The rightist left-winger right-winger leftists…

Hungarian politics is simply often  absurd, so I could report on quite a few insane things from Hungarian politics…  Today’s surreal news is that Lajos Bokros , who was the Minister of Finance  in the post-communist Socialist-(left)Liberal government of PM Gyula Horn between 1995–1996 and who founded a one-man “right wing” party called Movement for a Modern Hungary ,  wants to join the post-communist  leftist Összefogás (“Unity”) party list of the Socialist Party (MSZP), the splinters from MSZP (ex-Socialist Gyurcsány‘s party and ex-Socialist Bajnai’s party, etc.) and the remnants of SZDSZ (an extreme left-liberal party which the Hungarian voters sent to its well-deserved political grave in 2010).

Bokros has been campaigning like this:

Have you had enough but you are not a leftist? Yes, it’s possible!
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The rope of tolerance

Twelve years ago, in 2002, a Fidesz politician (currently the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér) held an election forum in some remote, small rural Hungarian town, two months before the election day. As he was speaking, he used a probably too colourful metaphor to express himself: “.. let’s accept for a moment that’s all we are capable of. That we have become an untalented people. Then all I can say, my ladies and gentlemen, it’s not worth living like this. If we do think this way then let’s go to the cellar, let’s find a nice strong manilla rope, a relatively strong timber and a nail and then let’s hang ourselves… However I do ask those who want to make you believe this [that is that you are useless] for years should set an example themselves first… and when they’d be done then we could reconsider if we could do better without them…” For example, here you can also listen to the speech (in Hungarian) So obviously this was meant to be a motivational speech and not as inciting hatred.

The so-called left-wing (MSZP-SZDSZ) created a strong hysteria campaign with the message: “Kövér wants to hang people!”.  László Kovács, the president of MSZP in 2002 (later foreign minister)  and his comrades demonstrated with ropes around their neck, their media juggernaut, intact at the time, was creating a huge whoop-de-doo about that Fidesz would want to hang the “progressive ones”.   MSZP ran TV ads where a small, innocent girl read news about that Fidesz was planning to hang people and  they punched the viewers in the face with “Don’t let it happen!”…  In fact  left wingers still make references to “Kövér’s rope”, using it  as a well-established call, to imply how brutal, “un-European”, uncivil, barbarian, what-have-you the centre-of-right (Fidesz) really is… At the same time they call themselves  “democratic” almost in each sentence they utter, they preach “tolerance” and “European values” around the clock.  Being unable to say substantial things to people, their main political theme is mostly  that they condemn “hate speech, intolerance, extremism, Fascist violence”, what have you…

MSZP held a party congress yesterday  in the capital of Hungary, Budapest (with the participation of ex-Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány who later admitted it was his idea to distort Kövér’s words and to build a hysteria campaign on them).   MSZP president Attila Mesterházy was attacking Fidesz and Prime Minister Orbán in a Fidel Castro-style one and a half hour speech.  When he was saying “Orbán and his friends got so rich in three years, that’s a serious (economic) achievement.  If we are naive and believe this then they should be given a university chair (“katedra”, that is a teaching position) on the University of Economics.”,  someone from the audience cried out loudly: “Kötelet!”  (A hanging rope instead!)

In the limelight, right on the tribune, Mesterházy reacted to the heckler this way:  “I think there won’t be a “katedra”  then,  only that other thing someone has just shouted”

The spokeswoman of MSZP declined to comment on the matter today.  Mesterházy himself has posted only this on his Facebook page so far:  “it’s been a great party congress!”

The so-called Hungarian left-wing deserves this award very much indeed:

My award to MSZP

Update: MSZP has just issued a statement and they say the heckler shouted “börtönt!” in fact (“prison (sentence)!”). That’s very, very obviously a lie because the shouting is clear and the two words (“kötelet” and “börtönt”) don’t even sound similarly.

Update2 (Mon Jan 27 18:00) :  So far the nobody from the so-called “democratic opposition” (that is those leftists/liberals who ruined Hungary between 2002 and 2010) has been willing to comment on the scandal.   The leftliberal media stays low, too. There have been two notable exceptions: a certain Tímea Szabó (an ex-LMP MP who switched over to Bajnai’s party) swears she heard “börtönt!” and “the Fidesz media lies”.   On the other hand the ex-spokesman of MSZP, Zsolt Török, who had to resign two months ago because of his role in a failed black-smearing campaign (involving a fake video they commissioned)   accused Hír TV of faking the video…
It’s hilarious. 😀

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Who do you owe to?

