What’s behind Momentum? Banal clichés

At the end of February and the beginning of March, I spent a considerable amount of time on Momentum, the new political movement that, with a successful signature drive, managed to force the government to scrap its pet project of holding the 2024 Olympic Games in Budapest. I was enthusiastic about this group of young men and women, who struck me as an intelligent lot. What I found especially attractive was that the members of this civic group realized that they could best effect political change by becoming part of the political process. They announced early on their desire to form a political party.

Admittedly, I was worried about their categorical announcement that they would refuse to cooperate with the “political elite,” whom they obviously despised. It was equally worrisome that the chairman of Momentum, András Fekete-Győr, didn’t seem to make a clear distinction between the political system prior to 2010 and the one after. As if this young firebrand wanted to throw out the totality of political change that has taken place since 1989. He talked about instituting an entirely new political system once his party is in power. This statement unfortunately reminded me of Viktor Orbán’s promise in 2010 that his “revolution in the ballot boxes” was the beginning of true democracy in Hungary.

Because Momentum worked so assiduously on collecting signatures for a referendum on hosting the Olympics, the leaders of the movement had little time to give interviews and to share their political ideas with the public. Since then, the chairman of the new party, called Momentum Mozgalom (MoMo), has been giving interviews galore. From these interviews a sad fact emerges: András Fekete-Győr hasn’t got a clue about politics. If he faithfully represents the goals and platform of MoMo, we can forget about this new political formation and the 140 people who apparently make up the party at the moment.

The interview tsunami began on March 6 with Györgyi Szöllösi of “Hungary Live” on Hír TV. In the course of the interview Fekete-Győr triumphantly announced that Momentum is planning to win the election single-handed in a year’s time. Mind you, a few days earlier he admitted that 2018 was too early a date and announced that his party would concentrate on the 2022 election. No probing questions about the feasibility of such an improbable feat could shake Fekete-Győr’s self-confidence. They will be ready to form a government as a result of their impressive electoral victory. The reporter reminded him of an earlier remark: “We haven’t lost our minds and think that we alone can replace the present government.” So, what happened? asked the reporter. Fekete-Győr simply denied that he had ever said such a thing.

From here he moved to even shakier ground when he said that “the Hungarian Left doesn’t have a positive vision of the nation (nemzetkép).” As we know, this is the favorite accusation of Fidesz against the opposition. Therefore, it was inevitable that the reporter would want to know more about Fekete-Győr’s interpretation of “nemzetkép.” Within seconds it became patently obvious that Fekete-Győr had no idea what he was talking about. Eventually he came up with a totally meaningless answer: in his opinion, it means “political peace.” Let’s not even try to interpret this brilliant observation.

Well, that was bad enough, but a day later another interview, which appeared in 24.hu, prompted uniformly negative responses from responsible opposition commentators. First, let’s see what we can learn about Fekete-Győr’s political past from this interview. First, he most likely voted for Fidesz in 2010 when he was 21 years old. “What made Fidesz attractive for me was the fact that it had several convincing characters like Viktor Orbán, Tibor Navracsics, János Lázár, and János Áder.” Let’s not comment on Fekete-Győr’s choice of convincing politicians. Instead, I will be charitable and chalk up his strange taste to his youth. He still thinks, however, that “Orbán is a helluva talented politician who can speak the language of the common man about his coherent worldview.” He supports Orbán in his efforts to keep the refugees out, but it should be done “not so aggressively.” He also approves of the centralization of public education, “but KLIK is not a good answer.”

Otherwise, throughout the interview Fekete-Győr was so arrogant that the reporters eventually asked him: “What feeds this arrogance with which you reject the approach of all the opposition forces, be they Ferenc Gyurcsány or Tibor Szanyi?” Then came the answer: “We are not as arrogant with everybody—if you can call it arrogance—but I have no idea what the hell Ferenc Gyurcsány is still doing in politics. It would be high time for him to get lost.”

