All right. So, we started the topic last time, and now, as well you might suspect, we’re going to continue. Easy-peasy, no?
Last time we considered the new legislation brought in in 2017 which imposed various requirements on foreign universities that wished to open satellite higher education facilities in Hungary. Fine. As with all things, we expect regulation. But George Soros didn’t take kindly to the idea that he, too, was now being obliged to play by the rules that everyone else had come to expect.
Now, there is a reason for this, it’s not just Uncle Soros being contrary. No. Well, it might also be that, but there is, as might be expected, a historical aspect to the situation which developed.
Way back when, when communist dinosaurs roamed the earth, cunningly calling themselves “liberals” in order to mask what they actually were, a man named Magyar Bálint was Minister for Education from the beginning of 1996 until the middle of 1998. During his time as Minister for Education, he was instrumental in ensuring, in securing accreditation for the CEU. The performance of this task went above and beyond his official mandate. Uncle Soros wrote to him to thank him personally, stressing that
“I am aware that without your assistance this could not have happened.”
In the same letter, Uncle Soros also mentioned that, with regard to a “seemingly insignificant request”, he would prefer that a law, which would have ceased to have effect, remain in force, requesting that:
“All we are asking is that the Lex CEU should not be listed among the laws that will now cease to have effect… Naturally I am asking you to leave this legislation effective without the part relating to CEU in the new Higher Education Act changing in any way.”
Now, the thing is, that for all I know, ministers of all shapes and sizes receive letters like this on a daily, if not hourly basis. But, that’s irrelevant. What’s not irrelevant is that Magyar Bálint yielded to the request from “an old friend”, and organised the legislation in a way which suited Uncle Soros. Now, that’s a bit beyond the pale, isn’t it? There’s more than just a hint of things not being cricket. Certainly, it’s not the way we think things should happen, but toss that idea out of the way for the moment, and consider the further, more distant implications of that decision.
But, the thing is that he was allowed, or he ensured that he got his way time after time after time.
Now, we all know what that’s going to lead to…think of kids. Give them everything that they want and you end up with Jayden Smith.
So…is that a good idea, do you think? Congratulations Mr and Mrs Smith, your son is a certified bell-end! Would you want that to be the result of your parenting? Blimey…what must the other parents be saying behind your back in the playground, eh? Well, you probably don’t want to know but, let’s face it; you can probably guess anyway.
All right, so spoilt brats, children being given everything they might ever desire, all without the hassle of having to work for it, fight for it, or just do anything for it. One reason parents don’t spoil children is because they haven’t got the financial wherewithal to accomplish it, the other reason, of course, is that they know, as we all do, that spoiling children leads to spoilt children, spanner.
Nobody likes spoilt children. That’s just basic human nature. Kids don’t like them, parents don’t like them, teachers don’t like them, parrots don’t like them, bears don’t like them, cats don’t like them…the list is endless. Suffice to say that nobody has been found to date, since the inception of the human race who thought that spoilt children were a desirable social group. And guess what...yes, the same goes for spoilt adults.
So, that’s the situation we have with good old, "wouldn’t hurt a fly", Uncle George. He’s had too much money, for far too long, and nobody’s ever told him what a prick he actually is. What should have happened, of course, is that people should have remembered the mess he made of sterling. Yes, let’s not beat about the bush; he kicked an economy into the shadows in order that he gain financially. Sorry? He did what?! Bloody Hell. And yet, and yet, and yet…nobody tried to penalise him for it. Not even the Brits. Essentially, he attacked a state, he declared war on the currency of a sovereign nation, and…that’s OK, is it? Oh, well, look at silly Osama Bin Laden…wasting all his time hiding in caves, getting young warriors to cart his dialysis machine over hill and dale when, had he taken a leaf from Uncle George’s playbook, he could have destroyed countries willy-nilly economically, and then sat back as people reacted with comments like: “Oh, well, that wasn’t very pleasant now, was it?”, and “Can we have this Bin Laden fellow blackballed, do you know?”.
Flippant, I know, but there’s surely not much between attempting to destroy and attempting to destroy, or am I missing something?
All right, so that’s the situation as it stands now. There is still a CEU in Budapest. There is still a Közép-Európai Egyetem, as well. We still hear the cries of the boy who cried “Wolf!”, but nobody really cares. Think about it…an American university (well, that’s pushing it, but we’ll let it slide), which benefitted very well from EU grants. And, just let that sink in for a moment…yes, EU grants, not going to Hungarian universities, but being delivered to an American "university", which happened to set up in an EU member state.
According to the CEU themselves, in 2017 the CEU received 12 times as much in funding (€14.5m as opposed to €1.2m) in comparison to the Corvinus University. According to the CEU they were by far the most successful applicant for funds from the EU, one third of the monies awarded by the EU being claimed by the CEU.
Just have look at the visual representations of those facts..."mind-boggling" is about the only adjective which comes to my mind. Either that, or the phrase "a clean sweep"!
This first graph shows the distribution of funding from H2020 to Hungarian universities in 2018.
And this graph indicates another very important factor; namely the amount of funding falling on one lecturer at Hungarian universities.
So, a double-whammy. George, operating a non-existent alma mater can't get any funding in the US. But, with the assistance of the socialist/liberal government ministers, he sets up shop, and, not that he's short of a bob or two, starts to reap the financial benefits of spending half his time meandering about the corridors of the rich and powerful in the EU.
And, let's face it, the other universities are the real ones. At the technical university students learn how to build bridges and things like that. At CEU, people write dissertations on the imagined sexual problems of coffee beans, and stuff like that. Now, be honest, where would that funding be better put to use?
So, thanks to Georgie’s wheeling and dealing, thanks to the fact that he was a canoodling crony of Jean-Claude Juncker, he managed to swing a whole load of funding to his creation, the CEU. Thanks to the assistance of the European Leftwaffe, he got money that, given his wealth, one might even suggest was a bit of an excess.
Wouldn't it have been better to utilise EU monies to fund EU projects?
Why, oh why didn’t Georgie get his funding from the US? Oh, of course...probably because there never existed an institution in the US which would be able to apply for funds. Funding's one thing, but if you're asking for funding for a university, and can only present a shared office, then...yes, we all know how that one's going to end, don't we?
And with that, we end up full circle. If they all want to move to Austria, I don’t think we’ll shed too many tears. Don't cry for me, Argentina? Don’t cry for George in Vienna?
Don't worry yourself, we wouldn’t dream of it, mate.