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January 17, 2018, 10:48:54 pm
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| |-+  International General Discussion (Moderators: Gustaf, afleitch, Hash)
| | |-+  The Great Nordic Thread
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Poll
Question: Will Iceland and Norway ever join the EU?
Iceland, but not Norway   -17 (13.4%)
Norway, but not Iceland   -10 (7.9%)
Both   -33 (26%)
None of them   -67 (52.8%)
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Total Voters: 127

Author Topic: The Great Nordic Thread  (Read 124497 times)
Lord Halifax
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« Reply #1000 on: October 04, 2017, 03:46:42 pm »
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Diouf
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« Reply #1001 on: October 06, 2017, 06:24:55 am »
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Bye bye Burqa - the right wing wins internal Liberal battle



After weeks and months of discussions, there is now a clear majority for a so-called masking ban; i.e. a ban on wearing the burqa and niqab in public. The issue reemerged in July when the ECHR decided that a similar ban in Belgium was in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Until then, the legality of it had been doubtful, but now the question received new rounds of discussion in the other parties, pushed by a new proposal from DPP to introduce such a ban.

With the Conservatives in favour of the ban and the Liberal Alliance against, attention quickly shifted to the Liberals whose opinion would probably swing the government one way or another. This question made clear the dividing lines in the party on the question of immigrationa and what liberalism exactly is. MPs were making their opinion clear in public, while Lars Løkke has been treading water on this question. However, in the last week or so, it has become clear that the right wing had a majority in the party. The right wing has been personified by immigration spokesperson Marcus Knuth (right in the picture), a former Foreign Service diplomat, army captain and Lehman Brothers economist, who is the son of a well-known count from Lolland. Knuth stated after the German elections that Angela Merkel's immigration policies had been a disaster, and that he was happy AfD entered parliament in style, which would hopefully create a better balance in the German parliament. All this while forgetting to mention the success of the Liberals' official sister party FDP. This caused a tough response from EU spokesperson Jan E. Jørgensen (left in the picture), who has come to represent the left wing in the party. The Frederiksberg lawyer has been a significant player in local politics for a decade, but has risen to somewhat prominence in recent years as the favourite government MP for most left-wingers due to his socially liberal views on immigration. Some have even speculated whether he could follow MEP Jens Rohde to the Social Liberals, but he seems too loyal to the party after decades on intensive involvement.

A number of things probably helped sway the Liberals in the last week or so. A Megafon poll showed that 66% of Liberal voters agreed with a ban, while only 17% was opposed. Yesterday, the Social Democrats decided to support the ban. Finally, the Liberal Alliance has made clear that their opposition to a ban is not very strong; i.e. they would accept voting for a ban, if the Liberals decided so, without a huge fuss.

It will be interesting to see how many MPs end up defecting. Liberal MP Eva Kjer Hansen has already said that she will not vote in favour of the ban, and perhaps a few Liberal Alliance and Social Democrat MPs could do the same. Kjer Hansen was Minister of Agriculture in the Liberal-only government until the Conservatives made her leave due to accusations of fiddling with pollution numbers. Since then she has been quite mad, not less so since the Conservatives entered the government, and makes no attempt to hide it whenever a decision is not in accordance with her Liberal ideals.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #1002 on: October 12, 2017, 07:48:25 am »
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It seems that the Finnish Presidential election next January will have little excitement, as the incumbent Niinistö still holds a massive lead and is set to win the election on the first round.

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« Reply #1003 on: November 12, 2017, 12:35:49 pm »
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Government agrees with DPP and Social Liberals on business package



After a long period with focus on the improved S-DPP relationsship, the government has succesfully lured the DPP back into the fold. First with an agreement on significantly lower car taxes, and now an agreement worth 2 billion DKK (0,3 bln euro) a year to improve conditions for businesses. Furthermore, the Social Liberals was included, so it is a broad deal across the blocs, while the Social Democrats stayed out/were kept out. This could help the government's narrative that the Social Democrats are unambitious and unwilling to cooperate on measures to improve the conditions for growth.

The deal includes a number of different aspects. Around 1/4 of the money is spent on the DPP's main focus; lower fees and excises on beers, sodas, sugarproducts and nuts to decrease the border shopping in Germany. The Social Liberals got measures to improve internet connections, longer periods with lower taxes for highly skilled foreigners, circular economy measures as well as incentives to use environmentally friendly heat pumps for busineses and households. The Liberals continue their focus on growth in remote areas with lower fees for camping sites, harbours, hotels and small producers of food and alcohol.  The main focus for the two smaller government parties have been to create a better "shareholder culture" with easier options to invest in shares and better conditions for those that do. The DPP logically rejected most of these things during negotiations, but the final agreement did include easier ways for businesses to allow employees to be paid in company shares, and the possibility for all citizens to create a "shareholder savings account", where you can keep shares worth max 50.000 DKK (7.000 euro) and pay a lower shareholder tax on value increases.

