the need to take action, the more the ostensibly governing Socialists seem to
be seeking salvation in doing nothing, whether as a result of fear,
helplessness or even defiance. The government seems to have gone on an
unannounced strike. The question, however, is why?
Could it be
that they have they set out to provoke the people through their ostentatious
lack of activity? Perhaps until shouts of “just do something!” rise from the
impatient crowd. Possibly this is the government’s way of trying to gain
legitimacy for new measures and to re-ignite its flagging reform zeal. Or could
it be that the government is simply hoping to sit out its problems, by doing
nothing or by passing the time with substitute measures until the storm clouds
have passed? Perhaps the government is waiting for the opposition to grow tired
of beating an opponent that is already on the ground and incapable of defending
Could it be
Courting sympathy or recognition?
the government could be playing for sympathy, in the hope that civilised people
do not kick a man when he is down. Or perhaps the government has reasoned that
even if the population does not show respect for its actions, it should at
least recognise its perseverance. Boxers
who manage to get back onto their feet after a heavy blow gain extra sympathy
vision of a night watchman state could soon be replaced by the horrific vision
of a night watchman who has dozed off. The falling asleep of a few could
rapidly culminate in a nightmare for everyone. The fact is the country can no
longer allow itself a paralysed government. The country has an ever-growing
list of tasks to get through. What will happen, for example, to the healthcare
reform and the tax reform?
those who are either naive, ignorant or populists, there is no longer any
rationally-minded person here who doubts the urgent need for reforms. Such
reforms are just as essential now as the painful but extremely beneficial
“Bokros package” was in the mid-1990s. The main opposition party sees it
differently. And here we come to the second player responsible for the current
Opposition not loyal to country
democracies it is usual to keep a critical eye on the conduct of the
government, and to speak out when necessary. The opposition should be driven by
the same motive as the government, namely that of whipping the country into
shape. If the government slackens in its efforts, runs out of ideas or does not
have the right people for the job, the opposition should be ready – like a
substitute government – to take over the reins and lead the country forward.
the situation is fundamentally different. Although the governing parties have
been trying to make the country fit for the future, in the process they have
made an alarming number of mistakes, some of them serious. Instead of
intervening in the interest of the country to correct such mistakes, the main
opposition party has made populist demands for an end to the painful reforms.
situation can be likened to that of a cancer patient. Whereas the Socialists
take the view that the malignant post-transition tumours are at a stage where
only radical surgical intervention can help, the opposition does not view the
situation in such drastic terms. Instead of operating to get rid of the disease
once and for all, the opposition evidently prefers to alleviate the pains of
the patient by using a dream-inducing anaesthetic.
Past versus the future
Western democracies the government and the opposition pull their country in
more or less the same direction – namely the future – that is not the case in
Here there is such antagonism between the two sides due to their leaders’
hunger for power that the parties have lost sight of their real task. They are
tugging on the same rope, but in different directions: the government mainly
towards the future, and the opposition mainly towards the past. It seems likely that the opposition is acting
in this way less from genuine conviction than from the desire to cause damage
to its opponent.
need to come to their senses in order to end the deadlock. Preferably so that
the country can move in the direction of the future. For this to happen it may
be necessary to get rid of the party leaders. Why not? The happiness of two or
three power-hungry politicians should no longer be allowed to decide the fate
of ten million Hungarians.