Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What's 'centre-left' about the Hungarian government?

Would you label a government 'centre-left', if it supported the Iraq war, sold off over 160 publicly owned enterprises, abolished a tax on stock market profits and introduced VAT on prescription charges and charges for visits to the doctor?

No, me neither. But a certain GM Tamas, writing in The Guardian seems to think it is, even though he also concedes that the Hungarian government is 'neo-conservative'.

Tamas also acknowledges that "real wages are lower compared to those of the former regime" and that "the communists may be defeated, but so are we (ie the Hungarian people)". All very true, but Tamas fails to enlighten readers as to who is to blame for Hungary's predicament.

The answer is neo-liberal parties such the Hungarian Liberal Party (SDZSZ), which Tamas used to represent in Parliament. The SDZSZ has played a pernicious role in the country's affairs since 1989, espousing by far the most extreme capitalist remedies. It's the Liberals (together with their neo-liberal allies in the Gyurcsany wing of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) who are pushing for health privatisation, and the privatisation of Hungary's excellent public transport system. It's the Liberals who want all Hungarians to have private health insurance and it's the Liberal Health Minister who recently introduced charges for visiting the doctor. To call the Hungarial Liberal Party 'centre-left' is obscene: it's the most Thatcherite political party in Europe.

The majority of Hungarians may not have benefited from the sell-out of Hungary to global capital, as Tamas concedes, but I'll tell you one man who has. Mr George Soros, the international currency speculator, who in addition to financing the SZDSZ party, also funds the Central European University where Tamas teaches.

Small world, isn't it?

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