Around half of the deal is financed by giving less money to funding job centers in the municipalities, where unemployed persons take short courses in job seeking and meet their caseworker, while 400 mio DKK will be saved on less funds to DSB, the state-owned train transport company. The remaining money is saved on a number of small measures.
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Diouf
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« Reply #1004 on: December 08, 2017, 06:44:23 pm »
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Government and DPP finally agree on 2018 budget



The government long hoped that they could agree on a mega deal with the DPP that included both the 2018 budget, tax reform and tighter immigration rules. However, as the negotiations resumed after the local elections, the DPP has been very wary of agreeing to this, as they feared too much focus would be on the tax cuts. Instead, leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl has played the role of the responsible statesman and urged the government to split up the negotiations, and agree on next year's budget. The government, and especially Liberal Alliance, wanted one big deal as they fear they would be humiliated if tax reform was postponed for the fourth time in this term, and probably would not give DPP too many concessions in the budget as they doubted whether DPP would ever actually agree to any tax cuts. However, tonight the parties agreed on the 2018 budget, but with a "common understanding" that the marquee tax/migration deal will be in place before christmas. Otherwise, the Liberal Alliance declared that they would not vote in favour of the budget. The 2018 budget in itself focuses on extra funds for the health service and elderly care, educating more police officers and making the house renovation subsidy permanent.
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« Reply #1005 on: December 20, 2017, 10:05:00 am »
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Waiting for taxcut - Liberal Alliance humiliated again



The past two weeks, most of the focus has been on the Liberal Alliance-DPP quabbles after the Liberal Alliance stated that they would not support the 2018 budget, which they themself agreed upon as part of the government, if there had not been agreement on a big tax/immigration package before it was voted through. This obviously infuriated DPP and made certain that no such deal could be agreed upon this year. Today the Liberal Alliance then had to make another humiliating climbdown and state that yes they would vote through the budget, despite there not being any tax/immigration package. Yet again, Liberal Alliance leader Anders Samuelsen has acted as an arrogant buffoon, and ended up as a clown. I really wonder whether he will stay as leader much longer. In the polling average, the LA is down at 5.5% from the 7.5% they won in 2015, and that number could easily drop further after this charade.

The tax reform is very important for all three government parties. For Løkke and the Liberals, this is the second (and sweetest) part of their 2015 slogan "Make it pay to work". They have already introduced a cash benefit cap, and the second part should then be lowering taxes on small incomes. Liberal Alliance and Conservatives have conceded that toop tax cuts will not take place, so they really need some tax cuts to show that they have at least gained something on this important area, particularly for the Liberal Alliance. Despite another postponement, it it not unthinkable that there will be some tax/immigration deal in the beginning of next year. The DPP can live with lowering taxes for low incomes, although not using too big an amount of money doing so. However, since the government, particularly the Liberals and the civil service, seems unwilling to contemplate many of the DPP's immigration proposals, which will require some sort of a break with international conventiions and/or the ECHR, an agreement will likely be much more limited in scope than imagined. The immigration part will be small tinkerings to try to deport more criminal immigrants and rejected asylum-seekers, which means that the tax cuts will likely be much smaller than the "historic tax cuts" the government hoped to get.
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Diouf
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« Reply #1006 on: December 21, 2017, 11:37:29 am »
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The development in Berlingske's polling average from the end of 2016 (left) to the end of 2017 (right)



The Red Bloc combined has lost 0.8%, so their lead is now 51.1%-48.8% instead of 51.9%-48.0%. Neither of the three big parties has seen much change. It is clear that the government participation has had two different effects on the two small government parties. The Conservative has regained some confidence with three fairly popular ministers (Party Leader and Justice Minister Søren Pape almost always in top3 in minister popularity lists) and some results in areas of justice (and soon defence as well). The Liberal Alliance has acted crazy too many times, their ministers usually fill up all the bottom positions, and they are constantly pulling fights with the DPP which they can't win, especially on the area of reducing taxes for high earners.

Finally, the Alternative has seen the most significant change, and almost all of it has happened after the summer as can be seen in the collection of polls by Erik Gahner below. This is the period in which the internal divisions in the party has come out into the open with both their political spokesperson and group leader (chief whipish) resigning as a result. Cases of sexual assault in the party was revealed, and party leader Uffe Elbæk and his "boy band" of young males have been accused of driving the party with a sexualized culture and too much partying. Elbæk has already said he will resign after the next election, which further intensifies the internal divisions as people are positioning themselves for the top job. Their partial implosion has benefited the other Red Bloc parties a bit each.



