NICHOLAS T. PARSONS is a freelance author, translator and editor based in Vienna. A graduate of New College, Oxford he spent two years in Italy teaching at the British Institute of Florence and as Reader in English at the University of Pisa before returning to UK to work in publishing for ten years in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 he settled in Central Europe with his Hungarian wife, the art historian Ilona Sármány, and has since published some 17 books on cultural topics, writing also as Louis James. These include the Blue Guide Austria and the Blue Guide Vienna as well as the first English guide to Hungary to be published following the “system change” of 1989. His essay-length Xenophobe’s Guide to the Austrians (Louis James) has been in print for 20 years. His recent books are Worth the Detour: A Cultural History of the Guidebook from Pausanias to the Rough Guide, and Vienna: A Cultural History Signet (Oxford University Press). Italian edition Vienna: Ritratto di una citta (Odoya, Bologna.)
"Austria has also toned down its earlier Pharisaic attacks on Hungary (it could hardly do otherwise since it is now facing the same brickbats from human rights bodies that Hungary did), but the left liberal lobby in the EU continues to try and distract attention from its lamentable performance on this issue by viciously attacking Hungary for demonstrating that the EU emperor had no clothes."
"An amusing gaffe in the Remain campaign was supplied by Barack Obama, who, as a guest in Britain, delivered
the population a characteristic sermon of low level bombast on how it should vote, rounding off the same with an
open threat. Satisfyingly for all those who have a residual affection for democracy, the result of this ill-considered intervention was a distinct spike for Brexit in the polls."
"Recently there was a report in a British newspaper that an RAF sergeant who attended hospital A&E in uniform
was asked by staff to move out of sight of other patients waiting in casualty on the grounds that these were from
“all kinds of different cultures” and his uniform 'might upset them'."
"I cannot resist making a few comparisons with Hungary’s recent election by way of conclusion. The Labour leader, rather a decent man, rang Prime Minister David Cameron as soon as the result was clear and congratulated him on his win. In 2014, when Fidesz won a second two-thirds majority in Hungary in an OSCE monitored election, the leader of the Hungarian Socialists pointedly refused to congratulate Viktor Orbán."
"Bruckner has denounced the consequences of multicultural policies that refrain from demanding a minimum level of integration from settlers, thus creating political, religious and social ghettoes that are segregated from mainstream society. Ironically this situation means that many of those immigrants who actually wish to escape from the claustrophobic and authoritarian confines of a highly conservative culture remain imprisoned in it (...)"
"When Prime Minister David Cameron rides to the House of Commons on his bicycle to show how environmentally conscious he is, but omits to tell us that all his necessary papers are carried by a car travelling behind him, is that a populist gimmick or principled leadership? The idea that “mainstream” political parties never adopt the same tactics as their “populist” opponents is, of course, moonshine."