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Feb 20, 2018

Viktor Orbán’s “State of the Nation” address

18 February 2018, Budapest

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A warm welcome to former prime minister Péter Boross, Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós and House Speaker László Kövér.

I am glad that we can be together again. I always greatly look forward to this meeting. The true challenge of my speech today has not been one of content. In fact, as regards thoughts and topics, I’m rather spoilt for choice. The true challenge was to do justice to this moment in time. First I had to take account of the fact that this is the 20th “State of the Nation” address. And also that we are coming to the end of our second consecutive term in office, after eight years. And then everyone is on the edge of their seats, because in just forty-nine days’ time the general election will be upon us. What's more, this year is the thirtieth anniversary of our foundation of Fidesz. In the minutes ahead of me I have to skilfully weave all these themes together. But we have not come here today to express sympathy for the speakers on account of their intellectual dilemmas, but to listen to what they want to say.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we talk about the past eight years, we must be aware that the Hungarian people are imbued with some strange modesty – or rather false modesty. In my childhood I noticed that when we had finished planting, and everything was standing in textbook-perfect rows, the most that my parents would ever say was “We’re done”. I also remember that when tradesmen came to our house to repair something, their verdict on their own work was “It’s serviceable”. They would never say that something turned out well, and they especially wouldn’t say “I worked well today” or “We’ve done a great job”. In this there is a certain admirable restraint, a kind of simple dignity, a reluctance to praise oneself, but instead let the facts and one’s work do the talking. This is useful, and fine preparation for the journey of life. In politics, however, this standard is impossible to uphold. Opponents lack this kind of diffidence. Disparaging, disgusting and generally unfair accusations are heaped on us – rarely with any regard for where the boundaries might be. We shouldn't follow their example, but neither should we let ourselves be punch bags. With appropriate modesty and restraint we should say that this eight years has turned out well. Indeed, we can say that it has turned out better than we expected. In terms of our timetable, we are perhaps further forward than we had planned. We committed ourselves to creating one million new jobs within ten years, and we have already reached the figure of 736,000. In curbing price inflation we didn't envisage such spectacular outcomes. Indeed it's also true that, despite all our optimism, we didn’t expect György Matolcsy to transform the National Bank at such a pace and with such swift results. Our thanks are due to him for that. Likewise, I only expected that a high rate of economic growth would enable us to pay pensioners a pension premium – the first in Hungary’s history – some time at the end of our tenth year. But that is what we were able to do last Christmas. Bravo, Mihály Varga! Developments in the national economy and construction projects are making fast progress – perhaps even too fast. Wherever we look, we see tower cranes and people working on construction sites. And I was only secretly hoping that we would be able to pull off an agreement on pay rises and tax reductions that trade unions, employers and the Government would all support. But we achieved that as well. Neither did I think that the Chamber of Agriculture would be able to reorganise itself so successfully, and that even in agriculture we’d be able to create so many new jobs. Additionally, small and medium-sized farms are also gaining in strength more rapidly than one could have reasonably expected. Thank you, Sándor Fazekas. Another pleasant surprise is that the number of Roma students in higher education has doubled. Hats off to Minister Zoltán Balog too!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I expected – indeed I demanded – that our ministers of economy aim for full employment, and rescue families with excessive debt from the trap of foreign currency and other debt. With the introduction of new regulations they were also expected to ensure that people in Hungary could never again be cheated into debt, fleeced and forced into lifelong debt repayment. In other words, I was hoping that we would fix the economy and set it on an upward course, and that in terms of their finances everyone would be able take at least one step forward. I did not expect, however, that within just eight years our way of life, the way we live – in which culture, sport and education have always played an important role – would regenerate as fast as it has done. We can barely build enough tourist facilities, cycle paths, guest-houses and wellness hotels. The number of those involved in sport has more than doubled. Figures for theatre-goers have increased by 50 per cent, and for concert-goers by 100 per cent; and museums, festivals and cinemas are also nearing full capacity. It’s good to see that, despite every economic shock, the Hungarian people have remained a nation of culture. Marriage hasn’t gone out of fashion either. If everything had remained as it was in 2010, there would now be fifty thousand fewer of us. And even if we’re still not doing well in terms of demographics, on the whole this is a fine achievement. All in all, I can say that in this eight years we have achieved everything that could have been reasonably expected from us – especially in light of the international headwind we’ve been experiencing. As far as I see, even taking account of errata, these past eight years have not only been acceptable, but there are a number of achievements that we can be proud of. Our wish for Hungary is that any future eight years can be at least as good as these eight years have been.