Two years ago I delighted in the agony and ecstasy of the American presidential election.
One year ago I watched the British election on C-span in my pyjamas.
This year I had every intention of following the Austrian election but ended up completely forgetting that today was poll day. Looks like the Social Democrats narrowly beat the incumbent People’s Party. But such is the nature of these multi-party systems that the losers may still find themselves in a coalition government.
The Freedom Party (they of the “Homeland, not Islam” and “German, not ‘I not understanding,'”* billboards) polled 11%, and their bastard child, The Party for the (White, Catholic) Future of Austria got 4%. In other words, 14% of Austrians are Far Righters. Nice. The Greens got 10% (meaning Austrians would like to preserve their beautiful countryside, but they hate foreigners more).
Of course, Austrians care who won. The rest of the world doesn’t (unless the Freedom Party enters the coalition causing Brussels to spaz out, again).
But the insignificance of today is a good thing for Austria. For countries whose politics really matter (America), or those who think they matter (but don’t = Britain), life is terribly complicated. Best to just not be important. Safer that way.
*This one was particularly nasty. It read, “Deutsch, statt ‘nix versteh’n,” which is a blatant piss-take of the way Easterners speak German (‘nix’ instead of ‘nichts,’ which is why I translated into the English, “I not understanding.” It would be like an anti-foreigner billboard in a Chinese area saying, “We want fried rice not flied lice.”