Saturday, 28 August 2021

Huxit Hurray?

As so many members of the EU (the largest trading block in the world) Hungary joined the European behemoth because having access to to its fleshpots is highly lucrative. Now it appears Viktor Orbán's 'traditionalist nationalist' gang might go for broke and try to leave the bloc.

Well, if you have such a problem with universal values then good riddance, as far as I'm concerned!

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – An opinion piece by Tamás Fricz, titled “It is time to talk about Huxit,” began a frantic dialogue about the likelihood of Viktor Orbán’s leading Hungary out of the European Union in order to avoid any constraints on his dictatorial, undemocratic leadership.

Foreigners might find this terrified reaction of politically savvy, intelligent people to the words of a government propagandist masquerading as a political scientist bizarre. Anyone can sit down and write an opinion piece on any crazy subject. The fellow got carried away. We certainly don’t assume that what every op-ed writer in The New York Times, The Guardian, or Die Welt suggests is God’s honest truth.

Is it time to talk about Huxit?

But this is not the case in Hungary, especially if that opinion piece appears in the government’s flagship paper, Magyar Nemzet. Within a few hours the news spread in opposition circles, among politicians as well as sympathizers, that Fricz’s piece was a message straight from Viktor Orbán.

For example, Klára Dobrev, one of the opposition candidates for the premiership, declared that “the article on leaving the EU was written at Orbán’s behest and in Orbán’s interests.” The country should be ready for such an eventuality, even if the latest Medián opinion poll reaffirmed all of the earlier ones, that the overwhelming majority of the Hungarian people (83%), including 79% of Fidesz voters, are committed supporters of the EU.

Those who are convinced that without Orbán’s approval no such opinion piece could have appeared in Magyar Nemzet are not naïve political rookies. They know that Viktor Orbán is an extremely talented politician who would not rush into a move so fraught with danger, which might end up being a huge defeat for him. He must have something up his sleeve. Given the seemingly pointless insistence on the “child protection law,” Huxit may well be an issue he hopes to employ as an election weapon, especially if he loses too many battles with the bureaucrats of Brussels.

While the EU, as a source of financial benefits, enjoys wide support, Hungarian society is much more divided on the issue of the “child protection” law. The ratio of those who approve to those who disapprove is almost even: 47% to 42%. If the government can successfully convince the electorate that it is the European Union that is punishing Hungary for a law against pedophiles and the spreading of homosexual propaganda among children, it can, through the kind of massive propaganda at which it excels, turn them away from support of the European Union.

Majority of Hungarians remains attached to the EU

Moreover, as Gábor Bojár, a thoughtful businessman who is politically engaged, put it, Orbán needs to convince only about 50% of the electorate that Hungary is being unfairly punished by the European Commission. That number would be enough to trigger a referendum, where, given the Orbán regime’s propaganda machine, Hungarians might turn out to be the victims of the Hungarian equivalent of Nigel Farage.

This is a real possibility, especially since Hungarians’ attachment to the EU is based on monetary considerations. At least this was the case in 2019, when Policy Solutions published a study titled “After 15 years: The European Union and Hungarian Society.” At that time, it was the EU subsidies that 50.8% of Hungarians saw as the greatest advantage of membership. That was followed by Schengen (15.5%) and foreign employment (14.4%). The best article on the dangers of a possible Huxit appeared in Válasz today.

I should point out that there have been several occasions on which Fidesz politicians suddenly began talking about leaving the European Union. The first such moment was in October 2014 when László Kövér, president of the Hungarian parliament, in an interview on Echo TV, complained about diktats coming from the EU, which reminded him of Soviet Russia. “If this is the future of the EU, then it would be worth thinking about how we should slowly and carefully get out of this.” However he added that “I’m convinced that this is not the future of the European Union, it’s a nightmare.”

Two years later, in July 2016, János Lázár, who at that time was the second most important man in the government, at one of his weekly press conferences, while discussing Brexit, said that he could not “in good conscience vote to stay in the EU.” That inspired Index to take a survey. It published an article titled “A narrow pro-EU majority in government.” At that time, the most enthusiastic supporters were Péter Szijjártó, Zoltán Balog, and Gergely Gulyás. Zoltán Kovács was less firm. “If the EU’s handling of illegal migration were the only basis for a decision, I would not be in favor of staying in.” Orbán, as usual, didn’t answer. His communications director told the journalist that “on this topic, please consider Viktor Orbán’s 70-minute press conference after the EU summit as a reference point,” which didn’t deal with the topic in any forthright way. It concentrated on migration as an issue which, if not resolved, will be troublesome.

Hungary’s EU membership at stake

In December 2020, during the Polish-Hungarian threat of a veto of the EU budget, several opposition politicians, among them Tamás Mellár, were certain that, as a result of the EU-Hungarian conflict, Orbán was planning a possible exit from the European Union. Péter Márki-Zaj, one of candidates for the position of prime minister, is convinced that if joining the European Public Prosecutor’s Office were made compulsory, Orbán “would rather drive the country out of the EU than stop stealing.” István Ujhelyi, an MSZP MEP, believed way before Fricz’s article appeared that “Orbán is preparing for the final battle, which could end—tragically—with Hungary’s exit from the EU.”