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must also openly say that anyone who claims that Hungary has already achieved its goals probably doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The final straight and the finish line are still a long way off. No one in their right mind disputes that Hungary now makes a better impression and looks in better shape than it did eight years ago. What’s more, we may perhaps also agree that Hungary is beginning to resemble a hardworking, well-organised and decent country. But it still doesn’t quite look as it should. It’s still not what it could be. It is now doing better, but still not as well as it could do, judging by its talent. We’re nowhere near the end of our work, and there’s still plenty to do.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let’s turn to the future. You all know me well, and so you know that I believe in simple things: in work, family and homeland. In the future also, this is all I can offer you. I believe that Hungary is a country where hard work is rewarded: those who work more, earn more. I believe that families form the unifying backbone of the entire country. I believe that everyone who commits to having children should be given all the support possible. I believe that mothers must be respected and honoured. And I believe that if we do just this, then in the Carpathian Basin there will be more of us Hungarians, rather than fewer. I believe that we Hungarians have a future if we remain Hungarian: if we cultivate the Hungarian language, defend our Christian and Hungarian culture, and preserve independence and Hungarian freedom. Well now, Dear Friends, this is the Hungarian model, and – as far as I can see – it works. Appreciating hard work, supporting families, retaining national identity and preserving independence: this is the future – and this future can be ours.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Hungarian model works not simply because the country’s leaders believe in it – although naturally that is essential. The Hungarian model is successful because millions of Hungarians believe in it. I remember that at the outset, when we announced this programme, we were still few in number. Those who supported the programme did so out of hope rather than belief. But step by step this changed, and eventually hope turned into belief. Millions of people now believe that hard work, family and homeland are not only fine and noble things, but can provide successful policy. To tell you the truth, of all the achievements of the past eight years, this is what I am proudest of. For this I am grateful – and we are all grateful – to the more than seven hundred thousand people who have taken advantage of the opportunity to enter the workforce and to support their families not through welfare payments but through work. Our sincere thanks are due to the Hungarian business owners who believed in us, who accepted the risks, invested in the future and created jobs. Together, working people and business owners creating jobs forged the success of the Hungarian economy. And we also owe a debt of gratitude to every young Hungarian who has set out on the path of building a family. The number of marriages has risen by 46 per cent. The magic number that scientists refer to as the fertility rate has risen from 1.23 to 1.49: it’s a promising start, but a long way from 2, which would provide for our long-term survival. That is still far off, but not entirely beyond our reach.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A precondition of all future plans is that we are free to follow our own path. Only independent nations which are not at the mercy of others can follow their own paths. Today we’re no longer financially beholden to anyone. Once again we have Hungarian public utility companies, and so families are not paying the profits of multinational companies through their utility bills. The era of our energy dependence has also come to an end: at no small cost in terms of money and effort we have built the necessary pipelines, and so gas will come to Hungary not only from Russia, but also from Romania – and even from Poland. More than 50 per cent of the banking system is in Hungarian ownership, as is more than 50 per cent of the Hungarian media. There is no national independence without a Hungarian banking system and Hungarian media. By way of warning, however, I must tell you that although we have our independence now, it’s not like jam: it doesn't keep on the shelf, and from time to time it must be defended. So please do not forget that we must not deliver the fate of the country into the hands of the internationalists.

