Despite Viktor Orbán’s best efforts, Hungarian football is not a success story

I never  in my wildest dreams thought that one day I would be searching for details on some fine points of football/soccer. In fact, in my teenage years I was so indifferent to the world’s favorite sport that I wouldn’t even attend the “game of the century” in Pécs when the “Golden Team/Mighty Magyars” played against the not so mighty locals. But what can one do if Hungary is today cursed with a prime minister for whom football is the most important thing after politics? (Or perhaps even ahead of it.)

Football for Viktor Orbán seems to be so important that he even subordinates matters that are vital to the well-being of his people (education, healthcare, and social services) to his favorite sport. Austerity measures are introduced three or four times a year in order to keep the deficit under the required 3%, but these measures never touch the sacred game of football. Other sports in which Hungarians are much more successful receive only meager–and ever decreasing–government subsidies.

I have to trust those who know something about the game and who claim that Hungarian football is currently beyond redemption. They emphasize that the kind of professional football that is played today pretty well precludes the possibility of Hungary ever becoming the football powerhouse that Viktor Orbán dreams of. Football is business, big business. And the borders are wide open. A talented Hungarian football player could make millions of euros in another country. But there is one major problem: there are no truly outstanding Hungarian players, and it looks as if there won’t be any in the near future.

Viktor Orbán, whose energy between 2002 and 2010 was spent primarily on his efforts to regain power, put aside enough time to ponder the future of the struggling Hungarian football enterprise. One of his many goals as prime minister was the revival of Hungarian football, but the way he has gone about it is not likely to produce results. He launched a stadium construction and renovation project in 2010, scheduled to be completed in 2018 to the tune of 140-160 billion forints. The  map below gives a fair idea of the magnitude of the undertaking. Altogether 33 stadiums will be built or renovated. Unfortunately, the quality of Hungarian football is so bad that the stadiums today are practically empty. I assume that Orbán thinks that better stadiums will attract  more fans; if you build them they will come. Stadionprojektek But where will the players come from? From the football academies, of course. Oh, yes, the football academies. Viktor Orbán received some bad news on that front recently. Some time ago the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) asked the independent Belgian firm Double Pass to assess the work being done in the Hungarian football academies. The verdict as summarized by MLSZ is devastating. Double Pass also ranked the Hungarian academies, which MLSZ wanted to keep secret. There was good reason for the secrecy. The “famous” Ferenc Puskás Academy backed by Viktor Orbán was ninth out of twelve! This is the same academy that, according to the prime minister, was among the top ten in Europe!

Even the best Hungarian academy, the Debreceni Labdarúgó Akadémia, is inferior in comparison to academies in other European countries with strong teams. In Hungary training methods are old-fashioned and not uniform. There are no trainers who specialize in developing particular skills. Recruiting is done on a part-time basis. Psychological coaching is sorely wanting. The Hungarian academies don’t use modern training software. And the report goes on and on for 134 pages.

The directors and coaches of these academies were not at all thrilled about this probing by Double Pass, and now that the ranking is available they try to explain away the firm’s findings by claiming, as is usual in Hungary, that the employees of Double Pass don’t really understand the Hungarian system. Well, let’s put it this way, Double Pass clearly understood that the Hungarian system doesn’t produce winning teams. Hungary is currently host to the annual UEFA European Under-19 Championship. So far, the Hungarian team has lost to Austria (3 to 1) and to Portugal (6 to 1). Sportswriters kept saying that the Hungarians “should have won” against the Austrians but, well, they blew it. The Portuguese  are very good but they won against Israel with only three goals and not six. In brief, the Hungarians under 19 are lousy. And these people are students and graduates of the academies! Hungary might have 33 swanky stadiums by 2018, but the country is unlikely to have fantastic football players.

