Momentum’s anti-Olympics drive has momentum

As is evident from the government media, the Orbán government is mighty upset over the early success of the Momentum Movement’s signature drive to hold a referendum on whether Budapest should host the 2024 Olympic Games. On the very first day of the campaign, Magyar Nemzet reported that people were queuing up and waiting a long time to be able to add their names to the list of those who believe that Hungary’s current financial situation doesn’t warrant such an extravagance. A host of problems remain in healthcare and education, on which in the last six or seven years the government has spent far too little money.

My hunch is that, initially, Viktor Orbán was not at all worried about Momentum’s anti-Olympics project. Two opinion polls had been held on the question, and the second one, after massive pro-Olympic propaganda, showed a slight majority supporting the idea. Therefore, I assume that the government decided to allow the signature drive in the belief that it would be a flop. Instead, here we are one week later and the activists have collected almost 70,000 signatures. Momentum has 30 days altogether to collect 138,000 signatures in favor of a referendum.

“No for the Olympics, yes for our future!”

Shortly after the beginning of the campaign, Magyar Idők must have gotten the word to begin a campaign of its own against Momentum and the opposition parties that decided to support it. Dávid Megyeri, a journalist for the government mouthpiece, tried to convince his readers and perhaps also himself that the opposition parties are actually committing “collective seppuku” by supporting Momentum’s anti-Olympics campaign, even if “they are hiding behind a phantom organization.” Megyeri’s imagination went quite far in assessing the dreadful consequences of this signature drive for the socialists. It is quite possible, he wrote, that the attack on the Olympics will be considered “a casus belli for MSZP’s voters.” He believes that the anti-Olympic drive “practically guarantees the disappearance of the remainder of the socialist party.” The “miniature” MSZP will fall into the lap of Ferenc Gyurcsány. The little fish will eat the big fish, concludes Megyeri. Perhaps a threat of this sort will further confuse the already confused MSZP leadership.

In fact, the most fervent supporters of Momentum’s drive are the activists of LMP, who collected an additional 10,000 signatures in a week. And who knows how many signatures were collected by the activists of the Two-tailed Dog Party, Együtt, and Párbeszéd. Magyar Idők tried to minimize the damage the drive’s success was causing by insisting that “the signature collection has lost its momentum.” That certainly does not seem to be the case.

Mayor István Tarlós, who initially was not too keen on holding the Olympics, by now has become a great fan, arguing that no sane person should sign the petition because Budapest will be the clear winner of the Olympic Games if Hungary gets the nod. After all, the construction of almost all the necessary buildings and stadiums as well as infrastructure improvements will benefit Budapest, while the government will take care of all the expenses. Of course, he is right, but the rest of the country, which lags behind the capital city in economic development, is not so enamored with the idea. Outside of Budapest enthusiasm for the Games is substantially lower than in the capital.

While the activists are doing a great job, the same cannot be said about the opposition parties. Let’s start with the opposition members of the Budapest City Council. LMP’s Antal Csárdi proposed that Budapest withdraw its bid for the 2024 Olympics. Of course, given the preponderance of Fidesz members on the Council, there was no way for Csárdi’s proposal to succeed. But at least one would have expected that the liberal-socialist members would vote for the proposal. Well, that didn’t happen. We are talking about thirteen opposition members all told, of whom only five supported the motion. Of the five MSZP members two voted for the motion, one abstained, one didn’t vote although he was present, and one voted against it. One DK member voted for it, the other against it. That will give you an idea about the state of the Hungarian opposition. Just as reflector.blog.hu remarked, “this is a sorry lot.”

Demokratikus Koalíció also showed itself to be totally inept and clumsy when the party decided “to help” the drive by setting up independent stations for non-Budapesters, letting them express themselves on the question of the Olympics even though they were not eligible to sign the petition. It soon became clear that DK, instead of helping the drive, was hindering it. Even the pro-DK nyugatifény.blog disapproved of the move that only confused people. After a day, the DK campaign was halted.

