If we consider the single most important factor in political life then I feel certain that that the issue of credibility will rise to the surface. Without it, politicians can’t hope to get far. Well, that’s what you’d naturally assume, wouldn’t you? Yes, but as we can see, some people are very easily fooled.
As we’ve heard repeated ad infinitum over the years, in a quote that’s been variously attributed to Mark Twain, and that odd, tall man with the top hat who always started but rarely finished his daily shaving regime, Abraham Lincoln – who originally said it isn’t relevant, the idea behind it is –
“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
We assume that this concept is critical to our lives and no less critical in political life. But that assumption ignores the fact that in Hungary, the parties that form the ‘opposition’ such as it is, have different roots, and originally developed in nothing less than a bubble of fabrication. Furthermore, the artificial manner in which they developed can be viewed as infectious: it’s clear that those, even those ‘new’ Hungarian politicians who seek to define themselves as Left-wing employ the same cavalier attitude to credibility as those who traditionally had no reason to be wary of truth and facts.
After all, of what use is credibility in a one-party state? The present-day socialist party rose from the ashes of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, the communists. From this fact, it follows that a large number of Hungarian ‘opposition’ politicians learnt their trade at a time when ideas of credibility and accountability didn’t even feature in politics. There was no need for these ideas, and so, these concepts were discarded and left by the wayside
But what of the Young Turks to be found shouting from the sidelines of the ‘opposition’ benches? Well, they’re just as bad. They have learnt at the knees of their masters and as a result appear to have the same cavalier disregard for credibility as the old guard.
The Left as a general rule have a certain, blinkered approach to crisis management, for example. The Left’s answer to any crisis is to run to some sort of credit institution...Soros or the IMF, for example. Traditionally the securing of credit, combined with tax increases are the way the Left deal with financial crises. But they don’t like to own up to this habit. After all, who would readily admit to being the sort of person who responds to a financial crisis by squeezing the most vulnerable? And yet, that’s what the Left do. Irrespective of professionally-produced short video films that seek to convince unsuspecting voters of the caring attitude of the Left towards the electorate, the history of the Left leaves no space for credibility.
That’s a prime example of what I’m talking about. That was Fletó setting out the plans of the Left-wing, stating that taxes have to be reduced and business promoted. But what we all know is that he and his party did nothing of the sort. When Fletó was in power, for example, his government raised the price of gas three times! When the Socialists and Liberals were in charge of the economy, they personally may have been better off, serving foreign energy masters and being rewarded as a result, but the population of the country was bled dry.
If credibility is to be considered in the realm of energy prices, then it’s the governments of Fidesz who stand head and shoulders above the rest. Fully aware that the Left paid nothing other than lip-service to the idea of the nation’s debt being eased, Fidesz secured majority stakes in energy companies (something that should be a basic tenet for a country to control at least some of its destiny), and introduced a series of household utility cuts. In 2013, Orbán’s government reduced the price of gas and electricity by 25% in three stages. The result? An end to foreign-controlled energy suppliers taking profits gained on the backs of Hungarians out of the country to benefit others.
Prior to 2010, for example, these companies took profits amounting to HUF 1,000 billion away from the Hungarian economy where the profits had been created. In 2010, no matter what Fletó would like to push in his promotional video, in relation to purchasing power, Hungarians paid among the highest prices for energy in Europe. Today, Hungarians pay the second lowest price for gas and the third lowest price for electricity in the EU. That’s where you find your political credibility. And that’s what the Left stubbornly, wilfully, refuse to concede.
The Left spend all their time searching for government policies to deride and sneer at. One such scheme is CSOK. CSOK, the government scheme to assist families, offers families up to HUF 10 million in grants, and up to HUF 15 million in a subsidised loan. All this with a term of 25 years, and no limit on the value of the property intended to be bought.
All of that, and yet the Socialists sneered. They looked down their noses at what was on offer, and encouraged society as a whole to follow their example.
And, in the midst of all this sneering, one voice rose above the others. The voice of Bertalan Tóth, co-president of the Hungarian Socialist Party.
All right, well Bertie’s entitled to his opinion, obviously. But, when he was sticking the boot in to the government with as much zeal as he could muster, did it not cross his mind that perhaps he should have been a little more circumspect?
After all, having slagged the government off for wasting money that could have helped the economy, having once again tried to force the idea of government-level corruption which, let’s face it, the socialists are the past masters of, Bertie seems to have forgotten that he, too, availed himself of and benefitted from the government’s CSOK scheme.
For all the Socialist Party’s empty words of outrage about the common man’s plight, they know a good thing when they see it, and they, too, rush to take advantage of low-interest loans from the government, irrespective of their salaries which are far greater than the average Hungarian salary.
Remember that people, because without credibility, you have nothing, no matter how much you shout.