Leading conservative columnist Zsolt Bayer on the reasons why Hungary’s opposition coalition managed to ensure its mayoral candidate’s victory in Budapest at Sunday’s municipal elections.
We should finally contend with the fact that eight of Europe’s largest capitals – with the notable exception of Madrid – are under left-liberal leadership.
There are obvious historical reasons for this. In Hungary, one of them is the once “racist” urban-rural divide that appeared at the beginning of the 20th century and is present to this very day – thankfully, after the regime change at least without the “racist” part. But this dichotomy has a wide range of underlying reasons: lifestyle, perception, value choices, approach to history, traditions and nation.
The still unhealthy social composition of Hungary consists of 5 percent wealthy, 15-20 percent of what is referred to as middle class, and 75-80 percent “underclass”. All of the efforts of the Orbán Government went towards establishing a national bourgeoisie, reinforcing the middle class and elevating the underclass – this latter mainly through job creation and family support initiatives. Instead, what do we actually see now?
In metropolitan areas, where said distribution is more 15-40-45 percent, they have a more substantial upper and middle class, who – at least according to opposition critics – have received an unfair amount of support from the Orbán Government.
Yet, the majority of these groups decided to vote left, while the inhabitants of small and medium-sized rural settlements are the most faithful supporters of the right.
This has its reason. A reason that goes way beyond the opposition slogans or the false myth of the “grey matter” by which said opposition has unjustly claimed to represent intellectuals. And the reason is exactly the same in Vienna, Paris, London or Budapest. It has to do with the rootlessness and globalism of metropolitan existence just as much as with the respect for traditional values and down-to-earth rural existence.
Just as importantly, this shouldn’t be about a choice between urban and rural, but rather about embracing metropolises. That of love and humility.
Title image: Downtown Budapest’s main tourist thoroughfare, Váci street (source: introducingbudapest.com)