While Hungary’s opposition parties have formed a common platform against the ruling conservatives, their agenda mostly consists of empty phrases, publicist István Krómer writes in daily Magyar Nemzet.
The many beautiful commonplaces and cheap promises (social peace, free press, science, education and art, environmentally conscious society, free and high-quality healthcare, education, social care and culture, fair public burdens, Hungarian wages equal to Western Europe’s, European and patriotic government), proclaimed by the opposition parties as the principles of a hopeful joint government, either have nothing to say about the important problems facing Hungarian society, or their ideas extinguish each other, so they could not have come up with them together. The most telling, however, is perhaps what they have been silent on.
[Far-right] Jobbik, whose history may have predestined it to do so, was not allowed to talk about the declining population threatening the future of the nation or the future of Hungarians living across the border, or perhaps these are no longer priorities for the party; the others are (at best) not even interested in such matters.
Instead, Jobbik speaks about social peace, which can even be seen as a kind of penance, since they were the ones who have recently done perhaps the most in inciting hatred against certain social groups. Tímea Szabó [Dialogue for Hungary], did not get a chance to come up with her party’s trump card, universal basic income; instead, she was tasked with promising all the good things regarding public services, the financing of which would be shaken by the very introduction of a basic income.
The pipe dream of Hungarian wages catching up with Europe — previously a theme of Jobbik — was given to [Socialist co-chair] Ágnes Kunhalmi, and in addition to curbing tax increases, she mentioned fair economic competition (whatever that means). The most original (or perhaps the bravest) was Erzsébet Schmuck [the green LMP party], who not only represented the main strategic goal of LMP, the issue of sustainability, but also tackled the sensitive issue of immigration, specifically promising action against illegal migration and human trafficking. (True, no one else would believe this. Anyway, could Elizabeth Schmuck become interior minister?)
As for the liberal side of the Rainbow Coalition, Momentum and DK said pretty much nothing. Freedom and Europe — empty, blank ideological phrases. These smaller parties prone to leftist propaganda have been allowed to make general promises — something like this is inevitable and even useful in a campaign. However, they themselves have been steadfastly silent on any economic or social issue, while, if they maybe get there, three decades of experience tells us there is a good chance they will try to control these areas (too).
There wasn’t even a hint of their economic strategy. Our fellow citizens, who are trying to honestly explore public alternatives, can gaze into the vague obscurity of what the anti-government opposition thinks about business incentives, strengthening the internal market, the role of the middle class, housing policy, managing foreign productive and speculative capital, employment policy, work issues, rural development, the Carpathian Basin economic space, public finances, and so on.
They did not even bother to suggest, or even faintly hint to at least a slightly different direction than previous left-liberal governments that were a disaster. Thus, any thinking citizen may have reason to believe that he should expect the same old performance on the new stage now being erected.
[Note: Hungary will next hold general elections in the spring of 2022.]
Title image: Socialist MP and party co-chair Ágnes Kunhalmi in Parliament. (MTI/Lajos Soós)