Monthly Archives: January 2013

‘Choose your friends carefully’… guest speakers define a political party?

I have a lot of friends with different views and attitudes to the world. I include amongst my friends not only social liberals, left libertarians, and some economic liberals, but also socialist, anarchists, conservatives…..oh and I even have a friend who is a Welsh Nationalist from Leicester (England). The main point is that they all put up with me (amazingly), while I respect the fact that we all have different opinions on life, the universe, et al. Other than we get something from our friendship/association, I doubt you could tell that much about these people from the fact that they on occasion talk, eat and/or drink with me or in some cases go to watch a football match. I equally doubt that you could tell too much about me from observing these people – other than I have very long suffering friends. So I find the following quote a little less than the full true:

‘Choose your friends carefully……You reveal your character….Not only by the company you keep…. But by the people you avoid…..’

No you don’t! We are all more complicated than that and so are relationships.

Okay, so why am I writing about this and what has this got to do with my headline ‘do guest speakers define a political party?’

Well it’s a story that’s been making the news today, when I read the article that quote popped into my head. Have a look here in der Standard (Google translate works OK) it seems the BZÖ are coming under fire for their choice of a guest speaker, with ‘far-Right’ associations, for the launch of their Kärnten State election campaign. Based on this speakers reported history it leaves me wondering why you would invite such a person to help launch your campaign if you didn’t want to be associated with their views.

Given the BZÖ (currently languishing on an average poll rating of 2.4%) look set to exit the national parliament in this year’s General Election, you could ask why does this matter. Well a number of people (including a twitter friend of mine) regularly challenge me about my use of the phrase ‘more moderate far-Right’* when describing the BZÖ’s place on the political spectrum. I also use the term ‘Right Wing Conservatives’ as over the years they seem to oscillate as a party primarily between the two positions (they have tried to reinvent themselves a number of times including as a liberal party and also a business party but they keep coming back to either far-Right or Right Conservative).

Choosing to invite speakers with very different views to debate at your events is and should always be a healthy form of political engagement but if you choose a speaker to help launch your election campaign, then don’t be so surprised that people will consider that this rather….’reveals your political character’.

So I guess its back to BZÖ ‘more moderate far-Right’?


(* In comparison to the FPÖ)


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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

Vienna win tough indoor football tournament

First Vienna U13 Girls came out on top of what was arguably the toughest and most competitive of the Indoor Girls Football Tournaments the team has played in during the current winter break.


The competition, hosted by USC Landhaus, involved seven teams drawn from Lower Austria and Vienna.

Final Table








FC Vienna







KSC Donaustadt







SC Mautner







SKV Altenmarkt







USC Landhaus














SC Ortmann







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Me, a Ball and the bow tie

Haven’t been to a Vienna Ball since we moved back to the city but it’s time to correct that omission.

This evening it’s the Vienna Medical Doctor’s Ball and we are going to be joining friends for what will hopefully be a wonderful event at the Hofburg, lasting till 5am.

Now I’m the sort of person who is happy enough wearing a suit but tends to leave the tie in the wardrobe and this evening my moth eaten collection will continue to remain there. However, I will for the first time in my life be going forth wearing a bow tie. How this strange new experience works out I shall report in a future posting – maybe. But as Whovian’s would quote, the Doctor says “Bow ties are cool”.

2013-01-26 16.24.44



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Filed under Entertainment, Vienna Balls, Vienna Life

Austrians have strong opinions on the European Union

This weekend’s Gallup survey published in by is interesting, not only because of the clear support for the EU, but because none of the respondents were undecided or refused to answer the question.

The poll suggests Austrians remain supportive of the EU by 74% to 26%. Supporters of the most Euro-sceptic party, the Far-Right FPÖ, split 52 to 48 against, while those backing the (I would suggest) more Euro-sceptic-lite Team Stronach are the most EU sceptic splitting 70% to 30%.


How the Parties in Austria split on the EU question

Pro-European Parties (to varying degrees): ÖVP (conservatives); SPÖ (Social Democrats); Greens (Left of Centre); NEOS (liberal/centrist); LIF (liberal); Austrian Pirate Party. Combined support in current polls – 66%

Europe-sceptic Parties (to varying degrees): FPÖ (Far-Right); BZO (Right Conservative); Team Stronach (Right of Centre). Combined support in current polls – 34%


2013-01-26 14.31.49

One of Austria’s newest parties NEOS would probably score amongst the most pro-European of the parties likely to be in the Austrian Parliament after this year’s General Election – . However, the Austrian Pirates might dispute that title as they are currently discussing a Euro-federalist position –


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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

Referendum win gives conservatives momentum in the polls

Two polls this weekend show the (conservative) ÖVP narrowing the gap on its Grand Coalition governing partner the SPÖ (Social Democrats):















Team Stronach







Overall the effect of the Conscription referendum battle, which pitched the two governing parties against each other (and to all intensive purposes sidelined the opposition parties), has been to strengthen the poll ratings of the Coalition which has now crept back above the 50% support mark to 51%.