Ladies and Gentlemen,                                              

Preparing for the election, we can confirm that we have managed to do something that no other party has been able to do: we have remained united. And as we have managed to stay united with each other, we have also managed to unite the country. We have succeeded in rallying the majority behind the effort to attain important goals; and on the most important issues – such as independence, defence of the borders and migration – we have even managed to forge an enormous unity which crosses party political lines. This is a great achievement in these times of polarisation and discord. In Hungarian politics, Ladies and Gentlemen, we offer continuity and experience. Our bloodline extends from the first democratic election to the present day. We were in opposition for sixteen years and in government for twelve. As you can see, the two are not yet in balance. We’ve already learnt that in politics the most important factor is time. Governing a country takes experience and self-confidence, knowledge of the local terrain and a thorough understanding of the international scene. And if these are combined with the courage for renewal, then we are in a winning position.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Hungarian cause is bound to win. Now everything is in place: experience, courage, battle-hardened troops, international prestige, a country on an ascending course, great plans, and what seems at the moment to be inexhaustible strength.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the same time it is also true that we are not only a civic government, but also a national government. In today’s world if someone speaks about the cause of the nation, they’re often censured: that is the stuff of folklore, it’s boring, it’s nostalgia, and the sentimentality of ageing gentlefolk. But I want to tell you clearly that while it naturally overflows with sentiment, it is more than that. Homeland is an anchor needed by everyone in their hearts. And, in spite of attacks and mockery, patriots deserve recognition for again and again lowering this anchor: for telling us to our face, time and again, that the homeland comes before all else. Or, in an updated form, borrowed from the Americans: “Hungary First”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If today you say the word “Hungary” to someone, they think of Budapest, Lake Balaton, beautiful Hungarian women, goulash soup and fine wines. If you say “Hungarian politics”, you can rest assured that they’ll think of Fidesz. The more sophisticated will think of Fidesz-KDNP. This is understandable, as twice in succession we’ve won elections with two-thirds majorities, and we’re governing the country without being forced into forming a coalition. Hungary has greatly increased in standing: our reputation, our recognition and our influence are greater than the size of our country or economy weight would suggest. Why is this? First of all, because in Hungary for eight years Fidesz and the KDNP have stopped political correctness in its tracks. Eurobabble, liberal grandstanding and “PC” platitudes have been ditched. We've sent the muzzle back to Brussels and the dog lead to the IMF. Just look around, in a Europe of forced coalitions and liberal media dictates. In Budapest the fashion is for straight-talking: clear words and sentences. In Budapest we want to say what we think, and we want to do what we say. In today’s European politics this is indeed quite a luxury, and we Hungarians are almost wallowing in it – although it would be good if the water splashed onto the bank less often!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fact that we come to mind when people in Hungary and abroad think of Hungarian politics is not something that has come without cost. Fidesz was formed thirty years ago. This has been a long road: fierce struggles, perseverance, loyalty, camaraderie; loyalty and service to Hungary, unity and camaraderie to one another. Every Hungarian knows us, and has even got to know us well. They know that we mean what we say, and we're not in thrall to the temptation to exaggerate. We seriously mean what we say. If we commit to something we throw ourselves into it. This is why we work hard for it, and in the end we complete the task and usually achieve our goal. If the slogan had not already been used, I would say that we are “the force of calm”. We are ourselves, and we don’t try to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. We are anti-communists and patriots. We passionately love Hungary, and are ready to do everything we can for it. This is what sets us apart from the other political parties.

It’s not my job to focus on other parties, but forty-nine days before a general election this is hardly avoidable. I look at the state of the other parties, and I cannot always believe my eyes. And I have to tell you I don’t even understand how such people and parties in their present state can ask the people for their trust, and indeed can stand as candidates for government. There’s a party which has asked a player from another team to lead its list. He calls himself a prime-ministerial candidate – even though everyone can see that he’s only a bankruptcy receiver, who has been handed the historic task of leading the MSZP out of Parliament. Another left-wing party is discovering its old roots, and under the leadership of a former prime minister is morphing back into an archetypal communist party, threatening people with prison, nationalisation and a new change of system. All it can say as far as spiritual issues are concerned is that the churches should just keep their mouths shut, and had better keep a low profile. Einstein, who not only observed physical phenomena but also the human mind, said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. There’s another party, we have another party, which has nothing else to say about the world except that it can be different. A brilliant insight, but it is all but impossible to find out from them what that world would be like, because they themselves are so different that we don't know if they are right- or left-wing, nationalists or internationalists. And there’s so much coming and going that we don’t know who’s in the party and who’s outside it. We can’t even remember the names of the parties formed by those who’ve left, because they’re struggling to remain visible and are so short-lived. But most absurd of all is that in these dangerous, migrant-battered times there is a national party which has seen better days, and which has now come up with the idea that Islam is the last hope for humanity. Well, one’s jaw drops, because one can’t believe one’s ears. Someone should pinch us quickly, so we wake up. But it’s no use: this really is the situation in Hungary today; these are the options, these are the other candidates for government.

