Hubert Gorbach: ‘Nobody had to worry about me’


In his series “I was happy here”, Robert Schneider guides Vorarlbergers to their favorite places from their childhood. He recently met former Vice Chancellor Hubert Gorbach at the Ill.

Due to the extreme drought of recent weeks (the conversation took place before the storms on Friday, mind you) the level of the Ill has dropped considerably. Hubert Gorbach himself is surprised when he shows me the Uferplatz, where he spent summers as a child. “Geographically, we’re actually on Gofner territory, but we Fraschtner secretly count that as part of Frastanz because it’s much closer to Frastanz. To this day I still like to bring my horses here to cool their legs. They like to do that. They even go into the water voluntarily,” says the horse lover and passionate hunter, although he doesn’t see that as a contradiction.

Robert Schneider: Are you a hunter type?
Hubert Gorbach: First of all, I want to dispel a prejudice. Women have a hunting instinct no less strong than that of men. The methodology is different. Hunting is a universal human phenomenon. Hunting for me means excitement and relaxation at the same time. I love the forest more than anything, the peace and quiet. Of course I want to take the picture at the same time

But your favorite place was here on the right bank of the Ill, in enemy territory of Gofner, so to speak.
Yes, that was my place. Here I was the chef, although my brother was five years older. My god, what a joke we played there as boys! Black fished, big barbecue fires lit. Once I almost set fire to the Gofner Forest. Water has always been my element. From Easter to October 26, I go swimming every day at 6 am. In a heated swimming pool, if you can call it that.

Shall we scratch that out?
You can still say it.

You come from a very humble background and made it to Vice Chancellor in the Bowl II government.
One has nothing to do with the other. I have never forgotten my roots, even though the media often portrays them differently. I grew up with a brother who is five years older than me. Very harmonious. My grandparents played a big part in that. Grandpa taught me what you usually learn as a boy from a father. Cutting a bow and arrow. repair bike. But I have the utmost respect for my mother. She was always salaried and worked in “Konsum” in Dornbirn. Walked to the train station every morning, took the train to Dornbirn. Often we were still in bed when she left and already in bed when she came home. Then she built the house together with her grandfather. Dig out the basement. concreted. Still, she used her free time to go on a trip to Lake Constance with us boys.

Do you have an explanation for why your personality is so polarizing?
I think this has to do with two things. On the one hand with the early success in my political career that I happen to have, on the other hand with the loose tongue I always had. Also within the party I often heard: Hubsi, you don’t have to say everything you think right away. As much as I enjoyed my time as a politically active person – they were really great years – I wasn’t financially dependent on it because I was always active in business. So it wasn’t that hard to call things by their own names.

If you show up in this country with you, you will find that you are approached by many people. They seem downright “brutal”.
Because I just love being around people and always have been. As state party chairman of the FPÖ, I was always looking for direct contact with people. Why didn’t I go to club events and fire brigade parties! I just loved doing it.

Have you received any media training as a politician?
No, I did not. It used to be a little different. You had the feeling that the media was really interested in the facts and not in how should I say this or that. How do I get a good cup? But I learned one thing: in a press photo, a group photo, you have to stand all the way to the right, because that immediately catches the eye. Few read on.

From Bush to Putin, from Benedict XVI. met great and also controversial personalities up to the Dalai Lama. Are you not grieving at all this time?
Not at all, I wouldn’t say now. But since I decided to leave myself and resigned all political positions, it wasn’t too bad. Nobody had to worry about me.

What was your best and worst experience in politics?
The negative first: namely that with constructions that had no basis whatsoever, beautiful stories were launched to the detriment of a person and his environment. That really hurt. But now the best experience. That was Election Sunday, September 19, 1999, when my party managed to gain nine percentage points and for the first time the ÖVP no longer had an absolute majority in the country. I was with my family in my favorite Stein inn in Göfis. My secretary kept calling and giving me results I just couldn’t believe.

When did you go to bed that Sunday?
Not at all.

what is happiness to you?
My grandfather always said: Get started, because you don’t have to.

Source: Krone


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