It took only a few hours for journalists to comment on this interview. One of the first was my favorite Árpád W. Tóta, who is both astute and witty. He began his opinion piece, titled “Moment, bitte,” with “Neither Right nor Left? And the Left not national enough? Please, tell me something really new.” Yes, we are grateful for not having the Olympic Games in 2024, but “gratefulness is not a blank check or a free ride.” In the rest of the essay Tóta accuses of Fekete-Győr of being utterly devoid of any serious vision and  contends that what he is trying to sell is at best a collection of banal clichés. Tóta is certain that if Fekete-Győr had to explain what a “positive national vision” is, which is missing on the Left but exists on the Right, he would be at a loss. As we could see from his Hír TV interview, Tóta was correct. The self-confident leader of MoMo failed. He couldn’t mutter out an intelligent sentence on the topic because, as Tóta rightly observes, the “concept” is an empty phrase, something Hungarians call a “lózung.” Tóta also visited MoMo’s website where he found the party’s “program” on education and healthcare, which they call their “vision.” There is nothing wrong with the direction, but the program is full of clichés that have been more intelligently developed and more fully proposed over the last three years by several parties on the Left.

Another devastating critique came from László Bartus of Amerikai Népszava, who called attention to some of the most objectionable statements in Fekete-Győr’s interview. I think Bartus is right when he criticizes the young politician’s admiration of Orbán’s ability to speak the language of the common people, which is mere populist drivel. Moreover, Hitler and Mussolini also knew how to speak the language of the people. How can he call Orbán’s illiberal, far-right, anti-Western pseudo philosophy a “worldview,” asks the editor-in-chief of Amerikai Népszava. Bartus finds Fekete-Győr so objectionable that he even defends Ferenc Gyurcsány against his ill-tempered attacks, and Gyurcsány is not exactly Bartus’s favorite. After all, as the reporters reminded him, the electorate decides who stays in politics and for how long, not Fekete-Győr. Anyone who wants politicians to pack up and clear out of public life is not a democrat, says Bartus. Moreover, he continues, “this helluva talented politician who is currently robbing the country blind is not Ferenc Gyurcsány. It was not Gyurcsány who abolished the constitution but Orbán.”

A day after the 24.hu interview came another interview, this time with Antónia Mészáros of ATV. A somewhat chastened Fekete-Győr tried to explain away his ill-tempered and inappropriate comments about the former prime minister. Mészáros, who is known for her sharp intellect and insistent interviewing style, was all sweetness and light. She handled the chairman of MoMo with kindness. I guess she knew that Fekete-Győr didn’t need her help to make himself ridiculous. Perhaps he didn’t realize it, but as a commentator said, “tonight Antónia Mészáros had Fekete-Győr for supper, and once she was full she leaned back and smiled. Her prey didn’t even realize that he was almost completely consumed.”

March 11, 2017
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Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Gyurcsány is a distraction and toxic. He should leave politics.

Guest

The only reason Gyurcsány is “toxic” is because people like you say so, at the behest of Orbán’s smear campaign.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

He is toxic. He is an easy target for the Hungarian Right and anyone who associates suffers from guilt by association.

webber
Guest

No, not at the “behest” of Orbán’s smear campaign. The smear campaign was effective, and Gyurcsány is dead on the water. You don’t have to like it, but you surely must see it.

Member

Like Eva mentioned Fekete- Györs lack of understanding what democracy is about, You also not exactly seem to know, that the engagement in politics and public life of people it is good for democracy. This also includes people that You don’t like.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

No, Éva is wrong. No one is advocating that Gyurcsány be banned from politics. That would violate democratic principles. But the reality is that Gyurcsány is a liability because he will always be associated with the “We Lied”speech. He should the Hungarian Left a big favor and retired and study butterflies.

Member

So, a person who opines that he dislikes Gyurcsany is automatically 1) A tool of the Orbanites 2) Someone who does not understand democracy. The logic astounds me.

20 new Fidesz voters created right here, folks!

