Is democracy a useless slogan in Hungarian political discourse?

I’m pretty sure that all of you have heard over and over from friends and acquaintances that no party that talks too much about the importance of democracy in Hungary can possibly win an election. People are disappointed in democracy, which only brought them misery, a drop in living standards, and systemic corruption. Some commentators go even further: the Hungarian people have always been conservative, bordering on a fascination with the far right, and therefore no party on the left can ever win an election. These are the statements I would like explore in this post.

As things stand now, the best recipe for electoral success seems to be unbridled nationalism and the hatred of strangers. At least this was what brought back into the fold at least half a million voters who had abandoned Fidesz during the fall of 2014 and the spring of 2015. But that strategy has been trademarked by Fidesz, and the pitiful imitators on the left only make themselves ridiculous by trying to repeat the worn-out nationalistic phrases coined by the “parrot commando.” Fidesz voters will not be impressed by politicians of the small democratic parties who feel compelled to add the adjective “Hungarian” every time they utter the word “people.” This road leads nowhere.

Another possible way to tilt the odds in favor of the political forces on the left is to offer an immediate financial reward to the state employees—doctors, nurses, teachers—who at the moment are on the lowest rungs of the pay scale. Lately the socialist party (MSZP) has been trying out this tactic, without much success. The apathetic populace no longer believes that their living standards will change for the better any time soon, and they no longer believe politicians’ promises. Moreover, as we know from past experience, a one-time large increase in wages can be forgotten by the electorate within months.

So, let’s go back to the original statement about the alleged hopelessness of winning an election in Hungary in the name of democracy and social justice. I would like to argue against the proposition that the failure of the democratic opposition is due to their emphasis on democracy, which has lost its appeal in the eyes of the electorate. Of the five parties on the left, it is Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Demokratikus Koalíció (DK) that places the greatest emphasis on the necessity of restoring democratic norms. Gyurcsány finishes every speech with a call for a return of the Third Republic, which basically means a restoration of the pre-2010 period. And yet DK is the only party that has been able to grow steadily, to the point that its level of support practically equals that of MSZP, which has fluctuated between 16% at its height in 2013 and its current 10%. If the mention of the word “democracy” was such poison for a party, then DK should have remained on the level of Együtt (Together) and PM (Dialogue), with 1% support each. Surely, it is not a party’s devotion to democratic values that makes a party successful or unsuccessful.

The structure and leadership of a party is, in my opinion, a much more important factor, and here DK is in a better position than MSZP. Critics rightly point out that DK is so closely associated with Ferenc Gyurcsány, as Fidesz is with Viktor Orbán, that if either of them suddenly disappeared their parties would most likely collapse. However, having one person whose standing within the party is unquestioned lends strength and stability to a political organization. There seems to be solid cohesion in the top leadership of DK as opposed to MSZP, where József Tóbiás has many secret and not so secret critics within the party and where there is no coordinated policy to deliver a common message.

In addition to the personnel problems in MSZP there is an unfortunately obvious hesitancy when it comes to determining the kind of policy the party should follow. MSZP often behaves in a cowardly fashion. Every time they think that a Fidesz proposal might be popular with their electorate they feel compelled to vote for the bill. One might call such behavior pragmatic, but it is unprincipled, and my guess is that what the anti-Orbán electorate would like to see is a sure-footed opposition instead of a party that offers half-measures. This kind of brave, uncompromising attitude might be the key to a party’s success between now and the next election.

And that leads me to Ferenc Gyurcsány’s twelfth speech on “the state of the nation” on January 23. Practically all commentators touched upon the harshness of his criticisms. He described today’s Hungary as a country divided between “the few who live in great style and who are becoming rich as a result of corruption and those toiling multitudes without hope.” In his opinion “a criminal gang that is headed by the prime minister, masquerading as politicians, runs the country.” One cannot possibly more harshly and aptly describe what is going on in Hungary today.

DK's party program will be called "Hungary of the Many"

DK’s party program will be called “Hungary of the Many”

Gyurcsány is ready to take unpopular stands. For example, the refugee issue. MSZP last summer criticized the government’s anti-refugee policies, but by end of September they changed tactics. The MSZP caucus abstained when the question of the army’s participation in building the fence that kept migrants out of the country came up for a vote. They called their new strategy “positive neutrality.” Gyurcsány criticized MSZP at the time, and even today he is unwilling to abandon his belief that Hungary would benefit from a well-regulated immigration policy that would allow a certain number of immigrants to settle in the country. Fidesz immediately announced that Gyurcsány is dangerous.