And while we are on the subject of these new stadiums, an incredible amount of money was spent on the Felcsút project, but weeks ago one could already read that something is very wrong with the drainage of the field. After a heavy rain a game had to be scrapped because the grass would have been damaged otherwise. Nature was blamed: the rain was too heavy. This time the game was played in the rain, and as one of the sportswriters remarked, the game was almost played in a lake. But that is not the only problem. The fancy wooden structure over the spectator seats does not shield people from the rain. The sportswriters with their computers were not exactly happy with the section allocated to them because the rain was coming down on them fast and furious. So, they packed up and went inside to watch the game on the monitor. So much for Viktor Orbán’s efforts so far on behalf of Hungarian football. He seems to be as successful in this endeavor as he is in governing the country.

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49 comments

  1. A small detail: the soccer field is the work of the company owned by the mayor’s brother. And, as it’s no secret, the mayor is Orban’s stooge.
    A company without competition, some connections and a lousy job. How strange.

  2. London Calling!

    Poor Puskas, must turning in his grave.

    No success to show for all that money.

    Obviously Orban needs to throw more money at it. Any Russian Oligarchs around?
    Billy no mates Putin needs a friend right now, perhaps he can buy one of the teams?

    (I thought it was 47 stadiums – where did I read that?)

    As ever I’ve bored myself stupid……yaaaaaawn!

    Regards

    Charlie

  3. My guess is that Orban may be dreaming of hosting a European or a World Cup one day and that’s why he is building all these stadiums (well, other than providing construction projects for his buddies)..

  4. “…that’s why he is building all these stadiums…”

    The Felcsutian has a nose for money. I think he’s building the stadiums to develop young talent.
    One successful young soccer player can fetch tens of millions of euros when sold to big European teams.

  5. @petofi: The only problem is that stadiums are not developing young talents. I don’t know much about football, but maybe coaching would be a better investment?

  6. “The “famous” Ferenc Puskás Academy backed by Viktor Orbán was ninth out of twelve! This is the same academy that, according to the prime minister, was among the top ten in Europe!” So which other country made it to the top ten?

  7. My father and one of his brother were good soccer players at their time. Least that is what they told me. THey were not good enough to make it to the top or even close to it, but I remember of the small tournaments between various factories that were played out here and there in the country. I used to go to almost every game when my favourite team played in Budapest. I also visited the Nepstadion if they had an International game. Remember walking home with hundreds of people down to the Keleti Station, and Rakoczi ut. Our family was “thorn” between two teams, Vasas and MTK. I hated when the two teams played against each other.
    My father said that in their time the kids learned soccer on the streets. Under wwii he and his brother got bread, and some baked goods from the bakery. The baker liked the little Jewish boys kicking the ball. I read about the baker recently on the yellowstarhouses website and told my dad about it. They had no idea about the whole story what went down in the building they lived…. My father and uncle also says that ye believe the only way to fix the Hungarian soccer would be not try to find who can pay to learn the game or even who can find their way into the “academies” but through scouting. Scouting among kids who play the game on their own, in their free time. I believe them.

  8. OT
    Eva, Would it be possible to allow only people to comment who register with one user name and an email address? I think the quality of comments would improve if at least you could verify that people do not post under various aliases each time. Thanks.

  9. Rather obviously, a spiffing new stadium does not a great footballer make. I suspect Orban’s target with his stadium building mania is two/fold, cash for the business wing of his mafia and, at some time in the future, quite possibly a European Championship. Hungary could cope with that (and it would help his mafia even more having to build the various hotels in soccer hotspots such as, ermm.. Felcsut), whether it would be financially worthwhile is another question but not one which would trouble Our Chief Shepherd too much.

    Re player quality, there is a marked reluctance on the part of the football establishment to do the required roots and branch changes needed and was carried out by Germany in 2002 onwards. Why? Ego, corruption, unwillingness to innovate, fear…. all the usual features of why any worthwhile project in Orbanistan fails completely.

  10. Is it a surprise that Hungarian football under Orban isn’t exactly thriving? Someone one wrote that Orban could have made a great football manager, but he likes to change the rules of the game- he has at least 14 players on the field, including two goalkeepers, and the referee is his best friend.

  11. Orban will not stop, he will pour tens of billions and billions more into football, especially as most of the money spent on football ends up in the coffers of fideszniks.

