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.