DK’s motto is “no compromise with the government under any circumstances.” The question is whether such an unbending attitude will be more successful than MSZP’s hesitant and vacillating approach. Only time will tell.

January 25, 2016
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spectator
Guest

“DK’s motto is “no compromise with the government under any circumstances.” The question is whether such an unbending attitude will be more successful than MSZP’s hesitant and vacillating approach.”

If we are look at it from the point of possible success there is not much to go for, particularly if one look at the results of the latest elections.
At the other hand this is the only clear and straightforward statement from any of the players over there. Furthermore, Gyurcsány never changed sides or ideology, remember! When he couldn’t agree with his party he left, but did not changed.
Here I don’t talking about agreeing with his every step, but I do talking about a character with self-esteem and a spine.
Who knows? May come the time when people start to appreciate the straight and honest talk — for a change.

Otherwise I totally agree with him regarding the above quote.
One don’t negotiate with the plague, but eliminate it.
Let’s clean out this filth as well, for good!

Observer
Guest

“DK’s motto is “no compromise with ….” The question is whether such an unbending attitude will be more successful … ”

Agree, particularly as there is no any real choice here. Orban has proven time and again that he understands only force; he spelled it out for you: discussion, reasoning, consensus are a waste of time in his view.

The choice is to submit to a ruinous dictatorship or fight a cold civil war and to try to crash through. The latter requires leaders like Gyrcsány, Kuncze or Horn or better, leaders who can hit back at and keep fighting the Orban mafia.

And please all remember that in the course of a battle the philosophical and theoretical issues are definitely not first priorities, so, given the opportunity kick Orban in the groin, so to speak and sort out the detailed settings of democracy when it is reloaded.

marton
Guest
Right now the gravest threat to what little is left of democracy in Hungary is the proposed sixth amendment to the farcical Basic Law. This amendment would give the government the power to declare a state of emergency without parliamentary authorization in the event of an unspecified terror threat and confer an unparallelled range of powers on the government (including the power to close the borders, to shut down the internet, etc.). Although passage of the amendment would require a two-thirds supermajority support in parliament and Jobbik has already indicated that it won’t support the amendment in its current form, Jobbik’s foot-dragging may well turn out to be mere theater. In fact, even without Jobbik’s support, the amendment may pass if only a handful of opposition MPs are not present when the proposal is put up for vote. Day by day DK emits a stream of communiqués on every imaginable issue, from corruption scandals down to the idea of national alcohol stores. On the sixth amendment, however, DK has shown a deafening silence. To the best of my knowledge, Gyurcsány has not had a word to say about the proposed amendment and DK did not support the Sunday demonstration against… Read more »
AnAn
Guest

I generally agree with Eva’s opinion on DK, but there is one thing I don’t like about this Gyurcsany speech. What’s up with all those flags behind Gyurcsany? I see that the EU flag is also there, but why follow Orban’s obsession of displaying a bunch of flags on pictures? I’m sure there is another way of displaying both the national flag and the EU flag in a tasteful manner.

Guest

It’s a football thing!

Ron
Guest

AnAn I thought the same way, until I went to the Facebook account of DK, and there they stated that they did this for the last twelve years.

Via Google I noticed via image this is indeed the case. But they always do the Hungarian and EU flag (and not only Hungarian flag, and a limited number of flags)

AnAn
Guest

Ron, thanks, very interesting! I never noticed that. It’s not an imitation then… Still, this image is so much associated with Orban now (of course, without the EU flags), that it may be a good idea to come up with a different background.

Guest

AnAn January 25, 2016 6:17 pm

The alternate Hungarian and EU flags behind Gyurcsany is a political statement.

The Hungarian flags behind Orban is a peacock tail.