Due to the irresponsible, crazy political and economic policies of the Hungarian Socialist-Liberal (MSZP-SZDSZ) coalition, Hungary’s public debt ratio quickly rose from around 50% to around 80% between the disasterous time period of 2002-2010.  When the global economic-financial crisis hit, Hungary de fact defaulted in 2008 and only the huge IMF loan (25 bn Euros) saved the country. (The Orbán government paid it  all back last year, one year earlier before the last instalment was due.)

Government debt ratio compared to  the GDPEven though the 80 percent debt ratio is now not uncommon in Europe (in 2012, Belgium had 99.8%,  France had 90.2%, Germany had 81%, Spain had 86%, the UK had 88.7%)  this high debt ratio is still a problem for Hungary. And that’s because the debtors have been mainly foreign funds with little or no commitment to Hungary as a country.
On the other hand Japan has a 220 percent debt-to-GDP ratio and that’s manageable for them…  The reason is because Japan, and also the previously mentioned countries, owe their public debt mostly to their own people and companies.

So this graph, which shows the Hungarian Treasury bonds owned  by residents, is very promising indeed. Hungarians trust the country with their money at last.

Hungarian T-Bills owned by residents

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Money for nothing

There’s an election campaign going on in Hungary.  The elections are expected to be held in April. Since the president of republic hasn’t announced the date of the general elections yet, the campaign hasn’t started  officially but the political parties are getting in full swing.

In the atmosphere of this non-campaigning election campaigning, a “group of independent experts” called LÉT (“Existence”) published their idea about introducing the so-called “basic income” in Hungary last Saturday.  The names  are Zsuzsa Ferge, who is a sociologist closely associated with the now defunct “left liberal” Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) and who is an expert on poverty these days for multibillionaire ex-Socialist prime minister Bajnai, and György Surányi who is a rich banker, an ex-president of the Hungarian National Bank  …. and he is closely associated with the now defunct “left liberal” Alliance of Free Democrats and the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)…  and he also nearly bankrupted a big bank as its chairman.   He was among the possible prime minister candidates both in 2009, after the fall of Gyurcsány, and now when the “left-wing” is still unable to decide who their  prime minister candidate should be.

The audience sported the usual “left-wing” (postcommunist) suspects such as László Lengyel, a journalist and politologist… closely associated with…  You know the rest.

The daily typical of the audience…  Népszava (“People’s voice”) is directly financed by the Socialist Party (MSZP). They wanted to make their card-carrying members subscribe to Népszava a few years ago

So the big idea is that everybody resident in Hungary would be entitled to a “basic income” automatically.  Children would get 25,000 Forints (88 EUR/115 USD/70 GBP) per month, adults would get 50,000 HUF, pregnant women would get 75,000 HUF.   They’d abolish all benefits smaller than 50,000 HUF, family tax break, they’d introduce a progressive income tax and a new “contribution tax” (for those who actually work).  And those who work would pay the basic income of the unemployed, the elderly and the children, too.

The grandiose plan would cost 6,400 billion Forints, that is 40 percents of  Hungary’s budget.   The reader must know that the so-called left-wing in Hungary, especially the ones associated with the now defunct left liberal Alliance of Free Democrats,  has been a vehement proponent of “the smaller the state the better”, that is the “nightwatchman idea”… at least in theory (since that was the best way to justify their selling state assets to themselves and to leech on the state in general).

Oh, yes, no doubt there is some logic to this idea indeed.  The useless must be fed or they’d start rioting and stealing.  This may even work out in rich countries such as in Switzerland or in Scandinavia:  you simply give out some money, such as 1000 euros, and there’s no more trouble about complicated benefit systems or trying to make the useless and lazy work.  And even the distributed money is not lost: it’ll increase the GDP, the useless also contribute to consumerism.  The catch is how to prevent that all the useless of the world would flood that country…   Saudi Arabia can prevent that from happening  but a European country hardly could, especially not within the EU.   Obviously this side of the  story doesn’t apply  in Hungary though, with the proposed 50,000 Forints, that is 176 euros.