Member

Mr. Beck didn’t say he dislikes Gyurcsany. He said, that Gy. should leave politics. This was also said by Fekete Györ.
It is definetely not democratic, to tell someone to leave politics, i.e. to keep his mouth shut.

webber
Guest

Yes it is democratic to tell a politician you think they should leave politics. It’s part of freedom of speech. Mr. Beck was merely exercising that. The politician is free to ignore it, and we are all free to argue with it. To suggest that Mr. Beck is anti-democratic because he believes Gyurcsany is dead-weight for the opposition is foul. There is plenty of evidence to back up Mr. Beck’s ideas – just look at Gyurcsany’s ratings among Hungarian voters (and don’t tell me it’s all because of a smear job, because that is irrelevant – the man is unpopular. Full stop.) You have every right to like Gyurcsany. Others have every right not to. And not liking him does not mean liking Fidesz.

Member

NO!
Again: Democracy consists of different opions and people and not of its absence.
This would be the kind of regime, that Erdogans and Orbans prefer.
To wish someone away, who practices politics is not good.
Democracy is to debate and not to wish someone away.

P.S. I don’t wanted to say, that Mr. Beck is undemocratic. I only find this special opinion indemocratic.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Undemocratic is trying to actually prevent someone from exercising his or her rights. I am not advocating the state throw Gyurcsány in jail or ban him from him from public life.

I am suggesting that Gyurcsány should leave public life for the good of the opposition. I don’t believe any left wing or centrist coalition can win if he is a member. I am also unimpressed by his understanding of economics. So I don’t think he would be able to spearhead the economic reforms that Hungary needs in order to accelerate growth from the mediocre 2.0% to 2.5% range to the 3% to 4% necessary for convergence to a developed nation.

Observer
Guest

Roderick B

Mantra wan’t do here, better think some evidence.
Be careful with the polls finding GyF unpopular or Orban one of the most popular politicians (Ader on top and other fieszniks close behind), since so many claim that Orban is hated. Remember Ibolya David was one of the most popular politicians in the polls, but MDF disappeared.

DK has 300-400 000 voters and the trend is modestly up. GyF has not even mentioned any personal role in an eventual government.
None of the other dem parties, nor the Jobbik for that matter, have made any steps toward common action.
I don’t see GyF as any obstacle to anything, just speculation about potentially “lost voters” because of him or whatever.

The call for new faces in politics is another popular excuse, but all these are mostly just that. Better get real and do something instead.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

So you are broadcast on the news declaring “We lied and lied and lied” and you think the guy has a future? He is damaged goods.

What we do know about his economic policies? Same old discredited social democratic song. It is an illusion to think that Hungary can embrace the Scandinavian model and successfully develop itself. For example, Denmark’s was a lot like the American system until the mid-60s. Economic development preceded social democracy. It was not done jointly.

In Hungary’s case today the tax burden on working income discourages work and savings. Social taxes alone are 40% of gross income. Employer and employee. The total burden is 55% and you think under a system like Hungary can grow rapidly. Fat Chance.

Gyurcsány doesn’t have a clue about the right economic policies for Hungary or if he does, he will not risk political suicide by advocating them. Nor I am convinced that he actually understands good economic management. He interfered with the independence of the central bank during his tenure.

Guest

“For example, Denmark’s was a lot like the American system until the mid-60s.”

…and look what happened in Sweden last night.

Observer
Guest

Roderick B

I see social democratic policies (Berni Sanders, Martin Schulz) and populists are in demand again, both to turn the “greed is good” tide, which benefited only 10-15% of the population in the OECD world. (T.Piketty, W.Buffet et al). The rest are restless.

Do yourself (and us) a favor (since your obviously have missed the 2002-2008 period, unless you are lying now) and read at least the “we lied” speech, two parts 12-13 pages altogether. Will save you embarrassment or “Fidesz troll” calls.

On the background of the Orban’s flood of lies and Potemkin facade, mentioning GyF is like chastising unruly boy in the middle of a WW2 battle. Please get real.

