Monthly Archives: April 2011

Lib Dem’s are…

Interesting piece on Lib Dem identity:!/notes/liberal-democrat-voice/how-lib-dem-members-describe-their-political-identity-liberal-progressive-and-so/10150172899962159

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Filed under Liberal Politics, Politics, UK Politics

Parenting skills for liberals – where did I put the manual?

I’m of the opinion that as parents we should be automatically issued with a special iPhone App called ‘Parenting Skills for Dummies’ or some such equally ridiculous title. This would be your basic starter kit package and have that wonderful App update function, an absolute necessity as I generally find that successful strategies used with my eight year old only work once or at best twice. Parents should then be able to supplement the start kit with Apps reflecting political, cultural, religious and other specialist interest and needs, as well as an App addressing local geo/social demands.

Yet again, last night, I found myself in need of such modern technological support. The issue in question related to whether or not H should go with her school to a Roman Catholic Church this morning. Although an Austrian citizen she was baptised into the Anglican Church. Her current religious views swing between a mild commitment to Anglicanism and a more God’s OK but ‘church’ is boring let go skateboarding stance. Whilst when in England she quiet enjoyed the religious education lessons, here in Vienna she has discovered that a benefit of her ‘Protestant’ faith is more free time as she does not attend Roman Catholic education classes. She’s also becoming aware, through some of her classmates, that a practical benefit of a non-religious life is (as she would say) ‘no boring church’ and ‘more free time’.

Now for simple logistical reasons H needs to go with her class to the RC Church. For cultural, religious and educational reasons this would in fact be a good experience for her. I, as a liberal, parent want H to make her own choices in the long run about faith and so wish her to develop an informed opinion. I, as a liberal parent, try to persuade my daughter to change her mind about and embrace these future benefits despite the clear and immediate advantages for her of sticking to her position. All of this is to be achieved without expressing any of my own views on the RC Church, accidentally creating a religion defining moment, not being directive (unless absolutely desperate) and being able to go back into the living room and tell her mother ‘mission accomplished’. All I will say on the debate that took place is that eight year olds are incisive debaters, anyone listening would have been in stitches of laughter, and it was ‘agreed’ with significant reluctance that H would join her classmates in Church (and no mention would be made of those getting a lie in this morning because they chose not to attend).

So if there are any App developers out there working on my ‘Parenting Skills for stressed liberal’, please get a move!

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Filed under Religon, The odd thought or observation, Vienna Life

Cavaliers for style but Roundhead to the bone

It’s difficult even here in the Republic of Austria to avoid a certain wedding. I’ve managed, today, to disappoint some of my work colleagues who were getting excited by the activities of my homelands royals.

I walked in on an excited discussion about ‘the wedding’, which I was informed is tomorrow. There was some disappointment when I explained that I was a republican (British anti-royalist not to be confused with a American right wing type).

Many Austrians I meet seem to love the idea of the British Royals and are often somewhat disappointed when I don’t share their enthusiasm. One colleague today was far from happy when I made reference to Cromwell, the Roundheads and the chopping off of royal heads – but only as a historical moment you understand, I remain opposed to call forms of Capital Punishment :).

Found it a little sad today when I read a YouGov survey that said the number of Brits wanting to abolish the Monarchy had declined. Also that the Monarchy was one of those things that defined Britishness – now what was the royal families name before they changed it to Windsor and which part of Germany did they originate from?


Filed under The odd thought or observation, UK, Vienna Life

Bilingual place names agreement

The saga of German/Slovenian place name signage has been going on in the Austrian state of Karnten for decades but it now seems to finally be coming to an end. I’ve always found the objections to bilingual signage rather odd (especially when the issue is covered in the Austrian State Treaty). The article from the Austrian Times below provides a little more detail on the agreement that been reached. I was also interested to note that at the end of the piece are stats for different minorities in Austrian and that the largest group are the 213,000 Germans.

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Filed under Austrian Politics, Out and about in Karnten, Politics

Man with gun walks into the restaurant

I turned to look for a second time. My brain was just refusing to register that my eyes had been within an arm’s reach of a rifle with telescopic site attached. The shock of turning round in my seat in a quiet little restaurant in Lower Austria’s Waldviertel and coming face to face with a man with a rifle was, I felt, understandable.  However, any sense of panic that was probably about to kick in was immediately suppressed when the little grey cells rapidly registered the man’s traditional Austrian hunting gab.

For everyone else, in this rural corner of Austria, having someone walk into the restaurant armed with a rifle failed to register  any comment but as an Englishmen brought up with only the sight of the occasional farmers shotgun I’m still adjusting to living in a society where guns are much more common place. I’m getting used to the fact that all police officers carry weapons, let alone civilians walking around public places. One of the oddest sights though is at zebra crossings near primary schools where instead of the ‘Lolly Pop’ man or women (you see in England) here you have a gun carrying police officer – one upside being that you don’t get cars ignoring the instruction to stop.

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Filed under Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

Best AV video yet?

Rather liked this contribution to the debate on the alternative voting system for the UK:

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Filed under Politics, UK Politics

And then there were 1001!

On my return yesterday from our Easter trip to the Waldviertel I discovered that the pond had acquired some new residents in the shape of 100 plus tadpoles. A rough count this afternoon puts the tadpole population at over 1000. If nature does not take its course we could be facing an interesting plague of frogs 🙂

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Filed under Environment, Vienna Life, Wildlife