The State of Affairs in November 2015

I am trying to fight against it, but it seems I just have to start every post with a bit of a disclaimer about why I am a horrible blogger. This time, I will make it a whole post.

I started Congress of Baboons to give a highly sarcastic picture of Hungarian politics to people who aren’t necessary Hungarians themselves. I wanted it to be informative, non-partisan and amusing. It is not that easy to balance these three aspects.

I could have drifted towards the informative side, but there are other resources for that, like the brilliant Hungarian Spectrum and I have no wish to compete with them, not that I ever could with my laziness.

The non-partisan thing is of a different matter. I don’t have any allegiances towards any of the political parties in Hungary, as none of them come even close to representing my views. The issue here is that the political spectrum does not exist any more. FIDESZ, even if it lacks an absolute majority in parliament, holds absolute power over the country. The opposition is nowhere to be seen, even Jobbik has been sidelined by the forceful post-fascism of the Orbán Government. MSZP, in its confusion, has basically started to support FIDESZ in its treatment of refugees, and I can’t even remember what the other parties are called. They are gone.

In such an atmosphere, how can one remain non-partisan? I don’t want to write yet another FIDESZ-bashing whine central, because, frankly, the topic is boring as fuck. Yes, we know that they are terrible, it is pretty damn obvious to anyone who is capable of complex thought. They just tried to sneak through a law that would have allowed the secret service to force news organisations to hire their agents. This failed, because unlike most MPs, some journalist actually read the proposed text and now they’ll have to remove it. I am sure they could pass it if they wanted, but since the media is either on their side, or too gutless to actually try to influence public opinion, it really does not matter at all.

And amusing? I can joke around all day, but that doesn’t provide substance.

So here we are, in 2015, and I am not really sure what to write about. So I’ll do a sweeping overview, in bullet points:

  • The refugee crisis has been diverted towards less functional states. The government openly declared that brown people are not welcome in Europe, because they might change our Christian culture. This, of course, ignores some facts, like how there are currently more refugees in the city of Istanbul than in the EU or that even the whole population of Syria moving over wouldn’t really change the demographics of the Union in any meaningful way. But one shouldn’t let facts get in the way of some good old-fashioned racism. The fences have been built, the thousands of helpless people are diverted further along the borders of the Union, with winter fast approaching. Meanwhile, the EU as an organisation might start working on the Latvian translation of the first preliminary proposals for conducting a study on the viability of setting up a small test-run of the quota system by mid-2018.
  • It has become clear that outside pressure will not be a factor in Hungarian politics. The EU and the US might make some snide remarks, but as long as international debt obligations are not in danger, Fortress Europe is maintained and there are no attempts to upset any of the Core-dictated other status quos (stati quo? statae quo? I don’t speak any Latin), or start housing Russian or ISIS forces on Hungarian soil, nothing will happen. Stop waiting for it.
  • On the other hand, the international cabal of Jewish lizard people are also highly unlikely to pounce upon poor little Hungary in order to steal its fertile soils and clear waters. Not that we won’t hear about them every day, increasingly from Government sources.
  • State funds are being diverted towards shady sources at an ever-increasing pace. Basically, there is now an established pseudo-feudal network of clients that effectively control most of the country, including its agriculture, culture culture, gambling, you name it.
  • Hungarian society has been more or less tamed. While it has always been as rebellious as a moderately used straw mattress, it remains remarkably content. The vassals are of course happy, the bourgeoisie is content with a favourable income tax and being supplied with ample opportunities for consumption and the poor are either dependent on the vassals for their survival (you just have to fall out of their good graces once, and even your wage slavery is gone and you can join the criminalised sub-underclass). It is all bread and circus, or the threat of taking away what little bread and circus is left.
  • Public services are collapsing. There is a chronic shortage of workforce practically everywhere. Education is in complete ruins, so is healthcare. The lack of funding for public transportation even made the rabid thug István Tarlós, the mayor of Budapest critical of the Government. Everything is still chugging along, but the wheels can come off at any minute.
  • At one point, the above two issues will have a major clash. We shall see what will happen then, but I really don’t have high hopes. Still, this is the only hope one can have, because the country has had enough of attempts by “Parties of Moderate Progress Within the Bounds of the Law”.
  • At least this is not Putin’s Russia or Erdogan’s Turkey. Many bad things can be said about the Government of Hungary, but at least it isn’t violent or murderous.