Member

We need only one thing to defeat the FIDESZ in 2018. Votes. Lots of it. Maybe populist drivel is the way. “Great” politicians, who please Bartus, just don’t cut it. Sometimes I think Bartus works for Orban …

Wondercat
Guest

Prof Balogh, thank you. I had been wondering if Fekete-Gyõr was as insubstantial as he seemed.

aida
Guest

I am no admirer of either OV or his party. Not by a long way. I do regret very much that so many who contribute to this excellent blog do not share the view that Gyurcsany should leave politics. The reasons are known so I will not repeat them

bimbi
Guest
@ aida, 3:37 a.m. Dear aida, How can I say this, gently? Your comment shows that you are satisfied with playing with yourself. You consume Orban-Habony-Rogan propaganda by the plateful. As was said in the blog entry above, Gyurcsany (or anyone else) will leave politics when the voters say so and he needs no silly advice from you. Perhaps you can focus on the idea that Hungary’s problem today consists of Orban and the whole corrupt Fidesz government that he leads. Here, I’ll even list a few of the reasons for you: theft, corruption, control, corruption of the judiciary, neglect of the electorate, theft, dogma clothed as ‘policy’, KDNP, the constitution to which the electorate had no say, lies, insider trading, theft, personal armies, Hungary in a state of permanent “war” – with whom it does not matter – , the corruption of parliament, the corruption of democracy… Now, cast your mind back pre-2010. At no time was democracy in danger as it (permanently) is today. At no time was personal property in danger as it is today (private pensions). Of course, if you enjoy living in a quasi-fascist, authoritarian state to be fed lies and dis-information by government propaganda,… Read more »
aida
Guest
Post the Brexit betrayal many millions in Europe face the prospect of living in a “quasi-fascist, authoritarian state to be fed lies and disinformation by government propaganda”. Holland, France, Poland may soon lengthen the line. But that is not my point. The prospects for the removal in Hungary of OV, a most welcome turnaround for Europe as well as for Hungary, would be enhanced by the departure of FGy from politics. Quite apart from the individual issues relating to GyF it is very unusual for ex PMs to stay in the front line and run for public office. It is much better to leave the field clear for the next generation. Sarkozy tried to make a comeback. Slapped in the face by his own party’s membership. Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron are all off and and are not in the front line or anywhere near it. Same story in Germany. GyF is an able man who did well, but not well enough. He has had his day. His presence is divisive. He will never have high office. But he can and is likely to spoil it for Hungary’s democratic opposition by not leaving politics. Surely he could find other fulfilling things… Read more »
webber
Guest

aida – I agree.

Member

Aida – This blog’s comments section is populated by many people who see Fidesz trolls under their bed. Ironically, they adopt a stance similar to that of Fidesz: Instead of saying “George Soros controls your mind,” they say “Orban controls your mind.”

I do not agree that Gyurcsany should leave politics, but I have long argued that he is a net negative for the anti-Fidesz parties in his current role. Instead of trying to lead, he should be working on grooming a strong leader that can carry the torch.

webber
Guest

That, too, is not a bad idea. Unfortunately I am afraid Gyurcsany’s ego is larger than his desire to do what’s best for the country.

Member

True.

Guest

How large is Gyurcsany’s ego on the Orban scale?

Member

A lot of non-sense here today!.

1. You don’t have to vote for Gyurcsány. Let the other people decide themselfs.
2. You don’t need to give advice to Gyurcsány to leave politics. I think, he can decide by himself. He is grown-up.
3. Unusuality for politicians to come back is no argument against it (do You know Netanjahu, Putin, …)

I am absolutely sick of this Gyurcsány-should-Go-waffle and there was not any one good argument for it, yet from anybody here, also not from the Fekete-Györs, Botkas, Orbans and who ever.

webber
Guest

Doesn’t work that way. If there is not a united ballot on the left, the left will lose the election (if you don’t understand that, look into Hungarian election rules now – they have changed a lot since 2010).

Member

@Webber: Doesn’t work that way.

I didn’t say how it is working.

