The Bratislava Summit: No “victory lap” for Viktor Orbán

I often stress that Hungarian Spectrum is a cooperative enterprise because we have readers who, in the comment section, carry on an active exchange of ideas. That in turn enriches my own contributions. Here I would like to have a discussion with “István” on Orbán’s chances of success in Bratislava. I, of course, have the massive advantage of hindsight.

Today István, on the basis of preliminary statements ahead of the Bratislava summit, predicted that the meeting in the Slovak capital could be “Orbán’s victory lap.” He cited a report by Népszabadság about the meeting that Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, had had with Viktor Orbán ahead of the summit. According to the article, Orbán in no uncertain terms told Schulz what he thinks of the treatment Hungary receives from the European Union. He demanded greater respect for Hungary. He also accused the European Parliament and the European Commission of “dirty tricks” because they had changed the resolution of the European Council concerning voluntary quotas behind the prime ministers’ backs to compulsory ones. “I asked them not to do that ever again because the nation states cannot accept this.”

István, on the basis of this article, believes that “Orbán effectively, gently lectured the EU” and therefore came out a winner. The trouble with this interpretation is that we don’t know what Orbán said or didn’t say. But I very much doubt that he dared to lie straight to Schulz’s face about the alleged legislative trick of the EP and EC, changing voluntary quotas to compulsory ones. There may have been no “effective and gentle lecture” at all. On the other hand, we know from Schulz himself the deep division between them still exist and he wasn’t impressed by Orbán’s arguments.

István further writes that “Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, has withdrawn his statement on the expulsion of Hungary from the EU.” But this is not quite the case. The foreign minister of Luxembourg didn’t take his words back. After all the criticism he received, he merely told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that his statement “was a wake-up call ahead of the Friday Bratislava summit.” So, if I understand this sentence correctly, it was meant, in fact, as a warning to Viktor Orbán to behave.

I also have a different reading of Donald Tusk’s letter. The sentence about the European Union as “a single state” is utterly meaningless because no such a goal has ever been stipulated in any of the EU treaties. What the member states accepted was “the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen.” Tusk, as president, is fully aware of the true meaning of the concept of “an ever closer union.”

So, why then did he give an utterly false interpretation of the concept of the United States of Europe? I guess because he wanted to calm the nerves of the prime ministers of the East-Central European countries on the future of Europe. It will never be one state, he assured them. Right now the Visegrád 4 prime ministers are demanding a structural change of the EU in favor of the nation states, but any such modification, according to Tusk, “requires a change of attitude of the national governments towards the European Union as such.” To me this is a message to the Visegrád 4 that they are the ones who have to change their attitudes because the current problems have been aggravated by the attitude of people like Orbán, Szydło, and Fico. If you want change, you have to change.

If I understand István correctly, he believes that Orbán and Fidesz have already won their game against the European Union and doesn’t understand why they are so “greatly restrained in proclaiming victory.” He believes that Tusk and Merkel are willing to concede to the demand of Orbán and Co. that decisions should be made only by the European Council. They claim that the European Commission is pursuing an independent policy to which it is not entitled. The trouble with this argument is that it has no basis in fact. Every decision made in the EU must be and is sanctioned by the prime ministers or chancellors of the member states, including Viktor Orbán. He will not be able to go to Bratislava with this accusation because his colleagues would think he has lost his mind. Orbán, Lázár and the rest can tell this fairy tale to the Hungarian people, but they cannot carry this message to an EU summit. The reason for the restraint of Orbán and Fidesz is their knowledge that their chances of winning the game by accusing the Commission of overstepping its prerogatives or ex post facto nullifying decisions voted on by the European Council are nil.

bratislava-castle

So, let’s see what we know so far about what transpired in Bratislava. Beata Szydło was leading the charge of the Visegrád 4 because Poland is currently acting as president of the group. Yesterday she was still rather sure of herself and her cause and even named the culprits of the refugee crisis: Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Martin Schulz. The incompetent politicians who reacted too late to the crisis. Visegrád 4 has the solution: a total change in the very structure of the European Union in favor of the nation states. However, the Poles, as well as the Hungarians, most likely know that they will not succeed against the majority of the member states. In fact, Szydło’s foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, was already talking about “a flexible solidarity,” by which he meant a dispersion of refugees according to the countries’ economic capabilities. He also came up with the idea that those countries that have labor shortage problems should take the bulk of the refugees. Most likely he didn’t realize that in the last few months Hungary, which refuses to take one single person, is suffering from a severe labor shortage and that Mihály Varga, minister of economics, is desperately trying to find guest workers who, of course, are “culturally close to the majority population.” The countries of the Visegrád 4 know that in the end they will have to share the burden of the refugee crisis.

