With or without Gordon Bajnai: LMP’s dilemma

I was hoping that I would be able to report on the LMP Congress, which will decide the party’s attitude toward Gordon Bajnai’s Együtt 2014 Movement. Hence “Together 2014.” However, the internal differences that exist within the party seem to be difficult to iron out, and it looks as if a decision can be expected only tomorrow. Not a good sign.

Péter Róna threw in his lot with LMP a few months ago. Róna has many admirers in Hungary. There is a certain aura that surrounds Hungarians who spent the greater part of their lives abroad, as Róna did, and who achieved financial success. Róna was an investment banker who, after he returned to post-1990 Hungary, had a few business ventures that made him a wealthy man in Hungary. He also became a kind of gentleman farmer; he is currently experimenting with cheese making. Recently he was invited to be a senior research fellow at Blackfriars Hall of the University of Oxford where he is working on “the restoration of value judgement and moral sentiment in economic theory.” It’s not surprising that the LMP leadership, no friends of western-style capitalism, found their spiritual leader in Róna.

Politics Can Be Different
But can it?

The discussions about the direction LMP will take are being held behind closed doors, but Róna, who is certainly not media shy, told MTI his own opinion on the matter.  Róna apparently rose and expressed his belief that “cooperation with Together 2014” is absolutely necessary for the removal of Viktor Orbán from power. However, “he didn’t recommend joining the movement”  because “there is a vast gap between the economic and societal ideas of the two organizations” that simply cannot be bridged. As far as Róna can ascertain, Gordon Bajnai’s ideas on the economy would be a continuation of the programs of the Gyurcsány and Bajnai governments, which would mean “a policy structured by capital to the interests and needs of capital.”  But, Róna claimed, the time of such economic and societal structures is gone.

During an interview with György Bolgár (October 17) Róna expressed his disappointment in Gordon Bajnai’s economic plans which the former prime minister had outlined before a group of economists earlier. Right after the interview Bolgár asked László Békesi, former finance minister, what he thought of Róna’s ideas. Békesi began: “Yes, I’m familiar with his line.” (In Hungarian: “Ismerem a szöveget.”) According to Békesi, “Róna would like to see a third-road character but there is no such person.”  Here Békesi was referring to a school of economic thought from the 1930s that championed a “third road”  between capitalism and socialism. According to Békesi, there are some realistic elements  in Róna’s concept, but in its entirety it is not a viable economic model. Hungary cannot get out of its economic troubles by relying on small businesses and taking an antagonistic attitude toward capital, globalism, and banks. If Róna criticized Bajnai for wanting to continue the economic policy that stabilized the rocky boat of the Hungarian economy between 2008 and 2010, he said, then it is actually high praise of the former prime minister.

As for Róna’s ideas on foreign investment, Békesi found them totally unrealistic. If it depended on Róna, he wouldn’t allow any foreign company to settle in Hungary “that creates less value to the country than what it takes out.” Róna, for example, insists that the Mercedes factory in Kecskemét was a very bad deal for Hungary because Mercedes received too much government assistance while it created only a few thousand jobs. So, the Hungarian taxpayers’ money wasn’t used effectively. But, according to Békesi, these companies (Mercedes, Audi, Opel) have expanded their operations in Hungary over the years and thus they reinvested some of the profits that accumulated in their plants in Hungary. Second, Hungary is not in a position to pick and choose among investors. Viktor Orbán occasionally says the same thing as Róna: there are good multinationals and bad ones and Hungary will make the decision who the lucky ones are who can invest in the country. It simply doesn’t work that way.

Of course, I have no idea how much influence Róna has on the youngish membership of LMP. Most likely more than his ideas deserve, but one must admit that anti-capitalist sentiment, especially against big business, is prevalent in LMP. Some people in LMP even talked about him as their candidate for prime minister, an idea Róna rejected, calling himself totally unfit for the job.

A last note. There is a remark that requires a little parsing. Gábor Vágó, an LMP member of parliament, announced after the meeting that whatever the decision is, it has to be announced unequivocally and resolutely. And they should stick to their decision whatever it is. Well, he expressed it a little less politely (“ne tökörésszen az LMP” was the exact phrase). He added, however, that “the decision shouldn’t be based on the current opinion polls.” That additional information is hard to interpret because the opinion polls at the moment are all over creation.