Anyway,  now the Hungarian “left-wing” media discusses this lunatic idea at great lengths… mostly attacking it…  (though MSZP politicians Tibor Szanyi and Róbert Braun implied they do support the idea, saying “this must be seriously discussed”)   Is that confusing perhaps?  Well,  it won’t be if you know the Hungarian postcommunist Left.  The real idea is  spreading “whisper propaganda,” aimed at the uneducated, ignorant, poverty-stricken chavs, that is  “you’d get 50,000 HUF for doing nothing if you voted for the Left”.  Given that you earn 67,000 Forints in the public work scheme the Orbán government introduced to make the long term unemployed work instead of waiting for benefits, this amount doesn’t sound so bad.

In fact what we can witness here is  the very same trick as the infamous MSZP campaign was back in 2002 (“Orbán took 19,000 Forints away from each pensioner, we’ll give it back to you”.).  Then it did work out for them.  And it led to Hungary’s de facto bankruptcy in 2008.

Orthodox vs. unorthodox, Part Two

Earlier I compared EU/IMF  bad boy Hungary’s economic performance since 2010 to  EU/IMF good boy Portugal.   Now I’m doing the very same comparison between  EU/IMF bad boy Hungary and   EU/IMF good boy Rumania.  Like I tried to point it out then, the previous comparison had its limitations and it wasn’t absolutely conclusive (yet).  This one isn’t going to be “perfect” either.

The population of Rumania  is  about twice that of Hungary’s (20 millions vs. 10 millions) and its present day area is twice as big, too (238,000 square km vs. 93,000 square km).  They are neighbouring countries and both are peripheral to the core economies of Europe.  Neither country belongs to the  Euro zone. Hungary’s currency is called the Hungarian Forint and Rumania’s currency is called the Rumanian Lei.    Rumania belongs to Eastern Europe culturally (though Transylvania may be considered Central Europe due to its history), that is Rumania is the cultural realm of Orthodox (Byzantine) Christianity. Hungary belongs to Central Europe culturally, that is Hungary’s culture is based on Western Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant!)  Rumania’s GDP per capita was  6200 EUR (8500 USD) in 2012 and Hungary’s was  9800 EUR (13400 USD).    Here are a lot more data to compare.

Both countries had Communist dictatorships until 1990. Though Hungary’s was a lot more lax  one than the totalitarian dictatorship Rumania had.  Hungary’s transition to democracy was a negotiated, peaceful one, while Rumania’s dictatorship ended with bloodshed, a revolution which was sparked by the courage of an ethnic Transylvanian Hungarian Protestant priest, László Tőkés.  So there are a lot of similarities and differences between the two countries.

Another difference is that Rumania, just like Portugal did, as I wrote in the first part, chose to follow the EU/IMF economic recipes in 2010 and Hungary chose to rebel against them.

So let’s see the same data  again, let’s see  how those economic figures, and  with special regard to  the ones important for people’s everyday life, have changed in good boy Rumania and in bad boy Hungary since 2010.    First let’s review some basic major figures which are somewhat indicative of how these economies were doing in 2010 and how they are doing now:

Annual GDP growth

Kudos to Rumania, their GDP growth is more robust than Hungary’s

What about the public debt to GDP ratio?

Government debt

Hungary’s public debt seems to have become stagnant, Rumania’s seem to be on the rise. However Rumania’s debt is way much lower than Hungary’s!

A positive trade balance means you sell more than  you buy.  A negative one, like the US has with China, means you get indebted.

Balance of trade

Unlike Hungary which has been having record high trade balance surpluses, Rumania runs a big trade balance deficit.

Now let’s see those figure again which directly affect people’s lives.    As far the the inflation rate figures go, I think it’s all right to call it a draw.

 Inflation rate

Unemployment rate is something which really affects people. Unemployment at a young age and long term unemployment are especially devastating. The situation in both  countries seems to be similar to me.  Well, it’s not particularly good.

Youth unemployment rate

Long term unemployment seems to get somewhat worse in Rumania and it seems to have improved somewhat in Hungary.

Long term unemployment rateThe overall unemployment rate seems to be comparable, and stagnant, in both countries.

Unemployment rate

And what about the wages and the income tax which also directly affect people? The wages are rising in both countries.


The dynamics of the wage change looks pretty much the same to me.

Rumania introduced a flat rate 16% personal income tax much earlier than Hungary. So now this is the same in both countries.

Personal income tax rate

Let’s see the construction output as in the previous post:

Construction output

This looks to be the same, too.

Unfortunately doesn’t have data on the foreign direct investments in Rumania.

The corporate tax rates are identical in both countries:

Corporate tax rate

The comparison with Rumania seems to produce a lot less clear picture than the comparison with Portugal. Rumania is doing better in some respect and Hungary does in some other.  I think it’ll be well worth doing some more comparison, probably also along some other lines, in a year or so.