On the basis of Viktor Orbán’s press conference held after the meeting, most commentators decided that Orbán “had lost that game.” He admitted that the participants had made some progress. No one wants to follow the United Kingdom and leave the Union; Bulgaria will get assistance to relieve the immigration pressure from Greece, just as Juncker had promised in his State of the Union speech; the EU will set up refugee hot spots outside the Union that will be defended militarily; and agreement was reached on a timetable: the next meeting will be in Vienna on September 24. Two demands of the Visegrád Group were not met: the promise of a change in the very structure of the European Union was postponed and no drastic change in its immigration policy was adopted. Therefore, Orbán considers the meeting a failure. As he put it: “they still talk more about speeding up the distribution of migrants than stopping them at the borders of Schengen.”

Naturally, Polish Prime Minister Szydło was equally unhappy with the outcome of the meeting on the immigration issue. But she expressed her satisfaction that there was agreement that some changes will have to be made to the structure of the European Union. Although Tusk might have expressed his belief that “giving new powers to European institutions is not the desired recipe,” it doesn’t mean that they will loosen the ties as much as she and Orbán would like. That would be the death knell of a united Europe.

All in all, in my opinion the Bratislava summit was anything but “a victory lap” for Viktor Orbán.

September 16, 2016
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Istvan
Guest

See my last post and the extensive discussion from the Telegraph. It appears as Juncker put in in his State of the EU speech there would be no forced EU quotas. But that was not enough for Orban he actually wants Germany to reduce its acceptance of refugees to end the vacuum effect that he believed was attracting refugees to Europe. Having achieved a great victory on that issue was not enough he wanted even more. Really amazing.

Peter
Guest

Der ungarische Ministerpräsident Viktor Orban bezeichnete das Treffen von Bratislava als Misserfolg. “Er war insofern erfolglos, als dass es nicht gelungen ist, die Einwanderungspolitik Brüssels zu ändern”, sagte der rechts-konservative Politiker.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/news/politik/eu-nach-eu-bratislava-gipfel-viele-fragen-weiter-offen-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-160916-99-472439

webber
Guest

In case Istvan’s German isn’t the best – Orban described the meeting as a failure because he was unable to change immigration policy.

Roderick Beck
Guest

“Forced” is gaming the discussion. The EU will still require something from Hungary, probably in the form of reduced aid. It will be painful to avoid meeting immigrant quotes. The EU moves are always guided by the awareness that bad behavior should not be rewarded because it will cause the Union to unravel. And no one is going to give aid to poor, dysfunctional Eastern Europe societies unless there is reciprocity.

Istvan
Guest
I had to stop writing because I was commuting home. So to continueUltimately Tusk’s letter was a call for a bit of a trade off, a reduction in federalism within the EU and a recognition of the dislike of increased power for the commission coming from the V4 and elsewhere. I posted a link to the letter, it was actually well thought out. The return he wanted from the V4 was solidarity in face of the UK exit. It also appears that Asselborn was pressured to make nice with Orban and largely went along with it to support unity. Really the V4 and Orban got serious concessions. Orban could have consolidated his gains and continued opposing acceptance of refugees now using Juncker’s statement as a basis for that policy. But he and other in the V4 pressed their advantage, we shall see if there is any cost to them for that in the weeks and months to come. There already has been a cost to the appearance of unity the EU was trying to achieve. If Orban’s goal was for Germany to formally set for itself a lower refugee acceptance rate it is not likely he can win that fight… Read more »
webber
Guest

Tusk’s letter was just that. A letter. Not accepted yet by anyone.

But I think you may have misread that letter. In my reading, Tusk’s letter was just a call to slow down or stop the increasing federalization of the EU – not to change anything that already exists.

Something you definitely missed – the agreement to use military forces at the borders of the Schengen Zone. That could be seen as one more step toward a common defense policy and toward a proper EU military force.

