Sir, – Patrick Smyth’s designation of the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) as “centre right” (“Reports of far-right’s demise greatly exaggerated”, Analysis, October 19th), while technically correct (for now), should not obscure the fact that the party campaigned in the general election on a racist platform not very different to that of the far-right, neo-Nazi Austrian Freedom Party (FPO). Both parties promised or threatened to introduce Islamophobic legislation if elected to government.
Having succeeded, the two parties are now set to govern Austria in a coalition enjoying a clear majority. I think, though, that The Irish Times editorial (“A swerve to the right”, October 19th) was correct in stating that, “It’s a measure of how the ground has shifted in Europe that the prospect of a party with neo-Nazi roots entering government in Austria has been widely greeted with a shrug of resignation”.
Perhaps some people are mistakenly reassured by the likelihood of the far-right FPO being kept under some measure of control by the dominant OVP, while – also mistakenly – perceiving the OVP as “merely” centre right and therefore less of a worry. – Yours, etc,
Ardfield, Co Cork.