    Until he is prime minister/president he will continue, he is just not one of those lefty politicians who would give up. The strategy of never giving up in anything has worked for him and he thinks will work this time too. I doubt that. He could pour billions of euros in trying to create from scratch an indigenous Hungarian car like Audi or BMW, he would still not succeed.

    But the best is that average voters value his efforts, despite the ridiculous losses. These voters also like soccer, pálinka and other fickós dolgok. Orban shows that he is one of them, not one of those liberal weakling from Budapest. The people don’t go to watch the games, but they all value stadiums. People would still want Hungary to hold the Olimpics or Football World Championship. To contemplate the opposite, that money would be transferred by a different government from the local stadiums to such things as “liberal theatres and schools for roma” is untenable. After all, it is the people who want Fidesz much much more than the opposition (except for Jobbik). Jobbik’s members are similarly patriarchal and love sports and drinking, but the slender, former teacher Vona is not as “salt of the earth” I guess. But I think Vona will be able to achieve a lot as Jobbik will win a lot of positions in the municipalities, while the left will probably all but disappear.

  12. The best thing that could happen to Hungarian football is for all memory of the Aranycsapat to be erased from collective memory. I remember not that long ago seeing a panel discussion of Hungarian experts and the general tone of the discussion was that the 1950s team somehow has given Hungary a unique tradition. It is nonsense of course, the game (and even the physique of the players) is so different that it the events of the 1950s are quite irrelevant. Hungarian football needs rebuilding from scratch and naming all your programmes and stadiums after members of that team is just misguided. But Hungary is not alone in mistaking a glorious past in a sport with entitlement to a glorious present.

    What probably won’t concern many here is that the latest cuts to the state budget have led to enormous withdrawals of funds from sports such as kayaking where the Hungarians are world-leaders. It illustrates the problems when the state (which in Hungary’s case means Orbán) wants to dictate which sports are successful. But this state-centric view comes as no surprise. In the UK, once the lottery funding system was set up, the various branches of sport effectively compete with each other for funds depending on their success rates in competition. Perhaps surprisingly, sports like triathlon, rowing and cycling have become major sports (and attract the interest of youngsters and the public), while swimming and athletics are under growing pressure to get their acts together in order to get access to more resources. But the state does not involve itself with which sport should be supported. It is the “market” that decides. And it is clear there is very little market for football in Hungary which makes Orbán’s obsession all the more ridiculous.

  13. Stadiums

    In the first instance, Vic is scoring large because the buildings are being built by Kozgep or some sister company or other. It’s a form of looting the treasury. As secondary profit, the development of soccer talent…which will later be sold. Of course, in 20 years time, the stadiums will be white elephants (if not sooner).

    But as I’ve written in other posts, I’ve always been suspicious of Vic’s intent, and goodwill, toward the country and its people.

  14. Dear Eva,

    According to politics.hu Orban is not very welcome in Washington anymore:

    “The reason for bypassing Washington is that Orbán would probably not have been received at the White House, and at the State Department only at the level of deputy assistant state secretary, according to the source”.

    Seems like a well deserved insult to me.
    I am curious what you think about this.

  15. “I have the feeling that Orbán’s name is mud in Washington”

    Yes…but does he know this? Is this a sign of more to come?

  16. “And it is clear there is very little market for football in Hungary which makes Orbán’s obsession all the more ridiculous.”

    If there was even the smallest hint of success to come, that *market* would grow but not in terms of interest for the local teams, more for the international side and Hungarian players abroad.

    But as it stands at the moment, the complete lack of awareness with regards longer-term planning will prevent any chance of that success coming.

    People don’t stand at the end of their street and marvel at a wonderous new Orban Arena- they may marvel at the skills of local youngsters playing on a dirt-pitch but that’s a different thing entirely.

  17. Re Orbán and mud. Yes, I’m pretty sure he knows about it. I’m also sure that he also hates the US government. Although he tries to keep up good relations with the Republicans, the Republican Bush also refused to have him in the White House. He wouldn’t be better off with Republicans in power. They are also democrats unlike him.