After the disastrous city council vote, the government media had a real heyday, pointing out the opposition’s double game. Pro-government journalists called attention to MSZP politicians who are now supporting the anti-Olympic drive but who earlier had enthusiastically endorsed hosting the Olympics. One of these “turncoats” was Ágnes Kunhalmi who, according to Origo, had said in 2015 that, if it depended on her, she would rather spend the money on education, but “the two together may give such strength to Hungary that it may set our country toward unparalleled successes.” She made crystal clear that she “supported the cause.” Rather embarrassing, I’m afraid, in light of her signing the petition on practically the first day of the drive.

Csaba Horváth, leader of the MSZP group in the City Council, was equally enthusiastic at the same event organized by the Hungarian Olympic Committee. However, Horváth is now trying to divert attention from this video interview available online. He made public the transcript of a speech he delivered at the council meeting on December 2, 2015. He now claims that he was the first one to suggest holding a referendum on the question of the Games. According to the transcript, Horváth said: “I believe in the Olympic movement; I believe in my politician friends; and above all, I believe that all Hungarians can unite for a good cause. However, the final decision should be based on the broadest possible consensus. Therefore, I suggest that we should hold a referendum on the question of the Olympics.” He apparently repeated the same sentiment in a letter addressed to János Lázár a few days later. Furthermore, on January 27, 2016, the opposition members put forth a motion about holding such a referendum, which was naturally voted down. By September 2016, he said, he was of the opinion that Budapest will not be able to accommodate the Olympics in 2024. But then why on earth did he abstain in the vote on Antal Csárdi’s motion? Typical MSZP waffling, I’m afraid. The party is loath to take a clear stand on anything.

Whether the Orbán government will actually allow a referendum even if Momentum and its allies get enough signatures, which by now is likely, remains questionable. Portfolio pointed out, however, that there is a good possibility that the International Olympic Committee will decide that support for the project is far too low in Budapest. In the past, cities were chosen only where popular support was over 65%, which is a far cry from the percentages measured by opinion polls in Hungary. In September 2015, only 41% of Hungarians supported the idea, according to Medián. Although the Hungarian Olympic Committee held its own poll, which showed a slight majority for supporters, most other polls indicate that only about 50% of Hungarians support a Budapest Olympics. In Paris, by contrast, popular support is 70%, while in Los Angeles it is 88%. I do hope that the International Olympic Committee will have enough brains to choose Los Angeles or Paris instead of a rather reluctant Budapest.

January 27, 2016
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Member

It is true there is a big cunfusion in the opposition. However, abstaining the vote on Antal Csárdi’s motion (ie. withdrawing bid) and then still voting in favour a public poll can be considered pretty logical on behalf of Csaba Horváth, at least. Forget the other opposition people now! It is most likely a game they have to play very carefully, since they already run into mostly, or rather exclusively bad experiences regarding iniciatives and National Election Office. More interesting is the behaviour of governing party which is quite phlegmatic about the public poll in Budapest, (Lázár says cca: “we are not interested in a public poll at this moment”). The reason must be on one hand they hoped that the activists colleting signatures would not be able to reach the satisfactory number of validated signatures. But even if they make it – informal evaluations still show a higher proportion of supporters of Budapest Olimpic Games. Much will depend on how successful will be the campaign of Two-tailed Dog Party, which will be “officially” responsible of campaining for Momentum’s anti-olimpic movement. And as of last night they had already collected cca. 12 million HUF.

pappp
Guest
In my experience the Momentum kids had incomparably more traffic than what LMP did. I haven’t seen any other party out there in the last cold days collecting signatures but I’ve been seeing Momentum all over town. Specifically at Moszkva tér (Széll Kálmán tér) LMP had zero traffic while Momentum was always rather busy. It is of course possible that LMP could collect the signatures like Fidesz does, just by contacting hard core supporters, but I doubt that (since they have problems with their own signature before the general elections). The double-talk (ie. mutyi, shady deals with Fidesz) of the leftist opposition is suicidal (though that Left is already dead in the water). People only conclude that the Left is again wavering, self-contradictory and probably collaborating with Fidesz. When in fact the Left would have to show that it is principled, that it is tough and stands firm. Olympics and some other issues would be great issues re which the Left could show that it has a clear principle. No rural voter will hate MSZP or Párbeszéd more for being against the Olympics, general election voting is not about a single issue like the Olympics. To the contrary, voting is… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

