The temper tantrum Slovenian prime minister Janez Janša threw Friday afternoon during a European Parliament hearing only reiterated what was becoming painfully obvious over the last couple of months: In the face of sustained pressure, Marshal Twito is like a broken valve. He’s there but he just can’t hold it together.
For those of you living under a rock: while attending the second installment of a European Parliament hearing on media freedom and rule of law in Slovenia, the Glorious Leader wanted everyone to see a video his propaganda department made. He was denied by chairperson Sophie in ‘t Veld which caused him to throw a hissy fit and cut the video feed. It was pure, unadulterated shitshow.
The backlash was immense and immediate. In fact, it is hard to overstate the just how bad a look this is.
Not only does this character lead the government that is about to take over the EU presidency. He is a prolific writer of politically charged letters to EU officials and heads of state, which usually goes bad for him. He is also a staunch ally of Viktor Órban, even though the Hungarian Lord Protector And Saviour doesn’t always reciprocate.
Not to mention the fact that he was also just shown to have fucked up vaccine procurement, an awkward moment that came on top of an audit that showed he fucked up PPE procurement during the first wave, as well.
In short, if Janez Janša were really the grand strategist he wants everyone think he is (and he has sold that image for decades), he could have used his Brussels outing as a way to calm a lot of frayed nerves. Especially those within the EPP who are begging for an excuse to be nice to the guy.
Instead, he came across as a not particularly frightening schoolyard bully. The question of course is, why would he do that.
Flood the zone with shit
Unlike his predecessor, Janša is keenly aware of the need for a presence on the EU stage. In fact, this presidency thing (here’s a nice podcast about how it works, in Slovenian) was thought to be the prime motivator behind the Glorious Leader making the effort and cobbling together a parliamentary majority after Marjan Šarec called it quits.
One way of looking at things is that this is all still a part of his masterplan, his way of flooding the zone with shit, yet another diversion from the clusterfucks of yesterday, which themselves were just a diversion from the clusterfucks of the day before, which themselves… you get the picture.
This line of thinking is as appealing as it is simplistic. Politics is not just an endless stream of New Shiny Objects. Shit needs to get done, too.
Performing for domestic audience
Then there’s a line of thinking that Marshal Twito was planning to blow up the proceedings all along, mostly for the benefit of his domestic audience. In this way, he was looking to channel his inner Nigel Farage. That is, to have his fifteen minutes of notoriety, addressing MEPs with the sole aim of getting that video clip where he tells them to go fuck themselves and then walk away (as Farage was apparently fond of doing).
This makes more sense, especially since the Glorious Leader was very insistent on having his conversation in situ and chairperson Sophie in ‘t Veld indulged him by scheduling the hearing on the day the European Council meeting was to take place. But as the EUCO was cancelled so too was Janša gracing the EP with his presence. Or would that be grating the EP with his presence?
The subsequent streak of Brussels-bashing tweets would also seem to suggest that Marshal Twito was indeed looking for a fight, to please his nativist audience at home and, no doubt, stay in the good graces of his Hungarian overlord.
However, the rush and awkwardness with which Janša’s minions tripped over themselves in trying too hard to save the face of the Glorious Leader suggests the incident wasn’t pre-planned. Neither do the PM’s run-of-the-mill euro-bashing tweets. I mean, you’d think someone with more than three decades worth of mileage at the highest level of politics would come up with something better than the tired “overpaid eurocrats” trope and claims of censorship.
Not firing on all cylinders
Still, it is much easier to think of Janša as following some sort of a script (as convoluted as it may be) than it is to accept the brutally harsh reality. Namely, that the Slovenian prime minister occasionally loses the plot and is not firing on all cylinders 100% of the time.
When you think about it, this is the most reasonable explanation. On the whole, Janša is used to getting his way with various subsystems in Slovenian society. Be it the judiciary or the media, or even the parliament if you will, he will pick a message and drive it home relentlessly. And even if he doesn’t always succeed he keeps his interlocutors constantly on the edge.
As a result of his three decades of whining about a Deep State conspiracy lurking at every corner, he nowadays gets a kids-gloves treatment wherever he goes. And when he doesn’t, he simply applies more pressure or calls in old favours.
This is Janša Muddy Hollows knows all to well. After all, it has been his modus operandi since forever.
Imagine the shock when none of this worked with the hearing on Friday. Of course it couldn’t have worked as Janša hasn’t had the chance to massage the European Parliament, or at least a substantial part of it, into submission and subservience (and before you start about how he could never do that, please consider the pretzel the EPP twisted itself into while it tried to have it both ways with Viktor Órban).
And this was Janša’s strategic and tactical blunder. He did not realise that the terrain was fundamentally different and as a result he didn’t adapt his technique accordingly.
The shit/fan combination that resulted might well have hobbled him permanently, both domestically and on the EU stage. Especially the latter will now probably be much more difficult for him, while at home he is losing a grip on things as well.
Case in point the latest move, in which the Glorious Leader demanded Sophie in ‘t Veld resign as the committee chair. As if.
But the worst part? That video he wanted everyone to see is so fucking bad and laden with conspiracy theories that he is in fact lucky in ‘t Veld cut him off when she did.
The pains of bad English
In case you don’t want to watch the whole thing, the video is a non-linear stream of accusations of how and why the political left in Slovenia (aka the Deep State) is allegedly running the show. It is, in fact, the same deranged, cherry-picked, out-of-context, self-serving shit Janša has been serving the Slovenian public for the last three decades.
It’s just that the whole thing somehow gets infinitely worse, when it is done in bad English, by a guy whose government is about to take over the EU presidency. And that’s before he started rage-tweeting direct translations of Slovenian idioms.