  18. Those who understand Hungarian will appreciate this little interview and article about the Felcsut stadium from 2007: http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20070926-orban-viktor-lett-a-felcsut-se-elnoke.html

    An other gem is from last August. The article is furious about all the mumbo-jumbo the opposition an others wrongfully spread. Examples include, Why would this Stadium called gigantic, when the real gig antics stadiums are in Brazil, Peking or San Francisco…
    THey also take exception when other media questions if is large enough for various International games. Not for a moment the writer(s) understand that what critics are saying is that a 5000 seat stadium is a luxury and a giant considered where it is built, but way too small for the International games Orban wants to score (no pun intended). Under the current rules of the Hungarian Football Federation no NBI games should be played in the stadium, and under the UEFA rules various International games could not take place. Of course there is an answer for Orban, as exceptions can be granted, and just like in a fairy tale, Orban got his exceptions (and extra seat at the World Cup too).

    P.S.: Eva, I do not see some of our regulars on the Blog, like Paul, Mutt Damon, Bowen, Marcel, etc…… ?

  19. @Some1:

    It’s summer in Hungary (and elsewhere …)!

    We also have guests which we show around so I’m not online as often …

  20. It does not matter whether Orban tries to have good relations with Republicans or others in the US. Generally, foreign policy of the US is based on the interests of the country, not on party orientation. There are hiccups occasionally, but this the general rule.

  21. In case people think the US has no interest in Hungarian affairs…you can be damn sure that the US cares if a country is being used as a spearhead into the heart of Europe by Russia…

  22. I’m pretty sure I don’t count as a ‘missing friend’, but I wonder if it’s not the case that others have also just resigned themselves to the situation, tired of punching their way out of a paper bag, tired of not being listened to … resigned to hopelessness in a state that now seems built on that hopelessness, and on air, and on fear (and I refer here to the general population instilling that fear – Fidesz have merely tapped into it). For foreigners, certainly, the game is up, and no further amount of talking about it is going to improve matters.

  23. gdfxx wrote:

    “It does not matter whether Orban tries to have good relations with Republicans or others in the US. Generally, foreign policy of the US is based on the interests of the country, not on party orientation.”

    Absolutely, and Orban’s overt and awkward attempts to identify himself and Fidesz with the Republican party during election years has gone noticed and has not been welcomed by either Democrats or Republicans, By creating too close a point of identification with the one party or another, a foreign politician risks putting that party directly in the line of fire should their interests diverge too far from the American foreign policy consensus.

  24. Ivan
    July 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm
    I’m pretty sure I don’t count as a ‘missing friend’,

    You do count as a ‘missing friend’. I was worried that I live some people out off the list. There are many great regular commenters here.

  25. Indeed it is summer, and I am on holiday – although rather ironically that means we are in Hungary.

    But that isn’t why I appear so much less on HS. Ivan captures my feelings to some extent (post election), but for me it’s more than that. I’ve been involved in many political campaigns which seemed at the time to be unwinnable but I never stopped campaigning. And I am still involved with many causes that still seem unwinnable, but I haven’t given up on them, even though I am likely to be long dead before sense and justice triumphs in some cases.

    So why have I ‘given up’ on Hungary?

    The answer is quite simple – the Hungarian people. They voted Orbán in, and they voted him back in again, even after 4 years of his ‘government’. Some, even possibly even a majority, don’t like him, but they do nothing about it. Many others aren’t that bothered (despite 56 and 89, most Hungarians are not political), and a substantial minority think that Orbán is the best thing that’s ever happened to Hungary.

    So, why should I continue to bang my head against this particular brick wall when many Hungarians vehemently disagree with me, and most of the rest just don’t care? After all, it’s their country, if they want to see it go down the toilet, who am I to try to stop them?

    After 13 years of being part of a Hungarian family and living, off and on, in the country, I’ve come to the conclusion that Hungarians have pretty much got the ‘government’ they deserve. I no longer have the energy, or even the inclination, to try to help people who won’t be helped or even try to help themselves. They have willingly climbed into the handcart, let them go to hell in it. They deserve nothing less.

