Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The cost of lying to win

Yesterday, we learned that the ruling Hungarian Socialist Party had lied to win Parliamentary elections earlier in the year, deliberately misleading the public about the state of the economy and the effectiveness of their policies in order to win another term. Today, there are riots in Budapest. Cars have been set alight, and a TV station stormed by protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. Now the opposition is threatening to boycott Parliament, while Hungary's president is calling it a "moral crisis" and calling on Gyurcsany to recognise that he has undermined people's faith in democracy.

This is the first real test of democracy in post-Soviet Europe, and it will be interesting to see how things go. While there's clearly some appetite to settle things by street protests and rioting, the proper method in a democracy is to work within Parliament to break up the ruling coalition - and if that fails, to vote the bums out at the first opportunity.


The U.S.A. has been trying to get the Socialists out of office -- so think for a moment about the release of these tapes.
If they are authentic ( which with the C.I.A. voice faking equipment makes this a VERY large 'if' to swallow) then ask yourself who could have recorded them, how they got them and who benefits.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/19/2006 04:52:00 PM

As noted in the BBC article, they seem to have been "leaked" by the PM himself - he posted a full transcript on his blog!

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/19/2006 05:37:00 PM

anonymous - you are a mung bean. everybody I talked to during a recent visit knows the government and country is on the wrong track. they know the government lied about how well the country was doing during the election campaign to get re - elected. now they have austerity measures that were not mentioned during the campaign. this admission is simply proof and has pissed off a very large number of people. are you a fully signed up spin merchant or just a moron.

I/S - I think he posted that after the news broke, but interesting timing 830 in evening night before last. you might be right.

Posted by sagenz : 9/19/2006 06:58:00 PM

I think the solution is to have robust laws that defend democracy and a method of control that punishes people for breaking those rules. If they don't have them now the public should demand them and if they do then demand that the courts test every possible avenue.

The fact that voters CAN punish parties for misdeeds does not mean they sould be relied upon to do so. You can only apply a certain amount of influence with a blunt intrument like a vote and every time you force peopel to use it to decide somthing that could be decided elsewhere you compromise its ability to convey influence in other areas.

Posted by Genius : 9/19/2006 07:30:00 PM

Just talked to my wife - she is there and said everybody packed up and went home. No protestors around at present. now the people have gone to work. she thought that it was basically over and despite disliking the socialists thought the comments were not that bad given the audience they were intended for. But definitely proof that socialists are prepared to lie. Now what other country is that a parallel with? Hmmm - I know one where the Prime minister habitually lies and steals

Posted by sagenz : 9/19/2006 08:35:00 PM

There's some interesting stuff on the European Tribune version of this post, here, including the juicy details of Hungarian politics. Including this bit, which sounds a little familiar:

Now at least for some four, maybe eight years, Hungary is in a state of 'cold civil war'. Meaning there are two political camps, which for long relied on polarisation of the electorate, and for long have abandoned the unwritten rules of democracy. This was driven by the right-wing block, which doesn't excuse the left-wing block's mirroring, but the right-wing went further: by integrating the far-right, playing with fire.

We're nowhere near there yet - but from the tone of politics which has dominated for the last two years, we seem to be heading in that general direction.

ET's person on the scene thinks that this is part of a "now we cut the bullshit and speak honestly" strategy by the Hungarian government. He also notes the presence of a fair number of neo-fascists and football hooligans in the protests. While there's public outrage over the lies, this is more to do with that "cold civil war" and the imperfect state of Hungary's democracy than any sort of mass movement.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/20/2006 01:45:00 AM

thanks for that link. I formed the same impression as you and the ET person. The Pm recognised that he could do nothing and pretend while the country went down the tubes or come clean. It is to his credit that he has come clean and it would given the speed that the speech was on his blog he seems prepared to weather the storm. Orban is competent and has been vilified far more than he deserved.

My report suggested that whilst there were skinheads in the crowd they were not the bulk of them and the protestors were predominantly young and looked educated rather than thugs. But your point stands.

I think the latest private affairs storm will have cemented things in New Zealand as a cold civil war till Clark leaves politics. Having talked to a number of people (including green candidates) my impression is that Clark's only salvation at the next election is to come clean soon and admit she is human and made a mistake. I very much doubt she has that strength of character and attribute an enornmous amount of the polarisation of new zealand politics to her and those around her. Labour lost in 1990, National did not win. Hell I voted for Labour in 87 and you know my politics. The parallels between NZ and Hungary are definitely there. It is interesting in the UK that Cameron will win the next election by becoming Blair.

Hungary's basic problem is that nobody pays any tax and everybody who gets the chance steals from the government/taxpayer. so tax rates have to be too high and those parts of the economy that cannot escape tax pay too much of the burden.

Posted by sagenz : 9/20/2006 04:17:00 AM

More surprising the left actually ended up telling the truth - not like we would get that from Helen Clark.

Does anyoe think HC will say will stole $800,000 in taxpayers money to fun our campaign and we will pay it back.

Not likely - Labour in this country want to legislate theft and stick there hand into your pockets even deeper.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/20/2006 09:01:00 AM

I am advised by a journalist at the largest (socialist supporting) newspaper that all analysts think he should go. The real issue is how they will divide up the money they will get from the EU. Gyurcsany has already stolen an enormous amount of money during his rise. but there is also a recognition that it is not a genuine democracy if street protests change the government. that is why there are only 1000 protestors.

Posted by sagenz : 9/20/2006 10:30:00 PM