I do hope that the party leadership will decide to join Together 2014, if for no other reason than self-preservation.

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42 comments

  1. Eva,
    your mind must’ve been on the roast when you wrote the last sentence: why would you care if LMP survives?
    For my money, only Vago Gabor is worth anything.

  2. petofi :

    Eva,
    your mind must’ve been on the roast when you wrote the last sentence: why would you care if LMP survives?
    For my money, only Vago Gabor is worth anything.

    To tell you the truth I wouldn’t particularly care but it would be very bad for the democratic opposition if one after the other party would say no.

  3. Eva S. Balogh :

    petofi :
    Eva,
    your mind must’ve been on the roast when you wrote the last sentence: why would you care if LMP survives?
    For my money, only Vago Gabor is worth anything.

    To tell you the truth I wouldn’t particularly care but it would be very bad for the democratic opposition if one after the other party would say no.

    Of course it would, but I understood your last sentence to mean that the self-preservation of LMP is at stake…

  4. So that makes already two parties which won’t join Bajnai’s Együtt 2014 (the other being 4K, according to Pester Lloyd).

    What strikes me is that in Hungary economic knowledge is in very short supply (which doesn’t mean that some people get rich quick).

    According to my Hungarian economist girlfriend, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) accounts for more than 750 000 jobs for skilled workers in Hungary. Those people get higher wages and pay more taxes than the average Hungarian working within the domestic economy. It is also FDI that gives Hungarian economic statistics still an almost acceptable touch. So it’s rather silly of Orbán as well as Róna to criticize those foreign-owned companies, even though they enjoy tax breaks and government subsidies.

    The Mercedes works in Kecskemét will consist within a short time of 90% Hungarian employees – who were trained on a rotational basis in the Mercedes factory in Rastatt, Germany. As Hungary is not able to give decent vocational training to its own workers this knowledge transfer in itself is worth many times the subsidies.

    Róna lives on another planet.

  5. London Calling!

    LMP are too inexperienced a party: still evolving; too Budapest-centric; too experimental with leadership; too undecided with policy – and too fearful of making a wrong move with their fragile ‘constituency’ – which could disappear in a puff – to make any lasting impression on the Hungarian political scene.

    Having such an idealistic chairperson policy will never work. The ‘Greens’ in England chose not to have a leader for ideological reasons too (no one in overall charge) – but it only produced chaos and they soon abandoned it.

    And of course they are not into party politics like the others? Er..sort of politics without the politics. Eh?

    Why did Róna throw in his lot with them?

    LMP are destined to be in the political (non-political?) wilderness for a good few years – before they are honed into a mean lean party, hungry for power.

    They need a good dose of realpolitik before the electorate will trust them.

    Regards

    Charlie

  6. I always wonder about people like Rona. He made his money in the capitalist system and now he wants to abandon the system (I guess he doesn’t want others to do as well as he did).

    He reminds me of Warren Buffet, a US investor billionaire who advocates higher taxes on people like him (and others, much less wealthy), but in the meantime he prefers to donate his wealth to charitable causes of his choice, instead of paying more in taxes voluntarily, something the US tax forms clearly allow (and encourage).

  7. In my opinion presently Hungary is quite a few light-years away from the possibility to be able to chose between capitalism and socialism, or between anything else, for that matter, what has anything to do with economy.
    Which is just about anything, as we know it.

    When the government practically strangling the economic growth with every step what they make, – legislation, education, financing, social- and cultural changes, and the list growing by the second – they pushing the country into a corner, with no way out in the foreseeable future, the whole discussion of ‘choosing’ any way is clearly fictitious.

    And I still didn’t mentioned the all-penetrating backward ideology which forcefully implemented on just about every aspect of the life, particularly in the education, so our only chance to any future advancement severely truncated by design.

    As long as the horseback-archery won’t be really in a ‘business-mainstream’, and the NYSE and NASDAQ won’t start to use rune-script on their display’s, that is…

    Regarding the ‘Politics Could Have Been Different’ party, I guess they trying to maneuver themselves into some kind of key-position, but failing to notice, that there is no such thing today.
    The alliance of Gyurcsány and Bajnai clearly signaled that there is no place for petty pissing contest anymore, decision-time has come.
    Why the above mentioned two politician deserves attention is – in my opinion – the fact, that both of them have a great deal to sacrifice – normal, trouble free life and/or personal carrier advancements, not to mention the financial side – but they decided to take the only sensible step, because the democracy – as we knew t – in a dire need of help, and they maybe can do something about it.
    If some individual – politician? – or some party in the present situation still couldn’t decide, what the right thing to do, then they are in the wrong place, altogether.