  26. Incidentally, and rather OT – a little glimpse into the Fideszniks’ view of global politics,,,

    My wife, although initially an instinctive supporter of the anti-Ukrainian view on the shooting down of MH17, soon came round to ‘western’ view of the crisis. Even someone as anti-Ukrainian and pro-Putin as her couldn’t ignore the vast amount of evidence that pointed to the Russians and their Ukrainian supporters.

    But then came a single phone call with her mother. Now she is not only convinced that the Ukrainians shot down MH17, but is sure that they deliberately did it to make it look like Putin was to blame.

    One phone call to Fidesz Central and all the evidence is ignored, all sense and logic goes out of the window – Putin good, Ukrainians bad. And this from someone who was born in the Ukraine and grew up under dictatorial Russian power, and many of who’s family still live in and around Ungvár.

    Whatever the official Fidesz view and whatever Orbán might say in public, the real message going out to the faithful is that it’s a Ukrainian plot, supported and funded by the West. Orbán’s bosom buddy, Putin, is the innocent party.

  27. Exactly, Paul. I’d just add that I will/would comment much more if I had the luxury of not being in Hungary. But also, more importantly, and this ties in with what Paul has written, it has become depressingly clear that in order to become electable the centre/left would have to cloak themselves in a great deal of the same nationalist and discriminatory rhetoric that Fidesz have used so successfully. Some of us believe that there are more important things than being electable – especially if one has to adopt utterly disgraceful positions in order to become so. Recent news regarding DK suggests that the slippery slope is now being considered. That’s too bad and too much. But I’ve long suggested that it’s the views of the majority population that needs more analysis. Fidesz just cynically attract and manipulate those views, encourage those views … but those views are widespread and strong and are about much more than just Fidesz. If Fidesz cleaned up its act and became a more inclusive and less inflammatory beast then they would not be elected, so we can hardly expect this to happen. We need to stop looking at the towers of parliament and start looking at the ground. Why do the seeds of hate keep growing here and what, if anything, can be done about it? When the debate becomes real, perhaps we’ll return. Sometimes, at present, it seems as though those outside Hungary are involved in a different discourse to the reality that some of those living in Hungary wish to examine. I understand this, but normal analyses no longer apply to Hungary.

  28. @Ivan and Paul: Please do not forget that it is not Fidesz that is right. What they are wining is the media and PR war. Listen what Selmeczi lies about, and so did the others.
    For example, there is a large pedophile scandal is happening currently. Selmeczi somehow managed to tie the pedophile to Bajnai. Never mind that the only connection is that the pedophile citizen in 2012 signed a petition for Bajnai’s new party that actually 21,306 people signed. WHat Hungarians heard from Selmeczi at a press conference is that the pedophile is one of the founding member of Bajnai’s party. This is the kind of message that gets out to Hungarians as official communication from Orban.THe other tactic of Fidesz is to wait until everything calms down. THey did this a million time, and it worked. If you walk away, you just doing Fidesz a favour.

  29. @Paul

    “They have willingly climbed into the handcart, let them go to hell in it. They deserve nothing less.”

    Quite the way I see it.
    I’ve been serving up heaps of cynicism and sarcasm for quite a while–I, too, have come to the conclusion that it is hopeless. To boot, I’ve lost faith in Gyurcsany because, if he was ever legitimate, he ought to have made efforts to get Laszlo Bogdan into his party. He’s not legit.
    Anyone who was or might be legit, like Bokros, is mock-fodder: a specialty of Orban’s henchmen.

    Of course, Hungarians, devoid of ethics or morals, couldn’t ‘see straight’ if there life depended on it. They’ll listen to their church leaders but that is worse than bad, many of them leading services
    to ‘help our dear Viktor’.

    It is quite hopeless. And even when the walls will cave in, the master scape-goaters will go to work. The song has been sung before: “Everything would’ve been ok if not for…the EU, the banks, the West…and especially THE JEWS who control them all!” I can almost hear them sharpening their rhetoric now.

