It seems that if you are a conservative politician in Austria with a desire to shift your party’s position, in response to current economic and social concerns, the key soundbite is “to prevent London-like conditions in Austria”.
The comment was made by ÖVP politician and Governor of Lower Austria Erwin Pröll as he called for higher taxes for top earners. His suggestion has not been well received by some other members of his party at the Federal level. Currently the ÖVP are scoring around 23% in opinion polls at the Federal level (putting them third place nationally) whilst a summer poll in the state of Lower Austria showed that Pröll’s ÖVP (who run the state) were on 53%, some 31 points ahead of their nearest rivals. As the State has long been a bedrock of ÖVP support the poll ratings and policy views do not necessarily have a direct correlation. However, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that the Pröll is the Governor of one of only three out of nine Austrian states in which the ÖVP have significant support (in the polls) and the Federal party is not making headway.
As for London, I used to (and to be honest still often do) hear Austrians talk in positive terms about the city. But these days Erwin Pröll’s negative soundbite is just as likely to fit with perceptions here.