John Key: nyald ki a seggem!!
What is it about National that senior ministers feel the need to insult other countries?!
In March this year, Gerry Brownlee made abusive comments about Finland – a country with higher educational achievements than New Zealand; a GDP some US$70 billion greater than ours; and all achieved with a population only one million more than us.
Today, our gormless Prime Minister, the man who grins like a witless fool, as he and his Party fail in nearly every respect to grow the economy, has taken a swipe at Hungary,
“Hungarians don’t go out at night – they might in Budapest, but not in Afghanistan.”
Dear Leader was referring to his assertion that Hungarian forces do not patrol the Baghlan province, especially after nightfall.
So saith John Key, the man who has never served in the armed forces.
So saith John Key, who has never served in any Peacekeeping operations abroad, that Kiwi forces have been involved in.
Whilst Key was sitting comfortably at University flirting with pretty female students; thereafter crunched numbers McCulloch Menzies and later Lane Walker Rudkin; then became a forex dealer at Elders Finance; and after that shuffled bit of paper for other finance conglomerates – other young men and women his age were serving their country in the armed forces.
Key made money, lots of it.
Indeed, when asked by at least one journalist what his views on the 1981 Springbok Tour was, he could not remember.
As he replied to a reporter’s question,
“Oh, I can’t even remember … 1981, I was 20 … ah … I don’t really know. I didn’t really have a strong feeling on it at the time. Look, it’s such a long time ago.”
How the hell does one not recall one of the most defining moments in our recent history? Especially since he was 20 at the time?
In fact, aside from golf and making money (lots of money!), Key appears to have had no involvement whatsoever in any public service for his own country.
So it appears that when John Key went out at night, it was never in a warzone either.
But Key is right about one thing: it is safe to go out on the streets of Budapest at night. Indeed, a city of 2 million people is safer than downtown Wellington or Auckland, in the early hours of the morning, when Courtney Place and Queen Street are dangerous bashing-grounds for young, drunken, out-of-control men and women.
By contrast, I refer the reader to this description of nightlife in Budapest,
” Hungarians, like most Eastern Europeans, like their liquor and hold it well. If you think Saturday afternoon is best spent hanging out with your friends, drinking coffee and trying to piece together what happened Friday night, you’re in the right country. Alcohol is central to many Hungarians’ lives. The only city where people go clubbing is Budapest; elsewhere, the pub is the only option.
Hungarian pubs are pretty grimy by western standards—yellow smoke-stained walls, dirty tablecloths, toilets that don’t always work. The people there are usually very drunk, but Hungarians tend to get either happy or morose when they’re intoxicated and bar fights are rare. Most Continentals take it for granted that they don’t risk a broken nose just for going to a bar, but this can be a refreshing change for English and American imbibers. The Hungarian pub is still a largely male preserve—although seeing women as part of a mixed group is common enough, you just won’t see many women sitting at the bar alone.
Drinks are present at pretty much every social occasion lasting longer than 10 minutes. Hungarians you befriend will give you a drink at any excuse, and if you go to a pub, expect one round after another after another after another… drink slowly if you want to remember anything after midnight. It can be hard to refuse and still seem sociable. Just about every Hungarian drinks, and most can’t understand why somebody wouldn’t. If you’re a man who doesn’t drink, brush up on your soccer trivia and fill your wallet with photos of previous girlfriends before you come here, in case your heterosexuality is ever questioned.
The national liquor is palinka, a brandy that’s somewhere between 60% and 70% alcohol and usually served in a shot glass that’s usually about two ounces. Good palinkas are a real treat to drink, and come in different fruit flavors. The cheap, unflavored ones are barely digestible, and if you have more than three you probably won’t be digesting them anyway. It is not uncommon to walk into a bar or restaurant in the morning and see men from all walks of life taking a drink of the stuff to steel themselves for a day of work.
The second liquor most identified with Hungary is Unicum, which tastes and looks like Jaegermeister. If you’ve never had Jaeger, think cough syrup. If you like it, you’ll like Unicum. Hungarians like to have a shot of Unicum before and/or after a meal. Wine is also quite popular, Hungary produces some nice reds. It’s usually served in a soft drink glass at pubs. Red wine from Villány is generally considered the best, although Tokaji wine is just as well-known and not bad either.
