Politics and the Hungarian socialists–Not a winning combination

The ineptness of MSZP politicians never ceases to amaze me, but their latest stunt really deserves a booby prize. While their new hope, László Botka, lectures on taking away from the rich and giving to the poor, high-ranking MSZP politicians endorsed a proposal to give away the state-owned Grassalkovich Mansion in Hatvan to the Széchenyi Zsigmond Kárpát-medencei Magyar Vadászati Múzeum (Zsigmond Széchenyi Hungarian Hunting Museum of the Carpathian Basin).

Hunting has become a favorite pastime of Fidesz politicians, who show a great affinity for the lifestyle of the traditional Hungarian landowning class, which included a love of hunting. Even during the Kádár regime high-ranking party functionaries indulged in this aristocratic pursuit. Zsolt Semjén (KDNP), deputy prime minister, and János Lázár, chief of the prime minister’s office, are the best known avid hunters.

First, a few words about the mansion that stands on the main square of Hatvan and that is named for Count Antal Grassalkovich (1694-1771), a wealthy man who owned vast tracks of land around Gödöllő, Hatvan, and Bag. In 1867 the mansion was purchased by the Deutsch-Hatvany family. After the German occupation of Hungary, the Gestapo settled there. It was also used as a military hospital. By 1979 the building was declared to be uninhabitable. After a lengthy reconstruction effort, the mansion’s restoration was more or less finished with the help of 3.15 billion forints provided by the European Union and the Hungarian government. In 2012 the decision was made to house the Hunting Museum, named after Zsigmond Széchenyi (1898-1967), a well-known explorer and writer, in the state-owned mansion.

A nice gift for the Hunting Association

On March 14 eight members of parliament, three from Fidesz-KDNP and five from MSZP, proposed an amendment to a law passed in 2011 that regulates the ways and means of giving away state-owned properties to private persons or private organizations. The three Fidesz-KDNP signatories were Zsolt Semjén, János Lázár, and János Halász, undersecretary for culture in the prime minister’s office. As for five MSZP members, they included well-known, important names: István Hiller, Gergely Bárándy, Dezső Hiszékeny, István Józsa, and Árpád Velez. According to the document, these eight men proposed giving the newly reconstructed Grassalkovich Mansion to the National Hungarian Hunting Association (Országos Magyar Vadászkamara/OMVK). The justification for the move was that this transfer of ownership will offer an opportunity for the museum to function “on a professional basis.” Because, the government politicians argued, at the moment the museum attracts very few visitors. Instead of the expected 100,000 a year, barely 30,000 visitors were registered in the last few years. That shortfall happened because the current management is not doing a professional enough job. Once the Hunting Association owns the mansion outright, however, it will have a more effective way of supervising the museum.

I must say that I do not see the connection between ownership of the building and management of the museum. Anyone with half a brain should have noticed that there is something wrong here. One of the Hungarian papers claimed that “the socialists were misled.” Well, it doesn’t seem to be very difficult to mislead these political geniuses.

There was another reason the MSZP politicians should have been suspicious. The privatization of public property needs a two-thirds majority in parliament. As we know, Fidesz doesn’t have that majority anymore. Most likely, they knew that Jobbik would never agree to cooperate with them on an issue like this. So, they turned to the patsies of MSZP instead. And it very nearly worked.

The reaction from the other parties on the left was swift. As usual, Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Demokratikus Koalíció was the first to respond. Zsolt Gréczy, the spokesman for DK, said: “We always knew that Fidesz politicians steal,” but it is unacceptable for MSZP politicians to assist in this enterprise. According to Gréczy, MSZP must offer some kind of reasonable explanation for lending a helping hand to Fidesz in its quest to steal the country blind. MSZP’s leadership was unmoved. They answered that this is not about hunting but about a museum that serves the public good. Viktor Szigetvári of Együtt was the next to issue a statement. He went so far as to call this cooperation between Fidesz and MSZP “a grand coalition.” Shame, shame, he added.

