By: Davorin Kopše
A series of three interpellations of ministers in the National Assembly is behind us. The Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities Janez Ciglar Kralj had the first turn, followed by the Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec, and we reached a peak in a discussion on the interpellation of the Minister of Culture Vasko Simoniti. All the interpellations were a classic political emptiness and hysteria of the opposition to attract attention. They also succeeded, but in the opposite sense as they wanted. Given the arguments put forward by the interpellants, the proposers made fools of themselves. The interpellations failed. And not just because of the excellent arguments of the ministers, but mainly because the proposers had no arguments.
Today, in addition to the interesting content and specific dynamics, I will stop at the interpellation of Minister Vasko Simoniti. The content belongs to the Minister, and the dynamic is interesting because of the empty accusations. These are reminiscent of a squeezed out ball being kicked across a flooded field. You kick and kick, and you always kick it just in front of yourself.
The word “trompetngold” is used
It is about a very fortunate placement of the word in defence of the interpellation. “Trompetngold” illustrates brass, “copper gold”; an ornament that is supposed to be gold, but is merely brass or even gilded plastic. More broadly, it denotes everything that merely looks exquisite and precious. Also a popular label for a woman who uses kitsch: “She hung so much “trompentgold” on herself like a gypsy king”. All of this is “KUL opposition,” which they successfully demonstrated in almost twenty hours of debate.
So they offer us gilded plastic and kitsch. Interestingly, no one stumbled upon the word uttered several times, which testifies to the fact that none of the proposers of the interpellation understood it. That is how it is, forgive me, a goldsmith knows plastic, but plastic does not know gold.
Introduction to the interpellation discussion
Proposers have argued that the Minister is not on the side of culture and cultists. They say culture is on its knees and the Minister is nothing. They accuse the minister of not being on the side of the self-employed in culture. It was clear from the introductory speech that the proposers are not on the side of everyone, but of those alternatives who are always entered in the records of the self-employed in culture and do not deserve it. These are the types of culturists who are under scrutiny because they have gained status without meeting the criteria. Their status was granted by commissions, which were apparently judged on the basis of nothing, or on the basis of political usefulness and loyalty to the policy of non-cultural progressiveness, which is related to culture only on the lists of benefits to which they do not belong. We did not have to look long for comparisons and people to represent this. A large part of the discussions was dedicated to defending the instigator against wearing protective masks during the epidemic, the attacker on the cameraman from Nova24TV filming protests, the street harasser of the director of the National Institute of Public Health Milan Krek, and the man of many other heinous uncultured exploits Zlatan Ćordić-Zlatko. With that, they really degraded themselves.
Of course, the Minister was also accused of attacks on the media. In doing so, STA was the most exposed, where there are disagreements regarding the management function, which is stubbornly led by director Bojan Veselinović and has nothing to do with the journalistic work of this media house. The government is also said to be pressuring the independent work of RTV Slovenia journalists, although it is common knowledge that this media house operates completely freely and independently. This is true even in the area of unethical conduct by journalists, who in many cases do not report correctly. Uncultured!
Editor Nemec blames the destruction of culture during an epidemic, where culture is said to be losing and decaying. When you lie so passionately it is of course not appropriate to say that during Vasko Simoniti’s ministry, by far the most funds were allocated for culture, that so far due to the epidemic every cultural worker, who could not create due to the epidemic, was provided exemplary care, they were covered the cost of all contributions and received regular salaries even though they did not work. Sorry, they worked – some regularly walked in front of the Ministry, where they walked around the façade and front door, undressed, dumped their trash, laid down on the road, set up benches and chairs with inscriptions of ministry employees and painted the tables red, which exemplified blood – and even more. These are the ones defended by the interpellation applicants.
When Lidija Divjak Mirnik comes as the speaker, she always triggers the reflex of finding a remote control, but those of us who follow politics are unfortunately doomed to the necessity of taming this reflex. She did not disappoint. The lady presented a view of culture and accused the Minister of obscurantism and of carrying out orders at the will of one man. I had to replay because I did not believe she had uttered such nonsense, and I got confirmation. She hinted that Simoniti was carrying out the Prime Minister’s orders. Anyone who regularly follows Vasko Simoniti, his intellect and attitude towards culture knows that there is no room for commands here. We have never had a more independent and thoughtful Minister of Culture for the benefit of culture and its development. Well, we had one when Vasko Simoniti was also the Minister of Culture in the first government of Janša.