Economic Sentiment

The European Commission has published their Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI)  today.

The ESI increased by more than five percents in Hungary in December. That’s the second biggest improvement in all of Europe after Croatia.

Economic Sentiment Index

However having charted the data for the last half year for Hungary and Croatia, it appears that  the November data for Croatia is really more like a glitch.    On the other hand we can see a steady trend-like increase for Hungary.

According to William Jackson,  an economic analyst at Capital Economics, one of the biggest analyst houses in the City of London, the new Economic Sentiment Indicator used in Brussels, which  has hit a record high value for Hungary since October 2002, would correspond to a 5 percent GDP growth, so caution is required.  However this may still indicate that our two percent GDP growth forecast for Hungary is too pessimistic,  economic analyst Jackson said.

The London economic analyst department of Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced yesterday that they confirm their 2.6% GDP growth forecast for Hungary this year.  Morgan Stanley has recently revised their forecast  to 2.2% from 1.5%.  JP Morgan has increased their forecast to 2.3% from 2.0% earlier.

Hungary is onto a winner with the much attacked “unorthodoxy”. 🙂

UKIP on the rise

Immigration is a very hot political topic in the UK now and, having worked in the UK,  I’m also affected somewhat. I’ve had this debate with some Brits on YouGov.   Hopefully my readers will find it interesting and/or entertaining, too. :).   Here is the full thread, I changed only the names of the two posters.

Original Poster:

yes I agree a 2 year ban on benefits should apply. But stopping them from entry would solve the problem with have. If we let the people in they should speak English have at least 5 O levels. Think we should do what the Australians do. This government Steals from the poor and the sick and give to the Immigrants . The Immigrants take are Jobs, Houses, They take from are health services , And money from are country which could be spent on our own people who need it. This government has destroyed million of peoples lives in this country by allowing this Immigration .Wake up you people out there and vote to leave European union when they allow you and vote UKIP. Wayne B.

Leto  مؤدّب

“The Immigrants take are Jobs, Houses”

How about you? Do you speak English at “5 O levels”? :p Does mixing the second person form of the existential verb with the first person plural possessive pronoun require some higher qualification than that? 😉

“They take from are health services ”

The only thing I took from your health services in five years was a few futile visits to the local GPs who couldn’t recognize I had allergy instead of catching cold. Ah, and maybe a few boxes of paracetamol, too.

UKIP advocate

We have all levels of society on here, even immigrants opinion on here without prejudice. Like many today of indigenous groups their education and lives are being destroyed because of our politicians thirst for a top economy and people like yourself filling our jobs, now at 80% going immigrants. Our health service undermined by Labour politicians and immigration is at breaking point. You are taking up a home that is denied to indigenous people and the lower classes will pay dearly through their generations to allow you your right to live and work here. You should thankful that we are stupid enough to give you your life chances at the expense of many indigenous Britons!

Leto مؤدّب

” people like yourself filling our jobs”

Do you think I filled your job or the job of Original Poster while I was in the UK? 🙂

” You are taking up a home that is denied to indigenous people”

When I lived in the UK, I took up homes which the landlady or landlord wouldn’t have denied to “indigenous people” either, provided they also paid the rent on time.

“You should thankful that we are stupid ”

I probably paid more tax than you and Original Poster put together. So you should be thankful to me. I certainly won’t be thankful to you because you are stupid.

UKIP advocate

Whatever your employment it will displace a indigenous Briton from that post just like the house you lived in. So basically you agree on all points you are over here displacing indigenous workers and taking homes. This directly affects this country, what skills you brought denied an indigenous person the training to gain you post. So ‘stupid’ migrants like yourself are seriously damaging indigenous Britons a future in their own country. No doubt your country of origin is receiving aid etc. from Britain and no doubt your education!

Leto مؤدّب

” what skills you brought denied an indigenous person the training to gain you post”

I beg your pardon, you indigenous person? What did I deny from indigenous morons like you by accepting a job in Britain? 😀

FYI I got my training and education in my home country and my country of origin doesn’t receive aid, etc. from Britain. If I made any damage to a country at all by my moving to Britain then it was my home country since I was paying tax in Britain during that time instead of here. However I have fixed that by now and now I’m doing about the very same job here in Hungary for a lot less money than what I was paid in Britain.