  8. Saw my first anti-Bajnai advert today – on a city bus in the capital. It linked Bajnai and Gyurcsány together and said something like “Don’t forget they ruined the country together!” I couldn’t see the sponsor as it was written in smaller letters.

  9. Konrad Gyorgy was on ATV yesterday and said that the only modest politician he’s seen in Hungary in the last 20 years was Bajnai. That sounds like a good recommendation to me.

    I used to be partial to Rona but his joining LMP rather than Bajnai seems like the big-fish-in-small-pond syndrome; that is to say, he hopes to be drafted to lead that party and have some political leverage as their leader. Not what the country needs.

    It is somewhat disheartening that opposition ‘segments’ are playing with what is clearly the only route the country should be taking–Bajnai.

  10. I’ve just read about the LMP ‘no’ to Bajnai.
    Schiffer has earned a new name: henceforth, Schiffer Draskovitch Andras.
    I suppose Orban will back Schiffer for the Budapest mayoralty next.

  11. I’m sorry to see that LMP won’t join Bajnai and that they’re so incoherent and chaotic as of late. I know a number of people in the LMP and quite fancy their youthful idealism on many issues. They make for wonderfully engaging people with whom to share a dinner and a great philosophical conversation. I also think that there is space on the Hungarian left for a party that is somewhat critical of capitalism, multinationals and globalization. But I’m afraid I don’t see much potential cabinet material in their midst.

  12. I find it slightly odd that Békési is being quoted as some sort of authority. He was part of the Kádár administration, was Németh’s finance minister and was fairly ineffective when working for Horn. That’s hardly a CV to be proud of.

    It is also nonsense to characterise Róna as anti-capitalist. His argument is that investments such as Daimler don’t make economic sense when you look at the benefit for the country weighed against the cost in terms of tacit subsidy that brought them here. As governments, not least Bajnai’s, refuse to publish the relevant details for these deals, I suspect this is true.

    As for saying that Hungary shouldn’t rely on small businesses …. they are the life blood of any modern economy and it is not only nutty to dismiss them, it is nutty for the Orbán government to make them impossible to run.

  13. OT:
    – The Office of the Parliament blocked all emails that are being sent in protest against the law requiring pre-registration for the election.(we are not talking abut the pre-elction required in most countries, but a system that will limit many Hungarian citizen’s right to vote).

    – Matolcsy paranoid and misleading words (same has been spoken by Orban not long ago), where he said that financial analyst are “the pirates of the financial world” were not received with the greatest enthusiasm, and gave a great chance to the financial world to point out how dumb Matolcsy is when it comes to understanding how the financial world work.
    ““Our research is based on thorough and reasoned analysis, and I’d hope that most people who read it would see that. Plus we’re completely independent anyway–we do not hold positions in the financial markets, and have no book to talk,” Mr. Shearing said in a written response to Hungarian business news portal Portfolio.hu.
    Another, unnamed, London-based analyst also felt the need to respond. Research analysts in London are independent under the U.K. Financial Services Authority’s rules and it would be illegal for them to manipulate financial markets, he told the same news portal on condition of anonymity.
    “The theory of manipulating markets by investors is, also, clearly bizarre,” he said.
    “At the end of the day investors are likely to make far more money in Hungary with [its] solid growth and sound, orthodox policy as opposed to the opposite,” he added.”

    Wall Street Journal http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/11/16/london-analysts-are-financial-worlds-pirates-hungarian-minister-says/

  14. Kingfisher :

    I find it slightly odd that Békési is being quoted as some sort of authority. He was part of the Kádár administration, was Németh’s finance minister and was fairly ineffective when working for Horn. That’s hardly a CV to be proud of.

    Well, well, you just have to put up with it. Meaning that I think highly of Békesi. What is wrong with Németh’s cabinet? According to some it was one of the best in the past couple of decades. Békesi was “ineffective” because Horn didn’t allow him to do anything because he wasn’t “socialist” enough. Too liberal for Horn’s taste. Békesi desperately tried to make the necessary adjustments but Horn refused. Then one nice day he quit. Interesting situation followed: for at least a month if not longer there was no chairman of the the central bank and no finance minister while total financial collapse was looming over the country. Horn tried to find a finance minister and eventually he had to swallow Lajos Bokros’s stern program. But he got rid of Bokros soon enough.