Have a look:
http://budapestbeacon.com/news-in-brief/eu-funds-used-to-subsidize-pro-government-broadcasters/31385

Member
The state of the country is reflecting the choice of the voting population. They elected the Fidesz and the felcsuti viktor TWICE in a row. If the choice brings suffering, poor living conditions, corruption, dictatorship, then it is what they voted for. They saw what the Fidesz is all about between 2010-2014 and even in their first time around. One has to suffer the consequences of his/her choice and actions, so it is well deserved, what the people are getting. Those who did not vote for the Fidesz or anyone for that matter, deserve it also, since they are helpless and inactive, they are not willing to defend their rights, they are not willing to put in the time and effort to organize effective opposition. When the population will become active, perform better, become more democratic minded, less racist, less anti-Semitic, when they demand truth, honor from their candidates and themselves, demand open, transparent government, when themselves behave the same way, then the candidates can be better quality. The quality of political candidates reflects the average quality of the politically active population. \”Every nation has the government which it is fit for.\” (Joseph de Maistre) This Fidesz government is what… Read more »
Guest
Re: \’Hungarians must change a lot and for the better, before they can find among themselves better qualified people for a better government\’ I\’d think they can do it. But it will take a great deal of concerted effort. Orban, who is steering the \’team\’ , has moved the goalposts. To bring back \’democracy\’ now would seem to involve a whole new set of strategy and tactics from the point of view of the opposition. How can anything happen if the opposition parties cannot \’connect\’ with its opponents in some sort of dialog or coalition? If there is to be a refashioning of power and a change in how politics goes on day to day it will never occur without incumbents realizing it may just be in their interest as well to see the change. And that lies in the skill of the opposition. I\’d think it is firmly upon leaders of the parties to effect the linkup. I know Mr. Gyurcsany isn\’t the fab fellow of the month for Fidesz but I\’d think if he wants to get going and move things along he will have to step up big time. Leaders lead and pull. They are the locomotives… Read more »
Guest

”They saw what the Fidesz is all about between 2010-2014 and even in their first time around. ”

They had never learned how to make sense of what they saw, and they still haven’t. It is not their fault. The fault is with the opposition politicians who were bickering in stead of educating the electorate in democratic principles.

”…so it is well deserved, what the people are getting.”

It is the victim’s fault, isn’t it?

spectator
Guest

“It is the victim’s fault, isn’t it?”

Well, bending over willingly, smiling, cheering and thanking to the perp hint something along these lines.
Although, they didn’t even consider themselves as victims, but the only dedicated defenders of “christian values”, whatever that supposed to mean nowadays in Hungary…

Guest
London Calling! With my background I can only say one thing. It has to be democracy. I’m sure being kicked out of the EU will be a National Catharsis – but the timing has to be right. The other members who don’t get democracy have to go too. Turkey has excluded itself for decades yet. OK if the only mechanism available to retrieve the situation is the revoking of voting rights and withholding of funds then so be it. The net contributors won’t tolerate the net receivers and their opportunist money-grabbing ways – and corruption – for much longer while waiting for never-ending reform. Hungary hasn’t experienced democracy yet – and when Orban has ground the weary people down – and then Jobbik have had their turn, the people of Hungary will be ready to try democracy again if they want it. When their current choice of ‘government’ has fully wrecked the economy and health and education are busted – the people of Hungary will understand the power of their vote – and the responsibility they have for creating a society for everyone and their children. Everyone. With the help of a more vigilant EU – more prepared to defend… Read more »
Guest

Don’t hold your breath, Charlie.

It’s a cultural thing, a matter of where the political comfort zone is.

Make no mistake, Fidesz is the most popular political party, Jobbik the next most popular, whilst DK is the voice only of an insignificant and uninfluential minority of left-liberal intellectuals in Budapest, albeit a voice of sanity in a wilderness of corruption, total absence of constitutional checks and balances, and nationalist bluster.

Hungarians are besotted with conspiracy theories, antisemitism and xenophobia, and there is no place for liberal democratic values in their minds, and never have been since loosing WW1 and copping Trianon.

I myself would not hold my breath about this situation ever changing there.

Because it is a cultural thing, a matter of mentality and the political comfort zone that follows from these for the vast majority of Hungarians.

Guest

And by the way, so go the living standards in Hungary too, a subject that I raised in some previous comments of mine.

The low living standards of the majority of Hungarians and the four million beggars living there under the poverty line are not divinely ordained nor immutable.