A day later, on March 17, MSZP published a terse announcement: “MSZP wants to avoid even the appearance of working together with Fidesz in the privatization of state property, and therefore it withdraws its support for the privatization of the property destined for OMVK.” Before this announcement was made, however, Gyula Molnár, chairman of MSZP, had stood by the party’s decision and repeated that cooperation with Fidesz for the sake of the museum was correct and justified. Gergely Bárándy, son of former Minister of Justice Péter Bárándy, accused the DK spokesman of “creating a scandal.” If he hadn’t opened his mouth, the public would have heard nothing about “this noble cause from the point of view of Hungarian culture.”

Who was responsible for this politically suicidal act? I’m afraid all the bigwigs of MSZP. I don’t have any knowledge of the interplay between the parliamentary caucus and the leadership of the party, but I would like to believe that the chairman of the party, Gyula Molnár, was informed that cooperation with Fidesz on the issue had been sanctioned by the parliamentary delegation. The leader (or whip) of the MSZP delegation is Bertalan Tóth. He is new at his job, but until now he struck me as an intelligent fellow. Perhaps he didn’t feel secure enough to go against people like Hiller, Bárándy, and Józsa. We know that the Fidesz politicians came to MSZP with the suggestion, which then was discussed at length. At the end, they decided to support the joint proposal. And now, here is this embarrassing retreat which was apparently initiated by László Botka, who must have hit the ceiling upon finding out about it. I don’t blame him. According to Népszava, Botka “specifically requested” the party’s immediate withdrawal from the joint project.

After this fiasco the party leadership is threatening MSZP members of parliament with immediate removal from the caucus if they dare vote for the bill. This indicates to me that some of the original signatories are giving the party leadership a hard time about prohibiting any further cooperation. MSZP, as usual, failed miserably as an effective opposition to the politically savvy Fidesz party machinery.

March 19, 2017

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46 Comments on "Politics and the Hungarian socialists–Not a winning combination"

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Bastiat2
Guest

As early as the mid XIXth century in France, where socialist doctrines were in full bloom, with the stupid idea of taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor, the calculation was made that if you took all the money from the rich and gave it to the poor, it would improve their lot for one month and after that, the rich being unable to invest in new plants or activities, they would be without a job and even poorer than before.
Once a stupid idea, always a stupid idea.
This does not mean, of course, that stopping Fidesz looting would not be a good thing. However, the money saved should not be “given” or “redistributed” to the poor, it should be invested in productive industries and activities, thus creating jobs and riches for the community.
As Gerhart Schröder, a socialist, once said: the margins of today are the investments of tomorrow and the jobs of after-tomorrow.
Short-circuiting this transformation is a cardinal mistake of old school socialist

Observer
Guest

Bastia2
Are you playing stupid or you really have no idea about economics or socialist policies? Ah, ..or are you a plain Fid troll?
Has anyone heard about a developed society without taking/giving = redistribution = taxes in the last 3000 years ?

Bastiat2
Guest

Insult is not my way of discussing economy. I could answer that it is you who have no idea of how economy works. So what?
Read my last paragraph and see whether I am a “Fid troll” as you put it. I am fully aware that Fidesz is looting the country and that, unfortunately, the opposition is in no way ready to stop that looting

Member

Bastiat2
In Germany, there is no flat tax, even after Gerhard Schröder.
That means: people with more income have to pay more taxes, not only absolutely but also relatively.

Germany does work very well at the moment.

Then we are talking about private persons, that would pay more taxes. Private persons usually do not invest money to economies and create jobs.
This is done by enterprises.

I think You do not really know, what You are talking about.

Observer
Guest

Your notes about “stupid ideas” and the primitive “calculation was made that if you took all the money ..” qualify you.

And the origins of “socialist doctrines” did not originate “As early as the mid XIXth century in France”, but as early as the 16th century, if we don’t count St.Francis’ and even some ancients’ ideas.

bimbi
Guest

@Bastiat2, 4:28 a.m.