  30. Ivan and Paul, you’re giving up far too soon! I understand the frustration, but eventually these populist/nationalist types overreach, usually badly, and the country ends up with a government like Germany’s or Japan’s. Hungarians will tire of the obvious lies, remember what they fought for in 1956 and 1989, and not wish to become a vassal state of Russia. If nothing else, you can help to spread the word outside of Hungary, and, eventually, maybe the EU will finally be prodded into action. That will definitely change a lot of minds in Hungary, since most Hungarians like to think of themselves as Western Europeans, with similar values and living standards (potentially). If the EU punishes Hungary in any significant way, I predict Hungarians will turn against Fidesz en masse. If not right away, soon thereafter, since the economy will sink further than during 2008.

    Have patience, the Hungarians I know are mostly good people who deserve a better government, but just don’t have the cultural memory and experience to form a true democracy – not yet, anyway.

  31. @Googly

    “…the Hungarians I know are mostly good people who deserve a better government..”

    No, they are not good people–liars and bullshiters and greedy/envious to the nth degree; and they finally got what they truly deserve.

    My wife and I returned in good faith, and we met on every side with opportunists who befriended us for gain, and thought themselves uber geniuses while all else were suckers.

    There are good individuals but the society is rotten and fully deserving of the screwing they are getting.

  32. The current Hungarian government enjoys an extraordinary level of grassroots popularity, greater than I have known anywhere else. I hear outspoken support for them on a daily basis and from often surprising voices. That’s why it’s hopeless. I used to wish that some outside agency – the EU, for example – would ‘come to the rescue’, but not only does this seem a highly unlikely eventuality but it would also be unthinkable to rescue a country from a government which is so widely supported within that country. We can argue the level of support, though it will hardly help progress to do so … I’m just calling it as I hear it, and in the weeks after the election there has been a real mood of celebration, especially amongst those who are significantly poorer than they were ten years ago and those who have a level of education where they really ought to realise this and know better. Crazy but true. Certainly hopeless.

  33. petofi, our experiences tally. Ethical and community-centred responsibility get no-one anywhere in the current society. So I know some wonderful Hungarians, but their very decency ensures that they cannot prosper in a situation designed to reward deception and fraud. A doctor who does not accept bribes, for example, will be extremely poor, ostracised and labelled (the dreaded term) abnormal. And any self-employed person who does not base themselves mainly in the black economy cannot hope to survive. The dear leader made a point last year of praising Thatcher specifically for her ‘There is no such thing as society’ comment. Well, certainly not in most of Hungary there isn’t. It’s a tragedy.

  34. It certainly is a depressing time in Hungary- what has shocked me most is how sheep-like even those people who do have the intelligence or critical analytical facilities to break down the ever-increasingly nonsensical regime outpourings simply believe everything Uncle Vik tells them.

    It would be racist to say that this almost bovine-like acceptance is a standard ethnic characteristic of Hungarians but I personally have never seen so many accept without question what their leader tells them.

    We still protest (latest was in the Varosliget a month or so ago against the regime’s plans to cement over and destroy one of the few green spaces in the city) but if you are lucky you will get 400, 500 folk doing so. 25% of the Hungarian electorate (corresponding roughly to the total Fidesz/Jobbik vote) are hardcore racist, anti-Semitic, anti-West far-right that will believe Orban’s very last word. 10% (to be generous) believe in the concept of democracy- 65% float apathetically. The danger of that apathy?

    As Dante point out the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality (or apathy… or cowardice).

    Well, the Arrow Cross weren’t a majority of Hungarian society but the proportion of the population who didn’t couldn’t care less as their Jewish friends, neighbours and colleagues were carted off to Auschwitz was substantial and that is how the Hungarian Nazis and their German friends were able to succeed.

    As Dante point out the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality (or apathy… or cowardice).