That situation is a creation of Hungarians themselves, of their mentality, cultural proclivities and socio-political comfort zones.

Next door Austria does not appear to have any of these chronic economic ailments, and Hungary could have done a heck of a lot more to catch up with the Austrians, if they really put their minds to it.

But they didn’t.

And Singapore, Israel, Taiwan or South Korea have been able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps from starting points a lot more adverse than Hungary’s starting point had been 25 years ago.

No, Hungary’s economic miseries are entirely self-made, a direct result of mentality, cultural proclivities and socio-political comfort zones.

Guest

Bálint January 25, 2016 8:16 pm
I have never heard about comfort zones before. I have googled it and the answers were mostly about cosmetics. Since you use it twice in this comment you must be sure about its meaning, or maybe you want to give it a meaning by using it. What is it?

Guest

We seem to bandy about “democracy” and “democratic” as though rule by the people was the be all and end all.

What we ought to be saying instead, is “LIBERAL democracy” and “LIBERAL democratic,” because “liberal” is the key, and without “liberal”, democracy simply devolves to crude and rude unchecked majority rule.

As was for instance the case with the Islamist “democracy” that Egypt became during the so-called “Arab spring.”

In sharp contrast, a LIBERAL democracy has three inviolable and sacrosanct, thus indispensable defining characteristics:

1. The rule of law.
2. Constitutional checks and balances, together with strict division of powers.
3. Respect and support of minorities, minority opinions and minority interests.

That is the be all and end all, which we can easily loose sight of, while bandying about “democracy” and “democratic” without due emphasis on its “liberal” essence.

Guest

And “rule of law” is of course not simply rule by ANY law hastily concocted by lawyers in a political party with two thirds parliamentary majority, so as to suit whatever the immediate convenience might be of that party’s vested interests, as in Hungary today.

That is not “rule of law” as conventionally understood, but in fact a state of lawlessness that would be totally illegitimate in more civilized political environments, a legislative regime, whereby Orbán and his mafia cronies become THE law, not unlike the state ruled by Louis XIV, regarding which he famously declared that “L’État, c’est moi!”

LwiiH
Guest

In my opinion, people under estimate the effects self censorship in the press and the inability to conduct real investigative reporting. ATV is simply not a channel many people turn to and the stories, if they carry any weight at all, do not end up in main stream media as they only take stories from the media authority. I find it interesting how the western press routinely destroys any Hungarian politician that dares speak to them where as in Hungary they get treated with kids gloves and the opposition is almost completely ignored.

Eva, congrats on hitting the 3001st posting. This is an amazing accomplishment for even the most seasoned journalist. I’m not sure people truly understand what it takes to day in and day out write one hitting piece after another… Truly amazing.

Guest

Re: \’I find it interesting how the western press routinely destroys any Hungarian politician that dares speak to them where as in Hungary they get treated with kids gloves and the opposition is almost completely ignored\’

And that situation also looks like developing personal self-censorship. It\’s the invisible leash on the leaders. And if the all important media outlets get more and more out of reach well graffiti might be the only form of expressing free speech. The \’opposition\’ then should keep the till filled to pay the tickets. Under the ridiculous media circumstances it just may be the only way to go to get the messages out.

Guest

You know what I have feared for quite a while is the fact that the country is slowly disengaging itself from ‘democratic’ outlooks on the political process. The longer they go on with ‘illiberalism’ the more they will even know less how to comport themselves in a democratic framework. If you don’t use it you lose it. The country looks to follow Russia if things keep going the way they are. Apparently there are other things besides democracy that are more comforting to a nation and its people.

Guest

Mike?

I’ve refrained from ever using the word ‘liberal’ in relation to Hungary.

It has become corrupted to mean everything bad in a universal political lexicon when used by Hungarians.

It is used deprecatingly by ‘everybody’ to mean: ‘dirty jew’ – communism – Roma – capitalism – homosexual – foreign – and God knows what.

Whereas in the West it means humanitarian, equal, LGBT, caring, diversity and a decent society.

Several words have been corrupted but none more so than ‘liberal’

Guest

Of course – this is why Orban wears ‘illiberal’ like a badge of honour – it means the exact opposite to what it means in the West.

To be illiberal in the West means to be intolerent.

