There’s not much time left until the next Hungarian general election. Well everything is relative, but the fact remains that given that the next general election will be held in 2022, wheels have been in motion for quite some time now.
The good old days when elections were fought in a relatively short period preceding the actual day of voting are long gone. In modern democracies, it appears to be inevitable that the actual days of casting a ballot act as markers on a timeline of perpetual campaigning.
Perpetual campaigning, however, is always going to automatically be the preserve of those who are not, presently, in power. Those in power are obliged to repel attacks, but it is the preserve of those who failed to convince the electorate to continually maintain pressure.
In Hungary, the job of maintaining pressure has, obviously, fallen to the opposition. And that means that the job has fallen to the Left. In Hungary, the vast majority of opposition political groupings identify with the left-wing.
The task of maintaining pressure on the government of the day is a task to which the Left have sprung with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is one thing, but the method that the Left have chosen has, it must be said, raised more than a few eyebrows.
The Left’s chosen tactic has been one based on lies.
Not beating about the bush, this is a very strange idea to base a political campaign on. Ignoring cynics who spend their lives trying to convince us all that every politician lies continuously, we can be assured that most politicians know and accept that their careers rely on one thing and one thing only: credibility.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to avoid the obvious pitfall of considering Hungarian modern history pre-1989. To open that particular Pandora’s box would require more space and time than we have here.
Suffice it to say that there has always been, and there will always be problems for the Left at a deep, philosophical level. They may paint over history as many times as they wish, but they are the direct descendants of those who actively sought to destroy the country by serving foreign masters. The Left therefore naturally start with a huge handicap regarding credibility, a handicap they seek to overcome by relying on the lack of historical awareness to be found in younger generations of voters, those generations which, somewhat paradoxically, have more and more access to information, yet can’t be bothered to access it.
As the pandemic struck and turned into a global problem, the Hungarian Left decided that their role in the darkened room that was repeated in almost all countries worldwide, was that of attempting to sabotage the Hungarian government. The Hungarian Left decided that the way forward for them was to hinder a government that voters had already deemed more reliable than the Left.
Surprisingly, having decided that attempting to cripple their own was, in fact, the best way to improve their standings, the Hungarian Left have stuck to their plan for the past year. Their members have not broken ranks, the plan remains. These political forces are seemingly convinced that success at the ballot box lies at the end of a path paved with untruths.
But can that be so? Can we have strayed so far from the path of normal? Can we have so deeply buried that which we were taught from birth? Can we have grown into a society which radiates such cynicism that lies flow like water without concern for the truth?
Hopefully, for the sake of society, the answer to those questions is a resounding “No!”. Only time will tell.
But what signs can we detect, what evidence is there of society either not being bothered by falsehoods or, more hopefully, being outraged by the deluge of fake news that the Hungarian Left have sluiced the country with?
One thing which should give us hope for the future of society is the fact that fake news has been repeatedly dealt with. Gone are the times when governments were too busy to bother refuting those allegations and claims which were obviously false. Even if governments have more than enough on their plates, what with trying to keep as many steps ahead of the deadly coronavirus and its multitude of variants as possible, members of the press, and members of society now consider it part of their remit to identify false claims as soon as they appear on social media.
And there’s a lot to keep your eyes open for. From the lies that lefty politicians repeatedly pass off as truth in parliament, to the poster campaigns designed to steer Hungarian society, or at least the more malleable section thereof, away from requesting a vaccine that could prevent serious illness and potential death, the presses have been operating in overdrive for a full year now.
And there is not the slightest sign that they will stop.
Edited video clips which deliberately omit the rebuttal of opposition lies and posters with snappy messages are now standard fare on social media.
But although the geniuses behind these campaigns must surely be convinced of their guaranteed success, can we truly expect the lies to win over the majority of voters?
Surely not? As I mentioned, as soon as the lies are released, they are rebutted. Facts are provided, almost instantly, to prove that the version of the truth that the Leftwaffe persistently peddle is just a lie, nothing more. Lies and base criticism of the government’s policies regarding the best approach to such things as masks, gloves and ventilators have been shown to be just that: lies.
The abhorrent attacks on the government regarding the ‘wasting’ of money on ventilators have collapsed upon themselves as the need for ventilators came into its own in the present 3rd wave of the coronavirus.
But, things are not looking rosy for these purveyors of doom. No matter how hard they try to convince people of their lies, they fail. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Leftwaffe screeched doom from the rooftops, telling the world that the Hungarian government’s decision to rule by decree had nothing to do with expediency and everything to do with developing dictatorship. Then, of course, the Hungarian opposition had to admit that their claims had been false all along. And so their credibility was damaged. Lajos Korózs of the socialists created fake videos which fell flat almost immediately upon release. Fake videos based on the testimony of fantasists with no connection to the topic. And again, the Leftwaffe’s credibility was damaged. More recently, the charge that the government bought ‘too many’ ventilators had its legs swept from under it as the number of people requiring assisted ventilation jumped in the 3rd wave. The Left demanded that the government open everything up, just as it became clear that the government’s plan to shut everything down was the only reasonable policy available. The Leftwaffe have urged people to not have themselves vaccinated, all the while ensuring that they are vaccinated. Credibility? Down the drain! The Left even started (but didn’t finish) a campaign to gather signatures to prevent the import of Chinese and Russian vaccines. The only vaccines arriving in sufficient numbers to turn the tide against the coronavirus.
So, looking back on a year of lies, of false claims, of outrageous accusations, what can we expect at the ballot boxes next year? Well, obviously, that’s too far off for anyone to predict with any real hope of accuracy, but the unscrupulous behaviour of the left-wing has, undoubtably, left an indelible mark on their image.
In a recent poll conducted by Nézőpont Institute, in the four questions asked of participants, the incumbent government outscored the left-wing opposition every time.
So, with any luck, only the left-wing politicians have lost sight of the necessity for credibility in society. Fingers crossed, credibility remains as necessary for politicians as it always was. In which case, the Left have shot themselves, repeatedly, in both feet. Repeatedly.