS is too much for me – and probably for every thinking person too. BTW:

Does Orbán write these speeches himself ? If not, who is his ghostwriter ?

Dkif
Guest
I told you it will be unrelenting. I will not repeat the lie, but Antal Rogán of Fidesz said today – and Origo dutifully repeated it, well, I guess just because they have to repeat anything Fidesz says, – that Bajnai will – according to Fidesz – increase personal income tax to a high level (of course they mentioned an exact figure, which I will not repeat). Now, Fidesz knows that people have absolutely no idea what a marginal rate is 8as opposed to an average rate), that they cannot participate in any rational debate about taxes, they just don’t get it, so any idea of a tax increase is terrible. Fidesz increaesed taxes, but neither MSZP nor Bajnia has ever used that opporunity out. Now that taxes have increased, its a past issue, you only care about the future, and you dont want tax increases, right? So, every Sunday (when Bajnai and his Co. are having a rest and have difficulty to reply) Fidesz throws in some lie. They know it’s a lie, but they don’t care (I mean why should they, right?) It is the third higly read item on Origo. Interestingly Index did not mention this piece… Read more »
Member

I wonder if Orban really believes what he says is true? I am serious. Maybe we overestimated him by thinking that he is smart as a fox, and he does this to manipulate. It could be the contrary and he could be so dumb that he thinks he is telling the truth. So, who feeds him with the distorted facts? Follow the money. His inner circle is littered with human garbage, who’s interest is closely tied to Fidesz staying in power. THey will not be able to manipulate an other fool as well as O, as he is truly dumb, opposite to what most believe.

spectator
Guest

CharlieH :
London Calling!
Orban’s ‘Master Plan’ has parallels with Baldricks’s ‘cunning plan’ in Black Adder – and about as credible.
‘Empty head, empty speech’ – Orban
‘Brain-dead’ – Baldrick (with bad breath coming from Satan’s bottom!)
Baldrick is pure comedy.
Orban is just sad – does he really believe his own bullshit?
Regards
Charlie
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bZxHVREdj4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent%5D

If we are at it, Orbán reminds me to another Baldrick classic, the “50% Robin Hood”
– already took from the rich but he didn’t gave to the poor yet…

spectator
Guest

Is there any information available, just who that illiterate moron could be, who actually wrote this speech?

Or the countless others, predating this present little gem..?

In case of doubt, read the thing from the source:
http://www.orbanviktor.hu/beszed/magyarorszag_jobban_teljesit

Sorry, you lucky …hmmm… lot, this is only in Hungarian, and honestly, I envy you out there, who don’t read Hungarian.

Heaven help us!

Paul
Guest

gdfxx :
For those wondering, Deckers Pumping on the picture is a septic tank pumping company in Michigan. This is one of their tanks, I guess returning from a job. For thos who don’t know what a septic tank is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_tank.
It seems to me that Orban did not finish his comparison of Hungary’s contemporary history to the Komives Kelemen ballad. He forgot to add that in order to save the country, he is planning the immurement of the majority of the Hungarian people.

I had to look up “immurement”!

Good word, though.

spectator
Guest

Eva, those speeches just dreadful, when someone has the stomach to read them.

One thing to listen to the voice of that holy man in person and experience multiple – well… – convulsions inducted by overwhelming joy and pleasure, and quite frighteningly primitive when you read it.
It’s an art by itself, by the way: how to pack the crap and garbage as present in order that the receiver will even feel privileged to get it..!

The illustration spot on again!

Guest

Sometimes I feel very happy that I don’t understand too many of the “finer things” in Hungarian language – and my wife won’t translate everything …

PS:

Of course I can read supermarket ads with things like “pay two – take three” but that political crap …

Paul
Guest

ambator :

Eva S. Balogh :

ambator :
Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
abban minden mese volt.
Fiókjában törpék ültek,
vízilányok hegedültek.
There was once a store of tales,
In it only tales for sales.
In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
water nymphs on viols fiddling.

Sándor, you’re a poet! Is that your own?

In my heart, of course, I am a poet, but in this case I merely rose to the bate. Couldn’t resist it.

Gazdag Erzsi:

Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
abban minden mese volt.
Fiókjában törpék ültek,
vízilányok hegedültek.

Öreganyók szőttek-fontak,
apró manók táncba fogtak.
Kaszás pók varrt az ablakban,
lidérc ugrált az udvarban.

A lámpában ecet égett.
Az egylábú kettőt lépett.
Cégére egy tündér volt.
…Ilyen volt a mesebolt.

Googles’s version of the first verse is interesting:

There was once a fairy shop
in all it was fabulous.
Your account has been dwarves,
Water hegedültek girls.

I think I prefer Sador’s translation! Although “fairy shop” is not only more poetic, but probably nearer the truth…

Paul
Guest

wolfi :
“By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex”
So again it will be the German’s fault if something goes wrong ? Funny and sad …
This BS is too much for me – and probably for every thinking person too. BTW:
Does Orbán write these speeches himself ? If not, who is his ghostwriter ?

Wolfi – everthing is the fault of the Germans!

Unless it’s down to the French, of course…

Guest

London Calling!

Ambator! I must congratulate you too! (From an English speaker’s perspective without knowing Hungarian!)

Given that the poem is short – your end result has ended up like a poem in its own right – that is, you can’t tell it is a translation (like you can, very often with translations!) because the narrative flows in a very natural way.

Must be because of your knowledge of English.

Anyway well done and thank you!

Maybe you should tackle some of the other poems that contributor’s drop in on this blog?

Regards

Charlie

ambator
Guest

Thanks very much for the gushing and somewhat overwhelming praise for my humble translation. But as I mentioned above, I merely fell for the challenge. However, as a token of my gratitude, and thanks to Paul for supplying the full text, here is a complete translation:

There was once a store of tales,

In it only tales for sales.

In its drawer dwarves were sitting,

Water nymphs on viols fiddling.

Ancient mommas wove and spun
Tiny cobolds dance and run
Harvest-spider spun web hard
cacodemon jumped in yard

Lamp was lit with vinegar
The lame has strode twice as far
Sign above its door a fairy,
…Thus this store was airy-fairy

petofi
Guest
V14 : kkikkj is our new Petofi. I hope Petofi will regain his voice. “They force their discourse onto everbody else, who abide, who feel almost obligated to deal with Fidesz and O.” The FIDESZ has been practicing the usual often tried feature: Teflon Moral like the Reagans, Obamas, Berlusconis, Putins etc. Another definition is the “stinking mental and financial corruption”. Hi V-14 (Are you a tomato juice?) No, I haven’t lost my voice but their is only so much chewing of cud I can take reading this blog: I’m afraid western-reared minds are just not up to comprehending the full-out duplicity that is the norm for most Hungarians. The idea is to cheat others before they cheat you. Some notion to live life by, huh? Watching Orban’s speech and the attending audience, I saw people who were putting in time secure in the belief that it was little enough to do for their favored place in the Hungarian food chain. What they don’t suspect–and German History, that is, nazi history–would teach you is that eventually you end up being part of the meal. See German industrialists and what they first thought about Hitler. Orban’s ill-intent is palpable. There is… Read more »
Paul
Guest

Strangely, petofi’s posts are instantly identifiable because of the odd way the lines sometimes break in the wrong places. His are the only posts that do this, and it has long intriqued me why this is.

petofi – what is it you’re doing differently??

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