    In my opinion Békesi’s assessment of the present economic situation is right on target.

    As for Róna’s half-baked ideas, sorry I have very low opinion of them.

  15. Gretchen :
    @Petofi–Sorry, I don’t get the ‘Draskovitch’ reference. Can you tell me?

    Draskovitch was the leader of the opposition to Milosovic back in 1996. The movement had traction, so much so that American congressmen were showing up and marching in Belgrade. Then…poof! before you knew it, it was all over. Draskovitch stopped organizing, the marches ended, the senators et.al. went home…and soon after, Draskovitch was made the mayor of Belgrade.

  16. I agree that SMEs are the backbone of many a country’s economy – but only if they excel in their niche. This is especially true for Germany that has about 2500 world market leaders amongst its small-to-medium-sized enterprises. The educational and state-imposed economic conditions in Hungary are not conducive to achieving excellence anywhere.

    As for FDI such as Daimler’s, I have pointed out in another comment that the know-how transfer and the tax income derived from the employees (there will be more than 2500) are a net benefit to Hungary and far outweigh the subsidies and tax holidays granted. I have been suggesting to scholars in Hungary to document the enormous developmental changes taking place in Kecskemét and its region due to this investment. But to no avail, although there would even be funding for it. [The same goes for EU funding available to Hungary: the “absorption rate” is about 37% which means that more than 60% or thousands of millions of euros never reach Hungary because of government incompetence and graft.]

    BTW, Daimler looked for Hungarian subcontractors and suppliers. Most of the building construction went to Hungarian companies. But each Mercedes built there will have no more than 7% truly Hungarian-made parts in it. They just couldn’t find more.

  17. Reading Kingfisher’s scepticism about nearly any Hungarian politician, I wonder who you suggest could manage the transition to a “more mature” democratic political system? And because I believe that you are also thinking about the desirable political system of Hungary as of a democracy, it will be necessary to name not one or two people but quite a number. Not only people who are “clean” but also who are “politically effective”. To be so “choosy” reminds me of LMP, who suggest that politics can be different. Might be that it can also be different than what MSzP and Fidesz have been doing but this “different politics” should have also some tangible results. I do not know much about LMP but my impression is that their programme and actions are not really precise. Was there not some cooperation with Fidesz and Jobbik from time to time also? Should we therefore discard people from LMP also? Or is that a minor problem relative to being a former member of MSzMP and not having converted to Fidesz? Would it not be better to define which type of behaviour before and after 1989 really discredits people and only than look whether they were members of Fidesz, MSzMP, MSzP, etc.?

    As regards the cooperation with Együtt, as I said earlier, I do not see why the several new organisations and parties should disclose “too early” to OV their strategy. If there is already now a campaign against Bajnai (no matter who started that), I would not “put all my eggs in one basket” either. These organisations should be in contact and it would be of great help if their common objective were indeed to prevent the reelection of OV in 2014 (no matter how likely that is), but that these organisations have to be so united already now, I doubt. Együtt has been founded less than a month ago, and the fact alone that they COULD be interesting for voters does not make them a “safe bet”.

  18. Hi Eva,

    Off topic….but did you know. That it is, at least for me, impossible to comment on politics.hu.
    Something behind this maybe?

  19. buddy :
    Saw my first anti-Bajnai advert today – on a city bus in the capital. It linked Bajnai and Gyurcsány together and said something like “Don’t forget they ruined the country together!” I couldn’t see the sponsor as it was written in smaller letters.

    Here’s a poster on the back of a bus in Budapest. In the small print, you can see ‘Bekemenet.hu’. Therefore, this ad is being sponsored by Fidesz, using taxpayers’ and EU money.

    http://gepnarancs.hu/2012/11/karaktergyilkos-kampany-bkv-buszokon-allami-penzbol/

  20. Bowen :

    buddy :
    Saw my first anti-Bajnai advert today – on a city bus in the capital. It linked Bajnai and Gyurcsány together and said something like “Don’t forget they ruined the country together!” I couldn’t see the sponsor as it was written in smaller letters.

