Sunday, 5 February 2012

Hungary: Education (and Jews and Gays and Roma)

I received this email from Hungary on Fidesz and education:

The latest blow to democracy and any kind of civilized or dignified existence is that middle school and higher education are being gutted to the core. Tuition is being introduced, but the numbers of students who will be eligible for any kind of humanities degree are insultingly low: at the university in Debrecen ... there will be 250, at ELTE in Budapest ... there will be only 1000. An obvious consequence of this is that hundreds and hundreds of university instructors are losing their jobs. ... These announcements were made just a few weeks before graduating high-school students have to put in their applications for university. Also ... it seems that every single middle-school director has been fired. This is clearly so that FIDESZ can replace them with their own people.

Some background news

Here are the views of far right party, Jobbik (polled over 17% last election, second largest party in Hungarian Parliament, i.e. chief opposition) on:

Jews: Jewish expansionism (Fact: Jewish Population 1970: 70,000 2005: 50,000. 2020 Projected: 34,000)

Gays: Gay EuroGames will mark End of the World

It is, of course, the Roma that are the prime target for Jobbik. A Reuters link to the conditions of Roma, here.


I want to be clear about this. Fidesz, the governing party, and Jobbik are not to be confused. They are different and in opposition to each other. Fidesz (strongly nationalistic right wing) does not necessarily support what Jobbik supports (far right, essentially fascist, like the BNP but much more powerful).

The problem is that Fidesz government spokesmen and general supporters will argue laws piecemeal, saying, this law is not so extreme, that law is not so extreme. I think they are, but let that go for now. The problems are these:

1. The cumulative effect of those laws, some of which have not been conspicuously applied yet but do exist and are likely to be applied once the world's back is turned, is a serious concern. Together they establish ground rules and determine what is and what is not possible;

2. There are the back room moves, the ousting of anyone oppositional from positions of influence (the educational - as above - and cultural spheres for a start, but this works across the board);

3. Establishing the ground rules means establishing a national mood. Fidesz may or may not be extreme but the emotional response they invite, and are in the process of institutionalising, is;

4. Changes in the legal, institutional and cultural apparatus of the state create conditions under which a take-over by the quasi-military Jobbik becomes possible. Once that happens the laws that are not yet fully applied can by applied with impunity;

5. I don't see Fidesz representatives condemning Jobbik's statements. I'd be glad to be proved wrong on that. My impression is that Fidesz is too busy singing patriotic songs from the same hymn-sheet as Jobbik. Same tunes, slightly different words.


Anonymous said...

I have been under the impression that right-wing, Conservative parties have been making themselves unpopular and, I hope, extinct. But somehow they keep hanging around. Their intolerance, all around the globe, should not be tolerated. Yet, somehow, they always find members. I still don't understand it, unless their are those who are simply greedy and despicable and ill-educated enough to not care about the majority unless they, themselves, profit. And in America they nearly always go under a religious guise, making matters even more laughable.

Gwil W said...

Hungary, Greece, Spain and now Rumania where the PM has resigned.

Is the EU wool that's been pulled for years over so many eyes now unravelling . . .?

George S said...

I am rather hoping not, Gwilym. It's EU membership that prevents some bastards from being bigger bastards. For now.

Gwil W said...

Well put.