A number of local governments in Budapest have been controlled by the opposition since 2019, and the unrivalled hatred they feel for central government has affixed blinkers to their heads. A petty-minded determination practically ensures that nothing, let alone logical thought, can stop them in their aspiration to damage the government by playing the victim. Sadly, for all concerned, the lasting impression is one of local government officials playing not the victim, but the fool.
It’s time to learn of the doltishness of those local governments in Budapest which, in 2019, fell into the eager, grasping, sticky-fingered hands of the opposition.
And that point is a very salient one, the fact that the hands of the opposition are all too eager and grasping, to say nothing of the adhesiveness of their digits. Where most people have fingertips, this lot have superglue.
We are, as the vast majority of people have noticed, in the midst of a pandemic that appears to be stretching on for far longer than anyone would like. As a result, the global world has, to a large extent, shut itself down. Economies are losing money hand over fist, and all over the planet governments are being compelled, in some cases, to rejig, in other cases, to scrap and completely reconstruct their budgets for the future.
Now, given that scarcely a day goes by without the world and everyone in it being reminded that solidarity is the name of the game, it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable to expect this message of community-mindedness to have penetrated the consciousness of the opposition. Regrettably for Hungary, it’s at this point when the wheels fall off the wagon and the chassis of cooperation grinds into the dust. The opposition, such as they are, are consumed by a fire of loathing for all things Fidesz and this fire devours all it encounters.
The government, recognising the increased burden that businesses are obliged to carry now that vast sections of the economy have closed down, has done what it can to reduce the weight. The government’s reductions have affected local governments, too. Local governments are presently not entitled to collect money for parking. Local governments are prohibited from collecting rent for local-government owned properties. Local governments can only collect 50% of the local trade tax owed by SMEs operating in their districts. Some local governments reacted to these measures by attempting to circumvent them, introducing new taxes or raising those not specifically stated in the legislation. As a result, the government was, once again, obliged to step in to protect its citizens. Now local governments have been banned from raising additional revenues via local taxes.
All this, whilst they themselves appear to not recognise the idea of frugal management. Gergely Karácsony, incumbent mayor of Budapest has (for reasons of a political debt to be repaid) four deputy mayors and forty-one advisors. Ten of this group are merely responsible for his presence on Facebook, for Christ’s sake!
Not only is this not a case of showing solidarity with those who voted for you, this is a case of forcing those same people to watch as you burn cash in front of them.
And if it were not enough to insult the intelligence of others by revealing your own (forty-one advisors and four deputy mayors, for God’s sake, testifies to nothing other than a fundamental scarcity of brain cells), poster campaigns are being organised and paid for willy-nilly whilst the rest of us ponder our finances.
So, in that poster which was erected in the 4th district, what can we see? Yes, that’s right, the main message that comes across is that of stupidity. Whoever put this poster together was seemingly unable to handle cognitive thought, obviously lacking the basic building blocks of logical thought. The poster runs as follows:
“Finance war 2021
Because of the government, less money is available for organised public programmes and events!”
So, what is it that you’re crying about, exactly? There is, if you hadn’t already noticed, a pandemic stalking the earth, killing people. As a direct result, societies all over the world have gone into varying degrees of lockdown. I have to admit to being slightly shocked at this evidence that local governments in Budapest are so out of touch with reality that they’ve failed to notice the restrictions which have been with us since 11 November 2020.
Since November there has been a curfew in effect from 8pm until 5am every day. A ban on meeting in groups came into effect which is yet to be lifted, and additionally places of entertainment and restaurants have not been allowed to open.
So, taking those restrictions into consideration, what on earth are these local governments talking about?! What they’re doing is stating that central government is punishing them, the opposition-led local governments, by throttling their sources of finance. But that’s absurd. What’s happening, in actual fact, is that central government is reorganising the budget, as rendered necessary by the pandemic which opposition-led local governments seem not to have noticed. As such, money which was intended for pre-pandemic goals has to be redirected to assist, for example, those who by no fault of their own, have lost their livelihoods, even if only temporarily.
And...do you really have to have it pointed out to you? Central government has just saved you a shed-load of cash. Rather than expecting you to fulfil your duties as a local council, duties which include the obligation of organising events for the public – festivals, exhibitions, concerts, recitals, free ice rinks – local governments are now, due to the pandemic, logically not required to organise events which nobody is allowed to attend. Nothing has been taken away from them, and yet they complain!
And how is it that they seek to complain about the lack of funds? Yes, that’s right, these illogical muppets, crying crocodile tears, are spending funds intended for the local population on a poster campaign that is wholly unnecessary!
As I said, the impression that everyone is left with is one of idiots playing the fool.