The less said about the local beer, the better. It’s better than Milwaukee’s Best, maybe even better than Miller and Budweiser. But what European beer isn’t? Czech beers are commonly available, and are your best bet. Pilsner Urquell (first pilsner ever) and Budwar (Budweiser’s more flavorful ancestor) are the most common.
As for domestics, Dreher is head and shoulders above the rest. Hungarians don’t usually toast when they’re drinking beer. Supposedly this is because in 1848, when 13 generals fighting for Hungarian independence were executed by the Austrians, the Austrian soldiers clinked their beer glasses together as each one was dropped off the gallows.
You can buy beer, wine and liquor at any place where you can buy food—grocery stores, corner stores, gas stations, wherever. Supposedly there’s a drinking age, but as long as you can see over the counter or bar you won’t be carded. Pubs usually close around midnight, although you can usually find a handful that are open a couple hours later. These are more common in Budapest, of course.
There’s an open container law, but unless you’re starting fights or run into a cop whose wife just left him, you can walk down the street gulping palinka right out of the bottle without any problems. Either you or the cop really have to be an asshole to get hassled for drinking in public; just being drunk and a bit loud won’t get you noticed.
Hungary has a huge problem with alcoholism. Most pubs are bustling by 8:30 in the morning. If you don’t want to drink, tell people you’re a recovering alcoholic. They’ll understand. “
This blogger has experience in Hungarian culture, and the writer of the piece above is fairly correct. As they write,
“You can buy beer, wine and liquor at any place where you can buy food—grocery stores, corner stores, gas stations, wherever.“
In fact, the first time I ever went to Hungary, I was stunned at how widespread the availability of alcohol was.
Yet, I never once saw any display of public drunkeness, nor alcohol-fuelled fights, nor the kind of wanton vandalism, public urination, vomitting, that is now commonplace in our cities after dark.
Nor does Key seem to have any inclination to deal with this country’s out-of-control alcohol abuse that renders Courtney Place and Queen Streets no-go areas after midnight.
At first, Key stated that there was public “no appetite” to raise taxes on alcohol to curb excessive consumption in this country.
Key ruled out raising the price on alcohol to address alcohol abuse, saying it was ineffectual.
Yet that is precisely the mechanism by which successive governments reduced demand for cigarettes: raising taxes.
Key misled the public in December, last year, when he claimed there was “no appetite” from the public to raise prices on alcohol. A survey conducted by the Health Sponsorship Council revealed that,
“… 56% of people are behind an increase in the price of cheap alcohol, including 26% strongly backing the idea. It also found solid backing for a reduction in the hours alcohol may be sold, with 28% strongly behind the idea and a further 37 % supporting it.”
What is the point of this blogpost, you may ask?
It’s fairly evident. John Key is the man who has never served in the military – nor in any other community organisation. And yet he has the temerity to complain about what other military servicemen may or may not be doing? When he puts his own neck on the line, or contributes something constructive to society – then we might start to take him seriously.
Until then, he is a suit with a big bank account; a desire to be admired by the public; but precious little more.
As for referring about the safety of other cities at night – that is indeed a valid issue. On that matter, John Key has a lot to learn from Hungarians – especially how to hold their liquor, and not end up in drunken brawls, where footpaths are covered in blood and vomit, and shopkeepers have to hose urine, excrement, and more vomit, from their doorways.
You won’t see these headlines in any newspaper in Hungary,
So if John Key has a problem with Hungarians; their servicemen and women; the capital city of Budapest, and how safe it may be at night – he should keep it to himself.
Not until he and his Party start to address serious problems surrounding our own growing crisis of alcohol abuse – instead of tinkering with the law - should he open his big mouth.
And if he wants to tell Hungarian soldiers how to fight the Taliban, I encourage him to get of his ministerial chair; go to Afghanistan; and show them how it’s done.
Armchair warriors like him deserve only contempt.
= fs =