Ordinarily, when a hot young politician sweeps to victory on the popular vote – think Obama, think Trudeau, think Macron – we all hug each other and get terribly excited and whoop that change is going to come. But when, last autumn, Austria ushered in a political prodigy so youthful he’d be declared ineligible as a US presidential candidate, we gasped collectively instead, and began to wonder what the hell had just happened.
This, surely, was worse than Trump, the commentators cried. At least when The Donald espoused right-wing rhetoric he fell short of actually forming a coalition with ex-neo-Nazis. The morning after the election result the German satirical magazine Titanic summed up the sentiment with a single tweet: ‘Time travel in Austria – it’s finally possible to kill baby Hitler.’