Damien on… The Trouble With Democracy
I’ve been all OVER Western Europe and the most beautiful countries by far are Switzerland and Austria. However, whilst Switzerland is GEOGRAPHICALLY European (for American readers, it’s right in the MIDDLE) it distances itself from the whole mess, so I’ll not dwell on it.
Austria, on the other hand, is firmly aligned with the rest of Western Europe. But Western Europe has not always been so fond of Austria – mainly due to its politics. Figures like Jorg Haider and Wolfgang Schussel were somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan. Compared to them, Pat Buchanan is a Liberal.
Watching “The Sound Of Music”, one could be forgiven for assuming the people of Austria were AGAINST the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria by Germany, just prior to WW2) but in a people’s referendum carried out just after, Austrians’ approval for Germany’s action registered 99.73%.
Which is not surprising, given Adolph Hitler was Austrian. Of course, since that time, Austria has reformed, right? Well, when Jorg and Wolfgang were in power, Europe apparently didn’t think so – they almost threw Austria OUT of Europe.
When I travelled through the country, I encountered their Police. With their fair locks flowing out of their peaked caps, they struck poses and strutted their stuff – moving only to try and screw money from hapless tourists. I swear one even goose-stepped. I’m saying no more.
Meanwhile, France has seen its share of extreme right-wing lunacy too. Jean-Marie Le Pen fought several presidential elections – one time, almost WINNING. She makes Buchanan look like a COMMIE. (What? Jean-Marie is a MAN? Oh well – that must be his camp name).
Anyhoo, m’point is that Democracy is SUPPOSED to work, because The People get to say who rules them. And the assumption is that extreme right- and left-wing parties will never get NEARLY enough popular votes to attain any actual POWER.
Well, so far they haven’t. But it’s been a damn close thing…