    Here’s a poster on the back of a bus in Budapest. In the small print, you can see ‘Bekemenet.hu’. Therefore, this ad is being sponsored by Fidesz, using taxpayers’ and EU money.
    http://gepnarancs.hu/2012/11/karaktergyilkos-kampany-bkv-buszokon-allami-penzbol/

    Disgusting.
    High time for the world to establish an international agency for the measure of performance of governments along democratic principles.

  21. @ Petofi: disgusting? Well, obviously. Teachers can remain under-paid, and hospitals severely under-resourced. But top priority is making sure Fidesz remains in power, with their anti-EU and anti-opposition propaganda.

  22. petofi :

    Bowen :

    buddy :
    Saw my first anti-Bajnai advert today – on a city bus in the capital. It linked Bajnai and Gyurcsány together and said something like “Don’t forget they ruined the country together!” I couldn’t see the sponsor as it was written in smaller letters.

    Here’s a poster on the back of a bus in Budapest. In the small print, you can see ‘Bekemenet.hu’. Therefore, this ad is being sponsored by Fidesz, using taxpayers’ and EU money.
    http://gepnarancs.hu/2012/11/karaktergyilkos-kampany-bkv-buszokon-allami-penzbol/

    Disgusting.
    High time for the world to establish an international agency for the measure of performance of governments along democratic principles.

    Obvioulsy it can be debated who financed the advertising and from what money, but what I find very interesting is that this goes through the same time when Fidesz is busy to limit political advertising. This ad can appear on a transportation system that is owned by the city that is financed by taxpayers’ money.

    Maybe an other campaign should be launched by Bajnai with Orban saying: “Let’s not forget that Orban wants the old regime back with he sitting in Kadar’s chair” or “Let’s not forget how Orban lied his way into becoming a Prime Minster by promising no austerity measure.” or “We do not forget that Orban told to foreign diplomats that they do not have to worry about what he promises to Hungarins in order to get elected.” or “We do not forget that Orban works with people who think Hungarian babies have little red dots on their behind, so we are connected to the Japanese.” or ” We do not forget that Orban spends taxpayers money to put porn publishers in high paying government positions.” THere are plenty of ideas to choose from, so I thin Bajnai should swing into action.

  23. Out of interest, I’d just like to ask about this anti-Bajnai campaign in Budapest right now. On BKV, you can see pictures of him and Gyurcsany, along with the slogan ‘Together, they destroyed the country’. Isn’t this in some way libellous, or an infringement of personal rights? This isn’t (officially) a political campaign. It is being sponsored by the “Bekemenet”, supposedly a civil movement.

  24. Bowen :

    Out of interest, I’d just like to ask about this anti-Bajnai campaign in Budapest right now. On BKV, you can see pictures of him and Gyurcsany, along with the slogan ‘Together, they destroyed the country’. Isn’t this in some way libellous, or an infringement of personal rights? This isn’t (officially) a political campaign. It is being sponsored by the “Bekemenet”, supposedly a civil movement.

    I would like to mention here that Gyurcsány swore way back at the time of his senior paper that he will sue everybody who engaged in the smear campaign. And he did. As far as I know he won every and each case. He might be still in this kind of mood.

  25. Eva S. Balogh :

    Bowen :
    Out of interest, I’d just like to ask about this anti-Bajnai campaign in Budapest right now. On BKV, you can see pictures of him and Gyurcsany, along with the slogan ‘Together, they destroyed the country’. Isn’t this in some way libellous, or an infringement of personal rights? This isn’t (officially) a political campaign. It is being sponsored by the “Bekemenet”, supposedly a civil movement.

    I would like to mention here that Gyurcsány swore way back at the time of his senior paper that he will sue everybody who engaged in the smear campaign. And he did. As far as I know he won every and each case. He might be still in this kind of mood.

    First of all, this is SERIOUS STUFF. Orban is out to blacken Bajnai as he has already blackened Gyurcsany. So suing will not be easy with the political ally picking the judge etc. Plus, the judge-herd know what’s being expected of them. The game is rigged.
    What’s more, Orban wants the opposition to KNOW that the game is rigged.

    All that being said, if Gyurcsany should–sometime in the future–win a court case against this advertising, the damage will have already been done.

