Ágnes Kunhalmi and her words. At times it’s like listening to someone who learnt the use of language not at their mother’s knee, but at that of Yoda. And let’s be honest, that’s an infinitesimally small chance. For one thing, the strange, green, hairy, wild-eared dwarf is a fictional character who resides in a cave.
We can obviously rule out any chance of Kunhalmi having picked up her language skills there, but there is something undeniably alien about the way she sometimes relates to language.
Ágnes Kunhalmi is a politician who has been an MP with MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party) since 2014. Between 2014 and 2018 she was the head of the socialist party in Budapest. But her original intended career was, presumably, not politics.
Kunhalmi studied drama at secondary school and applied to be accepted at the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest, but didn’t make the grade. Having failed to star on the traditional stage, she then chose the political spotlight.
Now although Kunhalmi has been a permanent feature of left-wing politics for many years, she is a politician who, correctly or not, is associated with the sillier side of the political spectrum. That association, whether deserved, intended or pure coincidence, has served her very well.
She, too, like the rest of the Left in Hungary, has expressed outrage and repeatedly stated that which has caused outrage in others, but the general opinion of her as a bit of a scatterbrain has helped her avoid any real damage.
That’s not to say that she hasn’t said things that should exempt her from criticism. A glance at her Facebook page reveals a smattering of ill-advised posts including one which laments the demise of the Hungarian airline, Malev.
This stands out due to the fact that it was the socialist government that put the airline out of business. It seems more than just slightly perverse that we have a socialist parliamentarian who is now lamenting the destruction of the national airline which her party destroyed having gutted it and stripped it of all assets.
But, as I mentioned, Kunhalmi’s performances both within and without parliament have ensured that her reputation for having a bit of a wobbly brain outstrips her perceived threat as a political animal. Her habit of regularly not taking herself seriously works to her credit, whether intentional or not.
Nobody is infallible, and so the act of Kunhalmi tripping over her words in parliament is not something that can set the seal on her abilities. We’ve all forgotten words at one time or another, whether in public or in private. On occasion, perfectly simple sentences are transformed into tongue-twisters.
But Kunhalmi has, to some extent, revelled in her image as a loveable, if sometimes girlishly silly public figure.
Kunhalmi gained notoriety of a sort following a press conference which swiftly descended into farce. Notably, the car crash of a press conference didn’t damage Kunhalmi as it arguably would have damaged other politicians. People laughed and saw this as further evidence but there was no discernible political fall-out to her absolutely disastrous performance.
That seems strange. This is politics, after all, and Kunhalmi made a dog’s dinner of the press conference, with a descent into hysterics almost from the word ‘go’.
All things considered, it might still be an oversight to dismiss Kunhalmi as quickly as people tend to. Irrespective of her ability to laugh at herself, as an MP for the socialists she, too, peddles exactly the same lies that the socialist party instructs her to.
And yet, uncannily, Kunhalmi escapes the barrage of criticism that justifiably follows the Left’s perennial desire to dismiss illegal immigration as a problem for the continent. Kunhalmi, because of all her silliness, might well be better-placed than a lot of her opposition colleagues. Whereas her colleagues on the Left tend to be seen as over-earnest self-belief converts, Kunhalmi, by not taking herself too seriously on occasion, appeals to people as a real person to whom they can relate.
Recently, the Left tied themselves into a series of repeated reef knots when the government announced that a period of lockdown was required to attempt to slow the progress of the 3rd wave of the coronavirus. The position the Hungarian Left adopt in most things, and most certainly as regards the coronavirus, is wholly dependent on the position that the government chooses.
As a rule of thumb, the Hungarian Left position themselves diametrically opposite to whatever the Hungarian government say or do. That’s as far as they have developed. They are, in essence, nothing more than reactive, never proactive. When the government called for shops to be shut, the Leftwaffe shrieked in dismay and told everyone that the government was doing the wrong thing. When the government allowed shops to open, the Leftwaffe shrieked in dismay and told everyone that the government was doing the wrong thing. As such, since the beginning of the pandemic, they have sniped at every one of the government’s decisions, whilst offering nothing themselves.
Everyone has noticed this. Even opposition media drew attention to the chaos and confusion that has emanated from the opposition since the start of the pandemic. Someone had to bite the bullet and explain the inexplicable. Someone was required to step up and unravel the mess.
Guess who the task fell to?
Yes, mission impossible, the attempt to if not negate, then contain the radioactive fallout from a year of gainsaying the government’s plans, fell to Kunhalmi.
And, by selecting her, the opposition shifted attention away from the real issue. The explanation which, in itself, resembled nothing other than the aftermath of an explosion in a spaghetti packing plant, meant that eyes were diverted from the opposition’s dangerous behaviour. By choosing Kunhalmi to deliver the higgledy-piggledy bulletin, they played a blinder.
With the world convinced of Kunhalmi’s dopiness, focus shifted from the treacherous conduct of the Hungarian Left concerning what can and should be done to protect life, and concentrated on how silly she was and how star-crossed to have been chosen, once again, to act as a lightning rod.
But isn’t it possible that this was the plan all along?
Isn’t it possible that Kunhalmi is just a great actor, one who’s succeeded in pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, repeatedly? Kunhalmi could be the Left’s secret weapon, a woman who’s trained to hide her razor-sharp wits under a cloud of obscuration!