Many Hungarians and Orban don’t realise how ‘illiberal’ in connection with Hungary in news headlines is such a deprecating label.

But inside Hungary they’re proud.

Istvan
Guest
In relation to the the refugee issue. MSZP has flip flopped on the fence and calling it “positive neutrality” and that just seems foolish. But to admit you are wrong is also of value in a democracy. Like it or not Orban has been proven correct that the refugee crisis was not some small thing that could easily be absorbed by Europe. Unless the EU and possibility NATO create serious border security this spring the crisis will be right back to where we were in August and September. In that case at least Orban has his fence. Gyurcsány’s concept of a well-regulated immigration policy for Syrians, North Africans, and Afgans is the most absurd idea imaginable. What sane refugee would settle in a county with Hungary’s social welfare benefit system? I doubt the average refugee would want to immigrate to Bulgaria either. Moreover it has been months since September when Gyurcsány accused the TEK and the Orban government of staging the attack on the refugees at the Serb border crossing. He has not been able to bring forward even one member of the national police or Hungarian Army to testify that the beatings were premeditated from orders on high, no… Read more »
petofi
Guest

The Felcsutian’s genius for feeding into the national predilection for self-pity is the source of Viktor’s success. Everything can be explained away as the acts of Hungary’s enemies, hence the great alliance with Germany in war II becomes, under Fidesz’s re-tweaking, the ‘coercion’ of Hungary. There’s now a statue to prove it.

It’s high time that bloggers come to realize that the populace is not ‘confused’, nor innocent, of the present predicament. They like to be described as such to avoid responsibility of what’s taking place.

Guest

@petofi
Today 1:51 am

Exactly.

petofi
Guest

Hungarians like to have Your cake…and eat it too.

webber
Guest

Petofi, that type of Hungarian certainly exists in many forms – it would be silly to deny it. Some of the worst these days are the sort who sell other people’s daughters and sons into sex slavery abroad.
There are plenty of decent Hungarians, too, though. What would you recommend to them?

petofi
Guest

When Nelson Mandela took power one of his earliest projects was “Truth and Reconciliation”–you had to admit the past in order to get past it. Hungary’s gorilla-in-the-closet is what the country did to its jews in 1944–sent 400,000 more to Auscwitz than the nazis asked for; and then, for good measure, passed a law that neighbours could put a claim on the jewish neihbours’ goods…as if they weren’t people with relatives who might have rights.

So, what to do?
Go into every grade school and high school and admit what Hungary had done in 1944. And resurrect the rights of Hungarian jews as full citizens and not “Israelites”.
Let me add that, at the same time, similar programs must be done by the churches of Hungary.

That’s a start.

webber
Guest

OT – Hungary’s health care is reaching new lows. Now the heating is not working properly in Budapest’s Szent Margit Hospital. The maximum (!) temperature measured in some post-op wards is 18c., or about 64f. Patients have been told to bring their own heaters, and extra blankets.
In almost all hospitals, patients are expected to bring towels, toilet paper, kleenex, soap, and for operations they may be given lists of medical supplies that will be needed. They are also expected to “tip” (bribe) medical personnel for proper treatment (pain medicine delivered in good time, regularly changed sheets, that sort of thing). So, I guess supplying an oil heater and bringing blankets is no big deal…

Szőke
Guest

webber, c’mon, this is the fault of the communists and Gabor Demszky. Don’t blame the government for this too. The leftist liberals governed for 8 years and before 1990 for another 45 years, one cannot expect results overnight. And how do you expect Orban to get results when his administration is still full of leftist saboteurs who hold up reforms? How? Orban is working tirelessly but the lower level apparatchiks are corrupt and do everything to prevent Orban from succeeding. Orban needs more legal powers because the communists and the liberals are extremely resilient.

Bowen
Guest

Did you turn up just to prove Petofi’s statement correct? If so, well done to you.