    Now,there are decent people in all layers of Hungarian society but they tend to be not the *successful* (from a financial pov) ones because the regime and let’s be brutally honest, a fair proportion of Hungarian society despises “decency” as a weakness

    So why should we bother hitting our heads against the brick wall when the majority simply don’t care?

    Because I feel it is the right thing to do as individuals. Probably there is zero chance of success but if “success” in Hungary means pandering to the lowest values of greed, racism, corruption then at least I can go to bed every night with my conscience clear.

  35. Yes D7 Democrat, we must attempt to right the wrongs but one can’t help getting increasingly angry with the stubborn, bovine nature of Hungarians (ok, ‘most’ Hungarians). Hungarian attacks on western civilization is maddening. It’s insincere, and just grand-standing. Horrid.

    It just seems that they–Hungarians–are dipped in Idiocy and dried in blood.

  36. London Calling!

    I haven’t given up!

    Although I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought I had, from my recent contributions.

    I recently said that, for example, I thought Gy had made a strategic error in embracing that antisemitic person for expediency – and for whom even Eva appeared to make an accommodation.

    I added that Gy needed to take a more long-term strategic view because that is the key. The Long Term. And a principled stand too.

    I quoted the Polish proverb: Where there is death there is hope.

    I even said that I was isolating myself from the villagers who are rabid Thuggesz supporters and retreating into my lovely cottage in the beautiful surrounds of the Danube and its amazing wild life.

    Because I need to preserve my sanity.

    Andy has made me realise that the Hungarian psyche is not yet ready for the responsibility of democracy and we will have to wait.

    The tide will turn very slowly and inexorably when it starts – and we have to be (sadly) realistic that it probably will not be, for many of us, in our lifetime.

    The only power we have is that which a democracy affords us – the power to enlighten and persuade fellow man – in a properly structured democracy.

    Hungary doesn’t even have anything resembling a ‘structured democracy’ – just a Commocracy in transition – let alone the ‘state of mind’ that someone said democracy is.

    So the answer is in the Long Term.

    And that’s what Gy should be planning for. He will only ever be a facilitator now – something which I don’t think he has fully appreciated, judging by his actions.

    His experience and knowledge and ‘elder statesman’ status should be bringing on the younger talent in his party.

    And that is the best way he can serve his country.

    So many of us thought we would see a fantastic future for a democratic Hungary that we became impatient for change – because we think we automatically know what’s best. We’ve lived it.

    But it can only be when the majorityof Hungarians come around to a democratic frame of mind. Forget that you have a unique way of thinking – you don’t; forget you have a different DNA of how you came to the Great Plain you don’t; and forget that you think you are superior – you’re not. And stop being so occupied with the past.

    Just be a country that is modern-thinking now and united socially in a society of equals and democracy.

    One of the first steps is to have a mea culpa over WWII and open the archives.

    As I said.

    The Long Term.

    Regards

    Charlie

  37. @CharlieH

    “But it can only be when the majorityof Hungarians come around to a democratic frame of mind.”

    Can’t happen.
    The ‘system’ is configured for people who have contacts and grease palms for their advantage versus others. Democracy can’t get traction because their is no fair sequence: your turn does not come in time. Try the ‘legal’ route and you just get left at the gate.

    The whole system is, figuratively, a barrel of bad apples and when a good one gets tossed in, it too will become tainted, or destroyed. This is certainly the case with Hungarian politics: MSZP is no better than Fidesz…just less decisive and organized, with no efficient team behind it.

    And the corruption is all-pervasive. Here’s a key to progress: in Budapest, unless they reduce
    the 23 districts to 4 or 5, the nepotism and corruption will stay intact. Furthermore, until the districts resume direct control over ticketing of automobiles, that system remains as severe
    taxation on the citizenry without any political fallout, as the companies kick-back on the sly to the politicians. It’s sick.

  38. “Breaking news: Péter Szentmihályi Szabó no longer wants to be ambassador.”

    Viktor must’ve gotten a word from the Pope; and he must be steaming mad.

    Just wait and see, Viktor will hoist Szabo on the jewish community in some form or other…it’s the way his mind works.

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