But I would prefer the straight way, i.e.
1. Democracy must be restored.
2. The enemy is Orbán
3. Avoid to much tactics, which includes Gyurcsány mobbing.

The voter will appreciate this also.

I know the election rules (106 out of 199 seats can only be won together) and I stand to my previous comments.

But at least I’m getting curious to get to know how Gyurcsány is trying to prevent a united opposition, and what, let´s say Botka, is doing in favour of a united opposition.

Can You tell me ?
Have I missed something ?

webber
Guest

I didn’t say he’s trying to prevent a united opposition! United under him is clearly what he wants. Barring that, a good deal for his party is what he wants. But how many votes can his party bring, and how many voters does he drive away? Have you looked into those numbers?

Member

Do You think, he is going for prime minister ?
That wouldn’t be advantegeous, if true.

In the end, in every single district, there must be a common opposition candidate, who is supported by every party, best the one with the most chances to win. Every party must realize this.

Every party who says ‘My candidate or no cooperation’ supports the current Mafia state and deserves my contempt.

It is quite simple, but mankind is rather stupid sometimes.

That in the run-up and in the negotiations the parties want to be represented as much as possible is normal.
In the end every party must be kind of satisfied with the negotiation results.

But no party must be excluded.

BTW: I have the impression, that, if Gyurcsány, as You say, demands too much according to DKs share of voters, I think, he is not the only one.
Botka seemingly doesn’t even want to negotiate and dictates the conditions.
LMP is also known for its anti cooperation.

webber
Guest

I don’t disagree about other opposition figures – but they do not turn off voters so much, and that is all I care about. Or rather, all I care about is getting rid of Fidesz. Gyurcsány is an obstacle to this, for all the reasons I and others have enumerated.

Member

Winston, It doesn’t matter if we vote for Gyurcsany. The 3 million brainwashed voters matter. They should vote for something else than the FIDESZ.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

The case for Gyurcsány leaving politics is overwhelming. He is a mediocrity who has no clue about economic development. He also damaged goods.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

The point is that Gyurcsány is a political liability for the Hungarian Left and his reign was spectacularly unimpressive in terms of economic management. Wasting time on casinos and all sorts of dumb development ideas. He has no vision. I have no doubt he is highly intelligent. But he is not qualified to be the face of the opposition. I think he stays in politics due to ego and the fees that his party members put in his pockets. He is damaged goods.

Member

So, the best is for You, not to vote for him.

webber
Guest

It would be nice if it worked that way. Unfortunately the only way to beat Fidesz is if nobody votes “against” anybody on the left, because a vote “against” Gyurcsány is effectively going to be support for Fidesz or Jobbik. I won’t explain why – but you should know Hungary now has a modified first-past-the-post system. The only way to beat Fidesz is if the left is united. Gyurcsány, in my view, is a divider.

I think Gyurcsány would be a billion times better than Orbán. But getting rid of Orbán and his rotten system is too important. More important, by far, than supporting Gyurcsány. I am afraid many, many people will not vote for Gyurcsány for whatever reason. So, I think he should go.

Guest

I believe that most readers of today’s post have come to the conclusion that Fekete-Györ should (and will) leave politics much before Gyurcsany.

Momentum should search its ranks for better talent.

webber
Guest

Momentum is Fekete-Győr at the moment – he is the Pres. of the party, and he does all the talking. Anna Orosz would probably do a better job (I hope), but she has been shoved to the back.

Guest

Seems to me that this young man also suffers from the “Hungarian illness”!

convincing characters like Viktor Orbán, Tibor Navracsics, János Lázár, and János Áder.

Should we break out into hysterical laughter or start banging our heads against the wall reading/hearing this?
Especially Lázár aka Laser Johnny (the guy with the 100 000€ Audi sportscar who thinks the road is his …) who also said:
If you have nothing then you are nothing!

I can’t eat as much as I want to throw up!