“The Felcsutian’s genius for feeding into the national predilection for self-pity is the source of Viktor’s success. Everything can be explained away as the acts of Hungary’s enemies […] the populace is not ‘confused’, nor innocent, of the present predicament. They like to be described as such to avoid responsibility of what’s taking place.”

webber
Guest

Bowen, I think you are right – this is a case of a lie being told without the batting of an eye by someone who not only knows he is lying, but knows that the people he is lying to know he is lying as well: this is unique to Hungarians of a certain sort, in my experience – it’s something this Hun. government has perfected. I have never met anything like it anywhere else in the world, and I have been in plenty of countries.
The saddest thing about it is that these people have no idea how awful it makes them appear when they do it in English. They think that being caught lying is no big deal – they shrug, and think “well, it didn’t work.” Everywhere else in the world, a liar is hated for being a liar. This sort of Hungarian thinks a liar is clever, and to be admired.
Thank GOD there are also honest Hungarians out there, though quite apparently there are none in this government.

Guest

@webber
Today 6:44 am

Webber, are you sure that Szőke is not tongue in cheek? Where is your sense of humour?

webber
Guest

Where’s the slightest sign that he is tongue-in-cheek?
I’ve met all too many people who speak that way without the slightest sense of irony.
He should give us a clue if he’s making a joke. I don’t think he is.

Guest

Astonishing!

This is called swallowing it hook line and sinker – Orban’s propaganda that is.

The result of a caged opposition and state media.

Guest

Unless Szoke’s post is an irony..

My ‘sarcasm detector’ twitched but eventually settled on ‘genuine propaganda’ – but the ‘paid troll’ LED flashed.

webber
Guest

Szőke, come on…. Don’t play the fool.
Orbán and crew have been in power for SIX YEARS now, and you want to blame the previous governments? (which include one Orban govt., by the way!). Do you want me to list – relatively – how much less this Orban government is spending on health care than its predecessors, or do you know?
Look for yourself here:
http://www.hazaeshaladas.hu/ftp/kozoskassza2012_egeszsegugy_public.pdf

webber
Guest

Orban’s administration is “full of leftist saboteurs”??? How did that happen, hmmm? Where I am, to get the smallest job in the local Fidesz admin you need backing from a Fidesz Party member! And I mean down to the level of cleaning ladies!

Observer
Guest
Democracy is the imperfect but only system that consistently delivers better life – a look around easily proves the point. This is the message to hammer relentlessly. Denying it is just smoke blowing into Hungarians’ eyes (mudding the water) to conceal wicked intentions/deeds – VO is the perfect example. He realizes that many cheated voters will realize that “a criminal gang …. masquerading as politicians, runs [and robs] the country.”, and doesn’t want another fair and free election. Too early to tip the 2018 “elections”, so the opposition has to continue fighting, because an economic crisis would topple the Potyomkin façade, the mismanagement and increasing poverty, the regime’s corruption, tricks and repressions may open many a fool’s eyes. Remember, in 1989 voters didn’t know or care much for anything, but to vote the communists out. Contrary to the common fallacy, the standards of living have improved dramatically since 1989 as consumption statistics show (although not in a straight ascending line; actually falling now). Hungary however has been slipping behind and faster now under the Orban regime. Democracy, brains and work are indispensable for progress, the “unorthodox ways” heralded are just a gypsy boy blowing smoke…
Istvan
Guest

Csaba Károlyi the editor of Hungarian literature was interviewed in this article http://nol.hu/kultura/mindenkinek-egy-szavazata-van-1586375 He discussed modern Hungarian writers and the quality of the authors, but then he is asked why in Hungary is an author who sells only a few thousand books considered a hit? His answer reveals a lot about the state of deprivation in Hungary (my translation):
“Because of the potential readers do not have money. The university students, intellectuals can not buy books…”

webber
Guest

Istvan
School teachers, university teachers, and university students used to be given money to purchase books. School teachers also got funds to buy clothing. All that is long gone – done away with well before this government came to office. Wages in education are indeed so low that they only cover living expenses. There’s nothing left for luxury items like books.

bimbi
Guest
“IS DEMOCRACY A USELESS SLOGAN IN HUNGARIAN POLITICAL DISCOURSE?” I have to admit that when I looked at the title of today’s blog, I sighed and moved on elsewhere. After all, the only and the simple answer is “YES”. Democracy is a useless slogan in today’s Hungarian political discourse. Yet one must ask, if this is so, something must be terribly wrong in Hungarian political life. The present government goes to great length, including the free use of internet comment trolls, to assert its “democratic” credentials. Typical is the cry at election time that they put out in defense of the appearance and funding of a multiplicity of opposition-imitative parties in order to confuse the electorate and bring the process into disrepute. Typical is the protests about the crudely restrictive media law which involved hounding Klub Radio almost into bankruptcy so that its voice is heard nowhere else in the country except Budapest – “We have a free media” they say, lying through their teeth. Typical is the recent sale of Hungarian land to Fidesz insiders (Lazar’s family, Taborcz’s family etc), land that is either paid for with corruptly-acquired money or will be so paid for. But one need not… Read more »
Guest