    However, it would be high time to challenge these ads and the way to do it would be to show the reviews of Bajnai’s performance as given in the world press back in 2010. Those should be put side by side with the Bekemenet ads.

  26. There is and endless source of the campaign material: just print over any of the old – but obviously evergreen – “Rosszabbul élünk mint négy éve” (Our life is worse than four years ago) Fidesz billboards with “Thank you Fidesz!” – and you mostly done.

    Put up a few portrait of prominently wealthier people – Szijjártó pops up first – with some big Fidesz logo and a simple message:
    ” He is living much better, than four years ago! How about you?”

    Want more?
    The famous ‘Old fragile lady kissing the hand of Viktor The Messiah’ picture with the simple
    “Thank you, Viktor!”

    I promise, that this kind of gratitude can move mountains…!

  27. And where will they display these ads? Billboards? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Newspapers? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Public transport? Owned by Fidesz.

  28. Paul :
    And where will they display these ads? Billboards? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Newspapers? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Public transport? Owned by Fidesz.

    I’m with Paul. You will find a lot of witty stuff on the internet criticising the goverment in ways Spectator describes. See the ‘Magyar Ketfarku Kutya Part’, with it’s funny photoshopping (e.g. Viktor Orban’s face carved into a giant statue on Gellert Hegy).

    You’ll get a lot of this ‘underground’ satire in Hungary. And while young, urban Hungarians may lap all this up, a strong campaign against Fidesz, with a strong message, using all available media, reaching out to the average person (e.g. those people in the audience listening to Matolcsy’s speech).

    And you need a proper, mature campaign, not cynical, aren’t-I-clever-with-my-photoshopping -skills jokes.

    I can’t imagine it realistically happening. Meanwhile, some people seem to be waiting for Hillary Clinton (of all people), or ‘international institutions’ to magically come to the rescue.

  29. London Calling!

    No Bowen

    Just the realisation that Orban has stitched up all the processes of state.

    And the reality that the opposition has to be unusually united; the electorate unusually perspicacious; and the ‘personnel’ superglued into their jobs being unusually compliant.

    This ‘confluence’ of perfect events is so unlikely in some of our views – that Orban is unshiftable – that we are just getting real.

    (And I haven’t even touched on the ‘registration’; the rigged media; or the gerrymandered districts and…..and…..)

    So not ‘waiting’ for Hillary – just recognising that the most likely way of shifting Orban will be with outside help – and only with outside help – including the EU and with the disapproval of other countries.

    Hungary has to be a fully paid up pariah state before this even begins to happen.

    I DO hope I am wrong – as Eva has said we mustn’t ‘diss’ the opposition’s efforts before they have even begun.

    (But LMP’s actions have started the rot.)

    And we mustn’t raise false hopes either.

    Regards

    Charlie

  30. …and just one more thing!

    For Hungary to have a healthy economy – it will require real austerity measures – not austerity-lite of Matolcsy et al.

    The opposition’s manifesto will be so unattractive to the electorate – they will have to be fair and honest – that they will promise an ‘idealistic’ vote to the pollsters – but vote for Orban’s cheap energy and petrol in the voting booth.

    Regards

    Charlie

  31. Eva S. Balogh :

    Bowen :
    Out of interest, I’d just like to ask about this anti-Bajnai campaign in Budapest right now. On BKV, you can see pictures of him and Gyurcsany, along with the slogan ‘Together, they destroyed the country’. Isn’t this in some way libellous, or an infringement of personal rights? This isn’t (officially) a political campaign. It is being sponsored by the “Bekemenet”, supposedly a civil movement.

    I would like to mention here that Gyurcsány swore way back at the time of his senior paper that he will sue everybody who engaged in the smear campaign. And he did. As far as I know he won every and each case. He might be still in this kind of mood.

    I would love to see him getting the “Bekemenet” (Peace march) nailed. What is peaceful in this smear campaign and accusations? Maybe the organizers of the Peace MArch could answer to this question. If until now anyone had any doubt of the intention of peace making amongst Hungarians, they do not have to look any further.

  32. Bowen :

    buddy :
    Saw my first anti-Bajnai advert today – on a city bus in the capital. It linked Bajnai and Gyurcsány together and said something like “Don’t forget they ruined the country together!” I couldn’t see the sponsor as it was written in smaller letters.