This should be it for now. I would love to see some comments on how y’all see the current state of affairs.

I promise I’ll try to write soon.

Congress of Baboons is Back!

I am going to start with a seemingly controversial statement: in the time that the blog was on hiatus, nothing happened in Hungarian Politics. Nothing at all.

I mean things were going on, there was some character development and the plot got a bit more complex, but it’s all like that dreadful second season of The Walking Dead, with zombies and a lot of annoying dialogue and whining. There were some minor ‘scandals’, which the greater public ignored, and unvbelievable acts of stupidity and ignorance have been comitted by both the government and the opposition. I could make a list, but there is no point to write about these in retrospect, because they failed to affect anything.

What I find fascinating is that this lack of plot development does not mean a lack of activity. For a the first time in a long while, there are two long-running protests happening in the city centre. One is agains the horrendous Nazi Occupation Memorial which I blogged about before. Yes, it has been built and it is astonishingly bad art. And, what is my beef with it, bad anatomy as well: the sculptor obviously had no idea what a bird’s leg looks like and confused the knee with the ankle. Since its sneaky unweiling, which coincided with the likewise sneaky removal of the barriers around the Soviet WWII memorial (a smart move, as I’m sure the fascists still haven’t noticed), there have been daily protests by groups of opposition pensioners, with some help from politicians scavenging for votes. A small protest camp, with two tents has also popped up right in front of the Parliament. It isn’t quite Occupy Budapest, but it is always nice to see people using public spaces to express political opinions instead of passively accepting their fate like most Hungarians tend to do. Of course None of these protests will accomplish anything or achieve any measurable level of support even amongst the friends of the protesters.

The municipal elections are looming, and the Opposition is still fighting very hard to lose. For some reason, they still believe in the Grand Coalition, even though it failed miserably in two elections so far, just this year. It is actually getting really funny to see how this idea is disintegrating. For newcomers, the Grand Coalition was the idea that if the main opposition parties team up and form a united, democratic coalition, they will beat FIDESZ. The maths did add up, but reality kinda ruined the party. MSZP managed to seem temporarily alive by clawing its way up onto the rotten corpses of its coalition partners (I am dead certain that this Grand Coalition idea was a highly successful MSZP plot to avoid its long-awaited demise); DK, aka. disgraced former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and his army of grumpy pensioners, chased away a lot of voters and Egyutt was quietly sitting in the corner, listening to the greatest hits of Coldplay. Fast forward to today, and the Coalition has become an even bigger mess. MSZP is very proud of its position at the top of the heap of rotten corpses, and it is refusing to compromise in many municipalities. While it got what it wanted, it fails to realise that by maintaining a shaky, but definite hegemony in the opposition, its presence is actively preventing the opposition from being able to actually oppose the government in elections. The inactive voters are the key to removing FIDESZ, and they are not going to vote for MSZP. Egyutt has completely disintegrated, its useless saviour Bajnai has once again left politics to collect humongous wads of cash at a French corporation and DK is hanging around. It gets chaotic in the capital and is downright insane in the countryside, where the even alliances with the fascists are not that rare. the Coalition has gone as far as to support anti-Roma hate speech in order to justify running a violently racist former police chief for mayor in the city of Miskolc, just because the guy is more popular than the FIDESZ candicate.