If anything, one might argue that the EU actually just got a tiny bit closer to federalization.

webber
Guest

Istvan, I am not the only one to read the news as meaning they have agreed to go forward on deepening the EU through a common defense policy – and this should catch the attention of all NATO members who are not in the EU:

“–member states want to ensure full control of external borders and by the end of the year to have the European Border and Coast Guard fully operational.

In December, leaders are to decide new plans on security and defence cooperation, and see how deeply they can proceed on military cooperation within the existing EU treaties.

At the end of the year, the 27 also plan to seal a deal on the doubling of the investment fund, proposed by EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. In October, they will assess the bloc’s trade policy to provide more protection for European consumers and businesses.

Leaders also decided to send help to Bulgaria to protect its border, and set up an entry-exit system that checks the identity of people before they travel to the EU.”

Story here:
https://euobserver.com/uk-referendum/135130

Roderick Beck
Guest

They did not get anything substantive. You are too wrapped in details. And you clearly the exaggerate of 4 relatively poor Eastern European States. We saw a shift in rhetoric, not substance.

Member

The diminutive Visegrad gang of 4 refugee-countries are expressing, in 2016, precisely the strutting, swaggering pre-WWI/II mentality that the EU was intended to extinguish. What a colossal error it was to admit these primitive, petty “patriots.”

tappanch
Guest

Hungary 2016: if you have an argument with Orban’s daughter’s friend, then Orban’s praetorian guard (TEK) will attack you in your apartment with drawn submachine guns.

http://magyarnarancs.hu/belpol/kommandosok-rohantak-le-az-orban-rahel-vendeglos-ismerosevel-vitaban-allo-ferfi-lakasat-100860

Observer
Guest

The Mafia State for all to see.

Member

“A Zsidai-csoport közleményében kiemeli, hogy 1982 óta dolgozik a Budai Várban, azóta pedig több nemzetközileg elismert éttermet hozott létre a családi tulajdonban álló cégcsoport. ”

So the “investment group” Orban’s daughter worked for has been conducting business in the Castle District since 1982. Let me remind everyone that in 1982 Hungary was ran by Janos Kadar and the Soviets! There is no way that anyone would of been able to conduct any business whatsoever in the Castle District without the direct approval of the communist party! NO WAY!!!!! Orban gave his blessing for his daughter to work for a man who belongs to a group Orban is “fighting against”, the ex communists! Not only that, but under Orban, this person expended his empire! I guess those who know who to support can survive under any circumstances. Although I guess that is the story of the whole Orban clan.

tappanch
Guest

If Orban gets enough votes at his anti-immigrant referendum on October 2nd, he will declare a snap election for early next year to preempt a defeat at the regular 2018 election , said former premier Gyurcsany at a public forum.

http://www.hirado.hu/2016/09/16/gyurcsany-a-nepszavazas-alapot-adhat-egy-elorehozott-valasztasra/

tappanch
Guest

The percentage of “fostered” workers among all “employees” is

Szabolcs: 17%
Borsod: 13%

They get 168 euros a month for 8 hours of work. They are not counted as unemployed in the statistics, and they are intimated into voting the way the ruling party Fidesz wants.

http://168ora.hu/bezarul-kozmunkakor-legszegenyebbek-kihasznalasaval-valasztast-lehet-nyerni/

Guest

And of course this is correlated – there’s a graph about people’s happiness in the different counties:
http://budapestbeacon.com/news-in-brief/clap-your-hands-if-you-feel-that-lifes-been-good-to-you/39108

dos929
Guest

Perhaps the best solution for this EU to counter the ‘V4’ is to turn the table on them. Since the EU regulations don’t allow getting rid of unruly member states, instead the EU should offer them to leave; i.e. ‘like it or lump it’. And if you want to stay then behave like you should in a 21st century democracy. No more acting like the ‘5th column’, no more double-talk, incitement and the likes. Instead of arguing and sweating over the sick ideas of Orban at al, the EU should confront the ‘V4’ with full force expressed in simple terms. It was a mistake to invite en masses these east European countries before they have fulfilled the basic requirements for membership. After all this problem is not a complicated one and could be solved with simple straight talk and actions. Either you comply or not, and if not, goodbye and goodbye to subsidies and common market, just like Brexit…

Jean P.
Guest

“Either you comply or not, and if not, goodbye and goodbye to subsidies and common market, just like Brexit…”

They have too many far right sympathizers in Germany for that to happen.