“(given how Fidesz treated the results of the migrant referendum, this would have to be respected)”
Fidesz consequent in respecting what ‘the people say’?
Instead of keep dreaming, better support everything possible against OV/Fidesz, as that is the only way back to a real democracy in Hungary.

pappp
Guest

Fidesz would not be consistent of course, but it would be even more obvious to the voters how total bullshit that “98%” communication was (if Fidesz disregarded the majority of the Budapest voters in an otherwise invalid referendum).

Of course Fidesz doesn’t care about any results of any referendum, they will go ahead with the Olympics no matter what.

Just like Paks2, the Olympics is absolutely sacrosanct and Russia and its clients and cronies are pushing hard for the Budapest Olympics in the IOC.

The last thing Orban cares about is what the people of Budapest think. If they hate the Olympics, he will push it even harder for it. Orban viscerally hates Budapest and its people.

But my point was also about the corrupt leftists, who would sell their own mother if they could, let alone their votes in the Olympics or any other contentious matter. I signed the papers of course.

Ferenc
Guest

Well if OV/Fidesz is voted out of power, he/they can push and jump high and low what he/they want………
And about the leftists, corrupt or not corrupt, at least they are more democratic/less autocratic than the other bunch. Though real democracy can not be expected from any of them.
So support the new comers with all possible and keep them on the democratric track!

But what can be done for the state/city workers, who are afraid to give their signature??

Member

“One of these ‘turncoats’ was Ágnes Kunhalmi who… in 2015… made crystal clear that she ‘supported the cause.'”

When someone changes his mind for legitimate reasons, based upon new evidence or a change in circumstances, it should not be an embarrassment.

Doing so with the air of a giggly teenager should.

bimbi
Guest

It should not be forgotten that it was Budapest mayor Tarlos who said that no referendum would be held on the bid for the 2024 Olympics because the Hungarian people were not sufficiently well-informed on the matter. Hardly surprising since the Great Leader of Orbanistan was certainly unwilling to lay out the costs of the events on any realistic basis – all we get now even is b-s about “making Hungary great again” with the construction of even more stadia.

Just Google “abandoned Olympic sites or watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11qwnmUm2bA

Not with my tax money Viktor! More Mass, more Velocity for Momentum NOLYMPICS!

Ferenc
Guest

A main problem, which I have mentioned here before, is that people working for the state/city are afraid to put their signatures. All signatures will be checked, and later on they could get in serious trouble at their work. Of course there is no official statement about such from the state/city, but the fear in those people is clear.
So better if the opposition parties, instead of going for signatures on the street (let that be done by those by who started it), begin thinking about a way to overcome the fear from state/city workers and give them a safe opportunity to let their opinion count also.

Guest

Experience shows that the last Olympics were disasters for the cities – Athens is an extreme example of course:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2723515/Athens-Olympics-leave-mixed-legacy-10-years-later.html
Just look at the pictures – horrible, what a waste and a shame! And of course:
The Games, which cost almost twice their projected budget and used permanent instead of collapsible venues, were deemed a success at the time.
And knowing how Hungarian companies operate, that budget overrun would surely be more than a hundred percent for Bp!

Even London was horrible:
There were less “regular” tourists because of the prices for rooms food etc and my friends who live in a suburb said that for several weeks they dreaded going into the town center or rather anywhere because of the traffic congestion, they preferred to stay at home.