And to think that there are still lots of Hungarians who adore this kind of – well how to call them? Mafia, fascists, …?

webber
Guest

OT – 193 people froze to death in Hungary this Winter, many in their own homes. The victims include an 11-year-old child. This is a clear indicator of severe poverty. Such people can afford food or heat, but not both. http://www.amiidonk.hu/hirek/belfold/193-ember-fagyott-halalra-telen-koztuk-egy-11-eves-gyermek/

David North
Guest

Thanks for this critique of the man behind Momentum, who has been so much in the limelight recently. I agree that he, and no doubt the movement, have much to learn. In this, Fekete-Gyõr seems to be typical of the internet generation whose smartphones have trained them to expect instant gratification.
We can safely leave Momentum for the moment to the mercy of the political process, which they will either survive or not. The problem remains that the left is fractured. In this context I was interested by Gyurcsany’s suggestion that opposition parties of the centre-left should put up a single candidate in each constituency to oppose Fidesz. This seems to be a very practical solution to the problem that the man himself is toxic to many voters. It might or might not succeed in ousting Orban, but it would at least afford the chance to put up decent candidates to oppose the ciphers who, as I know from personal observation, form a sizeable chunk of the Fidesz majority.

webber
Guest

Putting up one candidate in each constituency is the only way. But because of campaign rules in Fidesz’s Hungary, each party has to run candidates in a LOT of districts, meaning competition between the opposition will have to happen. But that technical problem could be overcome by a decision to have certain candidates tell their voters to vote for another candidate, while keeping on the ballot.

Member

“Fekete-Gyõr seems to be typical of the internet generation whose smartphones have trained them to expect instant gratification.”

You nailed it.

BritinBudapest
Guest

I read your assessment with a sinking heart – Hungary needs new young politicians with energy and vision and courage. On the other hand, what Momentum has done took courage and probably a truck load of arrogance – its not so surprising that they are wrong on a lot – they should at least be given the chance. People should engage and debate – that’s how ideas and plans gets better.

webber
Guest

I agree with this, too. God knows, every opposition party in the running now has made mistakes.

aida
Guest

Come on Webber, are you soft today? “I agree” x 3.

blinkyowl
Guest
44% of those entitled to vote are either „uncertain” or „has no party preference” (February 2017 opinion survey by Publicus). Do not you think Eva that those people want to hear exactly the message of FGYA (i.e. the current political class shall go)? Majority of the Hungarians had more than enough of the ruling elite, both right and left, and they are not splitting hair about Gyurcsany either. Those who are asking about a „coherent, detailed, visionary” and alike party program of MoMo knows very well that these programs are not for the masses but perhaps for the rivals or for the party itself. Common people do not give a damn about expert views and programs. They want to do better financially and being left alone (i.e. not being agitated constantly by „reforms” and intrusive ideologies). Simple as that. So if a party wants to gain voters it needs three things. First and foremost, getting a lot of money to organize and advertise (finding their ways to heavy-weight sponsors of different interests both home and abroad). Second, having attractive faces representing the party (young people always works, just think about commercials). Lastly, it needs a crisis situation when the voters… Read more »
Member

Even if this shallow, opportunistic, populist strategy is the only way to win an election in the Trump era (and I hope it’s not), it’s not worth pursuing, because it just means becoming indistinguishable from the opposition: empty sloganeering and corruption.