PortSaid
Guest
The problem is that an average citizen hears more about Orban’s tough talk before the meeting and then right after the meeting (in which press conference he usually lies but that never becomes obvious until perhaps days later when it becomes lost in the news of that day). What happened at such a meeting is never immediately known and thus a politician like Orban has the advantage to quickly spread his own narrative which becomes the received wisdom repeated by the media for days. At no place can one read about Orban’s failure at the Pozsony meeting. His image is still the same, he is the tough defender of Hungary, who tells the Brusslites in the face what they should do (get lost) – however you see we have to understand that he may not always get what he wants because after all the EU has 26 other members and they can push little Hungary down. That’s the narrative he is protecting. So Orban is really managing his reputation (as a “tough politician with a vision”) and he is seemingly succeeding if even people like Istvan believes this narrative. Then think about less sophisticated people who very superficially get involved… Read more »
Istvan
Guest
This article, for those that read Hungarian, http://nepszava.hu/cikk/1106203-orban-viktor-nem-mondott-igazat in Népszava on the EU summit yesterday in Bratislava and Orban’s perspective on it is excellent. The article discusses the reals gains made by the V4 at the summit and just prior to it and how Orban upped the ante in his press conference at the conclusion of the summit. An ante is a forced bet in poker in which all players put an equal amount of money or chips into the pot before the deal begins. I can’t help using gambling analogies because Orban seem to be operating like a political gambler. Népszava correctly notes that on the quota issue the EU had made a significant concession writing [my liberal translation] “quota refugee that allocation issue was barely mentioned (by Orban) In addition, it seems that EU leaders realized the past mistakes and the solutions have taken the path (on that issue). However, the Hungarian prime minister insisted on (repeating) the earlier negative statements made ​​about Brussels. (The EU) council no longer wants to live with rules (practices) that do not have full consensus: “We are committed to finding joint solutions to look for those cases in which we all share”… Read more »
webber
Guest

I read Népszava nearly every day, and consider it very reliable on domestic issues.
But on foreign affairs it is very weak. I doubt it had anybody in Bratislava covering events. I bet it took all its news from MTI.

I’ll go with Süddeutsche Zeitung’s analysis, posted by Peter above.

Istvan
Guest

Really all the sueddeutsche article does is to quote Orban on the failure to achieve his agenda on refugees, I think the Népszava article was more incisive in that it grasps why Orban must claim the EU concessions were inadequate. But as Eva indicated she was interested in different perspectives on what happened in Bratislava and Népszava’s article does do that and is pretty consistent with the way I am reading this.

Guest
London Calling! “But she expressed her satisfaction that there was agreement that some changes will have to be made to the structure of the European Union. “ “An ever closer union means an ever closer union” = “Brexit means Brexit”!!! Two mantras that mean different things to different people – or nothing at all. The EU is suffering ‘entryism’ by the V4 – and if you think Brexit will take a long time then it won’t take longer than with this troublesome brigade trying to sort out the future of the EU – and lying through their teeth that they will join the Euro – a necessity for ‘an ever closer ‘Union’. They want the dosh but will never accept the responsibilities. Ever. It will only dawn on the net contributors when the last Euro has been claimed and the last Euro trousered by the corrupters – mainly the V4 – that peace will never break out in the EU to take on Brexit. And Germany will get fed up with paying out to the ‘Ingratitude 4’ and for the refugee quota. There are already rumblings and it will be a decisive factor in October 2017. Only 54 refugees have… Read more »
webber
Guest

Charlie I am not for Brevenge.
You are insane if you think I am.

webber
Guest

P.S. Why the insults?
Can you explain what there is to negotiate, and how, before the British government presents its plan?

You still haven’t come up with a single good reason not to trigger Article 50 ASAP. Not one.

Why? And why insult me? I asked rational questions. In return, you get abusive? What’s up?

Guest

Apologies, webber – I meant no offence. Sorry.

I know you are not for Brevenge – you have said so several times – it was intended as a humourous swipe!

And the Brevenge factor was an unfortunate juxtaposition – I only included you in the ‘hector’ (bully!) quotient.

So apologies again.

Sorry.

webber
Guest

You are a gentleman.

Guest

There’s a simple reason why article 50 can’t be triggered yet – and you know full well!

Because the Brexiters never expected to win and they had no forward plan in place.

Yes a pathetic non-strategy and a complete mis-read of how disaffected – mainly the North voters – and mainly disaffected Labour voters – were.

