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Friday, December 2, 2022

“Halloween” and Robert Golob’s political jihad

By: Gašper Blažič

As it turns out, the defeat of Milan Brglez in the first round of the presidential elections triggered tectonic shifts even within the transitional left. Let’s remember: MEP Brglez was nominated as joint candidate of Gibanje Svoboda and SD parties quite late, actually after Marta Kos withdrew from the campaign. However, even this did not convince the main godfather, Milan Kučan, to change his mind about supporting Nataša Pirc Musar.

Many people will remember how bizarrely Prime Minister Robert Golob and his close colleagues posed in front of the cameras already in the middle of summer, when Golob nonchalantly explained that he respects Kučan, but that the latter also makes a mistake here and there. Well, Kučan showed who the “real boss” is on the evening of the first round of elections, if not before. This somewhat “sobered” Golob, and he had no choice but to obey the main godfather of the transitional nomenclature and do a “salto mortale”: he supported Nataša Pirc Musar, whom he had previously criticised, without much hesitation, and at the same time started to talk in the style of Stane Dolanc and Josip Broz Tito that they “will not allow” a candidate who is supported by SDS and who was even a member of the previous government team to come to power. In other words: according to his already proverbial introspection, the “godfather” has given Golob a new role, which is actually very dirty: the direct suppression of the “class enemy”. Also, with the aim of awakening the left part of the electorate.

When the Prime Minister declares a war

“We will know the loser in the second round. And I already know today who the loser in the second round will be. /…/ We will certainly not allow the SDS candidate to swing into the presidential palace. Because this would be something that would return Slovenia to the dark times of the last two years, and certainly nobody wants that.” Already with these statements, Golob made it clear on election Sunday that it will be bloody real in the second round. But the words refer not only to the second round of elections, but to the period ahead in general. There are more and more signs that in the coming months the transitional left will try to do what we wrote about last week: isolate, break, or take over the opposition, critical media, and civil society critical of the government. Golob’s words are therefore not only his personal position, nor only the position of the Gibanje Svoboda party and the coalition, but they are the basis of the programme of the entire transitional left. At the same time, it was – between the lines, of course – the infamous prediction that if the reasons for tightening their policy do not appear by themselves, they will make them themselves.

And they found them: less than 48 hours after these statements, the mainstream media started shouting because of an alleged physical (and supposedly politically motivated) attack on Nika Kovač in the centre of the capital. Kovač, who was then photographed smiling with a bandaged arm and a mobile phone in her (other) hand, of course immediately found reasons for the incident: the alternative media were to blame, including Demokracija magazine. What really happened will obviously not be known for a long time, as the area where the attack is said to have taken place is very well covered by surveillance cameras, and the footage would quickly show what is real and what is not. While the mainstream is shouting now, years ago, when there was a more serious physical contact (a bruise on the arm!) of left-wing extremists with our journalist Petra Janša, they remained silent. Even the law enforcement authorities did not find anything, while the attacker of Nika Kovač was said to be someone who was “strongly influenced” by right-wing websites.

In short, one more reason for the parliamentary investigative commission under the leadership of the notorious Mojca Šetinc Pašek to intensify its attacks on the mentioned media. And even in this case, none other than Golob announced that the government’s priority will be the fight against hate speech, as a result of which the government should even introduce the function of a special coordinator who should deal exclusively with this area. This is, in fact, an intervention of the executive branch of power in the area of the judiciary. Well, Golob was even crystal clear that the SDS is to blame for this state of affairs, according to which dissenters are being dealt with on the streets. “I declare war on hate speech. There will be no tolerance,” the prime minister snarled at the Pop TV cameras, recalling the burning of the Reichstag in Berlin in the 1930s.

Prime minister’s bruised ego

But what is actually behind the increasingly provocative statements of the man who has been crowned as a kind of “Steve Jobs of Slovenian energy”? One of the possible reasons is that Golob’s ego was seriously bruised on the evening of the first round of the presidential election. Not only because the winner of the first round, Anže Logar, even improved the achievement of Barbara Brezigar from 2002 and Lojze Peterle from 2007, but also because he found himself in the role of eighth runner-up in the presidential elections, which actually means that from now on he is only fighting also for political survival – regardless of the otherwise still high number of members of his party, which is not actually a party, but a “movement” (he obviously wanted to imitate the HDZ from the beginning of its activity). Recently, there has been talk of possible exits from the parliamentary group Gibanje Svoboda; it could happen that one of the MPs would even switch to the SDS, which would be a very big blow to the already excessive nonchalance of the ruling coalition.

Well, it is also interesting how, on the evening of the first round of elections, ideas appeared around further closer integration between the SD and Golob’s liberals, for which the defeated Milan Brglez, in particular, stands for. But at the same time, we should remember that the former “Luka Dončić of Slovenian politics”, namely Marjan Šarec, had very similar thoughts upon his resignation from the post of prime minister in January 2020, saying that there will now be preliminary elections, whereby LMŠ and SMC will be more closely connected. But the opposite happened: there were no elections, and SMC distanced itself from LMŠ.

