The lovely thing about Viennese coffee houses is that they look like they must have done 100 years ago.
There are men of a certain bearing coming in wearing great coats and homburg hats, women in fur coats, couples leaning together and having intense conversations and of course – cake of every kind of confection.
We slipped into one through the lovely arrangement they have of a semi-circular rail holding a curtain so that the cold is kept out when you open the door.
Inside the floor was not really polished, the décor a bit shabby, the waiters in long white aprons, the locals reading the paper and having a ‘melange’ of coffee and hot milk.
We had been sight-seeing and were cold and tired so sitting there in the warmth, watching the locals, was definitely in order.
Coffee houses was where the Viennese have conversations apparently. I am not sure whether they chat about nothing at all at home and keep the real stuff for coffee houses but it looked like that.
And it rubs off.
After a desultory conversation about what to do the next day, we started discussing how the Labour Party should run their election campaign.
‘Ask a nurse’ was the theme.
When bankers say they cannot reduce bonuses, the Labour Party should say they will introduce them to a nurse and then they can try and justify their position to her (or him.)
(And, by the way, can we really believe every banker who got a reduced bonus would up and displace their whole family to Singapore. And even if some of them do, are there no more intelligent people, with or without a physics PhD, who could take over their role?)
Is it fair that private schools get charitable status – I tell you what, ask a teacher in an inner city school.
How fair is the tax system – ask someone on the minimum wage.
Well you get the idea. The sad thing is that I could articulate this plan so much better and so much more convincingly sat in a Viennese coffee house – it must have been the atmosphere.
Perhaps we should send Ed Miliband there, after all it can’t make the current situation any worse.