Only now is a plan being devised and we need time. And with a ‘tripartite’ Brexit team it will take a long time – Brilatory progress!

However the agreed rules are that the leaving-member triggers article 50 and we will do it in our own good time.

If the ’27’ don’t like it – tough titty.

They agreed the rules and they will have to abide by the rules – as will we.

webber
Guest

The 27 couldn’t care less. The Brevenge types would be perfectly happy to see the British government dawdle over this for the next six years.

I care for Britain’s future, and think every minute dawdling is a waste of that.

Guest

And you seem to be an Anglophile – alleyluya to that.

Many if us know the grave error we have made – but many of us know too that democracy is a responsibility if it is to mean anything.

I am particularly fearful for the next generation.

We just have to get on with it – it’s the majority decision – ‘majority’ as defined in the referendum and we have to stand by it.

And we will.

One thing I am certain of – us Brits will give it out best shot, play fairly and come up smiling.

We are nothing if not resourceful and we’ve been here before.

Thanks for your kind concerns.

Guest

I’ve just bought two new tyres on the internet and I only realised I was dealing with a German company when they emailed delivery details!

They are trading in our ‘single market’!

We’ll have to slap an import duty on them to ensure our traders aren’t out priced!

Shocking!

Let the trading wars begin!!

Istvan
Guest
Pierre Vimont a senior associate at Carnegie Europe, and former French Ambassador to the USA, may have been an architect of the revised EU proposal on refugees presented to the V4 in the last week or so. He called it flexible solidarity and it included elimination of mandatory quotas. His extensive white paper on this policy can be seen at http://carnegieeurope.eu/2016/09/12/migration-in-europe-bridging-solidarity-gap/j5bf It’s possible Orban’s team had studied up on this paper because part of Orban’s argument for why being offered just an elimination of quotas was inadequate can be found in Vimont’s paper where it calls for the EU to “set some clear objectives and commitments on the acceptable level of political and economic migration for the union” which is to be found in Orban’s call on Germany to create a top end for migration. Vimont’s paper calls the concessions to Hungary and the V4 a recognition of “reality.” It appears the EU was not willing to go the full distance towards adopting Vimont’s approach in totality, but took pieces of it. Orban wanting nothing to do with refugees took also what he wanted from the Vimont’s approach and tossed out what his team did not want. It is interesting… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

2007:
my US bank assistant suddenly tells me: Sir, we have reserved, offer you enough loan to purchase a house. No down payment.
Me, surprised and suspicious: but I did not request any loan !
Banker: good opportunity
Me: No, thank you.
2008: pyramid scheme collapses, mortgage crisis.

2016:
my Hungarian bank sends me a letter: We have opened you a Hungarian Treasury account (with 0 balance), this is your password.
Me, surprised and suspicious: but I did not request any Hungarian Treasury account !
2017: ??

Guest

Do you can buy some more Swiss Francs!

Guest

‘So’

tappanch
Guest

This is what former FED chairman Greenspan called “anecdotal evidence”, isn’t it?

Guest

Irrational Exuberance!

Guest

CHF =280 forints and rising!

tappanch
Guest

Here is one of the many times Greenspan used “anecdotal evidence”:

“Nonetheless, although the anecdotal evidence is ample and manufacturing productivity has picked up, a change in the underlying trend is not yet reflected in our conventional data for the whole economy. ” 🙂

https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/hh/1997/july/testimony.htm

Of course, he popularized the phrase “irrational exuberance” as well, in a speech in 1996.

PALIKA
Guest
Let us for a moment assume that everybody in this multinational mess is well intentioned and would like to find the best solution consistent with hanging on to what they have. I know this would not be universally popular on this blog. The starting point is difficult to identify. But things started to go wrong in the EU with the failed attempt to introduce a Constitution. Gizella Stuart who was involved in the process got so pissed off she turned so hostile that she was even willing to sign up to a deceitful campaign based on the £350million being paid weekly or monthly, I forget, to the British NHS. But we are where we are. It may not have escaped those of you who have take the trouble to read my contributions that I have no time for the Brexiteers. However we must move on. The principal obstacle is the obvious difficulty involved in trying to negotiate a deal with a UK which is itself deeply divided. The whole thing is a nightmare. Let me not try to tell you the way forward because I have no idea. As the Irishman said in reply to an enquiry about how to… Read more »
Guest

Yes, nationalism seems on the rise – I’m still hoping that this is just a passing phenomenon …

But we’re watching closely, now for the results of the local election in Berlin tomorrow. If the Jobbik-style AfD gets more than 15% or even 20% – well it might be time to rebuild the Iron Curtain again …

PALIKA
Guest

An entertaining idea and it is superficially tempting but let us hope we can find a more agreeable solution.
I hope Berlin will be ok for us

Guest

Seems AfD aka Germany’s Jobbik got “only” 12 %, probably more in East Berlin, less in the West.
The “Linke” ie the Communists got around 16%!

