Thursday, February 23, 2006

There are no Nazis in Austria - no sirreee jimbob

OK hands up, which pissy little European country has made an arse of itself on the international stage this week?

…by turning David Irving into a martyr for free speech!?

Well done Austria. The country that gave the World such pioneering liberals as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kurt Waldheim, Jorg Heider, and, er, you know who has come up with another winning stunt.

One aspect of all this that I find particularly amusing is how this story bangs yet another nail in the coffin of the myth of Euro-fluffiness. Over the last few years, a succession of British public figures and pressure groups, bounteously-funded by EU money, have lectured us in Britain about how narrow minded we are. Apparently, the main reasons why British people are against further integration with the EU and adoption of the Euro were because we are

  • Xenophobic and insular
  • obsessed with the last war

So hats off to the Austrians, and the Danes, and the French, and the Germans for showing us, by example, how to be more ethnically inclusive and forward looking. Thanks guys.

Anyway, how the Irving thing fits in with the unfeasibly large torrent of Hate-related japes across Europe recently is a mystery to me. Maybe it’s all a coincidence, maybe not. Either way, I’m quite glad that I have no cause to be travelling on Viennese public transport for the next few weeks.

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