    Here’s a poster on the back of a bus in Budapest. In the small print, you can see ‘Bekemenet.hu’. Therefore, this ad is being sponsored by Fidesz, using taxpayers’ and EU money.
    http://gepnarancs.hu/2012/11/karaktergyilkos-kampany-bkv-buszokon-allami-penzbol/

    That’s the one. I thought it said “bekemenet.hu” but I wasn’t 100% sure.

    I guess we’re going to start seeing a lot more of these.

  33. Charlie, with your approach I wonder what kind of “democracy” can be introduced if it is done by force and from outside? I can imagine that you will not feel too familiar with the idea that the intellectual traditions of a country may make it difficult to put ideas such as individual rights, freedom etc. in the forefront, but this is what you might consider accepting first when thinking about Hungary or other countries on the Continent. You may not achieve anything even with strong outside pressure on OV if most people react to the current difficulties either with “humour” or with apathy. These are the people that are considered – in a democracy – essential for maintaining a participatory political system.

  34. petofi :

    Eva S. Balogh :

    Bowen :
    Out of interest, I’d just like to ask about this anti-Bajnai campaign in Budapest right now. On BKV, you can see pictures of him and Gyurcsany, along with the slogan ‘Together, they destroyed the country’. Isn’t this in some way libellous, or an infringement of personal rights? This isn’t (officially) a political campaign. It is being sponsored by the “Bekemenet”, supposedly a civil movement.

    I would like to mention here that Gyurcsány swore way back at the time of his senior paper that he will sue everybody who engaged in the smear campaign. And he did. As far as I know he won every and each case. He might be still in this kind of mood.

    First of all, this is SERIOUS STUFF. Orban is out to blacken Bajnai as he has already blackened Gyurcsany. So suing will not be easy with the political ally picking the judge etc. Plus, the judge-herd know what’s being expected of them. The game is rigged.
    What’s more, Orban wants the opposition to KNOW that the game is rigged.
    All that being said, if Gyurcsany should–sometime in the future–win a court case against this advertising, the damage will have already been done.
    However, it would be high time to challenge these ads and the way to do it would be to show the reviews of Bajnai’s performance as given in the world press back in 2010. Those should be put side by side with the Bekemenet ads.

    I am sorry Eva, but I completely disagree! Any campaign that would show Bajnai’s performance would only worked for those who are educated, or those who care. THe reality is such campaign would only be given attention to by the already converted. All the trash talk will be bought by the likes of Kovacs, and those who embrace the lies from Fidesz. At this point the only thing that would work is to discredit Orban, Matolcsy and the other gang members. Simply providing facts on them in one liners would be the way to go. If billboards would say Orban said this and that, people would give attention.

  35. Paul :
    And where will they display these ads? Billboards? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Newspapers? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Public transport? Owned by Fidesz.

    Actually Public Transportation in Budapest is owned by …. the public.
    Cover pages of HVG, 168 Ora, Nepszabadsag, Nepszava…. I saw many newsstands putting out their message in vert creative way in Budapest now. Flyers distributed by the post office, flyers distributed in subway stops, graffiti, anything that works, and anything that is out of the ordinary. Get young people take charge, they are much smarter than all of us together.
    The problem with the marketing efforts from the opposition parties were always the inside the box thinking, and you are doing the same.

  36. Eva S. Balogh :
    Some1 “I am sorry Eva, but I completely disagree!” I don’t know but I think that you disagree with someone else. Perhaps Petőfi?

    Yes. Sorry. To many quotation in a row. hahaha

  37. Some1 :

    Paul :
    And where will they display these ads? Billboards? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Newspapers? Nearly all owned by Fidesz supporters. Public transport? Owned by Fidesz.

    Actually Public Transportation in Budapest is owned by …. the public.
    Cover pages of HVG, 168 Ora, Nepszabadsag, Nepszava…. I saw many newsstands putting out their message in vert creative way in Budapest now. Flyers distributed by the post office, flyers distributed in subway stops, graffiti, anything that works, and anything that is out of the ordinary. Get young people take charge, they are much smarter than all of us together.
    The problem with the marketing efforts from the opposition parties were always the inside the box thinking, and you are doing the same.

    Some1, I started noticing something a few months ago about the HVG. The new edition used to be advertised all over Budapest on those billboard pillars you see in the streets. I always enjoyed them, because they are very well-made.