Dear Friend, you are so far off base, it ain’t funny. The question of whether distribution of Fidesz thefts over the last seven years would bring happiness for a month or two to the poorest Hungarians is irrelevant. What is relevant is that through its policy of government sponsored industrial scale theft, the ruling party and its politicians show they don’t give a tinkers cuss for the plight of the Hungarian impoverished (and there is a lot of them). Investment in the economy in a planned way, investment in people training and education, investment in decent (not doctrinaire) schooling, investment in health care and infrastructure are absent from the plans of our ruling class. Sure, doll up the Kossuth ter, build a memorial to the Hungarian collaborators, invest in Budapest 2024 Olympic dreams and fifty soccer stadia paid for from tax-payer money… …these are our “investment for the future”. Sick.

Bastiat2
Guest

I have no quarrel with all you said. I was just commenting on the socialist idea of “taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor”, in so many words.

webber
Guest

Raising the minimal wage (drastically) is not redistribution, and it has to be done. People cannot survive on the minimal wage in Hungary now.

bercike
Guest

I think the official CPI numbers are cooked. The prices of many products and services when up insanely. You want to renovate your apartment and the prices are 50% higher than 3 years ago.

webber
Guest

They are definitely cooked! The Central Statistical Office staff are told what they should produce, and what they must not say in their reports. Very inventive accounting is the result.
One Hungarian in ten now must decide whether to eat or to heat their apartment.
Wages must go up.

Guest
What’s much worse than the low wages: The incredibly low pensions that many people have! When we walk through the village we see houses so derelict, you can call them ruins. And then you see the inhabitants: An old couple or a woman on her own (her man having died long ago from too much drinking) and from the way they’re clothed you realise that they just don’t have the money to invest in new paint – new windows or better insulation are an impossible dream. A neighbour just told us that during the extreme cold we had many old people asked the mayor for some firewood – please, please … There is a gas pipe running through the village but many houses are not connected – it’s just too expensive for them! So they burn wood, coal and whatever gives warmth … Another neighbour asked me last year what I was doing with my old newspapers – I gave them to him to make some kind of fuel from mixing them with sawdust which he got from a local wood business … Can you imagine the smell of all that cr*p burning? I’ve tasted it before – almost 30… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

You know we can see that Fidesz must have lost the plot since they got a supposed ‘mandate’ to change things in those halcyon early years. Some enlightened Magyars have learned to be careful for what to wish for and yet apparently some refuse to face facts as the quality of life for citizens has eroded precipitously.

Most appear to emulate that Sisyphus of myth who ceaselessly drove a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down condemning the effort simly to barren and hopeless labor. And this state of affairs courtesy of a blind government.

It would seem the the ‘democratic’ left has much to work with if they don’t shoot themselves in the foot. Time to focus on getting the ‘ostraka’ out so the electorate can reduce seats of those responsible for the state the country is in …on many falling dimensions. In essence, Fidesz needs to be ostracized as its credibility sits in the gutter.

Member

Wolfie: “When we walk through the village we see houses so derelict, you can call them ruins.”

Although You are living in the rich part of Hungary!

Guest

Winston, I know …
My wife is from the East and we’ve visited her relatives there regularly – and I immediately understood why she left everything after her parents died and
moved to Hévíz!

The town she lived in doesn’t even have a Tesco or Interspar – the only “cheaper” place to do shopping is the Lidl that opened a few years ago – while she lived there you only had those CBAs – or you’d have to drive 30 km (and back …) to find a real supermarket or bigger shop for electronics, clothes etc.

bimbi
Guest

Once again, a blatant example of how Fidesz is ready to steal from the patrimony of the Hungarian people. Of course Lazar and Semjen (the serial liar and the plagiarist) are enthusiastic followers of the aristocratic traditions of hunting – after all, this pair belongs to the new generation of Hungarian landowners having recently become owners of state land under give-away conditions. So yes, they want their very own “Hunting Museum” where they can meet and drink and swap stories of their adventures. Throwbacks to the days of Horthy! It is a disgrace that a “hunting museum” should even exist today, but our leaders don’t seem too interested in conservation and protection.

As to the MSzP, what can one say? They too seem to be well-stocked with politicians who enjoy their privileges and don’t seem able to bat an eyelid when it comes to extending those pleasures in the wider ruling classes. Tell me someone! What on earth has MSzP done in the last 7 years that has been of benefit to the Hungarian people at large?

As they say in the Daily Mail, “You couldn’t even make these things up”.

bercike
Guest

Bertalan Tóth is a man chosen and owned by Laszlo Puch who is still the treasurer of MSZP.