All I can say, politely but firmly, is that Hungary deserves better than this. So it’s no wonder that in the country now the mood is not for a change of government, but for a change of opposition. But for a moment let's take them seriously and make it clear that we are people who think that the last hope for Europe is Christianity. Today when European people talk about Christianity – and this distinction is important – they are primarily thinking of its culture and their way of life. This is why, according to opinion polls and analyses, 78 per cent of people in Hungary want us to preserve our Christian culture and our Christian traditions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we think about the future and the stakes in the election ahead of us, we would do well to observe the increase in the number of pessimistic analyses, forecasts and projections concerning the future of Europe. Commentators claim that there are dark clouds gathering over Europe, due to immigration. There have always been dark prophecies. This is the familiar background music to European politics. What’s worrying these days is that in essence they are mathematical in nature: even though they are estimates, they are about numbers and quantifiable changes; and numbers always carry a great deal of weight. According to estimates, in European countries to the west of us the percentage of immigrants will grow at an ever faster pace. I’d rather not say anything now about France or the Netherlands, but for instance the percentage of German-born citizens in large cities is in decline, as immigrants always occupy the larger cities first of all. For instance, in Bavaria now more money is being spent on asylum, immigration and integration than on the combined state budget for the economy, the environment and health care. Visiting Vienna I heard that this year’s school enrolment data took everyone very much by surprise: the percentage of Muslim children among those starting school has soared. This is the future that over there is already the present. According to NATO reports – it seems that soldiers don’t yet allow themselves to be censored – by 2020, sixty million people will have set off for Europe. There’s also consensus that Africa will be more powerful than any previous expectations had envisaged. By 2050 its population will have doubled, to 2.5 billion. There will be ten times more young Africans than young Europeans. Africa faces two potential futures. In one future it would be able to repeat the spectacular achievements of Asia, where China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, for example, have amazed the world. Each of these – in their own way, but all at lightning speed – have dragged themselves out of poverty, set their economies on a path of growth, and will soon take over the leading role in the world economy. Their success reminds us that rather than history shaping demography, demography shapes history. And like school children who have to repeat a year, we Hungarians could say a lot on that subject. The other possible future would it be if Africa is unable to follow the path of Asian development and is unable to create decent conditions fit for its young generations to live in. If this mass of several hundred million young people is allowed to travel north, then Europe will soon come under horrendous pressure. Furthermore, the majority of immigrants will arrive from the Islamic world. If everything continues in this way, then the cities of Europe will clearly have majority Muslim populations – and London will not be an outlier, but a pioneer. If things continue like this, our culture, our identity and our nations as we know them will cease to exist. Our worst nightmares will have become reality. The West will fall, as Europe is occupied without realising it. Will this be a vindication of the views of those who think that civilisations are not killed, but commit suicide? Many believe that even if all this does take place, it will all take a long time. I think that those who believe this are mistaken. Analyses look ahead as far as 2050, and people of my age will reach their eighties at around that time. In other words, we – not to mention our children and grandchildren – may be able to see with our own eyes what direction the future of our Western world has taken.

And at this point, Dear Friends, I must also say a few words about the dispute between Western and Central Europe. It seems that the courses of development of these two parts of Europe have diverged. Naturally democracy, the rule of law and the market economy remain in common. But the foundations on which these rest today will become increasingly divergent. Politicians do not yet talk about this openly, but everyone can already see it. The great old European nations in Western Europe have become immigrant countries. Day by day their cultural foundations are being transformed, the population raised in a Christian culture is declining, and the major cities are undergoing Islamisation. And I have to say that I cannot see the political forces with the will and ability to stop these processes – let alone, horribile dictu, reverse them. In terms of my message it is now irrelevant whether this is the consequence of the weakness of liberal democracies, the repercussions of an earlier colonial and slave-trading past, or the greedy, subversive actions of a George Soros-style empire; the facts remain. Whatever the reason, Western Europe has become an immigrant zone and a world of mixed populations; and, unlike central Europe, it is heading in the direction of a completely new development future. This is bad news for us. This means that Islamic civilisation – which has always seen its mission as the conversion of Europe to what it calls the true faith – will knock on Central Europe’s door not only from the South, but also from the West. We have successfully defended our southern borders with the building of the fence, the legal and physical border defences, the exemplary steadfastness of our police and the leadership of Sándor Pintér. We have prevented the Muslim world from inundating us from the south. Facing that direction we are the last country in Latin – or Western – Christianity. We are standing firm. Our defence lines are sufficient to hold back the largest flows. Furthermore, Orthodox Christianity is courageously and resolutely fighting ahead of us. We acknowledge Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.

