European political discourse or bar bluster? (Remarks on the skirmish of the Swedish and the Hungarian government)

I did not think Swedish Minister for Social Affairs Annika Strandhäll chose the best words when she compared the Hungarian government’s recently announced population policies to those of Germany in the 1930s. Not because we cannot hear Fidesz politicians making statements that remind us almost daily of the dark 20th-century periods but because I do believe that family policies and the prevention of a demographic disaster are indeed important.

However, Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szíjjártó’s condescending migrant references and State Secretary for Youth Affairs Katalin Novák’s petulant open letter to Minister Strandhäll made me wonder if we should be surprised about the frequent criticisms aimed at the Hungarian government when our leaders can do no better than some bar bluster. If Péter Szijjártó and Katalin Novák were real, responsible politicians, they would probably have been able to provide real answers for Minister Strandhäll and explain why it is so important to protect families. Of course, if Péter Szijjártó and Katalin Novák were responsible politicians in an honest government, they would have something to show for in this area. Unfortunately, Fidesz’ population policies are just as hypocritical as their governance in general. So there’s nothing left for them but frustrated bar blusters.

No matter how they wrap their intentions, you can still see through the coloured paper and realize what they truly think about us, the Hungarian people. They think that young Hungarians are breedable “livestock” who, if you stuff them with loans, will produce the necessary number of children and once they are done, you can drive them back to the assembly line while their children will be brought up by the television or the grandparents. However, captivity even makes nobler animals reluctant to breed, let alone human beings with plans and ambitions. What young Hungarians want is to stand on their own feet, create predictable conditions for themselves, get a safe job and an honest pay. Young Hungarians don’t want to live in a country where learning and knowledge are not appreciated, where intellectuals and independent ideas are suppressed, where entrepreneurs are discouraged and where the key to advancement is to be a member of Fidesz and to put a brave face on things like Katalin Novák’s tantrum, for example. The result is palpable: nearly one million Hungarians have already voted with their feet and left their homeland, typically moving to countries which are not family-friendly enough according to Fidesz. The people of Hungary seem to have a different idea about this.

Of course, Katalin Novák couldn’t resist using Fidesz’ latest communication tool, i.e., calling Jobbik an extremist party, in her open letter. Let me just comment on that briefly: Jobbik is a party that was founded by young people. Unlike Péter Szíjjártó or Viktor Orbán, we did not study politics on Soros scholarships. We’ve learnt it from our own mistakes. And yes, we did make mistakes which we tried to learn from. Without any false modesty, I believe our intentions, efforts and now change cannot be questioned. Today’s Jobbik is the leading force of the Hungarian opposition; a determined yet moderate, conservative, national people’s party. In contrast, Fidesz has gone from civic governance all the way to anti-Semitic smear campaigns, instigations by publicists like Zsolt Bayer or disgusting jokes about the Jewish origins of Jobbik’s spokesman. One could say that we changed places on the political spectrum and I think it was not Jobbik who went in the wrong direction. As the years went by, we became more prudent while Fidesz learnt to scream and splutter. It’s their funeral.

Finally, I would like to send a message to Minister Annika Strandhäll, too: we obviously have different views on many things since you are a member of a left-wing party while I belong to a right-wing party. You live in a Sweden that is considered “liberal” in Europe whereas I live in a Hungary that is referred to as “conservative”. With such different backgrounds, I believe it’s only natural that we cannot agree on everything and we don’t need to. However, I am convinced that justified and constructive criticism is valued all over Europe. Beside their many positive features, we can see the faults of Scandinavian societies, too. In my opinion, the essence of consensual politics is that we can exchange ideas in a friendly manner, identify the faults and learn from our common experience. This is the approach that my party, Jobbik represents. On May 26, the stakes of the EP elections will be whether we let irresponsible and maniacal politicians take control or we choose reliability and common sense? Jobbik’s supporters will choose the latter, I’m sure.

Published on Márton Gyöngyösi's Facebook account