Here’s an interesting recent interview, in the Die Presse newspaper, with Friedhelm Frischenschlager, a co-founder of LIF (Austrian Liberal Party). It’s in German but Google translate works quiet well on this one.
In the article Frischenschlager suggests replacing the LIF with a new Social-Liberal party, drawing together supporters from beyond the existing very small liberal grouping. He makes reference to such a new Party securing between 10% and 20% support, which is the sort of level opinion polls have been suggesting for the last year or so.
Why ‘Social-Liberal’? One of the reasons Frischenschlager highlights is the problem Liberals in Austria have in being equated with neo-liberals, hence the use of the word social. Oddly I always refer to myself in Austrian terms as a ‘social Liberal’ whilst in England tending to use the term ‘radical Liberal’ – but that’s a discussion for another time. As to whether I would retain my neutrality or find myself supporting such a new grouping will have to wait until (and if) such a Party was formed and what it actually stood for – social, radical, liberal, progressive, traditionalist, socialist, conservative can have interestingly different meanings around the world or even amongst people in the same Party. One thing about living in another country is that you are constantly reminded that politics defined in simple left-right terms or on today’s political headlines is a very limited guide to what political movements (and the coalitions that form them) are really all about.