The view from Austria

"We had great times here. There were artists and writers all around. Great parties. They\’re all gone now," says the former communist. "Now half the families in my block are immigrants. They can\’t speak German. They can\’t even speak English."

Slightly odd final line, no?

Or is speaking English really that much of a marker of modernity?

5 thoughts on “The view from Austria”

  1. When I lived in Vienna, I used to pass Karl Marx Hof everyday going in to Heilingstadt station ( early ’90s).

    It was – and I hope – still is a tremendous building and could rightly be claimed as a fine tribute to social housing.

    But, why with almost as long a tradition of social housing in this country is there nothing, except drab estates comprising basic box houses littered with unkempt gardens and barely-road legal vehicles parked on concreted-over front gardens?

    Tim adds: There’s actually some very good council housing in the UK. But it’s of that same vintage, 1920s. There’s a great little estate on one of the hills overlooking Bath for example. Sturdy four bedroomed houses with large gardens (” a working man needs the space to raise vegetables and to keep the family pig” was roughly the argument in hte council minutes of the time).

  2. Notice how the Guardian claims that the SDs ‘pandered’ to the tabloids and ‘turned’ eurosceptic and as a consequence the government fell. This in an article about the rise of a right-wing anti-immigrant party! Nowhere is there any recognition that the Freedom party are taking the working class vote because of disgust at the open door immigration policy foisted on them by the EU. Nowhere is the recognition that the Left party in Germany is an anti-EU party. Are they so blinded by what they want to believe that they can’t see it? Or are they deliberately not mentioning it in the hope that it will go away? It’s bizarre.

  3. The FDP goes back well before Austria’s accession to the EU.

    There was plenty of immigration to Austria from the Balkans and post-Communist states before then for the FDP to complain about.

    It has waxed and waned over the years. And will probably continue to do so, never breaking through in any serious fashion except in the regional elections close to the Slovenian border.

  4. Englisch uber alles!

    I’ve been pointing this out from time to time for nearly 60 years. Some explain it as the result of economic prominence, some attribute it to military power, and there are various other explanations.

    But, as far as I’ve been able to observe, the quality primarily responsible is its flexibility, most especially of the sort allowing of various forms of humor.

    It’s “way cool” and, evidently, a lot more FUN.
    And, most everyone likes to have fun (except the French, who don’t mind other people having fun but want none of it among themselves).

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