Meanwhile, In Austria...

I don't know how much coverage the Ibiza Affair has been getting in the UK, but ut seems the leaders of the right-wing populist "Freedom Party" (FPÖ), Heinz-Christian Strache, who is also Vice-Chancellor of Austria, and Johann Gudenus, a party deputy leader, have been caught trying to make a deal with a Russian ogliarch.

Unfortunately for them it was a trap, and the entire meeting was filmed. They are seen apparently agreeing to a deal where the "Ogliarch" buys a popular Austrian newspaper amd publishes pro-FPÖ material, and in return gets lots of government contracts.

The video was published on May the 17th. In the last 3 days, both have resigned in disgrace, the government coalition has been broken up, and new elections have been called.

Notice that they haven't actually achieved what they wanted, as the whole thing was set up, but still, just for the intent and fact they were trying this, the election is considered void.

So why is the UK still proceeding with Brexit under similar, and arguably more serious ciircumstances and claiming that it is still the "will of the people"?
 

Unkraut

Master of the Inane Comment
Location
Germany
I followed the gist of this on the headlines displayed in our local sports centre café, whilst enjoying a latte and piece of cheesecake. Sorry for the irrelevant details. This unveiling of fraudulent actions has rightly led to resignations, but you have to admit it does seem a bit of a coincidence this has been released just before the EU elections! I'm not surprised at this kind of corruption on the part of the far right, and it does have parallels nearer to home.

If the meeting filmed was set up by the press, it does make you wonder if the press is starting to go beyond reporting and arguably illegitimately trying to influence party politics.

As for comparing it with Brexit, I suppose the connection is that the fraud in the lives of those elected last time round has now been found out, and new elections, the equivalent of a second referendum, are to take place in September. There is, however, little alternative, a coalition is falling apart. It will be interesting to see if the FPÖ manage any damage limitation on this or get slaughtered at the ballot box.

The Austrian right don't seem to have much of a tradition of producing decent leaders, does it. :biggrin:
 

Flying_Monkey

Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere
If the meeting filmed was set up by the press, it does make you wonder if the press is starting to go beyond reporting and arguably illegitimately trying to influence party politics.
This kind of journalism is not new, is one of the only ways in which you actually show corruption happening (without actually allowing real oligarchs to influence politics), and they wouldn't have even tried it if they didn't have a pretty good reason for supposing that the FPO would go for it.
 
I followed the gist of this on the headlines displayed in our local sports centre café, whilst enjoying a latte and piece of cheesecake. Sorry for the irrelevant details. This unveiling of fraudulent actions has rightly led to resignations, but you have to admit it does seem a bit of a coincidence this has been released just before the EU elections! I'm not surprised at this kind of corruption on the part of the far right, and it does have parallels nearer to home.
Latte and cheesecake? You decadent European type, you.

According to the Wikipedia article I previously forgot to link to, the meeting was filmed two years ago and deliberately given to the German (strangely not Austrian) press this week because of the elections. The newspapers concerned claim they don't know the person who gave it them or what their motivations were.

The Austrian right don't seem to have much of a tradition of producing decent leaders, does it. :biggrin:
Ouch. I didn't think of that.

BTW, nearly all the German parties have slammed the FPÖ, with varying degrees of enthusiasm:

Chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer stated that "right-wing populists in Europe, no matter of which country, are willing to sell their country's interest for their own well-being. And if it's just for a sandwich. These people are not allowed to acquire responsibility in Europe".

Alliance 90/The Greens leader Annalena Baerbock states that "This outrageous scandal shows that right-wing populists despise our values such as the freedom of the press and the rule of law and are working to systematically erode democracy".
This last description reminds me of something, I can't quite remember what...

Leader of the Left Bernd Riexinger stated that "The Austrian right wingers surrounding Strache like to portray themselves as the 'party of the little man'. But the facade does not even reach Ibiza. While chatting with Russian oligarchs, the true face of the FPÖ emerges: the party of the rich, corrupt and brazen".
There was just one exception:

Alternative for Germany party leader Jörg Meuthen stated that "The FPÖ is a close partner to us. We will not stab the Austrian party in the back because of a singular affair"
"Nothing to see here, move along"...
 

Unkraut

Master of the Inane Comment
Location
Germany
Latte and cheesecake? You decadent European type, you.
Oi, don't you call me European ....

It is, of course, pronounced like latter and not lahteh.

they wouldn't have even tried it if they didn't have a pretty good reason for supposing that the FPO would go for it.
Don't misunderstand me, if you don't want your nefarious deeds to end up on youtube or in the dailies, don't do nefarious deeds. I have no sympathy for any corrupt politician. The public interest in such cases outweighs the usual right to privacy (I think there is law on this).

What could get troubling is such activity being discovered, and instead of it being reported to the police if it is illegal or reported in the press if that is also appropriate waiting two years with this information until a politically opportune time. A social democrat, for example, might turn out to be a bad apple but it would be unfair for the right to use this immediately prior to an election to enhance their own prospects.
 
Oi, don't you call me European ....

It is, of course, pronounced like latter and not lahteh.



Don't misunderstand me, if you don't want your nefarious deeds to end up on youtube or in the dailies, don't do nefarious deeds. I have no sympathy for any corrupt politician. The public interest in such cases outweighs the usual right to privacy (I think there is law on this).

What could get troubling is such activity being discovered, and instead of it being reported to the police if it is illegal or reported in the press if that is also appropriate waiting two years with this information until a politically opportune time. A social democrat, for example, might turn out to be a bad apple but it would be unfair for the right to use this immediately prior to an election to enhance their own prospects.
I see the point.

On the other hand, I don't think for example that the Tories/AfD/Brexit parts are currently saying "Hey, we could do that with our opponents." If they thought it would work, they'd have already done it.

I suspect the counter argument is that if the people organising the trap had immediately gone to the police, firstly Strache and Gudenus' Lawyers would have had a field day, and there is no guarantee they would have been prosecuted. Secondly the public would have forgotten about it in two years and voted for them: look at what is happening with He Who Asks Must Not Be Named On CC.

This way, they expose their dirty deeds, and do maximum damage to their very dangerous cause. And as you've said yourself, Strache and Gudenus could have avoided this easily: They agreed to the meeting, and they made the illegal offers, and they said they wanted to make the press more like Hungary: nobody coerced them, misquoted them, or faked any evidence. They just created the situation: the politicians then went and implicated themselves.

Theoretically, an honest politician of any colour is probably safe from this. In practice... yes, I can see it's a grey area.
 
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