I’m a long standing fan of the Irish band The Saw Doctors. In years gone by they recorded a song about the then Irish Culture Minister who was a bit of a hero to those in the creative arts in Ireland. Here’s the link to ‘Michael D Rocking
in the Dail’:
Michael D Higgins has just been elected as the ninth Irish president 🙂
It’s Austria’s official birthday today. The Austrian National Day marks the birth of the Second Republic in 1955. Although the Austrian State Treaty was signed in May and came into force on the 27th July, it was the 26th October that was chosen to mark the start of the new independent, democratic state. On the day before the last foreign troops had left Austria, ending ten years of occupation, and so the 26th October 1955 saw the Austrian 2nd Republic enjoy its first day as an independent and sovereign state.
At the end of the Second World War, Austria was occupied by the Allied powers and divided into four zones overseen by the Soviet Union, Great Britain, United States and France respectively. The ten year occupation lasted much longer than most people had expected due to the deterioration of relationships between the allies and the struggle for whether the new Austria would become part of the Eastern or Western block.
Bring us back to the present day, I note that der Standard has an article (on its website) in which a national survey suggests that only 34% are ‘very proud’ to be Austrians compared to 42% respondents a year ago. This may in part be connected to the number of high profile scandals that have been enveloping the political parties over the last twelve months or so.
On a lighter note, I have to agree with the 86% who are proud of the scenic beauty of the country and the 66% who highlighted the high quality of life. As a vegetarian I’m less inclined to concur with the 68% who mentioned the quality of the local cuisine – this is a very meat orientated country and vegetarianism outside Vienna can be challenging at times – but they are probably right none the less 🙂
The latest national opinion in Austria (this time from Gallup Austria and featured on the neuwal website) confirms the same pattern of voting intentions as other polls earlier in the month for the national parliament.
The SPÖ lead with 30%, followed by the FPÖ 26%, ÖVP 23%, Greens 15%, BZÖ 3%. The three per cent for the BZÖ, if repeated in the actual General Election, would see the party fail to secure any seats in the new parliament. Comparing Octobers results with those in September the performance of the various parties remains consistant (within the normal 3% margin of error for such polls).
When compared with polls in September the results confirm the centre-left parties maintaining a lead over the far-right, with the centre-right continuing to struggle. The SPÖ/Greens combined vote is up one percentage point to around 45%. The combined far right vote of the FPÖ/ BZÖ has dropped by 1% to approximately 29%. The centre-right ÖVP has seen no change in its share of the vote.
As the neuwal website analysis highlight’s, if the Gallup poll was to be the outcome of the next General Election then the SPÖ and ÖVP would be in a postion to maintain the current ruling coalition with 103 seats between them. However, the ÖVP and FPÖ would also have the option of forming a government with a total of 96 seats. A centre-left grouping of the SPÖ and Green, with only 87 seats, would be 5 short of the 92 required to have a majority in parliament. Whilst the formation of an SPÖ/ FPÖ alliance would generate the largest majority, with 109 seats, but is the least likely of all possible future coalitions.
This coming Monday, 24 October 2011, at 17:00 there’s another chance for girls interested in playing football to try out for First Vienna’s Girls football teams. See link:
There are currently two teams training, in preparation for join competitive leagues next season, under 10’s and under 14’s. As the above article says, the immediate need is for goalkeepers for the 10 to 14 team but girls interested in playing in outfield positions or joining the 7 to 9 team are also welcome to trial.
H and the other girls in the two teams are very enthusiastic and are enjoying the very professionally delivered training. They are also tellme it’s also lots of fun 🙂
Much to my surprise our Sunday walk over to the Kirche am Steinhof gave us the opportunity to have a look inside this amazing church building and statement of ‘modernism’ architecture designed by Otto_Wagner’s (1841 -1918) – I had expected the building to be closed as usual.
The Kirche am Stienhof is just one of the architectural structures designed by Wagner (including the S-Bahn, with its wonderful stations, which takes me on my morning journey to work) which help shape and dominate various parts of Vienna. Standing inside the church we couldn’t help but discuss how the buildings modernism is so different to the feel of traditional churches and yet creates its own sense of grandeur equal to many of the English cathedral we’ve wandered through:
The sight of a deer grazing is not that unusual when you are out for a walk in or near Vienna Woods. However, this particular animal was very much the centre of attention as it happily enjoyed lunch surrounded people playing, kite flying or simply taking a stroll in the afternoon sunshine:
The headlines in Austria have been dominated for months now with one political scandal after another. Of all the parties that sit in the current Federal Parliament only the Greens seem to be free from involvement in one or more cases of alleged corruption. The German newspaper Spiegel in its online International (English) edition, has three very good articles about the problems here in the Alpine Republic. There is an interesting reference to Italy in the 1990’s where corruption scandals ultimately saw the disbanding of the old traditional parties and new ones formed, but I suspect that won’t be the outcome here when this has all finally been washed out of the system.
A Web of Sleaze in Elegant Vienna
Part 2: ‘Nothing Short of Organized Robbery’
Part 3: Culture of Cronyism Continues