The political sensation of the moment in Austria concerns the appointment of a very young man — younger than the future Baron, so an infant from my point of view — to the important position of assistant to the new interior minister.
Our Austrian correspondent Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff has compiled a report on all the controversy. The political context can appear confusing, so here’s a preliminary listing of the dramatis personae:
- ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party): Center-right, but afraid to confront the issue of Islamization. Desperately trying to maintain position.
- SPÖ (Socialist Party of Austria): Typical European Social Democrats. Currently on the wane.
- FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria): Right-wing, opposed to mass immigration. Currently on the rise.
- BZÖ (Alliance for the Future of Austria): Right-wing, also anti-immigration. Founded by Jorg Haider.
- Die Grünen: The Greens. Not really a player, but thrown in for completeness’ sake.
Shakeup in the ÖVP
Major happenings in Austria. I was initially speechless, but… read on.
Ten days ago Josef Pröll (43), the vice-chancellor, minister of finance and ÖVP party leader, was forced to retire from his post for reasons of health. The result was a new ÖVP leader, current foreign minister Michael Spindelegger, who decided on a major ÖVP cabinet reshuffle.
Interior minister Maria Fekter, an integration hardliner, will take over the ministry of finance, and Johanna Mikl-Leitner will become the new interior minister. She is said to be as tough as Fekter. The big scandal, however, is the state secretary to support Mikl-Leitner: 24-year-old Sebastian Kurz, a law student (a former student of mine), whose role will be to act as the liberal watchdog to soften Mikl-Leitner’s positions.
The online forums are awash with outrage regarding Kurz: He is too young, has not finished his education, and has no idea about integration matters. 99.9% of all commenters in the forums are highly negative regarding ÖVP, look forward to voting for the FPÖ, and some even say they are sad that they voted for ÖVP in previous elections.
ÖVP currently hovers around 20% in polls, while FPÖ is at 26%, SPÖ at 27%.
I know Sebastian personally. He is a hard-working young man.
What I find despicable is not that he took on the post, but rather that Mr. Spindelegger hands an important political post to a 24-year-old without any experience. How can someone believe that a young man, actually a child, can solve problems which include culture-enrichers and Islam? It is simply baffling. I feel sorry for Sebastian. And I am angry at Mr. Spindelegger.
I cannot wait for the next election results. They will be disastrous for ÖVP. They deserve no less.
In addition, critics, myself included, contend that the post of state secretary — in effect secretary to the minister — pays a whopping €14,000 per month with a full cabinet, a chauffeur, and other perks. This is simply too high a salary for a political apprentice with no higher education.
Kurz’ supporters say “Give him a chance.” I say that this salary is way too high to “give him a chance”. This is, after all, taxpayers’ money. What a slap in the face for those hard-working people, the few that are left in the squeezed middle class.
First interview with Sebastian Kurz:
This is a huge challenge for me and all of us. A firm command of the German language is the basic necessity for good integration. This must be expanded. I particularly address children and young adults in this regard.
It is easy for [FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian] Strache to talk the talk, but in truth, most of those he puts down are Austrian citizens!
My first plans are to meet with NGOs, talk to experts, and listen to their ideas. We must improve integration because what would happen if social life doesn’t work is evident in many European cities.
A lack of German skills leads to parallel societies. I want to prevent that. I want to make a contribution so that the number of those speaking good German rises. It is important to me that we have a peaceful society.
I am in charge of integration, for those people who have a residence permit or already have Austrian citizenship. Questions of immigration should be addressed neither with daydreams nor with hate speech.
During the Vienna local elections [in fall 2010] I demanded that imams preach in German only. I am not in favor of prohibiting [the preaching in another language], but I still believe imams should preach in German.
This interview does not bode well for the future. It shows nothing new, just more of the same.
There’s more information at The Austrian Times (in English):
Speak good German is only for those with german blood surging through their veins! Al others cluster in thier neighborhoods speaking their native tounge, looking for ways to berate those who accuse them of non-integration.
I say, go back to from where thee comest! Depart ye auslanders und untermensch!
“# FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria): Right-wing, opposed to mass immigration. Currently on the rise.
# BZÖ (Alliance for the Future of Austria): Right-wing, also anti-immigration. Founded by Jorg Haider.”
I would bet a million dollars (if I had it) that all the representatives of both of these parties have the “Ism Disease” — i.e., they believe the problem is “extremism/fundamentalism/Wahhabism/Salafism” — and what they would be modifying with these Ism terms when turned into their adjectival “Ist” function would NOT be Islam (Heaven forbid!), but rather “Islamism”.