The best illustration of what a miserable bunch the Grand Coalition is would be their campaing for the mayor of Budapest. Their opponent is Istvan Tarlos, who isn’t really all that popular and is generally viewed as a thuggish asshole, who is a little bit of a renegade even within FIDESZ. The person they decided to run for office was Ferenc Falus, a distinguished doctor and former health chief for the country. This was Egyutt’s idea, and it was of course a terrible one. Falus was a disaster. Not only did he lack a political programme for a long time, he even embarrassed himself by trying to look like the awkward dad who thinks that he is down with the kids. And now, just today, it has been announced that even though he was hailed as the Coalition candidate for most of the campaing, he is stepping down in favour of socialist turned conservative turned sad joke and unrepentand Thatcherite Lajos Bokros. Since the campaign of Mr Bokros received most media attention when he was seen as a pathetic old loser begging for votes in public squares, I am not quite sure how these morons runnign the show are planning to build up a successful campaign for him in less than two weeks, but we’ll see.

As usual, FIDESZ will win, because with such opponents, they can basically do anything. Despite the ranting, the horrible policies, the creepily close ties with Vladimir Putin, despite everything. The good news is that the opposition is really on its way out and maybe after these elections, they’ll fade into obscurity and something less terrible will emerge. I maintain that a newly emerging political force could easily take FIDESZ down, as long as it stays far away from the current opposition and its enablers in the intelligentsia. Until then, nothing will happen in Hungary.

Unless there is a meteor strike or a vampire pandemic like in The Strain. God, that is one great missed opportunity series.

But I will write about these enablers in the next post, which will come very soon.

Yay, campaign!!

I am still alive. Honestly, I had a bunch of ideas, started a number of posts but they never went anywhere. Until now, hopefully.

So, where are we and what are the baboons doing? It is just about two weeks until the election, and we are in the middle of the weirdest political campaign I have ever seen in my life. Hungary has a strange system to begin with, where the official campaign only lasts a month or so, but whatt is happening now is much more peculiar.

FIDESZ modified campaign regulations and exploited all the loopholes to completely dominate the scenery. Its main tactic is to use its almost complete control of the Hungarian media and advertising companies to spam the country with posters and it has muldiplied its outreach by using proxy organisations that can mount campaigns that are not restricted by the regulations that govern how a party can campaign. The biggest of these is  CÖF (Civilian Unity Movement), a group of pro-FIDESZ journalists and automatons that organises the irregularly occurring “Peace Marches”, during which tens of thousands of well-coordinated pensioners stroll through Budapest to express their undying, religious devotion to Viktor Orbán and his government. But, the interesting thing is that none of these posters actually say too much. CÖF had/had a campaign featuring personal attacks on the Grand Coalition, but Fidesz has been content with merely flooding the streets with the faces of its candidates. The most brazen of these features the Beloved Leader himself, with a caring, fatherly smile, looking down at his people, with the slogan “The Prime Minister of Hungary”. They don’t even feel the need to make an attempt. Although, a former MSZP scapegoat jailed for some petty fraud (to protect the bigger fish from persecution) did release a damning book just now, through a FIDESZ-affiliated publishing house, detailing the corruptness of MSZP, but frankly, everyone knows that MSZP is corrupt to the bone and this will matter little in the long run.

And what is the Grand Coalition doing? You guessed it, also nothing. After spending much of the past year destroying or swallowing all the upcoming political formations (and incorporating the conservative, Thatcherite austerity wizard Lajos Bokros into their little group of unsavoury former bigshots who no-one wanted to see again) and most of the past months squabbling over who will run for what office (and realising a month before the election that they shouldn’t use their original name, because another party has had it since 2006), they have settled into sitting around quietly. I haven’t heard a single statement from PM-hopeful Mesterházy in a long-long time. He did release a brief stab at the governemnt about its delayed response to the Crimean crisis, but that was basically it. The Coalition, which won’t even have a united election night event, has been unable to win over any new voters in a long time, at least according to the most recent polls and I have the feeling MSZP is content with the destruction of all other non-nazi opposition parties and has hunkered down to survive the election in order to remain the cancerous growth that is destroying any chance of having a decent left-wing in this country. Oh, and on their poster, they managed to use the same hackneyed19th century patriotic slogan “Talpra Magyar” (“Arise, Hungarians”) as the nazis. Because no-one has invented any new political phrases in the past 170 years…

(As a sidenote, I have to quote my sister who once said that the first step into making Hungarian politics better would be to ban all 19th century rhetorics from the Parliament. I could not agree more.)