I wonder how Hungary is supposed to get all the money needed for the Games – even the people of rich Hamburg voted against the Games last year. The billions of €s that would have to be spent can never be recuperated and the upkeep of the gigantic and later unused stadiums would also be very expensive.
Have you read about the rotting stadium in Rio?
http://www.news.com.au/sport/olympics/iconic-maracana-stadium-in-brazil-in-a-state-of-ruin/news-story/0778ab38ff86da250ab9b4c9b06e9383

Ron
Guest

And it is not the first time Budapest did a feasibility study regarding the Olympic Games. The first time is was 2002. The study was done by PwC, and guess who was the Managing Partner at that time. Gusztav Bienerth. Bienerth is currently in charge of the swimming organisation.

http://www.local-life.com/budapest/news/55-No_Way_to_Play._Olympic_Games_in_Budapest_Inaffordable

petofi
Guest

Budapest, Hungary will get the Olympics.
If you’re going, remember to bring your own toilet paper…

Guest

Petofi, you made my/our day!

My wife immediately wanted to start making a list of what else to bring:

Soap of course, dishes, cutlery and napkins for eating, lamps and batteries for them …

Ferenc
Guest

best to be safe and don’t forget to bring your own ambulance

wrfree
Guest

It would be great to see Fideszian accountant assessments on hosting the Olympics. The projections will no doubt prove lovely. Would have to be the great fiduciary hokum. Same old same old.
I can recall many years ago the ‘show biz’ co I know very very well thought the Olympics was a great ‘investment’ and consequently shelled out the money to get them. But eventually that trough ran dry after the investment was more of a money leacher.

As usual, Magyarorszag is way way way behind the train that has already left the station. VO really lives somewhere in a sporty somnolent past. His nostalgia can only be described as quaint.
And it’s a game that he cannot ever play. If he builds an acquatic center it’s a great probability as one writer noted that frogs would be the only things swimming in it after the Olympic dance.

bimbi
Guest

wrfree @ 9:58 a.m.

“As usual, Magyarorszag is way way way behind the train that has already left the station.”

Such an assessment is too facile and too complacent, I fear. The Orban bid for the 2024 Olympics is part of his (self-aggrandizing) propaganda campaign for a “Great Hungary” and also provides an opportunity to skim off millions (you name the currency) in cash, advertising, travel, perks – you name it. Sure, the big money river will only start to flow (when and) if the bid is accepted – but a good slice of the action is better than no action at all.

I am further distressed that so many talented and (presumably) decent Hungarian athletes have perforce been dragged into supporting this tawdry rip-off of Hungarian society.

petofi
Guest

Trump to Putin:

Did you think it was good to remove the whole upper echelon of the State Department…?

petofi
Guest

(Trump to his chief of staff on dismissing State Department staff: “Now, that’s what I call a Reset!” )

Istvan
Guest

Well petofi you really did not think Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s assistant secretary for Europe would survive did you? She was an enemy of both Putin and Orban. There was no surprise in her being pushed out.

Nuland’s entire diplomatic posture was in opposition to my nation’s revived nationalism, she was as the the Trump people call them a globalist. Possibly even worse she was a liberal with a pro-globalism columnist husband Robert Kagan who opposed Trump (see https://www.ft.com/content/782381b6-ad91-11e6-ba7d-76378e4fef24 ).
She was everything Steve Bannon and President Trump hate.

wrfree
Guest

Now with the ‘reset’ I will look forward with great interest on opinion here regarding US diplomatic interaction with not only Magyarorszag but with all nations. Like the film ‘All About Eve’ I can’t help thinking we’ll be on a swervey and bumpy hell of a ride. One of these days Mr. POTUS is going to wish he didn’t have the inclination to always rap or tweet something from inside his head making others pick up the pieces.

Ferenc
Guest

This seems to be the latest solution for Trump diplomacy:
America 1st – your country 2nd

wrfree
Guest

Sure looks that way. Not very enouraging when it comes to developing and moving along relationships when Haley talks about ‘taking names’ if they don’t have our back. Ironically, I can’t think of anything else that would help get the back up of various nations against the US. I’d have to think that right now Trump looks at diplomacy as only a pugilistic exercise. He wants the US in everybody’s face.