Not one of the representatives of any of these “right wing” parties would ever say that the problem is:
I wish I had a million dollars to bet — because I would win.
Hesperado: I am afraid you are right. But there is nothing one cn do about that for the moment. *sigh.
This is a smart move for the party…
1) Young means he is well versed in all the NEW ways to get information ie. blogging, facebook, twitter = these are political nessesities now
2) He will capture YOUNG voters to the Party
3) He has no tainted history on the subject
4) He knows more about the problem than most if he grew up going to some of these culturally enriched schools
5) He MAY be one of the 1% who are extremely bright
6) HE HAS MORE INTEREST IN THE FUTURE OF GERMANY BECAUSE HE WILL HAVE TO LIVE IN IT A LOT LONGER THAN THOSE 40 & 50 YEAR OLD’S IN CABINET.
7) A EUROPEAN 24 year old is a lot more mature than than a British, American, Canadian, Australian 24 year old. Their undergraduate University school system is also much tougher!
“a sight to make all nations stand and stare: a kingdom trusted to a schoolboy’s care”
This was aimed at William Pitt when he became Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was 24 at the time the same age as this Gentleman. Age does not endowed a man with wisdom. It is the quality of the man that matters. Pitt for all his youth had an iron will in his soul. He like Churchill 150 years later brought his country thought the Napoleonic wars when for most of the time we stood alone. Let us wait and see.
Well, any leftists reading Kurz’s interviews will be ready to pounce on anything that he says… so can he be expected to confront, in the media, anything other than the “isms” being currently discussed in the mainstream?
How about giving the guy a chance…?
And Elisabeth – if you know him, then rather than go on the attack before he’s even started, perhaps this would be a chance for you both to sit down and talk? He will need advisers – especially given his age.
Agree with hmmm – this could be a great opportunity for “our side”!
In hoc signo vinces†
Not one of the representatives of any of these “right wing” parties would ever say that the problem is: … [islam/muslims]
Then we must ask why?
Maybe because a plank of their pseudo-laissez-faire ideology demands the free movements of people across borders and economies, thus David Cameron’s good immigration not mass immigration – his example of good immigration is Baroness Warsi, his example of bad/mass immigration is any continental European.
“How can someone believe that a young man, actually a child, can solve problems which include culture-enrichers and Islam?”
When my teenagers fall back on the actually a child labelling of themselves they are rapidly guided back to the reality of the adult world.
“This is simply too high a salary for a political apprentice with no higher education.”
One of the problems in the West has been institutional higher education which has become an academia of the brainwashed.
1. I am not attacking Sebastian, I am merely observing. I read what he has said so far (in the various interviews), and this shows me nothing new. Sebastian is a young man representing the current political system, a system that I believe has failed.
2. It is for this reason that I see no point in sitting down with him. He gets paid about 14,000 times more than I do. My time is precious. If he wants to hear my opinions or suggestions, he knows how to contact me. What I and my friends believe needs to be changed is too painful for him to listen to and to put into effect.
3. Don’t you think I tried to talk to him while he attended my class? This was many years ago; I soon realized I was wasting my time. So why should I waste my time now?
He is NOT a child, he is an adult lacking professional/life experience.
We can’t fall in this pc trap that uses to claim for age to justify crimes and irresponsabilities of 17 or 18 y.o. people…
How will we criticize the ’17 y.o. children’ who arrive alone in Europe to claim for asylum???… Then they really are children…
Given that I am 23 years old myself and have just as limited a life experience, perhaps even more so, then I suppose that my commentary is equally unqualified due to said lack of experience.
That’s where the logic of age ultimately comes from.
I fully accept that Herr Kurz doesn’t grasp the situation in its fundamental truth, and that he is a scion of the present rotting corpse of an establishment, but that has nothing to do with his age.
So please, don’t insult me and those who went before and achieved great things in spite of their apparent youth. Believe you me, there are many of us. Condemn him as you will for his opinion, but not for his experience or lack of it.
After all, on Caladan, if you want to teach a child to swim, you throw him into the ocean.
Let’s see how Herr Kurz survives in an ocean of enrichment.
Apologies to all 20 pluses: In nearly-40 hindsight I was still very much a child in my twenties. I think, however, that it is more important to judge Sebastian’s experience or lack thereof: Do people honestly think that having attended school with 50% migration background qualifies for the post? I have a driver’s license, does this qualify me for the post of transportation minister?
In hoc signo vinces†
Your political opposition to Sebastian Kurz is in danger of running into the verge of the stupid white man argument of the political elite expert witness. A political tatic deployed in Scotland that gives ten-fold the weight to the words of the (expert) State agent than to the citizen.