A centrist author excoriates left-wing leaders for betraying their anti-racist ideals in order to win the municipal elections in Miskolc. They might be right in their drive to defeat PM Orbán, but fomenting racism is too high a price, he suggests.
The controversy around the decision by the MSZP and the Democratic Coalition (DK) to support the candidacy of former Miskolc police chief Albert Pásztor for the post of mayor of Miskolc is again in full swing after a left-wing activist protesting against that choice was assaulted by DK sympathisers. At party leader Ferenc Gyurcsány’s “Resistance Rally”on Sunday, Márton Gulyás, a protagonist of several anti-government demonstrations, was holding a banner asking participants to opt for “left wing, rather than anti-Roma policies” when he was physically attacked by a few demonstrators and then grabbed by security guards. (For earlier comments on the matter, including Mr Pásztor’s earlier controversial statements on “Roma crime” see BudaPost, July 9 and 12.) Magyar Nemzet and Népszabadság devote front page stories and editorials to the incident.
On Cink. hu, Albert Gazda says if that the leaders of the MSZP and of the Democratic Coalition have chosen to support the candidacy of the former Miskolc police chief, it is not because they have gone crazy and become racist. They are just copying the recipe that has lifted the far-right Jobbik from insignificance to a medium sized political party. Jobbik in fact realised that anti-Semitism has no appeal outside a circle of “frustrated and sick” Budapest intellectuals, whereas anti-Roma sentiments are widespread. He describes Jobbik’s policies of using murder cases committed by Roma criminals to increase its popularity as shameful, albeit efficient. “What remains of the Hungarian left”, Gazda continues, is now copying that recipe, for they sense an opportunity to win back the city of Miskolc from the governing conservatives. He recalls that in 2002 the Left campaigned against a Hungarian-Romanian agreement, alleging that Hungary’s labour market would be inundated by 23 million Romanians. In 2004 they insinuated that by granting easy citizenship to transborder Hungarians, huge masses of people would be allowed to drain the resources of the health service and of the old age pension system. In both cases they spoke in bad faith, but thought that their struggle against Viktor Orbán was worth it. The problem is, Gazda warns, that such policies always do more harm than good. “No matter who is in government, no matter what system he or she is building”, there are certain issues – transborder Hungarians, Gypsies, Jews, minorities – “which one is not allowed to play with”, Gazda concludes.