It is still Puch after all these years who cuts the deals with Fidesz.

So it was probably Puch who ordered the deal in order to accumulate points of generosity with Fidesz which may be used as bargaining chips when it comes to talking about really big dough.

By the way Péter Bárándy (who is the father of Gergely of the people who proposed the amendment) is none other than the chairman of the ethical commission of the national association of hunters. Coincidence?

MSZP is the quintessential party of ‘mutyi’. Nothing changes.

This story also makes Molnar the chairman of the party look hapless, clueless boss which he is and also neatly ties in with the image people hold about MSZP.

Botka can do whatever he wants to and he is probably more popular than his party but he can’t sack his party.

Observer
Guest

Yes, it is the same Puch who won the inside tug of war against Gyurcsany 10 y ago, while trying to rpeserve the 70:30% kickback system.
In retrospect, how right was GyF then to considered the clean-up of party financing so important. On top of everything, the totally immoral and ruthless Fidesz benefited much more and imposed a 99:1% corruption on a new dimension.

Laszlo Koves
Guest

This is how MSZP is kept afloat. There’s nobody who would invest in that party. Apart from Fidesz that is. MSZP with or without Botka is just Fidesz’ marketing ploy. These people Hiller, Molnar, Puch, Velez these people think nothing about anything. They are empty. They are merely waiting for the money which they know very well they can only get from Fidesz. If there’s one adjective that fits MSZP it’s cheap. You can get their votes for next to nothing everybody knows it. Poor Hungary full of political zombies.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘If there’s one adjective that fits MSZP it’s cheap’

And they as well as other representatives of the nation make the latter pay dearly for their shortcomings. Like old Trabis they make themselves uncomfortable to be around while poisoning the air with the exhaust smoke.

Istvan
Guest

I never hunted in the area of Hatvan Eva’s essay discussed, but I did hunt boar near the town of Lónya and adjoining the Szatmár-Bereg Nature Reservation District. There is a large hunting lodge near there and it was very elegant indeed, as nice as many of the hunting lodges in Montana I have stayed at. The land I hunted on was controlled by the Hungarian Ministry of Defense and not the National Hungarian Hunting Association. The boar were very large indeed. There are also a lot of vipers in the area I hunted in so we wore knee high boots.

petofi
Guest

Istvan,
I accept hunting only under one condition: that you take the kill up north and leave it for the polar bears which are starving…

Ferenc
Guest

…. and are running out of polar ice!!

Member

Troll Spoor vs. Blood Lust

Shame on @Istvan and his addiction to his two blood sports. It shows his colors and coagulates his occasional spurts of insight and decency. Yes, he is in the foul company of Semjen, Lazar, the sons of Trump and the King of Spain. And he has dragged some of the regulars of Hungarian Spectrum into the heartless, idle discourse. Shame. I’d rather see troll spoor than blood lust. Is some boys-will-be-boys locker-room talk about pussy snatching to be the next OT chat-fest for Hungarian Spectrum?

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Member

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Orban’s Refugee Hunters

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Member

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webber
Guest
Guest

Totally OT re hunting:
Don’t know about Kádár but I know that East Germany’s Communist leader Honecker was a big fan of hunting – but also very lazy.
Not only let he “drivers” bring the deer he wanted to shoot in his direction – he even had several Range Rovers specially modified for him to make hunting easier!
You find pictures of all four of them here – they must have cost a fortune!
http://www.ait-trading.com/astro/misc/landrover/honeckerjagdwagen.html
That article describes how expensive those cars were (between 300 000 and 400 000 Deutsche Mark West of course) but also that the deer were imported from Hungary for him to shoot – and there were special gun-holders in the cars and extremely strong lights to blind the deer so they would not run away …
Really unbelievable – but totally true, just like the stuff we read about Fidesz and their lunatic proposals ….