Other (realistic) coalition oppositions based upon current average poll figures are:

ÖVP/Greens/SPÖ – 64.6%

TS/ ÖVP/ SPÖ – 59.8%

FPÖ/ TS/ ÖVP – 53.4%

The average of the five most recent polls confirms the upward trend of the ÖVP and the downward movement of one of Austria’s newest political parties, Team Stronach:

Polls Av Now

1st Jan ’13






















Team Stronach









Since the launch of Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach’s party on the 27th September 2012, Team Stronach has lost 2.2% support. This is against the backdrop of pre-launch higher ratings, massive media exposure, and significant spending on advertising.

The Far-Right FPÖ will be relieved to see their vote stabilising after a period of decline. However, they are 6% down in the polls compared to the beginning of 2012 and are seeing voters switch from Team Stronach to the ÖVP rather back to them.

Based upon the last five polls in which they were specially identified, the Austrian Pirate Party are averaging 1.2%.


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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

Kicking extremism out of football – at least at Austria Wien

Well there were lots of positive comments on my timeline from fellow Austria fans about the clubs decision last night to take action against extreme right-wing elements at the stadium. It’s good to see the clubs General Assembly decide to no longer recognise one of the fanclubs because of their failure to abide by the ‘no violence and no politics in the stadium’ rules.

Loss of recognition mean the group can no longer hang any banners in the stadium and will no longer be allowed to participate in official fan club meetings. I note in this report in der Standard that Austria emphasise that the action has been taken after the club had attempted to resolve issues with the group through dialogue.

Austria is a great club to support and the vast majority of fans are truly committed to the club and the game of football. The club has always had a strong tradition of stylish and creative football which it retains today. This commitment makes its teams great to watch but not always predicable when it comes to results. A couple of seasons ago we played the best football in the league but failed to win the title. This year we are again playing the most attractive football but are, I’m happy to say, on course to win the league.

Austria Wien’s history includes a strong connection with Vienna’s pre-WWII Jewish community. A few of the clubs Jewish officials and players were able to flee the country during the Nazis period but many were murdered. The club itself is said, during this period, to have (in a small but significant way) rebelled by resisting the Nazi authorities’ attempts to rename the club and instead retaining its original name of ‘Austria’.

It’s good to see the club sticking with its history on and off the pitch.


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A joint platform for liberal forces in Salzburg State election….and maybe beyond?

A report here in the Salzburger Fenster (Google translate works ok) suggests that NEOS could make its first foray in the State elections in Salzburg later this year, in alliance with LIF (Liberal Forum).


As the article includes direct statements from both Matthias Strolz (NEOS Party Leader) and Günter Eckerstorfer (LIF State Co-ordinator) it seems that following an Assembly on 7th February the two parties are likely to form a joint platform. I have read a number of statements in the press regarding discussion about an electoral alliance for the General Election (due in September 2013) and this looks to be the forerunner for such an initiative.

For NEOS, which was only formed last October, the State elections to be held on 3rd March in both Kärnten and Lower Austria came too soon. However, Salzburg could provide exactly the profile boost and momentum to launch them (and any potential alliance) into the General Election. The Party is aiming to secure 10% in the General Election, well above the 4% hurdle needed to enter the parliament.

Austrian Pirate Party

The article also highlights that the Austrian Pirate Party (another newcomer formed early last year) will be competing in Salzburg as well as Kärnten State elections. They had success in securing a seat in the city election in Graz last year and will hope to repeat the achievement in both States. The Party is currently averaging 1.4% in national opinion polls but polling evidence suggests that they have a potential to secure up to 6%.

(Note the article talks about Pirate success in Innsbruck but this relates to an expelled group of Pirates:


Further information:

It will have to be a big tent…hence NEOS

Today a new liberal party takes to the stage

Will the greens leave behind their voters for Neos to scoop up?



Filed under Austrian Politics, Liberal Politics, Politics