@bimbi
Today 8:58 am

Bimbi, don’t hold your breath, it won’t happen, not in this decade, not in the next, and not in the one after that either.

It’s all a matter of the mentality, cultural proclivities and political comfort zones of the vast majority of people in Hungary.

And those do not promise any good.

As far as I am concerned, it’s best to let them cook in their own juice, that way they might wake up to themselves in a century or two.

Observer
Guest

@Bimbi

Democracy is not a useless slogan – this is what the regime is trying to make it, but with mixed success.

The message to hammer relentlessly is that, ideology aside,
Democracy is the only system that consistently delivers better life – a look around easily proves the point.
Denying it is just smoke blowing into Hungarians’ eyes (mudding the water) to conceal wicked intentions/deeds – VO is the perfect example.

Suffering doesn’t preclude democracy, after all even in Hungary there was democracy for 21 years, imperfect as it was. Orban failed in his efforts first time round, but with better preparation, a severe recession in 2008/9 and some luck he got the opportunity and demolished it in 2010-12.

bimbi
Guest

As an example of “for the people, by the people, of the people” government legislation may I commend the following article on Clem Atlee and the National Health Service in 1948 war-torn Britain by Harry Leslie Smith, now in his 93rd year and still an old-style socialist:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/26/doctor-nhs-postwar-britain-mental-health

Guest

Today my wife got a letter telling her how “much” pension she gets this year and her sister called too about this. Now let’s look at the numbers:

One gets “almost” 80 000 HUF a month after having worked at a state office for more than 40 years, the other who was a teacher and for 10 years director of a school with 800 children gets less than 110 000.

Now that rings a bell:
“the few who live in great style and who are becoming rich as a result of corruption and those toiling multitudes without hope.”

webber
Guest

Wolfi – the saddest thing about that is 80,000 forints is not considered a bad pension in Hungary. Many, many people are getting far, far less.

Guest

Webber, I know – these are “good pensions” – if you’re married and both get a pension and if you have your own house, don’t have to pay rent, and have a garden with vegetables and a few animals and are healthy enough to work the garden and have children to help and …
Every day we walk by some houses where we think:
Nobody could live here …
For these people “democracy” isn’t relevant at all – and there are more and more of them in Hungary!

Member

LES ALLURES D\’UNE DICTATATURE

Excellent article by Christopher Adam in Hungarian Free Press: \”Viktor Orbán, as Hungary’s lord of life and death\”

Meanwhile Orban’s ministries are bloated, including 740 employees of the Prime Minister’s Office: http://hungarianspectrum.org/2015/10/01/viktor-orbans-new-propaganda-ministry/

And the world keeps watching as Liliputin gets away with everything short (so far, so far as we know) of murder.

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Guest

Somehow typical what’s going on again in Hungary.

Like when the house is ablaze, and the owners debating over what kind of firemen they will allow to save them from being roasted…

Some — the majority —will have them apparently clean and unexperienced, and hope that everything goes well against all odds, because the other get some soot on him, even burned earlier, but learned a lesson and and knows how to handle the situation.
Worsening the dilemma that the new and innocent looking one just nowhere to be seen, but the fire raging high, getting stronger and stronger, obviously with absolutely no respect of the owners problem.

Well, good riddance!
Oh, and don’t forget to even turn regularly as well while roasting, be tender evenly on every side…

Guest

Totally OT – just got a mail from our young ones in Budapest:
Today was very warm and also heavy with smog. The city looked like those crazy photos from Beijing, you could not see the buildings on the other side of the road. And also when I first stepped out of the car in the city center where I had to work a little, the air smelled pretty bad. Like some old factory furnace or similar to that. The kids were staying indoors today also in the kindergarten they said.
What’s the government/the City doing about that?

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