Vienna is a truly beautiful city with impressive buildings in enough space to appreciate them. Great palaces, statues and trees everywhere - and I´ve come here to look at their rubbish.
The federal Parliament was built in the 19th century - designed by a Dane who lived in Greece which is why it would not have looked out of place in ancient Athens. Oddly, the most impressive debating chamber in the Parliament is of Roman design - because the architects felt there would sometimes be a need for Roman ´action´ as well as Greek ´philosophy´. This chamber is only used for high state action such as declaring war. Since Austria leaves declaring war to the US and the UK these days, the chamber is hardly ever used. At least I have an answer when people ask me what the old Assembly Chamber can be used for. It can be used if Dafydd Elis Thomas ever decides to officially declare war on his depüty.
Coalition talks have broken down in Austria. Following last weeks election the Conservatives and Social Democrats had been considering getting together to form the new government. But the Social Democrats made the mistake of making an absolute committment that the Conservatives could not possibly accept - so now there will be months cobbling together a multi-party coalition that will satisfy no-one. We Tories need to learn this lesson and I will be passing this message to David Melding , who is writing our manifesto. I don´t want to see an absolute committment to privatizing the NHS - or anything like that. We can already see the difficulty poor old Mike German is in with his party determined to make PR in local government an absolute condition of coalition with Labour. After all, all Mike wants is a ministerial car.
Tomorrow morning I am off to see a town centre incineration plant. Oh, what joy it is to be in Wien.