Istvan
Guest

How about this photo of Brezhnev huntingcomment image They were hunting just across the Hungarian border in Ukraine. I like his pistol rig a real Russian cowboy for sure.

wrfree
Guest

I’d think if Brezhnev shot anything it wasn’t on 4 legs. 95% of the hunt was over as he pumped shots into whatever he took home as a trophy. Hunting by Communists was an affectation where their kills were as setup as the projection of their philosophy.. rack’em up and take’em out.

webber
Guest

Communist hunting was just Tsarist kitsch. The old communists loved aristocratic things.

Member

The MSZP of 2017 is looking more like the SZDSZ of 2008 every day.

I think it’s significant that Marta Demeter, the 34-year-old MP who was once positioned as “left-wing hottie” by the Socialists’ PR people, ditched the Socialists in January. She refused to give up her seat and now serves as an independent.

Demeter was never a leading light of the MSZP and most Hungarians could not pick her out of a lineup. However, the fact that a young, ambitious politician should see no future in the country’s biggest opposition party speaks volumes.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
The Russian Laundromat Exposed
typically involved:
-moldovan citizens
-account at Moldindconbank (again Moldovan)
-Trasta Komercbanka (Latvan)
Anybody here familiar and/or knows connections to the above?
Here’s the schemecomment image

Observer
Guest

If some authority genuinely investigate this scheme will probably fail at the first step right away: the creditor must have clean money to ” loan”. Otherwise a simple deposit or capital increase would have laundered the money.
Since this is difficult, in this scheme they put obstacles on or hide the money trail – by the time the investigation reaches the pay out point/company, it’s been liquidated the money and the front men have disappeared. Just like Fidesz in 1999-2002: Csaba Schlecht was MD of 34 comps with 2 billion HUF in unpaid taxes alone; most of them were sold to nonexistent Messrs Ibrahim Kaya and Josip Toth, eng of story and money, good start for Simicska/ Orban’s robbery spree.

Ferenc
Guest

Here are the stories about the Laundromat:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/20/british-banks-handled-vast-sums-of-laundered-russian-money
https://www.occrp.org/en/laundromat/
Condering friendly connections between certain Russians and Hungarian wealthy policy makers, I wondered if any HU persons and/or money could be involved in this laundromat or other but similar operating money washing machines……

Melanie Zuben
Guest

Farkasok

„Homo homini lupus“

Mióta világ a világ,
főbe a fejsze belevág,
ember embernek farkasa,
öröktől ádáz ordasa.

Ordasok bár a farkasok,
hozzánk képest irgalmasok,
egymáshoz jók, hűségesek,
okosak, illedelmesek,
nem ölnek, csak ha éhesek.

Persze megesik, szentigaz:
köztük is gonoszra akadsz,
hisz néha – gondolj csak bele! –
farkas farkasnak embere.
-Budap Ferenc

Melanie Zuben
Guest

Typo! It should be: Buda Ferenc

Guest

Thanks for copying this in a language that I don’t read …
So I don’t have to get angry at your (expletive deleted)!

Ferenc
Guest

Think in this case you might like the poem, so a little too hash on Melanie. As only basic understanding Hungarian, I propose two possible summaries (if I’m wrong, please correct me and my humble excuses):
1.Wolfs are better (more human?) than People
2.People are worse than Wolfs

webber
Guest

Melanie has a history of writing irrelevancies here, sometimes promoting certain commercial products. Hence Wolfi’s response.

Ferenc
Guest

Here’s a Google translation of the poem:

Wolves – “Homo Homini Lupus”

Since the world is the world,
head count cuts into the ax,
man wolf man,
eternally fierce wolf.

Ordasok though the wolves,
compared to us merciful
to one another are good, faithful,
smart, polite,
they do not kill unless you are hungry.

Sure it happens, it is true saint:
among them akadsz evil,
because sometimes – think about it! –
Man wolf wolf.

from Google translation of page http://www.forrasfolyoirat.hu/0205/buda.html

webber
Guest

That is about the worst translation I have ever seen.

webber
Guest

WHY do you think anyone would like that, Ferenc? It is unreadable! Unspeakably bad!

Ferenc
Guest

just copied google translation for who is interested and get a little an idea about what it’s about.
you’re invited to do better than google (shouldn’t be so difficult…..)

webber
Guest

Thanks, but I’d prefer to leave it to the person who put that up to translate his/her own irrelevant postings.

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