The chairman of the Democratic Coalition (DK) announced the new political platform of his party. He opens not only to the left but tries to attract the voters of MSZP. And, presumably, also those voters who in 2002 and 2006 believed in MSZP but since then have begun to believe that Jobbik is the best party to stop Hungary's backward slide. When mentioning the latter, he presumably does not seek the true Nazis but only people who need to feel safe.
Some interesting speeches could be heard on May Day. LMP also promised the increased subsistence level as a gesture to the left. As such, DK and LMP may also have some common goals. József Tóbiás of MSZP spoke about almost everything except the world of work. He mentioned Europe, the fight against extremists but the red colour disappeared even from the stage background. Gábor Vona tried to get ahead of Orbán again by initiating a parliamentary debate about the death penalty. Incidentally, the chairman of Jobbik commended LMP, saying that they and Schiffer's party are the two parties of the 21st century. Now, what belongs together tends to grow together.
At any rate, the most unexpected statement came from Gyurcsány. He wants the minimum wage to rise to the level of the minimum subsistence cost of living (as determined by the National Statistical Office - editor). This means that, if someone has a job and works eight hours a day, he shall not get into a situation that, while acting responsibly, he is unable to pay the utility costs and cannot give food to his family. In other words: he, who works should be able to eat.
The second promise is a less detailed one and problems may arise there for him. Gyurcsány suggests that the general manager of a company shall be required to pay all wages due for work performed and he shall be liable for that with his personal assets! In the world of circular debts it occurs frequently that the work performed is not paid at all or is paid only partially. It is not known yet how it can be regulated that the owner of a small enterprise shall be liable for unpaid wages. With his own car, perhaps? However, the intent is understandable - if someone has done work, he must be paid.
And finally, there is the promise of justice in utility costs. Drinking water should be free up to 2 cubic meters and electricity up to 50 kilowatts. This is roughly the quantity which is necessary for drinking, washing, cooking or lighting. This social tariff is an equitable proposal, especially when taking into consideration that the planned progressive system would encumber the average consumer in the same way as currently, while those who have a swimming pool, would pay much more. The proposal lessens the burden on those at the bottom and increases it on those at the top. At least this is the goal. Nobody should have to be hungry or thirsty and nobody should need to sit in the dark where, for example, their child cannot write his homework. The idea will not destroy public utilities and does not make necessary any budget spending either. It requires rich people to subsidize the minimum living conditions of the poorest people.
The chairman of DK spoke about six million forgotten voters, people who have been left out since the change of political system. The package and its proposer will likely be labelled communist but if it is heard by understanding ears, it may give a new topic and new direction to left-wing discourse in Hungary.
The route is risky but the old one was not practicable. If someone wants to govern this country, then he needs to find a way to win the hearts and minds of the four million poor and a further two million who are in fear of falling behind. Orbán' unfair but well-packed utility cost reduction is evidence of that. However, his gunpowder seems to be running out. Jobbik feels this and PM (Dialogue for Hungary party) is also looking into this direction. The latter is, however, only voted for by its own family members; their voice is not even heard in the next village.
Jobbik can only be stopped with authentic social promises. One has to find those who are in fear of losing the safety of living. Gyurcsány is now attempting to do so. The question is how much strength will he have and whether he has sufficient credibility to achieve this goal?