A Review of The Christ ChurchStreet Party. Saturday, 28 May 2022

at 13:00h Jaurèsgasse 1030 Wien.

By Wolfgang Geissler

One thing is for sure: When Brits organise a British event, the weather must follow the British pattern, which means low temperatures, wind, and, you guessed it, rain.

In honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, yesterday’s street party, squashed between the Anglican Christ Church and the British Embassy in Jaurèsgasse in Vienna’s third district, was a success despite or because of the rain showers. Food, Drink, Lucky Dip stalls, music, and pipe band were all arranged by the dynamic members of Christ Church. It attracted not only patriotic Brits resident in Vienna and further afield by the hundreds, but some even stopped by on a special visit from England (that is dedication for you). It also brought the Austro-British Society out in force, some of whom had returned from a strenuous London trip. No rest for the wicked then.

Microphones and the Austro-British Society don’t seem to have a loving relationship. At the grand entrance sometime after 13:00h, our energetic President, Prof Dr Kurt Tiroch, just managed to get his Welcome address out when the microphone on the handover to Bazaar Coordinator Philip Reading gave up its ghost. Poor man. Only those about two metres or six feet in old money close to him could hear what he had to say.

It was a happy event. Full of camaraderie. I not only had the good fortune to meet several members who had just joined our society and paid their dues, which is worth the mention but also old friends from many years ago I had lost sight of.

A few points to ponder: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has ruled so far for 70 years and (some) 110 days. This makes her Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the third longest-reigning monarch in the world.

Our very own “Eternal” Emperor Franz Josef I ruled for 68 years. Inevitably I am hard-pressed not to mention a specific anecdote related to the Emperor, particularly prevalent in light of the current British Johnson regime:

“When asked by President Teddy Roosevelt what the justification was of Austria’s supposedly outdated monarchy, the old Habsburg emperor Francis Joseph replied, ‘To protect my peoples from their governments.’”  Peter Viereck continues in his article “The philosophical ‘New Conservatism'” (1962) in the book “The Radical Right” published by Daniel Bell, “The throne, whether Habsburg or British, serves to moderate excesses of nationalistic or economic pressure groups against individual rights.” He concludes, “In non-monarchic America, this same indispensable protection of liberty against the mob tyranny of transient majorities is performed by the Supreme Court, that similarly hallowed and aloof inheritor of the monarchic aura.”

But latest here, these comparisons must end. Neither Franz Joseph’s principle “to protect my peoples from their government” nor a US Supreme Court as an indispensable protection of liberty against the mob tyranny of transient majorities can be recognised in today’s Britain.


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