Jobbik have, let’s face it, accomplished a lot in their short period of existence. Unfortunately, almost all of that which they have accomplished consists of manoeuvring their party, losing blood at a rate of knots, to a position diametrically opposite to that where they started from.
Jobbik started out in 2003, and were, at that time, according to themselves,
“a principled, conservative, radically patriotic and Christian party”
That was then, this is now, however. Under the leadership of Gábor Vona, Jobbik began a process which has ended, under the leadership of Péter Jakab, with the completion of a U-turn, and the loss of much of their support base. Jobbik have gone from radical to radial, spinning in circles. Hopelessly unable to escape the orbit of Ferenc ‘Fletó’ Gyurcsány and his utter control over the Hungarian Left with whom Jobbik now align themselves.
From once wanting nothing less than to be lords of their own domain, Jobbik have long since given up on dreams of independent political careers and have settled for life as lackeys to the man they once declared the ultimate persona non grata. Their new boss, Gyurcsány is, after all, the man that Jobbik branded as a “traitor”, an “anti-Hungarian”, and “the man who gave the order to shoot out eyes”.
Most of their original supporters maintain the same, damning view of Fletó to this day, and regard Jobbik’s leadership as the most obnoxious of traitors. This is, after all, a party which set its sights on the protection of the nation, but is now snuggling up to the man who cares nothing for the nation.
The quote that leads the interview is, in itself, a declaration of what Jakab now sees as his main role in Jobbik. In addition to playing along with his master’s game, and putting himself forward as a candidate for prime minister, Jakab intends to finish the job of rewriting his party’s story.
“Jobbik was never a party of the far-right, merely one that tolerated extreme right-wing people with insufferable views”
Well, that’s as clear as mud, for a start, isn’t it? You suffered the insufferable?! That sentence in itself reveals the depths that Jakab is going to have to go to in order to try to convince the world and the internet that the truth, in fact, is not out there. It didn’t happen. And even if it did, it certainly didn’t happen like that.
Unfortunately for Jakab and his attempts to rewrite Jobbik’s history, there’s no denying what they were. Márton Gyöngyösi, notoriously highlighted where Jobbik could be found on the political spectrum in an address in parliament in November 2012. Gyöngyösi, in a debate relating to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, suggested that it was time a list of all Hungarian Jews in government and parliament was prepared.
That is surely nothing other than what we have traditionally heard from far-right politicians, which rather gives the lie to Jakab’s assertion that Jobbik was never a far-right political party.
Certainly, it’s true that Jobbik have ditched their original support base like someone ridding themselves of a particularly unwelcome house guest, but to try to deny facts, to try to hide the history of the party lays Jakab, and Jobbik open to nothing less than derision.
Ignoring the protests of the present-day leadership, Jobbik was originally a party located on the far-right of the political spectrum, Gyöngyösi may no longer be as visible as he once was, but he remains Executive Vice-President of the party, so even if he has been dispatched to the European Parliament where his exposure is automatically decimated, the spirit in which he addressed parliament in 2012 can still be said to exist within Jobbik.
Interestingly enough, in 2019 Gyöngyösi stated that it hadn’t been his idea to raise the topic of creating lists of Jews in both the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, blaming the leader of Jobbik at the time, Gábor Vona. According to Gyöngyösi, Vona instructed him to make that infamous parliamentary statement. Around the same time as he attempted to set the record straight, Gyöngyösi also went on record to say that he was astonished that people were still discussing his comments 7 years on, and that there never were any Nazis in Jobbik.
Fine, but there is potentially evidence to the contrary. Recently Jakab, Jobbik’s leader was involved in a car accident when his chauffeur-driven party car ran into the back of another vehicle. His driver was a young Jobbik member, identified in the media as Kristóf Hajnády. This is the same Hajnády who gained notoriety in 2014 when he posted a photo of himself, giving the ‘V for victory’ sign at Auschwitz on his Facebook page. That suggests that the questions regarding Jobbik’s claim that they have broken with what they used to be can be expected to keep coming. It’s a moot point whether they included Nazis in their supporters, but even the blind could see that Jobbik, in direct contrast to what Jakab is now telling people, did, in fact use to be a far-right party.
With this pronouncement Jakab is, whatever his intention might have been, drawing attention to that which he obviously shouldn’t. Once more he is drawing attention to something that everyone has come to accept, if not understand. Most people have digested the fact that Jobbik have moved from a position where in 2017 they were communicating one idea:
“In the future will Jobbik ever combine forces with any left-wing party? NO.”
“We’d work with not only Gyurcsány, but with the Devil’s old lady if that’s what’s required.”
Jakab, for some bizarre, unfathomable reason seems to want nothing more than the chance to repeatedly remind people of the bizarre trail that Jobbik have blazed from one side of the political spectrum to the other. Although it’s obviously his right as party leader to repeatedly draw attention to the fact that nowadays Jobbik passionately seek out the company of those whom in former days they wouldn’t spit on, you can’t help but think that it’s not going to do them any favours, either with what’s left of their support base, or with the electorate in general. There’s no amount of whitewash that can erase what Jobbik were, Jakab should surely just let sleeping dogs lie.