The New Right is quite stable in the polling average, but it reflects a large difference between individual pollsters as can be seen in Erik Gahner's collection below. Them being consistently at the 2%-threshold in a period far from a general election, is another reason why I'm fairly certain they will get in, although if the government actually agrees to some significant immigration and asylum policies, the New Right could lose some of its appeal.

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« Reply #1007 on: December 30, 2017, 02:18:52 pm »
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Political scientist Mikkel Krogsholm has made this diagram based on answers to a "what should I vote test" by local election candidates for the recent local elections. The horizontal axis shows the traditional economic spectrum (outsourcing, taxes, regulations), while the vertical axis show attitudes to refugees and immigrants. Most of the positions are quite similar to the normal picture. The Social Democrat's local candidates are generally more soft on immigration, and most of the opposition to their tougher immigration line is from local candidates and councillors, not voters nor national backbenchers. The Social Liberals' policies are more right wing on economy that both their voters, party members and local candidates, especially since part of the right-wing ended in the Liberal Alliance.

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Helsinkian
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« Reply #1008 on: January 05, 2018, 01:10:25 pm »
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Here is the latest Finland poll. All parties below 20%.

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Diouf
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« Reply #1009 on: January 11, 2018, 05:39:22 pm »
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Government gives up on marquee tax/immigration deal - Liberal Alliance leader under fire



After months of negotiations, the government this week gave up on agreeing on a marquee tax/immigration deal with the DPP. The government's goal has been to pursue "historic tax cuts", while the DPP has demanded a "paradigm shift" in immigration policies. The failure to achieve a big deal on these two crucial right-wing policies illustrate the lack of cohesion in the "blue bloc" and scuppers PM Lars Løkke's hope of really delivering on his 2015 election slogan:"Make it pay to work".

According to media reports, DPP was willing to accept tax cuts of around 7-10 billion DKK a year (1-1.3 billion euro) on the first/lowest parts of your income, if they could get a breakthrough on immigration policy. However, it never really seemed like the parties were close to agreement on immigration. Mostly, because the government does not want to challenge/ditch UN conventions/ECHR decisions, but also because DPP's wishes on immigration were too shattered, focused on the areas with the lowest chance of concessions and included a few crazy ideas that overshadowed much else.

When you look at media statements, primarily from before entering government, both the Liberal Alliance and Conservatives are willing to ditch/bend international conventions, although their resolve has arguably been weakened somewhat by entering into government and because their two party leaders lead the two ministries, where the civil service is perhaps the most opposed to the idea (foreign affairs and justice). Nevertheless, the key is that (at least parts of) the Liberals is not willing to contemplate it, and probably also because PM Løkke is afraid of the international criticism that will follow. If the DPP had focused intensively on one or two key issues (stop for asylum applications in Denmark and take consistent, low number of quota refugees insted and/or ditch ECHR ruling that makes it hard to throw out criminal immigrants), it would have been really hard for the government to defend not agreeing to these proposals. Instead, DPP came up with new points each day, and ended up focusing a lot on a demand that refugees without permanent residence should not be integrated (work, learn Danish etc), but instead "learn rebuilding activities" in isolated "refugee towns" to prepare for going home. This was probably a proposal with less popular support than the two above, and it would go directly against a big deal that Løkke agreed upon with the trade unions a year ago to get refugees into the labour market. A reversal of that deal would humiliate Løkke, and cause a big fight with the unions, making it totally inconceivable for Løkke to agree on. Finally, one of the DPP's many proposals was that immigrants below 18 years in ghettos should not be allowed outside their apartments after 20.00 in the evening; something clearly against the Constitutiton and which caused a predictable uproar.

Now that the marquee deal has been cancelled, the parties will try to agree on a minor deals instead on tax (cuts of around 1 billion DKK (0.13 billion euro)) and immigration (smaller, symbolic tightenings), and then turn their focus to defence and culture, where it should be easier to find agreement. However, since a big tax cut is the raison d’être of the Liberal Alliance, this cancellation is seen as a huge humilation for them, and particularly for party leader Anders Samuelsen, who has been unbearably cocky in years about the great tax cuts he could delive, and making fun of Liberals and Conservatives for not getting more of them through. The party is down to 4.8% in the polling average after winning 7.5% in 2015, and the latest poll from YouGov had them a 3.8% as the smallest party in parliament. Newspaper Jyllands-Posten has talked to 54 of 79 Liberal Alliance local leaders, and 11 of them wanted the party to withdraw from the government. The Liberal Alliance Youth has called for the same to happen, which counts for quite a bit in party which dominates among young voters and with many young activists. So far, the parliamentary group seems relatively quiet, and Samuelsen has a special position as party founder, who created the party from nothing. So he is probably not going to be pushed out or forced to take the party out of the government, but perhaps he might leave as leader to try to save the party.
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