Are there any „hundreds of thousands” behind Orbán? You bet there are. And that’s the really bad news, not the Victator himself.
News reports – more exactly NOL.HU – have it that according to one member of FIDESz’ presidency, if a mass rally for Viktor Orbán were to be organised, “... hundreds of thousands would take to the streets. Including those who have already written off Viktor Orbán, or are supporters of Jobbik.” There are two messages in this:
1., We are also many, we too can stage a mass gathering like the protest march in front of the Opera House any time.
2., If need be, we will also activate the far right.
In theory, both points would deserve a post. The latter because no other European conservative party in living memory has ever sunk as deep as to call on the help of Nazis against the democratic opposition. But that is not what I am on about now. (And I would also leave aside the question whether FIDESz has anything to do with conservatism in the first place.) I leave the honour of writing an article about this to anyone who is surprised by the statement. Anyone who is still in doubt, should read Zsolt Bayer’s article from last week, along with the flawless reaction of orulunkvincent.blog.hu
Let’s rather take up the first item – which, like it or not, is deeply true. FIDESz’ ideology continues to be supported by lots of people in these parts. Even if the Two Thirds family has had a dismal week, and even if they are seemingly standing with their hands in the air – and their pants down – in front of the EU and the IMF. It would be a capital mistake to believe that the important questions have already been decided. Orbán and his supporters are no doubt speculating that by making some concessions on the economic front and remodelling a bit the law on the central bank, they can still save their constitution, and with it, absolute power.
As of now, their hopes may even be well-founded. Even today, EU law is predominantly about economic integration. It is no accident that it was the law on the central bank, not the media law, that has ultimately blown the fuses. And the Commission only scrutinised Hungary on the strict basis of the hard text of EU regulations, not the principles enshrined in the Treaty on European Union. Which was then interpreted by Orbán as a green light to do as he pleases – so that he decided to quickly and ruthlessly implement all his plans. By the time the others would wake up, he would have his fait accompli.
There are some sings – such as the parallel protests by three factions of the European Parliament, including the People’s Party – that the Blitzkrieg scenario may not have worked out after all. But, as of now, we still can’t be sure whether Europe has learned from her own past, and whether Orbán would have to face Chamberlain, or Churchill. We do not know whether the Union, fighting disintegration, would have the guts to not just talk but actually do something. But even then, even if Orbán would indeed be brought down, the real problem would still not be solved.
Because investors know: the amok of the last 18 months was committed by one of the leading moderate parties of the Hungarian political spectrum. Orbán and Matolcsy are mainstream in our lands. And those who do invest here can be sure, as things are standing now, that their political style, and their policies would keep coming back to power every couple of years. And then they are in for another wave of romantic anti-capitalism, incorrigible idiotic nationalism, nepotism, extra taxes, the forced termination of loan contracts, nationalisation and all the rest of their lunacy. Is it a good idea to invest in Hungary these days? We ourselves, Hungarians, are giving the answer to that question. If it were, people would not be queuing up before Austrian and – who would have thought just a couple of years ago – Slovak banks to deposit their financial reserves abroad. I would be interested to know whether they at least rub off the Greater Hungary stickers from their rides before crossing the border.
The fact that Orbán’s support is melting away means nothing until there are clear signs that Hungarian voters have indeed learned something, and understood where it leads them if they only ever believe in those who promise easy dreams, or a “brighter future”. Even if average intelligence would be sufficient to see that all they do is to instigate and lie. Especially if they are insisting that they never ever lied to voters.
The famous banner from last week’s protest march – “Hey, Europe, sorry about my prime minister”, or the apology by the Hungarian voter – means nothing as long as it is only the camp of the undecided, and that of Jobbik that is gaining strength. Not as long as the left does not get its act together, and the right does not come to their senses.
We have written ourselves off. We have buried ourselves as deep into the mud as anything. Finally looking into the mirror cannot be delayed any further. And we will not like what we can see there. Do you remember the very first words in office of the previous prime minister, who is awaited back by oh so many nowadays – and who happened to be so unpopular back then? “It is gonna hurt”. You bet it will. But there is no other option than saying farewell to illusions. And being persistent. Because regaining the lost prestige, the trust of investors, and our own future, will not be in a day’s work.
www.ghostwriter.blog.hu; January 8. 2012.