However absurd it seems, the situation is that now the danger is threatening us from the West. This danger to us comes from politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. They want us to adopt their policies: the policies that made them immigrant countries and that opened the way for the decline of Christian culture and the expansion of Islam. They want us to also accept migrants and to also become countries with mixed populations. Earlier they said that they expect this from us because what is alien is beautiful, a mixed population is better, and because the true European does not defend such obsolete mediaeval concepts as homeland and religion. Today these voices are perhaps quieter. Now the fashionable mantra is that we must become like them because this expresses solidarity. We must clearly state that we stand in solidarity with those Western Europeans and leaders who want to save their homelands and Christian culture, and we have no solidarity with those who want to abandon those things. We shall never express solidarity with those European leaders who want to take Europe into a post-Christian and post-national era.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must clearly and forthrightly state that we do not see the battle that we're fighting as a hopeless one; in fact as we see it, we now stand on the brink of victory. The countries of the Visegrád Four are unwavering. The Orthodox world stands firm, and it seems that Croatia has come to its senses. Austria has now turned in the direction of patriotism and Christianity. In Bavaria a spiritual and political resistance has developed under the leadership of the CSU. Perhaps it is not too late. And we await, we keenly anticipate, the result of the Italian election, and with it the turning-point which will see the return to government of common sense, Italian national and cultural identity – and Silvio Berlusconi. Forza Italia!

And let us now remember those European politicians, our counterparts, who in recent years have sunk their teeth into us – and in the end have broken their teeth on us. A brief roll call: Austrian chancellors Faymann and Kern; Italian prime minister Renzi; the inglorious Croatian prime minister Milanović; and, of course, Martin Schulz – who had a manic desire to be everything, and in the end has become nothing. I see that the list is unfinished, and there are a few vacant places on it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All this gives us hope. In the end it is good to see that one has not worked in vain. But the situation gives us no reason to be self-satisfied. The forces opposing us, George Soros’s network and the international bureaucrats he has bought, have in no way given up. There are those who still smell money. They look at Europe and see the business opportunities inherent in the weakening of the euro. There are those who do not want to lose the jobs and infantry wages they have received from the globalist elite. And there’s also the type of European ideological intellectual who continually experiments with the transformation of Europe. A well-developed example of the latter is a Hungarian activist from a Soros organisation, who was able to say the following, and I quote: “From almost wherever they come, those arriving here are better than our native population”. I didn’t understand this for a while. I didn’t understand why someone would talk such obvious claptrap. After all, it’s clear that, compared with migrants, we Hungarians are better-trained, better-educated and more employable. This is clear. Then one of the Soros network’s chief ideologues, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, recently let slip that some years ago they secretly launched a programme to breed a Soros-like human race, or, as they modestly put it – if I can pronounce the term – Homo sorosensus. This means “Soros man”. And I realised that from their point of view, from the viewpoint of the Soros types, we indigenous people who have our own countries, our own culture and our own religion – things for which we will fight tooth and nail – are individuals beyond redemption, who cannot be transformed. From their viewpoint, migrants are indeed better raw material to work with. And it is a clear testament to the Hungarian people’s generosity and deep tolerance that the people who are scheming to implement this plan can safely and cheerfully live their lives among us.

Now of course we shall not look on impassively; we are not sheep, who quietly stand around waiting for their fate to be visited upon them. Naturally we shall fight, and if needs be we shall deploy an ever more powerful legal arsenal. Here, for a start, we have the “Stop Soros” legislative proposal. We are linking any activities related to migration and migrants to a national security licence, and we shall divert a proportion of the foreign funding intended for pro-migrant NGOs, or pseudo-civil society organisations, to the border protection budget. We shall order a complete financial transparency screening, and if somebody does not refrain from their dangerous plans we shall simply expel them – however powerful or rich they may be. And we shall fight in the international arena as well. Tomorrow I shall hand over to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria – which currently holds the presidency of the European Union – the European legislative proposal which can provide for the complete protection of Europe’s borders. This is the important thing, the protection of the borders – not mandatory migrant quotas. If we secure the borders, no one can enter without permission, and then there will be no one to distribute. And those who allow migrants to enter their countries should keep them and look after them. And there can be no question at all of them selecting the best and sending us the rest.