pappp
Guest
It’s not very politically correct to say, but Fekete-Győr is just too young to be able to exercise (political) wisdom. Youth can make up for a lot of things and in fact youth is of paramount importance in politics because most politically active people can either be very young or very old (students or pensioners). In Hungary middle aged (or at least post-student) people are preoccupied with raising children, paying their mortgage, having a career and – whether they admit it or not – in Hungary they are very afraid of making any political statements, it’s unbearably risky for them to deal with politics. As a result any new political force must contain rather young people – which is clearly a disadvantage because there’s no way to make up for long years of work/life experience (which usually means a network of friends, business contacts, colleagues). Fekete-Győr came of age when Fidesz was “cool” (and he said that his father is still a believer). 10-15 years ago one could literally pick up girls just by saying one was a Fidesznik (that is part of the cool gang of winners). I kid you not. This was the time when Fekete-Győr become infatuated… Read more »
Member
@papp: “Fekete-Győr came of age when Fidesz was “cool”. Now he is grown-up, but as Eva wrote, he doens’t really seem to be ashamed of, or regret his teen-age confusion. I think, one of the main problems in Hungary and some other countries around, is, that the people never experienced real democracy. In the 20 years between 1998 and 2010 democracy with rule of law and checks and balances never really settled and was never experienced to be good. Sometimes You get the impression here (in Hungary), that politics is kind of disease. Examles from real life: 1. When the son of my wifes’ sister (age ca. 32) left from his visit last September, I told him ‘Maradj otthon, maradj Europaban’. He answered, that he is not political, but he has to go to vote, because the major of his little village expects that from him, etc….). 2. When mentioning Orbán, You often hear :”They (politicians in general) are all the same” 3. Artists, musicians, actors, when asked of their opinion to something, also mostly answer, that they are not political. Pity! From Momentum I heard, that they studied abroad and I was hoping, that they had some inspiring experiences… Read more »
Istvan
Guest
I agree Fekete-Győr is part of the international urban internet generation, we have plenty of them here in Chicago who actually think their cell phones will protect them from crime and who commute by public transportation plugged in obvious to the world around them. But he represents also a child of the successful post communist cosmopolitan professional class in Hungary. As we know he lives with his French girlfriend in one of his father’s apartments free of charge and has the luxury of being an urban reform activist exercising his free speech rights without much concern for his financial future. As most of us on this blog know many younger Hungarians who live in urban centers who are civil society activists are not anything like Fekete-Győr, particularly those have worked in human services, education, and even in the crumbling medical system. Momentum did seize their imagination, but as Eva’s essay I think correctly points out the reality of Fekete-Győr has I think alienated him from his base of anti-Olympics activists and young people who are economically struggling. My own daughter who is a US Army Reserve Major and PhD student is somewhat disdainful of some of her own generation of… Read more »
werner
Guest

I’m not sure if this is relevant but I kinda wonder if it’s possible that Andras Fekete-Gyor, Sr., who is the head of the deposit insurance administration and had been its deputy since its foundation in 1993 also works for national security. Looking at him and the limited available info about him I think he would be the kind of person the services like to hire and employ. I know that Jr. proposed to open up the communist informant files but it’s unlikely ever to happen and especially unlikely to include all people and of course Sr. may have been signed up after 1990.

Guest

I really had to laugh when I read:
“I have no idea what the hell Ferenc Gyurcsány is still doing in politics. It would be high time for him to get lost.”
Shouldn’t this sentence be:
“I have no idea what the hell MSZP is still doing in politics. It would be high time for them to get lost.”

Member

This is, what I was thinking, too, ironically:
– Gyurcsány must go
– MSZP must go (e.g: they didn’t vote agains the imprisoning of innocent people last weak, unacceptable!)
– LMP must go

Who is left then ?
Right! Only Orbán and Vona, the people we like, because Juhász Péter with Együtt didn’t get the 5% to get into piarlament (or wasn’t it better for them, also to Go?).

Member

It may not be politically correct to say so but the sad fact is that not only is Hungary not a democratic nation Hungarians, by and large, dont “get” what democracy actually means.

They are happy for the obese autocrat to take all responsibility out of their hands because if it saves them from having to think- if the fascists tell them today is actually Friday they will either be so thick that they do actually believe it or alternatively will pretend to believe it because they are too cowardly to do anything else.

The fascists have retreated on three main issues (internet tax, Sunday opening and the Olympics) so they can they can be beaten if the battle-ground is chosen carefully but sad to say, on the somewhat more abstract concepts of corruption, press freedom and, yes, demomcracy the regime will not be beaten not only because they control all the cards but because the average Hungarian cares not one jot about them.

Momentum are guilty of misinterpetating their stunning success in the referendum petition as a sign that the populace are ready for a “change”…whatever that means. They are not.

