It’s 4.15am, Otra Vida is at anchor off the small town of Tarrafal, Sao Nicolau, Cape Verde Islands, and I can’t sleep. The cabin temperature is a warm 23C, there’s no appreciable wind as the town is on the leeward side of this mountainous island, we’re rocking gently with the swell, and there is one mosquito in our cabin, buzzing around menacingly, which I have so far been unable to find. I can already feel a few bites on my body, presumably delivered while I was sleeping earlier.
There will be whining from the left about gerrymandering and maybe some electoral irregularities, all quite possibly true in the psuedo-democracy that Hungary has become, but nowhere near enough to change the outcome of the election. The far right and the right combined polled about 65% of the vote. The Hungarian people have spoken, and what they have said is not pleasant. They have voted for four more years of Hungarian exceptionalism, a short-term feel good nationalist tonic that papers over a plethora of issues with operating in the modern world. Four more years of looking inwards first, then outwards towards the strongmen of the east rather than the democracies of the west, blaming improbable foreign enemies for all woes. Four more years of revelling in a largely imaginary past glory rather than addressing the present and the future. Four more years of intolerance of minorities – Roma, Jews, gays, foreigners in general. Four more years of Putinization.
Yes, Hungary is a small country, and some will say it is small enough to not matter in the bigger picture of the west. There’s an old saying that if you think something is too small to make a difference try spending the night with a mosquito. I’m doing that right now.