UKIP advocate

Cheap insults, by taking a post up in Britain your are denying a indigenous person that post as well as your house, simple, now who is being stupid?
Your name bizarrely linked to a desert mouse by using wiki indicates an Arab link, therefore you have a great deal to thank Britain in your history and education!

Leto مؤدّب

I payed market rate rent, always on time, for the house I lived in and in the meantime the tax I was paying financed indigenous persons on the dole.
It’s you who has a great deal to thank me.

UKIP advocate

If that person on the dole you claim you paid for had the training and decent education to do that job, rather than employing economic migrant. Britain and indigenous groups would be better off and not in the enforced poverty due to economical migrants like you!

Leto مؤدّب

In fact I increased the wealth of Britain by paying a lot of tax instead of indigenous persons on the dole. Anyone who could do my job wouldn’t be on benefits.

UKIP advocate

No doubt some of your earnings were taken with you as you left. But the fact remains if an indigenous person had filled your post. His training and education guaranteed, his wage, not on the dole and would have paid the same tax no doubt, It is better for the country if an indigenous person filled your post whatever you try to mitigate!

Leto مؤدّب

No, I’ve still got some of my savings from my taxed income in the UK (in case I’d want to return) but I certainly took most of it with me. So? What did you mean to say with that?

And the fact remains I was offered the jobs I worked in and not some indigenous person like you. Maybe there was a reason. And the fact remains I’m still being contacted about jobs in the UK even though I’m not looking for a job right now.

UKIP advocate

You are only confirming my point, your job/post should have gone to an indigenous Britain. It far more benefits this country to employ them rather than economic migrants like yourself. Eastern Europeans have entered Britain in such numbers they have destabilised our society for many generations. Lack of training and education of indigenous people is directly linked to economical migration. So like or not you and your fellow migrants are damaging the country to a devastating degree, fact not fiction!

Leto مؤدّب

Why on Earth should have my job gone to “an indigenous Britain”* if my employer thought I could do it better than an “an indigenous Briton”? 😀

In fact the lack of of training and education of “indigenous people” is linked to the fact that a lot of “indigenous” Britons are lazy, ignorant, heavy-drinking bums.

I was paid well above the British average, so I payed a lot of tax, and this way I helped to pay the benefits of these indigenous ones.
So, like it or not, I helped Britain to a substantial degree. That’s a fact, not fiction! 🙂

* I guess you meant “an indigenous Briton

PS: Hungary is in Central Europe, not in Eastern Europe.

UKIP advocate

”In fact the lack of of training and education of “indigenous people” is linked to the fact that a lot of “indigenous” Britons are lazy, ignorant, heavy-drinking bums”. Shows exactly how limited your knowledge of Britain is we have in many of our the industry the highest production levels per individual in the world. Evan car factories in Northern Britain out perform similar workers in Japan.
You deprive an indigenous Briton of a decent job and then choose to insult the very people who paid you during your time here. Your tax paid should have been paid by the individual you replaced.
I don’t get Hungary, must be lost in translation somewhere?

Leto مؤدّب

No, in fact my knowledge of Britain is quite good and that’s exactly why I wrote that there a lot of “indigenous” lazy, ignorant, heavy-drinking bums on the dole in Britain.
I didn’t deprive any “indigenous Briton” of any decent job because if my employers had found an “indigenous Briton” to do the job better than me then they could have employed that “indigenous Briton”.

I really cannot help that you “don’t get Hungary”. I recommend educating yourself a bit.

UKIP advocate

Your subtle attempt at humour I will let pass clearly we will never agree nor are you well read on Britain so this is pointless. The Middle East has its faults and it seems a lot worse than ours!

Leto مؤدّب

Thank you very much but I think I’m quite “well read on Britain” (among others I know British history better than an average British graduate).

I don’t quite understand though what you mean by referring to the Middle East. Like I have said I’m Hungarian and I live in Hungary. For your information Hungary is a Central European country and it’s not in the Middle East which is in Asia.

UKIP advocate

So you are part of the problem that so devastates British Society and I am well versed in European History which was my subject at University. Hungary has nothing to brag about in modern history and has many faults in its own society but I look forward to our next debate, perhaps a more neutral subject rather than being the problem.

Leto مؤدّب

Hungary has a lot to brag about in modern history and I’m certainly not “part of the problem that devastes British Society”. The “indigenous” lazy, ignorant, heavy-drinking British bums on the dole I mentioned are. And your prejudice and xenophobia, too.

UKIP advocate

Now you are just being desperate and offensive!

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