Ferenc
Guest

Best is to send him to the nearest far away location: the moon

wrfree
Guest

Speaking of the moon it does happen to supposedly bring out those ‘lunatics’…

Here’s Donny as the Wolfman..

A cautionary musical interlude..🙀😀

https://youtu.be/cBSf8rui_p8

petofi
Guest

Steve Bannon’s first press conference:
“Shut the fuck up!”

Istvan
Guest

I would also inform Hungarians that most US military public web sights have gone dark from public access. You are now given this message:

“Your connection is not private

Attackers might be trying to steal your information from http://www.cnic.navy.mil (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards). NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID “

Ndy
Guest

One more gov’t trick to stuff its buddies’ pockets, coffers, off-shore accounts.
The process is mind-boggling.
There are NO appropriate words to describe the slime.

Member

I’ve seen the people from Momentum gathering signatures in several Budapest Metro underpasses. They, unlike the overwhelming majority of Hungarian political activists, understand the key: Palm pressing. That means chasing after passers-by, greeting them, imploring them to sign, and walking away with a smile when they get told to bugger off.

Last time I saw MSZP activists doing a petition drive – Agnes Kunhalmi herself was present – they stood around looking as if their dogs had just died. No contact, no cheerfulness, no clue.

Bravo to Momentum for having mastered this critical aspect of grassroots organizing.

e-1956
Guest

Let us hope that the safety of the Momentum activists is assured.

I want to see them alive at the end of the day.

Guest

Rather OT but illuminating what’s going on in th places like London:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/27/squatters-open-oligarchs-empty-london-property-as-homeless-shelter
The house is one of four purchased by Goncharenko over a three-year period, including Hanover Lodge, in Regent’s Park, for which he paid £120m – making it one of the UK’s most expensive homes.

The businessman is obscure by the flamboyant standards of Russian oligarchs. He is described as the chief executive of a subsidiary of Gazprom, the country’s biggest and best-connected gas company. The firm – Gazprom Invest Yug – builds gas pipelines and other gas transport networks.
Probably the kind of life that Fidesz mafiosi are dreaming of …

Ferenc
Guest

NOlimpia and the other parties, have a look here:
https://www.facebook.com/momentum.mozgalom/videos/824375204370963/

Ferenc
Guest

Safety guards of “Allee” shopping mall make trouble for NOlimpia on ‘their’ property, finally Juhasz Peter (from Egyutt) calls police and is confirmed in his rights, watch it here
http://www.facebook.com/Juhi.JuhaszPeter/videos/1377476772324802/
My recommendation: DON’T SHOP AT “ALLEE” and/or protest there, untill the shopping mall gives out statement in which they make excuses for the behaviour of their security people!! HAJRA!!

Ferenc
Guest

OT
The anti-NOlimpia Antall József Knowledge Centre (of course they can’t do something on their own, so together with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation) orginized an event in Brussels last week, and one of the speakers was {….drumroll…..} OV. The man made a very original statement {….drumroll again…..}: he sees possibilities to “make Europe great again” (pff, ppff, get so tired of this bunch).
And what was more said:
-instead of “open societies”, people want democratic societies (huh, really?)
-Europe failed to achieve it’s goal of creating a common Eurasian economic region (?huh?)
-about Chinese/Asian econimic success: “whatever exists is possible” (?eehh, if something exists, can it be impossible???)
-and so on, and so on.
Want to read more of such, really? Check for yourself the English version of kormany.hu

Ferenc
Guest

OK, just one more quote:
“Mr.Orbán stated that we must prepare for a multi-centred world order.”
Ahah: he seems imagine something like a global ellips………

Guest

A bit OT:

Another scathing article in the German SPIEGEL on the corruption in the Balkan (including Hungary) and the fight of the corrupt regimes against the NGOs or rather the “Satan” Soros that finances them.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/george-soros-angriffe-gegen-den-milliardaer-in-osteuropa-a-1131805.html
All the usual stuff; Antisemitism, NWO etc …

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