Guest

Again a bit OT:

Since you mentioned the Sunday opening – it seems that Fidesz is preparing another attack against those darn global players whoo don’t let CBA owners print their own money (like tobacco shop owners do …):
http://bbj.hu/business/multinational-food-retailers-to-face-strict-regulations-in-hungary_129928
I wonder what will come out of that.

pappp
Guest
Hungarians are ready for a change. Democracy is basically about the ability – trough elections – to depose the hated ruler. That I think people understand clearly and want it. A more subtle conception would also include deliberation, aggregation of diverse opinions and interests etc. – that they don’t really understand. Normally the first one is enough for democracies to operate. But Hungary is not a democracy, it is an electoral autocracy. All the autocracies nowadays hold elections (not holding them would make them extreme outliers), the question is whether it is possible to win those elections by parties unconnected to the ruling party? I think in Hungary – absent a landslide – it is not possible to get rid of Orban even though the vast majority of the people by now despise Orban. It is however everybody’s interest (such as the EU, Merke etc.) to pretend that there can be elections in Hungary which may be winnable by the opposition (intl. observers can play with terms such as “free” and “fair”, like the elections were “not fair but still free” etc. etc.). But the Hungarian system is such – and most autocracies are very effective in this regard –… Read more »
bimbi
Guest

Well, something of a shame to read that F-G (Whoops! There are those initials again!) should shoot himself in the foot so quickly after the Nolympia success – death by TV interview, I guess. Still, I for one am grateful to MoMo that they had what it takes to place the utterly stupid Orban (right, Viktor, it was all Tarlos’s idea!) Olympic ambition before the receptive Budapest electorate. Great to see Viktor put his tail between his
legs and run. The encore is not going to be so simple it seems.

wrfree
Guest

After reading Prof’s piece I’d say MoMo’s ‘go-go’ spokesperson at this time is a NoGo. Mr. Fekete-Gyor needs to perhaps ‘mature’ a bit when it comes to developing opinions. Don’t see any gravitas in his political constitution at this time. Ideally he should accord some respect to his elders. He hasn’t done zilch yet.

And too bad Mr. Gyurcsany is getting treated like a pinata getting the ripping hits apparently for still hanging around.
Considering the position of those espousing democratic paradigms in the country it makes sense to see ‘democracy’ hung up as a pinata constantly getting its shots in the run of political discourse. In Hungary today it looks pinata time all the time.

webber
Guest
aida
Guest

Yes. It is. Thanks

Guest

Pappp wrote:
it’s not possible to openly support Gyurcsany or MSZP
Now you’re talking!
So what options would remain, not LMP because they don’t consider them to be on the “left”.
I’ve given up hope for now – it’ll take at least another five years. Maybe the expected crash in the next elections will bring a rearrangement of the opposition, that’s what I am hoping for.

Observer
Guest

Wow! New record on GyF related comments. So Gyurcsány is always in the news, good. I venture saying that one or two events can turn the public opinion around and all of a sudden everyone will say I knew he was a clever guy ….

My bet on “What will happen with Momentum ?” was “Nothing”. I double it now.
Most seem to miss the point that Nolimpics was a single issue carried on emotion (MoMo din’t offer any relevant study or presentation). How would you like 20 y.o. single issue, opinionated enthusiasts with 0 inexperience and little understanding of politics or economy to manage your money, jobs or property?
They can be great help and may have good potential, but that’s it now.

Guest

@everyone who thinks Gyurcsany should leave politics because he is tainted:
Doesn’t this apply even more to the old MSZP guard? At least Gy said it openly – the other MSZP people said and did nothing!
So shouldn’t there be a new Left party – without all that baggage?
And of course (following Roderick – our arch Conservative) a new Conservative party?

I don’t see any of that happening in Hungary – the examples of the fake Green aka LMP and the new Momemtum show that it’s almost impossible to get a really new and valid movement in Hungary – it’s always the same kind of recycled cr*p it seems, what a sorry state!

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