Talking about the nazis, Jobbik has been running an interesting and active campaign. They have been doing their best to appear cuddly to the outside world, while continuing with their nazi bullshit when they think no-one is looking. Gábor Vona, their lead guy has appeared in the company of adorable puppies on Facebook and is trying his best to look like a charmless Colin Farrel on the election posters. All their communication is positive (as opposed to the Grand Coalition, whose ads feature despearate and hopeless people being desperate and hopeless), all their slogans are about success, action, justice, solutions, with just subconscious indications of their Christian-Nationalistic aims: a cross and a map of Greater Hungary in the background of the family scene, transparent traditional floral patterns on the posters, etc. I have been saying for a long time, that even if they are nazi thugs, they know what they are doing and are very good at outreach and communication. No surprise that their popularity is higher than ever. This does not make them less evil. Just recently, a group of far right thugs affiliated with Jobbik (and also with FIDESZ, as they were the same bunch that tried to disrupt the university occupation last year) made an attempt to disrupt a release party for a bunch of harmless hipster T-shirts that feature national icons in unconventional ways. They failed miserably, but this just shows that “smoother words, nicer suits, don’t be fooled, they’re still wearing jackboots”.

And what about LMP? The good news is that they haven’t split in a good while now and have been consolidating themselves as the non-MSZP, non-nazi opposition, having a strong and constant media and public presence. The bad news is that I don’t have much mroe to say about them. I am still unsure how much they know about what they want to do besides their broad slogans about “fighting corruption” and “green politics”. But I have to admit that I they have been growing on me, much like back hair. But this is mostly due to the lack of options.

4K, the other party I’ve been following has imploded. they failed to collect enough signatures and will only have a handful of candidates running for positions. Their campaign was not helped by the ridiculous gimmick of having their pretty blonde female spokesperson post a picture on facebook, her naked torso covered by a placard saying “3000 more signatures until Sunday and I’ll throw away the placard”. Not even the self-aware nods towards sexism were enough to chase the sour taste from my mouth. I still like these folks, but placing attention on weed (their previous media stunt was a rather misguided “weed is not a drug” campaign for legalisation) and boobs might not have been the best idea ever. See you guys in the coming decade.

So, what will happen? FIDESZ is bound to win the election, with the active collaboration of MSZP. I hope that during the next election, there will be a left-wing opposition formation, something that Milla could have morphed into if it decided not to sell out whose first priority will be to viciously and brutally attack MSZP and completely destroy it. Afterwards, we can talk about getting this place out of the Central Asian personal cult hell FIDESZ has installed. If the Russians don’t decide to annex the whole former Eastern Bloc by that time.

Oh, as a side-note: Fuck you Vladimir Putin, fuck you with a corroded rail spike.

Side-note number II: you can follow the blog on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/baboonshungary I should have advertised this before… oops

Welcome to the Congress of Baboons

Baboons are nasty as hell. I have a general aversion to primates, with the exception of lemurs and orangutans, but I find baboons particularly foul, with their beady little eyes, humongous fangs and unpleasant temperament. I am sure that there is a baboon researcher somewhere who would disagree, and they might be right. But I don’t care. I really don’t like baboons.

Therefore, I will not be troubled about what I am going to do: associating an innocent living thing with Hungarian Politics. Because this is what I will be writing about, if I can sustain my own interest. There have been many articles in the English-speaking media about this weird little country and its population of temperamental, smelly apes that live high up in the branches of government. My issue is that most of these pieces were only scratching the surface. What I intend to present is the deepest, darkest bowels of utter insanity that is being produced and reproduced on a daily basis by politicians and their circles, because it is fuckin’ hilarious and I am annoyed that I can’t point my foreign friends to any place where they could read about it in English.

So, this is my goal. I am not a journalist, and I do not intend to act like one. I am about as partial as the cat who wrote the book “Which Pet Deserves the Most Cat Food and Tummy Rubs: The Dog or Me?” and I don’t intend to play nice.

Enjoy!

Also, you can now follow us on Facebook!