A deal between conservatives and Greens to form a governing coalition in Austria includes banning headscarves in school until the age of 14 and preventive custody for potentially dangerous individuals.
The measures are part of what the right-wing People’s Party Leader Sebastian Kurz describes as his tough stance on illegal immigration and “political Islam,” aimed at appealing to his base but also to disillusioned former supporters of the far right, whose coalition with his party collapsed in May.
The agreement, whose details the parties outlined on Thursday, also contains concessions to the Greens’ environmentalist demands, including raising taxes on flights out of Austria.
The deal reached on Wednesday will allow Kurz to hold office as chancellor and will bring the Greens to power for the first time.
At a news conference with Green Party Leader Werner Kogler, Kurz called the agreement “the best of both worlds.”
It includes raising the age until which girls are banned from wearing a headscarf in school to 14 from around 10, an extension of a policy introduced under Kurz’s last coalition with the far right.
It also includes reviving a disputed plan for preventive custody of potentially dangerous individuals even if they have not committed a crime, which was put forward under the previous coalition after a fatal stabbing apparently committed by an asylum seeker in February.
Kurz stressed that migrants rescued in the Mediterranean should be taken to “safe countries of origin, third countries or transit countries if they are safe.” He insisted that efforts to distribute migrants within Europe have failed.
While Kurz has insisted on keeping his trademark hard line on immigration, the Greens have called for a fiscal overhaul to make products and services with a large carbon footprint more expensive.
“Flying will, slightly but still … become more expensive,” Kogler said. “In the medium term also, taking the train will become cheaper.”
The current tax on flights out of Austria, which varies depending on the flight distance, will be replaced by a flat rate of 12 euros ($17.40 Cdn) per passenger. The existing road toll for trucks will also increase for the most polluting vehicles.
A more thorough review on establishing “price truth” in carbon emissions will be carried out and then measures implemented step by step from 2022, the plan said.
Kogler said he wants Austria to be carbon-neutral in 2040, 10 years before the European Union’s target.
He noted the prospect of the new coalition having a “role model effect” in Europe and standing for the “reconciliation of ecology and economy, embedding social security.”
Well, look: I may not care for climate change alarmism, but honestly, encouraging people to take more trains and less planes is hardly a bad thing.
What I *DO* like, is seeing Left and Right come together in new, unique combinations in coalition partnerships that everyone else hates and tries to tear down, because this, like the Italian coalition now alas gone between a left and a right party there, are surely the future of politics, as people reject existing political coalitions and arrangements as out of touch and/or actively hostile to the real interests of the people.
And there are winning issues that Left and Right could get together on.
Speaking of ecological matters: mass immigration is an ecological issue, and in the past there were conservationists who recognized this. (As some have said, conservationism goes along with conservatism naturally.)
It is also a labour issue, and a few years ago, even Bernie Sanders opposed wide open immigration. Now he has sold out, like the rest of the Democrats.
There is a new socialist party in Britain that supports Brexit and opposes mass immigration, unlike Labour; George Galloway launched it a bit before Christmas:
Now, I have little regard for socialism, but I have admired some old-school socialists as men of principle, like George Orwell for instance.
And I am pleased to see progs breaking free of woke capitalism and going old-school socialist instead. High time left and liberals were divided from each other, once again.
Anyway, it’s high time for mainstream conservatism and mainstream liberalism to both die, and for new coalitions, even shifting temporary alliances of convenience, to take their place, and actually deal with the issues by actually giving different groups some of what they seek, and ending dysfunctional statii quo, everywhere.
Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, so time for an end to ‘big tent’ ‘conservatism’ and liberalism, and time for more experimental coalitions of left and right, and shut out progs and woke capital.
In time, when we have real politics once again instead of consensus tyranny ruling us, we can compromise and work out various solutions for the people, and not just what benefits the elites.
Down with the postwar status quo!
Let freedom ring!
Post-Script: I intended to include another example of a left-right coalition that can form around an issue: the Sabbath.
Way back in the day, the Liberal government of Ontario in the late 80s introduced legislation that legalized Sunday shopping in Ontario and overturned the long-standing Lord’s Day Act which had forbade commerce of almost all kinds on Sunday.
They were opposed by both the Conservatives who at that time were still pro-Christian and declared that the Sabbath should be a day of rest, and by the socialist New Democrats who declared that the workers should have off at least one day a week, and that at least one day a week we should rest from our rabidly materialist consumption-oriented economy.
They were both correct in all those reasons.
Alas, they lost that battle.
But perhaps one day, we could see a coalition of that kind; Poland has almost completely banned Sunday shopping now…