So I should also draw your attention to the fact that in the meantime another area for debate has opened up. The United Nations, the UN, has taken it upon itself to finalise an international compact on migration by the end of the year. The draft has been released for debate. The United States has already left the negotiating table, because in its view the proposal is hopelessly pro-migration and anti-border security. Our self-confidence is in a better state, and we have therefore decided to stay at the negotiating table for the time being, and change the wording of the compact being prepared. What does the UN want? This will be a fine task for our friend Péter Szijjártó. What does the UN want? The UN wants everyone to accept that immigration and its facilitation make a positive contribution to economic growth and prosperity. This is a quote from the document. From a European point of view, this is obviously idiocy; it’s like saying that a flu epidemic is a good thing, because it makes a positive contribution to people’s health and well-being. The UN asserts that safe and regulated immigration routes must be created in Europe. The UN asserts that it is every European’s duty to help the immigrants coming to their countries to settle and find jobs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We understand that some 80 per cent of the UN’s Member States are source countries for migrants. But we didn’t establish the United Nations in order for it to turn against us and force something on us that will ruin us. The United Nations also asserts that the legal and physical barriers obstructing immigrants’ paths across borders must be removed. We can stand up straight and hold our heads high: this is about the fence, and this is directly aimed at us. Interestingly, proposals of this kind mostly originate from people who are protected by bodyguards, who travel in armoured limousines, whose houses are surrounded by high walls and fences, and who are protected by security systems around the clock. We suggest instead that they first dismantle their gates, take down their fences and dismiss their guards. We suggest that we continue the talks if this experiment has succeeded – and they’re still alive. Should the experiment fail, we’ll happily grant them asylum in Hungary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is obviously utter nonsense. It’s incomprehensible why they would think us to be such raving lunatics as to accept this and then implement it. We must bluntly state that Hungary is not a country of deranged people. We understand that George Soros’s organisations have not only installed themselves in Brussels and Budapest, but also in New York, at the UN. We understand that they are spending incalculable sums of money on pushing through acceptance for migration at a global level. We understand that Soros has picked a fight not only with us, but also with the British, President Trump and the Israelis. And everywhere the topic is the same: forcing acceptance for immigration and migration. But they won’t succeed. We’re not alone, and we shall fight together to contain – and then to stop – Soros’s plan as presented in Brussels and in the UN. And if we have enough allies – and we can have enough allies – I’m sure that we shall succeed in the end.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, let me remark on the fact that the election campaign started yesterday. Having seen the opposition’s campaign-opening events yesterday, an old observation of mine came to mind: when the campaign is under way, reality keeps its mouth shut. Let’s keep calm and talk straight about this as well. Today our political opponents in Hungary are in a hopeless situation. They have failed to understand the mood of the times. On the most important issues they have not stood by us, and have not stood by the country. They did not support us when the fence was being built. They withdrew to the sidelines during the referendum on the mandatory migrant quota. They did not support the amendment to the Constitution. They denied the reality of immigration. They denied the reality of the mandatory migrant quota and the Soros Plan. The people can see this and know the truth; this is why the opposition in Hungary today is in a hopeless situation. But we know from de Gaulle that hopelessness begets hatred. Hatred oozes from every sentence of the opposition parties. I believe that there will be no shortage of crudeness, mudslinging and hypocrisy. But we should remember that for us an election is a celebration: millions of Hungarians waited for the day, after the end of communist repression and Soviet occupation, when they would be able to vote in a free election. We must not let others ruin our celebration. Let us preserve our good spirits, our sense of humour, our self-deprecation and the beauty of shared decision-making. Hatred does not lift one up: it drags one down. As in the well-known joke, the man who jumps from the fiftieth floor of a skyscraper reassures himself as he plummets to the ground: “So far so good, so far so good”. In fifty days we’ll all arrive at our respective destinations: some at the fiftieth floor, others at the ground floor. Here’s to the adventure!

Go for it Hungary, go for it Hungarians!