So it seems here too the Extremists “won” – this will mean a new coalition between the democratic parties, maybe including the Greens, very good!

tappanch
Guest

I went to the Academy of Music to pick up their usually high-quality program booklet for the Fall semester.

This time, there are two ads in it.
“Magyar Idők” – The conservative daily. The pro-government newspaper”
“Lokal” – “The free weekly” (also government funded)

I do not remember that there have ever been pro-government ads under the Communist Kadar in an Academy of Music program brochure.

PALIKA
Guest

No, Kadar promoted a bogus image of liberalism to win approval for his regime whilst at the same time keeping Moscow in line with the implicit threat of another piece of anti communist display of dissection. He got most of what he wanted and quite a bit of what he deserved, but he was a modest man and not corrupt and the beneficiaries were the Hungarians, I hated him but I have found some profound admiration for him in some ways which I cannot manage for Horthy and not yet for Orban, but it is too soon to judge him with the benefit of the whole story.

PALIKA
Guest

Sorry, line 4: dissent.

tappanch
Guest

“not YET for Orban” ?

He has destroyed the constitutional system !

Do you think he will follow [Lucius Cornelius] Sulla?

Ubu roi, this is a more fitting title for him.

PALIKA
Guest

Yes he did. Mohamed Ali was a draft evader and a loudmouth bore. Now he is a champion of black rights. He was nothing of the kind. He was a loudmouth boxer.
Maybe Orban will have a makeover

Reality Check
Guest

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Who the hell are you to diss Mohamed Ali?

His refusal to be inducted was an important political act in a time when the US was involved in an unjust war, and blacks were far less likely to be in college and therefore to receive a deferment. He was vindicated when the Supreme court overturned his conviction.

His contributions to humanitarian efforts are well documented.

http://www.politico.com/gallery/2016/06/muhammad-ali-life-in-photos-002269?slide=0

https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/civil-rights-movement/essays/importance-muhammad-ali

PALIKA
Guest

Unjust war? Maybe but it depends on your point of view. Are you saying that it for the conscript to decide which war is just? Maybe a good idea because no one would accept the draft and we could abolish all wars and replace nationalist rivalries with sporting competitions.
Ali was a good boxer and a bore. Virtually all his opponents were black, naturally enough so why does it help the black cause if one black boxer beats another black boxer? The 1936 Berlin hero Owen is the point here.
Thank you for the attachments which I will now read and let you know if I have changed my mind.

webber
Guest

Now Palika knows better than the US Supreme Court…

You’ve already shown how little you know about US politics. Now you’re demonstrating ignorance of American history.
Please stick to what you know.

PALIKA
Guest

Can you remind us the basis on which the Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction? Just the gist of it, please.

webber
Guest

Don’t be silly. Look it up. And look up a bit more about Ali as well. He was never a bore. He was the most entertaining boxer of all time. (Did you mean boor? – He wasn’t that either.)

And look up who Sulla was while you’re at it. You might understand Tappanch’s comment after you do.

Ali was a great man. I don’t give a damn whether you change your mind about him.

PALIKA
Guest

I will look it up if you send the link. He was the Mourhino of the boxing world. He was a good boxer. Mourhino, good manager? I have my doubts.

webber
Guest

Google it.
And while you are at it, also look up “conscientious objector.” It’s a term you are apparently unfamiliar with. If you are going to keep living in the West, you had better get to understand some of the intricacies of moral behaviour.

Guest

Webber – well moderated! So much ignorance and perverse interpretations and such pious delivery have made this contributor PNR. (Accused of paranoia too.)

Yes PNR.

(And weird!)