So, the topic is not new. It emerges whenever Hungary is in sharp disagreement with the European Union. Until now, these disagreements have never had serious consequences for Viktor Orbán as prime minister of Hungary or as a member of the European Council. The Hungarian government’s attack on the homosexual community, however, has changed Orbán’s certainty of never experiencing any substantial consequences of his flagrant disregard of EU laws.

Now that money has been withheld, the threat seems real. Norway’s decision not to release its usual funds to the Hungarian government infuriated him to such an extent that by now he has lost all sense of rationality. In this mood, what else remains? To threaten to bring down the whole edifice. Maybe out of fear the EU will apologize and continue to keep him and his clan fat for a few more years.

With the notion firmly planted in the heads of Hungarians that everything Orbán decides sooner or later becomes reality, it is no surprise that a Fidesz propagandist’s urgent call for Huxit sounds like a threat. But instead of panicking, the opposition parties must organize themselves into one unified group as soon as possible and make clear to the Hungarian public that at stake in the election is membership in the European Union.


Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Marie A-Toilette: "Let Them go Hungry!"

THURSDAY NIGHT on Fox News, Laura Ingraham straightforwardly expressed the key challenge for capitalism: How can bosses get people to do awful, degrading jobs for little pay in order to make other people rich?
“The government is literally putting anvils, in many ways, on people’s shoulders, either through the mandates, regulations, and now through free money,” Ingraham said to her guest, reality TV host Jon Taffer. “If we are not causing people to be hungry to work, then we’re providing them with all the meals they need sitting at home,” Taffer agreed. “These benefits make absolutely no sense to us.”
Ingraham’s cri de cœur has been sounded innumerable times over the past few centuries. After the passage of the U.K.’s Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, British officials openly debated what they were going to do once the people they’d enslaved were free to just leave the plantations. One key issue, particularly in the West Indies, was that there was a great deal of public land that could be claimed and farmed by anyone.
“Where there is land enough to yield an abundant subsistence to the whole population in return for slight labour,” wrote Lord Glenelg, the U.K. secretary of state for war and the colonies, “they will probably have no sufficient inducement to prefer the more toilsome existence of a regular labourer.”


Friday, 6 August 2021

Tzipi Hotovely: Zionista Revisionista

Israeli envoy and UK Jewish group slammed for 'racist' Nakba comments

Activists condemn Board of Deputies for inviting Tzipi Hotovely to event, after she calls the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians a 'very popular Arab lie'

Activists have criticised the UK's main Jewish community organisation for hosting Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, who at its event last week denied the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from what is now Israel in 1948.

Last week, Hotovely appeared at a Board of Deputies (BoD) online event where she described the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war - known as the Nakba or "catastrophe" in Arabic - as a "very popular Arab lie".

Hotovely, who was made ambassador to the UK in August, is set to appear at another event hosted by the BoD on 15 December, along with the UAE and Bahrain's ambassadors, highlighting the normalisation deals signed by the latter two countries with Israel in September.

The pro-Palestinian Jewish organisation Na'amond said in a tweet that Hotovely was a racist and her invitation should be withdrawn.

"We cannot allow Hotovely's views to be normalised in our community with invites to celebratory events," said the group.

"She is a racist who supports a single state where Palestinians don't have equal rights."


Sunday, 1 August 2021

Craig Murray’s jailing is the national security state’s latest assault on independent journalism


Craig Murray, a former ambassador to Uzbekistan, the father of a newborn child, a man in very poor health and one who has no prior convictions, will have to hand himself over to the Scottish police on Sunday morning. He becomes the first person ever to be imprisoned on the obscure and vaguely defined charge of “jigsaw identification”.

Murray is also the first person to be jailed in Britain for contempt of court in half a century – a period when such different legal and moral values prevailed that the British establishment had only just ended the prosecution of “homosexuals” and the jailing of women for having abortions.

Murray’s imprisonment for eight months by Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge, is of course based entirely on a keen reading of Scottish law rather than evidence of the Scottish and London political establishments seeking revenge on the former diplomat. And the UK supreme court’s refusal on Thursday to hear Murray’s appeal despite many glaring legal anomalies in the case, thereby paving his path to jail, is equally rooted in a strict application of the law, and not influenced in any way by political considerations.

Murray’s jailing has nothing to do with the fact that he embarrassed the British state in the early 2000s by becoming that rarest of things: a whistleblowing diplomat. He exposed the British government’s collusion, along with the US, in Uzbekistan’s torture regime.

His jailing also has nothing to do with the fact that Murray has embarrassed the British state more recently by reporting the woeful and continuing legal abuses in a London courtroom as Washington seeks to extradite Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, and lock him away for life in a maximum security prison. The US wants to make an example of Assange for exposing its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and for publishing leaked diplomatic cables that pulled the mask off Washington’s ugly foreign policy.

Mucho Moar Sarcasm here.