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Friday, January 10, 2020

Johnson flirts with the far right

I suppose that as his main policy plank is splendid isolation for the United Kingdom, our newly re-elected Prime Minister has to find friends when and where he can. But does he have to embarrass us all by choosing Hungary‘s authoritarian nationalist leader, Viktor Orban as his new best friend?

As the Independent reports, Orban has heaped praise on Boris Johnson, calling him “one of the bravest European politicians”. This comes days after it was revealed that one of Mr Johnson’s top advisers had called for a “special relationship” with the Hungarian government and endorsed its attacks on liberalism:

“I believe a generous and strategic cooperation is needed with the British in the coming period when they are no longer members of the EU,” Mr Orban told journalists.

“I regard Boris Johnson as one of the bravest European politicians,” he said, adding that his eurosceptic Conservative party still won a large majority in December’s general elections despite “the whole world” being against him.

The right-wing leader described Brexit as “a fantastic opportunity”, adding: “I am sure there is a success story in the making there.”

The intervention is the latest episode in the makeshift alliance forming between parts of the Tory party and Fidesz, Mr Orban’s nationalist outfit. Conservative MEPs were previously criticised for standing almost alone among mainstream western European conservatives for refusing to censure Hungary over breaches of the rule of law.

Mr Orban was also one of the first world leaders to be invited to Downing Street after Theresa May took office.

At the helm of his far-right Fidesz party, Mr Orban has centralised power around himself and his allies, cracking down on civil society and monopolising the media.

The government has also been accused of running antisemitic and Islamophobic hate campaigns, notably against Jewish philanthropist George Soros.

This is also the same Viktor Orban whose government was subject to censor by the European Parliament.

In September 2018, more than two-thirds of MEPs backed the censure motion - the first such vote against a member state under EU rule - accusing the Hungarian government of attacks on the media, minorities, and the rule of law.

Not my first choice as our premier European ally.
I think Johnson is searching for allies for the future as Trumps mental health is now being questioned.
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