Talvik perceives rise of mediocrity

Artur Talvik.

PHOTO: Dmitri Kotjuh / Järva Teataja

Artur Talvik, who stopped running the Free Party on Saturday and left its ranks on Sunday, is less than impressed with the party’s new board. He believes that the only reason the worst political technology was held back was because he decided not to run for chairman.

You said a few weeks ago that your fate would be decided on May 12.

I should be able to make sense of it in the coming days; however, I’m not over the moon as regards the new board. It includes people I would not like to work with. Not all are like that – there are nice people too. Perhaps it was one of the reasons why I decided to become a freeman again so soon.

I must explain that while I left the party, I effectively restored the situation as it was before March 8, 2017 in becoming a supporting member. I’m not listed as a member, and the Free Party’s board cannot tell me what to do, while I remain a part of the faction and will continue working with them. At least for now.

What is your problem with the new board?

I’m afraid they are becoming a traditional party. It is something I have talked about at length and my biggest fear – there are some trends I do not like at all. It is a breaking point where we should plot an opposite course, away from the classical party to find other and more interesting ways of pursuing policy.

In what does Artur Talvik feel his political movement is becoming a traditional party?

I’ve said that once you start handing out balloons, it’s over, it’s done. Definitely the entire who-gets-to-sit-where system – some relatively little-known worker bees are given good places on election lists for all their loyalty. Such tendencies are not good.

Also, when the organization becomes more important than what it’s working toward. A political party should be working for society, for Estonia.

I believe that the dog of political stagnation is buried in political parties, the devil is in the parties. How to get it out is the relevant question. It is the case not just in Estonia, but the whole of Europe. Rather people support political movements while there is great dissatisfaction with the established political class.

Looking at the bigger picture, new faces cannot bring about change in parties. Rather it is the opposite: they are quickly placed in some kind of levelling machines and chopped up.

No one can be a lone revolutionary for long.

No, it is not a question of lone revolutionaries. Rather it’s that there is demand for the new somewhere, but we have not yet defined this new way of pursuing policy, it has not taken a good shape.

You told ERR of mud-slinging and political technology at in-house elections. You feel these methods were resorted to in the Free Party?

Some things happened. You cannot get rid of political technology altogether; however, there is political technology and then there is political technology. Whenever mediocrity wants power, political technology is employed most unpleasantly. Perhaps my decision not to run helped avoid the worst political technology. A few handfuls of mud were still slung. Probably out inertia.

Such as?

For example, a long letter by two former executives that was full of lies. It was very unpleasant. It surfaced after I had said I will not run. It was aimed not at me, but at people who support me.

So, you protected the party’s current leaders from themselves?

I protected my supporters from these attacks. I saved the Free Party from becoming an ordinary cartel party. At least I tried. The coming days will tell how it turned out.

I believe Andres Herkel (new chairman – ed.) understands where I’m coming from. We have met and spoken after the election. He finds a lot of my ideas acceptable. The question is what the apparatus behind him will do.

Could that apparatus be tempted to join IRL?

It rather seems that IRL might be tempted to swallow the Free Party. Provided the latter will not become a platform for free citizens again, I see few other options. I cannot imagine us making the election threshold at Riigikogu elections with the current team more than one member of which is hesitant in terms of whether to take part.

Do I understand correctly that you had agreements with several people that they would join your team if you stayed on?

Yes, they were preliminary agreements, but that was the general direction. The situation has changed now.