Since there is no room for everything, let me mention just one of her lies, which she said on behalf of her parliamentary group. She claimed that NGOs at Metelkova 6 had received eviction decisions. This, of course, is not true, which the Minister also rejected. They received a call for an agreement, which was already wanted by the previous ministers, but did not implement this idea. The premises at Metelkova 6 are unsuitable for use and architecturally dangerous, so action must be taken. The short label of an instant party of an imaginary politician from under the Kamnik mountains will not be superfluous: What do we get if we get LMŠ on our backs? An empty list and Marjan Šarec with his company, which they always shift through. During the interpellation and the speeches of the LMŠ MPs, we watched a demonstration of just that.
Their motto “different” is most striking. They have no idea how to run the country and cultural policy any differently than they have in the past. They would run it differently from the current successful government, which means they would run it according to their old customs. Their policy has been directed at harming all those to whom they have been referring to for eighty years; workers, farmers, the socially disadvantaged, marginalised groups, the elderly, last but not least, the culture that has been talked about… all, and for their own benefit. The interpellation and positions of the proud successors of the League of Communists were presented by the proud successor of the League of Communists, Marko Koprivc. You have to listen to this MP if you want to experience a cocktail of feelings. It was like that this time too. When he comes he is funny, when he presents views he is stupid, but when he leaves the listener is disappointed.
At the beginning, he blamed the Minister for not participating in the debate in the European Parliament on the situation in Slovenia. He stressed that a discussion there would be on the same issues as it will be on the interpellation. He is probably right, since the starting points for both discussions were prepared in the same database in Slovenia, i.e. in opposition circles. In the period between the discussion on the interpellation and the writing of this article, the Minister, together with the Prime Minister, attended this discussion. We know that he left it, as the atmosphere for discussion was unbearable due to the fact that the chairwoman of the committee in charge in the EP Sophie in ‘t Veld did not allow the broadcasting of the introductory video on the situation in the media in Slovenia, unbearable.
According to Marko Koprivc, as in the Slovenian parliament, the EP would also discuss, among other things, non-transparent financing of the media, which he believes are close to the SDS. He said this once again, despite the fact that it is known exactly how much ownership in terms of shares someone has in Demokracija and in Nova24TV, which he had primarily in mind. The constant emphasis on nonsense clearly testifies only to the fact that they are tormented by the content of the reporting of these media, which reveal many truths that are silenced by them favoured majority media. They would always thresh the same straw, and avoid real problems like a cat avoids boiling porridge.
In the introduction of the interpellation, Primož Siter represented the party of eternal opposition to the logic of markets, economy, and democratic standards. Should I comment on them too? It does not make sense to comment on them in detail as their views are intertwined in all areas with a demagogic attitude towards workers and their rights, which they themselves threaten the most. This party disgusts me more and more and my stomach is turning when I follow their policy. They are not even compatible with those with whom they are supposed to form an alternative government to Janša’s.
For this political group, Marko Bandelli complained that they had proposed the introduction of vouchers for culture at the time of the coronavirus, which was rejected. The Minister is accused of contempt for culture because he marks working in culture as a privilege. Is it not a privilege? If culture is as important as they say, and it is, working in that field is definitely a privilege. It seems that in the SAB they would like to label work in culture as sacrifice, although cultural creation is undoubtedly an activity in which you are driven by personal feelings and attitudes towards expression in a way that we generally call culture.
The party’s general allegations were followed by repetitions regarding allegations of the government’s attitude towards the media and especially the STA. What will words bring you, what will time bring you, and what will all this effort be for to tell them what is going on in these cases. After all the explanations that are clear to even the most stupid, it is mostly about convincing oneself that one can find criticism in positive efforts. Anyone who is not able to find well-argued criticisms, but still criticises, only shows how s/he would work on his/her own. Without content and without critical evaluations, there are no results. They more than proved this when they ruled.
Final message of the interpellation
What all the performers had in common was that they condemned the Minister for actions he did not do and for the state of culture that does not exist. The allegations included a standstill in the cultural field, attacks on the media and free reporting, the abolition of the STA, the withholding of funds for work in the field of film and production, evictions at Metelkova 6, political deprivation of the status of self-employed in culture (the one and only Čordić), delays in enrolment in self-employment records and payment of contributions, retrograde management of cultural policy and suspension of social dialogue, political staffing in public cultural institutions (mention of dr. Dežman, who became the head of the Museum of Recent History; it is disturbing because of the condemning attitude towards the revolution and the cruel post-war massacres), and disregard for the principle of separation of church and state.
What matters is the fact that none of this is true. In most cases, the opposite is true, Čordić is still in the process, they are claiming that the church is connected to the state, because the state also provided assistance to religious leaders (nonsense), and the church is their natural enemy, the appointment of Dežman is a clear ideological criticism…hollow without a wrap, is only a construct.
There is a lot of truth in every joke, so the word “trompetngold” should be declared as the word of a mandate. Such kitschy opposition is hard to find.
Davorin Kopše is a veteran of the war for Slovenia, a candidate for the European Parliament, and an active citizen.