The State of Muddy Hollows Play, part 1: Party Like It’s 1939

It has been… checks notes… more than a month since pengovsky posted anything on the state of play in Muddy Hollows. There were things to see and people to do and whatnot, but still apologies are in order. So, yeah..

Slovenian PM Janez Janša during a meeting of the coalition that kind of runs the show in Muddy Hollows
The Glorious Leader at a coalition pow-wow (source)

But shit did not stop going down in Slovenia and both readers were pleading, nay, screaming for an update. Which turned into an update series. Because who wants to read a five-thousad-words blogpost? Anyway, it so happens that said updates include pigeons, turncoats and rebrandings. They will also introduce a shitload of new parties, suspicious public opinion polls and overt hints to a Trump playbook. Oh, and a letter from the Glorious Leader.

The pandemic keeps hitting Muddy Hollows pretty hard. Not only is the country one wave ahead of most other EU states, it is also on track to come awfully close to six thousand Covid-19 deaths. Thatis roughly 1 in 350 Slovenians dead on account of the plague. And with vaccination rates almost flat-lining, things are not set to improve anytime soon.

In fact, the vaccination fiasco is one of the many fucks forming a pandemic cluster thereof for the government of Janez Janša. Pengovsky is old enough to remember Jelko Kacin, Janša’s handpicked pandemic-communicator-cum-vaccine-logistiscs-coordinator boldly scoffing at the initial EU goal of 50% vaccination rate and declared that the Union should go for 70% vaccination rate by summer 2021, or GTFO.

It is now January 2022, and Slovenian full vaccination rate is still south of 60%. Sure, the EU is still just shy of 70%, but Brussels was aiming much more realistically to begin with. The regime of the Glorious Leader, however, is once again seeing rising infections and plummeting ratings. And when things started going tits up again a month ago, it was time for drastic measures.

Janša burying the lede

By drastic measures pengovsky is, of course, referring to yet another letter by prime minister Janez Janša. Because we know by now that a letter from the Glorious Leader is both a subgenre in political prose and a form of psychological abuse. If you don’t believe pengovsky, just ask Ursula von der Leyen or any number of European leaders.

On the face of it, Janša wrote the letter to persuade people to take up vaccines. But in an apt demonstration of just how he and his minions managed to screw up the vaccination campaign, he didn’t get to the call to action until… checks notes… sixth paragraph. Talk about burying the lede.

Naturally, the call to take up vaccines was of secondary importance at best. The primary reason Janša chose to send the letter to virtually every single household in the country was political. Which not only shows just how the government screwed up the vaccination campaign, but also shows they don’t give a flying fuck about it.

What they do care about, however, is competition. And just about the time the Glorious Leader mailed the letter, Robert Golob made a long-roumored move and came out onto the political stage, swinging. But more on that next time.

Counting chickens

Janša may be thinking that it is not against any religion to dispose of a pigeon, but Golob, now-ex boss of a big-ass energy corporation is a problem entirely of his own making. As are a host of other problems he is facing right now.

Chief among them is the fact his government is about as popular as shingles right now. True, it’s been even worse recently but it still pretty fucking bad. And that is despite the fact that the Glorious Leader orchestrated a spending spree of pretty epic proportions over the last couple of months.

Lowering personal income taxes, raising pensions, issuing vouchers left and right, you name it, he’s done it. All the while financing a health system swamped by the omicron variant and barely keeping it together. No matter how you look at it, the next finance minister is going to inherit a fiscal shitshow of epic proportions. No wonder Andrej Šircelj, the current finance minister and long-time SDS spreadsheet reader is calling it a day and quitting politics.

On the face of it, SDS is already reaping benefits. As this poll of polls shows, The Party is consistently scoring results around twenty percent. However, that is the problem. No matter what they do, the Glorious Leader and The Party are scoring around twenty percent. Shake the money tree for the people? Twenty percent. Fuck up the pandemic response? Twenty percent. Run the EU presidency? Twenty percent. Become an international laughing stock? Twenty percent.

Coalition pow-wow

On the other hand, opposition parties would kill for twenty percent in the polls. In fact, some would be willing to commit murder even for a double-digit result. But when you put their results together and even allow for some overlap, they consistently outpoll the SDS and the entire ruling coalition by a comfortable margin.

Which is why the Glorious Leader is getting antsy. He called a pow-wow of his minority government and MPs who usually ride to his rescue (mostly DeSUS and SNS), to see how much juice he can still squeeze out of this parliament.

The answer: not much. In theory, the parliament can pass legislation until the minute a new parliament is sworn in. This will not happen sooner than mid-May (possibly later than that). But even those MPs who made it their mission keep their spines out of the reach of their hands over the past two years seem to have lost the appetite to further Janša’s agenda.

Matej Tonin and the spectre of Yugoslavia

The one person who clearly hasn’t lost the appetite to kowtow to the Glorious Leader is Matej Tonin. NSi leader and your neighborhood grenadier Matej Tonin is desperate to cast himself and his party as the adults in the room.

But he is increasingly turning into a walking and talking disaster, whose phone should be confiscated and every media appearance thoroughly vetted to stop him from saying any more batshit crazy stuff. Like saying that Levica would lead Slovenia back to Yugoslavia. Which, you know, would be kind of hard to do, seeing as the old country no longer exists and such. But you do you…

More to the point, Tonin is now fully onboard that Levica (the Left) is a party outside consitutional bounds. This, of course, is only half a step from calls to outright ban the party. In fact, an attempt to do precisely that is underway right now, filed by one of governments legal-disruptors-for-hire.

It is only a matter of time before Tonin jumps on that particular bandwagon, declaring that the spectre of communism is haunting Muddy Hollows. And if this goes on, The NSi wonderboy will soon achieve the impossible and reposition NSi to the right of the SDS. Even though everyone (including pengovsky) thought that is no longer possible. But hey, maybe that was the plan all along.

The year 1939 called and wants its playbook back.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.