As in the days of Rousseau and the pseudo-Enlightenment, facilitator of the French Revolution, we live in a time of ascendant charlatanry. In politics, the arts, academe, all our emperors are naked. Realism and sanity have become gross offences. Yet there is in Europe one country – reviled and demonised by the gatekeepers of woke orthodoxy – that has successfully defied the lemming-like stampede towards auto-destruction that has overtaken most of the continent. In Hungary, neither the intellect nor the soul is dead, as in so much of the rest of Europe.
Even at the mechanical level of fiscal innovation, Hungary has adopted distinctive solutions, as testified by a flat rate of income tax at 15 per cent and a corporate tax rate of 9 per cent that is the lowest in Europe. Granted, VAT is high at 27 per cent and last year the government, in response to the disruptive effects of the war in Ukraine, imposed a number of windfall taxes. But, overall, the fiscal landscape in Hungary exhibits a creativity and openness to experimentation that is alien to Britain.