PALIKA
Guest

I have looked it up. I can now see the reluctance to engage in a civilised debate. The court was unanimous in quashing his conviction on a technicality. 8 to 0 with one Justice recusing himself. That was a compromise verdict because on the substantive ground of conscienceous objection they were tied 4 each. This would have resulted in the conviction being upheld but without Ali being told why. So they went for the soft option. If you read his comments and how he behaved he was a draft dodger who used his newly acquired Islamic faith as the vehicle. Of course how he interpreted it was garbage, but it may not matter if he genuinly held that view. The test of what he thought of his country is well spelt out when he said he had no quarrel with the Vietcong because they never called him a nigger. He was clearly resentful of how he perceived he was treated and he may have been right, but he was I am afraid a draft dodger who was lucky with the justice system of the country he despised. I still do not feel able to share your admiration for him.

webber
Guest

So you are more intelligent than the court….

Just FYI: Mohammed Ali loved the US. He disagreed with the government’s FP, and disliked the government.

Apparently you are one of those loony people who thinks opposing a government’s policy equals hating the country.

webber
Guest

Where did you get the bizarre idea that the Roman General Lucius Cornelius Sulla was Mohamed Ali????

Ali’s original name was Cassius Clay.

Guest

Mohammed Ali was much revered in the UK – which he visited several times – and was seen as a role model for disaffected black youth particularly in Bristol.

He had a quick wit and humour that the English much appreciated and achieved more in his lifetime than all of his detractors did put together.

He paid the price for his trade – neuro-degenerative disease, almost certainly caused by repeated blows to the head.

A sadly missed hero and ambassador.

Guest

!!!Android surreptitious word replacement!!!

I typed Brixton and it changed it to ‘Bristol’.

It should read as ‘Brixton’

PALIKA
Guest

I have nothing to add and remain unpersuaded, save that may he rest in peace.

webber
Guest

Who gives a damn whether you are convinced?
You didn’t even know his proper name.
For most Americans and Brits, he was a hero.
You could try to understand why, you know.

PALIKA
Guest

Webber i thank you and Charlie for you charming contributions. They really make one feel so happy to read them. I just hope that there is a special place in hell reserved for both of you.

webber
Guest

Do you know who Sulla was yet?

PALIKA
Guest

Was he friends with Ali or with Charlie? Or both?

webber
Guest

Ignoratio est felicitas.

Guest

“I just hope that there is a special place in hell reserved for both of you.”

I just hope that Eva will give you three months quarantine for such a remark. Quarantine is worse than hell because it really exists.

PALIKA
Guest

Please read the entire series abusive posts from Charlie and from Webber. Hell does not exist? Proust I think thought it was other people. How right he was.

PALIKA
Guest

My apologies to all concerned. I will not take part in any future exchanges. I do not want again to be subjected to the abusive postings from any of the contributors and to their provocative comments

webber
Guest

Palika, if, after someone wrote something about a Euripides you saw a posting by an American saying he did not like Kossuth at all because he ran away and left other people to take the wrath of Tsar Nicholas, what would your reaction be?

And after that, when people objected pointed out that this was all wrong, and that Kossuth was a hero to them, if that person said he was “unpersuaded,” how would you react? How would any healthy Hungarian react.

The howlers you have written about Cassius Clay are at that level.

PALIKA
Guest

Eva as I have written before, no more posting from me so it is goodbye.
My parting shot is that you have a pair of bullies in Charlie and in Webber. No self respecting blog would tolerate them. You have never sought to call the to order. They are bullies who hunt in pairs and target individuals whose views or attitude they do not like. This has all the makings of fascism. Please demonstrate that you have the authority and moral standing to run this important blog. Being anti Orban and anti current Hungary is no sufficient. Those two bullies should be banned now. If the other we’re not intimidated theywouldwrite in similar terms.

Guest

Many years ago my wife already called HirTV “OrbánTV” – now she says all of MagyarTV’s programs are like North Korean State TV – we haven’t watched them for years with one exception:
Water Polo …

tappanch
Guest

Tomorrow is the last day for the public to enjoy the healing power of the Dagály spa. If a portion of it survives Orban’s propaganda swimming championship of 2017 in any shape, it will probably serve the selected few after 2017.

It was created by a stray bomb in 1944, the hole in the ground was filled with warm water from below.

Dagály, 1944 [as a bath 1948] – 2016.

R.I.P.

PALIKA
Guest

What a loss. I loved it when I went there 40 years ago and the restaurant nearby which fed me on unhealthy and delicious food I would not ever dare to eat now.