I joined MSZP as a young teenager, and I still consider it one of the most important communities in my life; one from which I have received much and to which I hope I have been able to give back at least as much over the past years. I am a dedicated patriot and a committed social democrat: I still carry in my wallet a 40’s MSZDP membership booklet; it was the will of a ‘social-democrat’ veteran I never met that it should be passed on to me. I was so moved I even shed a tear when it was handed over.
There are moments in life when you really must stop and take accountability. With straightforward, and if necessary, painful honesty. The fourth two-thirds Fidesz victory made it clear to all of us that we do not have to fight better and harder for what we believe is right, but in an entirely different way. We must leave the ‘poles’ in place, but tear down the edifice to the foundations. At the MSZP’s caucus meeting on Saturday, I presented a concrete proposal to my fellow party members, which I believe could be a good starting point, an initial foothold for the rebirth of our community. Because we have to be honest: we no longer need small improvements, but a complete overhaul. We have to accept that the MSZP brand has become obsolete and worn out over the last decades. Our values and merits remain firmly in place and provide clear and unambiguous guidance, but in order for our social democratic community to be strengthened and to make sure it has a meaningful impact on public life, we need to start building on a completely new foundation. We need to deal with certain taboos, such as clinging to a 33-year-old brand and let go of grand-party operational reflexes. We must respond to reality and the present in order to plan for the future. We need to be able to say it out loud that the carnation has withered, but that does not mean we should throw it out with the pot: rather, we need to bring in new soil, give it fresh water and plant a new flower. We must give a chance for change, a chance for a shared homeland and a chance for a more just society; a chance for the renaissance of Hungarian social democracy with its one hundred and thirty-two- year-old history.
I have proposed that the Hungarian Socialist Party should in the future transform itself into a social democratic community which, in its new name, already bears the values and all that it wants to provide for Hungary through its voters: a chance. Let the name of our new organization be “Esély Közösség – Community of Chance“, which not only carries but also delivers messages and political expectations through its small, networked local communities. I see the future of my party as an active community that represents its electorate through concrete issues and tangible commitments, such as taking up the debate on the introduction of a four-day working week, developing a national strategy to identify and treat cancer more rapidly and effectively, or demanding a ‘perpetual reduction in overheads’ through energy investments with EU funding. There is nothing and no one to wait for, now is the time to make a change. In the coming weeks, I will continue the tour of the country that I have already started, gathering further suggestions, corrective comments and supporters for the vision I have outlined, for the revival of our community. We are asking for a chance because we want to give it to everyone.
After the Hungarian Prime Minister’s landmark 2014 speech in Tusványos, in which he proclaimed the illiberal state, I vowed that as an MEP I would write an open letter every week to warn the public of the regime’s crimes. For the 348th time, I am ringing the bells of alarm, and I am doing it now for my own community, for my own party. Because we must give revival and a shared homeland a chance.
dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament<
24 April, 2022.