    But more recently, the billboards are covered with adverts for HirTV (quite striking ones showing their news anchors ‘in action’, making people like Boglarka Farkas look like the queen of reliable news) for Heti Valasz, and MNO promoting itself as as multimedia-platform news outlet. Really, the billboards are covered with them. HVG is much harder to find.

  38. London Calling!

    Kirsten

    No – never force.

    The ‘outside’ agencies can only assist within the confines of ‘democracy’.

    He will have been elected by the people – yes even on a low turnout. (He will not have had to use his ‘nuclear’ option – an alliance with Jobbik.)

    The parallels with Lukashenko will be complete – except for the murdering and disappearance of members of the opposition.

    Only the ostracising of the EU – and International community (‘Hillary’) will make the electorate think twice next time – and in the meantime they have to endure four more years.

    I think the EU will intervene eventually – as they won’t accept even a ‘soft’ dictatorship within the community – and maybe even the US. But only legally within the bounds of democracy – no force whatsoever, Kirsten.

    That – and only that – is the extent of the interference that ‘outside’ agencies can give. Just a slow chipping away of the credibility of Hungary’s standing in the world community.

    And the scales falling away from the eyes of the Fidesz blind faithful.

    Regards

    Charlie

  39. Bowen :

    I’m with Paul. You will find a lot of witty stuff on the internet criticising the goverment in ways Spectator describes. See the ‘Magyar Ketfarku Kutya Part’, with it’s funny photoshopping (e.g. Viktor Orban’s face carved into a giant statue on Gellert Hegy).
    You’ll get a lot of this ‘underground’ satire in Hungary. And while young, urban Hungarians may lap all this up, a strong campaign against Fidesz, with a strong message, using all available media, reaching out to the average person (e.g. those people in the audience listening to Matolcsy’s speech).
    And you need a proper, mature campaign, not cynical, aren’t-I-clever-with-my-photoshopping -skills jokes.

    Bowen, nothing is funny in those what I recommended, rather the opposite.
    Furthermore none of the images should be manipulated in any way, the people should recognize right away the originals and inevitably start comparing.
    The whole point is to turn the Fidesz own ‘achievement’ against them while show to the people just how the promises worked out, and if they will ‘thank’ for that, let’s go and kiss the hand again. I am pretty sure, that this message gets through even to those who listening Matolcsy regularly. Another question is, if they ever admit even to themselves what the reality is.

    As a matter of fact what I find utterly useless is to put some half acre size image of some party leader and say ‘vote for me!’ or something similarly proper and mature…
    I believe in, that – particularly as this low action with the Gyurcsány-Bajnai smearing shows it, – the person/persons shouldn’t be exposed or stressed too much, but the massage must go through, loud and clear.

    And a message – to me – is, that you, as a Hungarian voter have been robbed by your own government in order to your ‘leaders’ could fulfill their childhood dreams, could have better life, new toys, and build an empire to themselves, to their relatives and cronies, while the overall misery unprecedented, – comparable only to the before WWII-times – among common people.

    The really tricky question is where to put it, I agree with Paul too

    Keep in mind, that the proper rules to a proper election have been eliminated quite recently by the Fidesz of all democrats, (pun intended!), and from now on nobody should pretend that anything happened, we are going to do all what worked last time.
    Forget it.
    In a best case they have a pathetic chance of a brave cavalry against the tanks, but I can imagine quite easily, that they will have absolutely zero chance to have a proper campaign – if some law still let them some place unoccupied, it takes only a couple of hours to adjust the law to serve only the Fidesz, happening all the time.

    It means, that a whole new campaign-strategy is needed along with new politicians – neither of them working without the other. Let’s think about it!

  40. Bowen :

    Some1, I started noticing something a few months ago about the HVG. The new edition used to be advertised all over Budapest on those billboard pillars you see in the streets. I always enjoyed them, because they are very well-made.
    But more recently, the billboards are covered with adverts for HirTV (quite striking ones showing their news anchors ‘in action’, making people like Boglarka Farkas look like the queen of reliable news) for Heti Valasz, and MNO promoting itself as as multimedia-platform news outlet. Really, the billboards are covered with them. HVG is much harder to find.

    I seen them too. It will not be easy to be creative but it can be done, and it was done in the past too. Even under Kadar there was advertising and “samisdat” (I know as I was a contributor to one). If you can over the young people, you can win this against the old men’ Fidesz.

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