But what worries Golob even more, and he now has to justify his role as a “soldier of the revolution” in front of Kučan, is that he could very quickly become Zoran Janković no. 2. According to some media reports, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC) found in the middle of last week that Golob had violated the provisions of the Act on Integrity and Prevention of Corruption, because he had incorrectly reported his assets to the commission when he left the position of chairman of the GEN-I board. Later, when called upon again, he listed his property in full and thus in accordance with the requirements. The CPC gave him a warning for the delay. It was supposed to be his previous position as a manager of the GEN-I company, even before he became an MP and then the prime minister, the CPC later explained. Well, actually a very gentle reminder from the CPC, but it can open the Pandora’s box of Golob’s business honesty.

With NPM against hate speech

But let’s go back a bit to the first round of the presidential election. We saw how serious contradictions Golob got into when he evaluated the failure of Milan Brglez. “We must not forget that presidential elections are always personal elections,” he told Pop TV, saying that Brglez’s defeat was in no way a defeat for GS or SD parties, nor was it the defeat of Golob and Tanja Fajon. But on the other hand, he presents Logar as a masked evil behind whom Janez Janša and his government are hiding. In this case, according to Golob, it is not a personal election, but rather a referendum on whether we want the return of “dark forces” or the establishment of “political stability”, as Golob assesses the hegemony of the transitional left, according to his “left centre”. This is also why it is suddenly no longer difficult for Golob to support Nataša Pirc Musar, probably also because Pirc Musar is the legal representative of the March 8th Institute. When, during the great fire in the Karst, representatives of the institute loudly protested against the allegedly unjust accusations, because the referendum on water actually made it more difficult to put out fires, and at the same time even announced criminal charges due to posts on social networks (!), Pirc Musar smoothly supported them. After all, in 2015 and 2016, Pirc Musar was also the president of the Hate Speech Response Council within the Peace Institute, so she clearly has extensive experience with this. In one of its messages, the aforementioned forum even proposed expanding the area of ​​punishment for critical records on migration, so that lighter cases could be sentenced on the fly for the committed offense (the notorious and aggressive Zlatan Čordić – Zlatko was also among the members of this forum). Not to mention the fact that Pirc Musar, as a lawyer, specially acted especially against the media. But not very successfully: at the beginning of last year, the Supreme Court rejected the request in which NPM represented the notorious Herman Rigelnik, when the latter was responding to an article on Nova24.si, in which the then journalist of the aforementioned portal Luka Perš (now the editor of Prava.si) wrote some critical words on Rigelnik’s account.

But it is worth remembering that even Nataša Pirc Musar distanced herself from Golob’s recent statements, saying that they are also hate speech. This is understandable, as they could harm her.

The hegemony of the transitional left is strengthening

So, since the agendas of NPM and Golob fit together nicely on the point of fighting against hate speech – where leftist hate speech does not exist for them – we can wonder how many useful idiots for pre-arranged incidents they will find on the street to justify their hunt for witches (read: opposition-oriented media) and who else besides Nika Kovač will be labelled as a victim of the alleged hatred that “Janša’s media” are supposedly spreading in the streets. At the same time, they are aware that they have the constitutional court on their side, especially now that the composition of the court also includes the activist of the Peace Institute, Neža Kogovšek Šalamon. Indeed, this may also mean that the courts will follow complaints and lawsuits against “class enemies”. Let us remind you that, in addition to the March 8th Institute, representatives of the Levica party also threatened with lawsuits because they (we) associated them with the Smodej affair. And as the National Press Agency revealed: “March 8th members” did not help victims of sexual violence at all, at most they were a nuisance.

However, it is obvious that due to his weakened position, Golob is now drastically changing his government’s priorities. Until recently, he vowed that the priority would be the fight against the costliness. Now, however, it will be a fight against hate speech. Of course, it is not known how he defines hate speech, but that is why we sent questions to UKOM, as the answers would help to clarify many things. So far, we have not received the answers.

Mihael Šušteršič instead of Cirman at Siol.net, Peter Jančič has already been dismissed

As we are already writing about the takeover of the media and the fact that Primož Cirman is just waiting for a call from TS Media to come to the editorial office of Siol.net instead of Peter Jančič, information recently circulated about another candidate who is said to be less notorious than Cirman, but still “orthodox” enough. It is about Mihael Šuštaršič, former department editor at STA (for foreign policy), who was allegedly recommended to Golob by Vesna Vuković. However, the acting Director of TS Media Irma Gubanec, who temporarily succeeded the dismissed Rajko Gerič, in the middle of last week sent the Siol.net journalists an e-mail with an invitation to vote on the new editor-in-chief, without writing down who it is, who she even proposes as editor, because the goal is to keep the name hidden until the end. In the meantime, Šušteršič “technically protected” his Twitter account, from where he was supposed to delete records that compromise him, Bojan Požar warned. The director of TVS, Uroš Urbanija, revealed that Šuštaršič threatened with physical confrontation during the time when Urbanija was an editor at STA. Even otherwise, he behaves extremely biased on social networks. TS Media announced the official information about the appointment of a new editor on Friday, October 28th.

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