Batting for Hungarian Homophobe, Marshal Twito Imperils Slovenian EU Presidency

Janez Janša saw the 30th anniversary of Slovenian independence as something of a personal milestone. He is the only senior figure of the 1991 independence struggle who is still in public service. Everyone else is either retired, dead or in prison. It was to be a joyous occasion, crowned a few days later by Muddy Hollows taking over EU Council presidency.

Marshal Twito falsely accusing Delo's Brussels correspondent of lying.
Janez Janša falsely accusing Delo’s Brussels correspondent of lying

Instead, the Glorious Leader spent the anniversary week doing some light LGBT-bashing on the EU stage. With this, he was paying fealty to his Lord Protectór and then denied all of it, only to be, well, outed by none other than Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel. Awkward.

If things panned out as intended, the political windfall this would have generated would have been substantial. It would likely carry Marshal Twito to new political heights. Perhaps it would even secure him an outright electoral victory in a snap poll that will take place sooner rather than later.

At the very least it would have canceled out much of the bas sentiment Janša and his government earned by screwing up the pandemic response and the vaccination strategy.

But Janez Janša once again showed that he is incapable of acting long-term, much less follow a plan or – perish the thought – protecting his country’s best interest.

As so many things in PM Janša’s life lately, this too has its roots in Hungary.

How Janša learned to love LGBT

That Slovenia landed in the anti-LGBT camp at the beginning of this debate was embarrassing unto itself. But it was even more so because the Slovenian independence and LGBT rights movements were very much interwoven back in the late 80s. The time when Janez Janša was “promoted” from an obscure scribe to a front-row dissident.

In fact, in many ways the Slovenian LGBT movement of the 80s had developed the activist tactics and network that were at the very centre of what would become a sprawling national effort for a free and independent Slovenia.

Granted, it wasn’t the only movement out there and others played just as important roles as well, but the general vibe of the late 80s opposition was “I got your back, you got mine”. Everyone protected each other. And that went for LGBT and Janša, as well.

To put it bluntly, without the 80s LGBT activists’ experience, Janez Janša might well have remained an obscure scribe, never again seeing the light of day. At the very least, the popular drive that got him out of prison in 1988 would have lacked an important edge.

The irony detector thus blew a lamp the other day when Janša went to bat for Viktor Órban over the notorious Hungarian homophobic bill.

Benelux pile-on

This in itself would have been bad enough. To see it coming from a country that is just about to take over the EU presidency is an order of magnitude worse.

But to see the leader of the said country deny those reports, only to be (inadvertently?) repudiated by a fellow EU leader? Well, that’s just criminally shoddy statecraft.

You see, as it started to go down in Brussels, reports started emerging that Hungary’s Órban was getting his ass handed to him by the Benelux countries, which triggered something of a pile-on.

Notably, Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel, himself gay, took the lead in crafting a fuck-you-and-your-bill repudiation of Órban which basically said that either he drops that shit or he should quit the EU. Dutch PM Rutte even said as much.

Now, even though the statement was eventually co-signed by seventeen member states, seven of the remaining nine chose to either join the pile-on against Hungary or stayed quiet. Only Poland and Slovenia felt the need to, ahem, ride Órban to the rescue.

Poland and their religious fundamentalist government were no surprise. But for Muddy Hollows to take a position that is a polar opposite to both core EU values as well as the pro-LGBTQIA+ agenda of Slovenian EU presidency, that is batshit crazy.

And yet, it is simply par for the course for the Glorious Leader.

Lead baloon

You see, anyone can shoot themselves in the foot. But shooting himself in both feet at the same time while busting his knee-caps and setting himself on fire, that’s a signature Janša move.

When this dude goes down, he goes down like a ton of bricks tied to a lead baloon.

Think back to his premature congratulations to Donald Trump and subsequent meltdown over Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 US elections. To this day, Janša has neither recanted on congratulating Agent Orange nor has he repudiated the Big Lie.

This thing with Hungary is essentially similar. Marshal Twito badly misread the room but instead of correcting course and eating some crow, he doubled down and called people liars. Literally.

On Thursday, Delo newspaper Brussels correspondent filed a story reporting what was corroborated by other news reports. That is to say, that Tuesday’s EU Council was about as close to a bar fight as it can get these days and that Slovenia and Poland were Hungarian monkey-boys.

But even though there was a ton of reporting along those exact lines out there already, PM Janša accused the reporter of “lying, as usual”. Which, you know, was patently untrue even at that moment.

Blame it on Bettel

But when Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg named Slovenia and Poland as the only two countries supporting Hungary, things got really awkward really fast.

And while we are poking at this exquisite pile of shit the Glorious Leader laid onto his country’s image, it would be irresponsible not to point out the inherent paradox in Janša’s latest journalist bashing.

Namely, what exactly was the PM hoping to achieve by calling the Delo reporter a liar? Was he implying that in reality Slovenia supports the Belenux paper? If so, why didn’t he sign the document?

But since it defies belief that the Glorious Leader would try to double-cross his Lórd Protectór, why then not proudly own his support for the Hungarian Homophobe?

Surely Janša didn’t think details of the EU Council meeting were going to remain confidential? That , of course, would constitute a level of naivetë not found outside 1970s porn films.

Self-styled grand strategist

Janez Janša elbowed his way into power in 2020 after a series of miscalculations by his predecessor. His sights on the 30th anniversary of the independence and the upcoming EU presidency, he was looking to bank on the carefully crafted myth of the genius statesman who single-handedly secured Slovenia’s statehood and who was finally about to get his due after being denied so many times by the Deep State.

But as it turned out, the 30th anniversary is a reminder that Slovenian independence was not the work of one man, but a gargantuan effort by a once-in-a-lifetime coalition of wildly different political forces as well as a copious amount of dumb luck.

It is also a reminder that Janša unchecked would have probably fucked the whole independence thing up before it even got off the ground. Just as he did with the pandemic, which he helpfully tries to compare to independence, just to make the disparity even more obvious. And just as he is doing with the EU presidency or the Slovenian-US relations, for that matter.

For a self-styled grand strategist, Janša really is slow to realise the shit he’s in. He seems unable to stick to the plan and follow the goal. Time and again, he goes for targets of opportunity and the seemingly low hanging fruit, which inevitably does more harm than good, both to his political fortunes as to the country he leads.

Then again, when someone spends many forints to prop up a North Korean style media ring, this sort of loyalty is expected.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.