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  The Great Nordic Thread (search mode)
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Poll
Question: Will Iceland and Norway ever join the EU?
#1Iceland, but not Norway  
#2Norway, but not Iceland  
#3Both  
#4None of them  
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Total Voters: 153

Author Topic: The Great Nordic Thread  (Read 154083 times)
Diouf
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« on: March 20, 2013, 05:37:14 am »
« edited: March 20, 2013, 07:43:05 am by Diouf »

The consequences of the SPP leadership battle are really showing now. In late January deputy leader Mattias Tesfaye left the SPP to join the Social Democrats. Yesterday political spokesperson Jesper Petersen made the same move, and today MEP Emilie Turunen plus a couple of former MPs, MP candidates, municipial politicians etc. also decided to join the Social Democrats. Add to that that Thor Möger Pedersen was sacked as Minister of Taxation immediately after Vilhelmsen's victory, and has now become a TV host. All of these young politicians belonged to the workerite fraction of the Socialist People's Party, which former leader Villy Søvndal also belongs to. They were the drivers behind the right-wing shift of the party, and disagrees with the new traditionalist line of Annette Vilhelmsen. Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal and Minister of Health Astrid Krag also belongs to the workerite line, but it probably takes quite a bit more to voluntarily leave a Minister post.

The consequences of these people leaving might be quite big. As many of the most prominent workerites have now left, the main drivers for getting SPP into the government are gone as well. So the Traditionalist who were quite reluctant to that move, might now have an easier way of getting their party to leave the government if they find that preferable. The green, europositive wing also supported the shift towards making the party ready for government, but arguably not with the same enthusiasm, and, at least some of them, might be convinced by the advantages of leaving the government.
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Diouf
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 06:14:03 am »

As politicus said above it can seem a bit redundant with two mainstream centre-right parties, at least after the Liberal Alliance emerged in 2008/2009 as the low-tax alternative. However, it should still be very possible for them to score 7-9 % of the votes, but the party has made a couple of mistakes which has so far sent them down to historically low figures around 3-5 %.
First of all, they seemed to panic too much about the emergence of the Liberal Alliance and instead of emphasizing other parts of their program, they went into a duel with LA about who wanted to lower taxes and cut public expenditure the most. A battle that they could never win as the Conservatives were part of the government and had been for several years, while the Liberal Alliance was free and had little restrictions on them.
Secondly, the party has created doubt about its right-wing credentials on the law and order and immigration policies. The current leadership and group of MPs have been called the most left-wing in the history of the party, and is dominated by social conservatives who have quite some reluctance in cooperating with the Danish People's Party. Party leader Lars Barfoed is probably also personally quite angry at them, as they withdrew support to him in 2006, which meant he had to resign as Minister of Consumer Protection and Family Affairs. One example of how this has cost them was the deal they made in the 2011 election with the Radikale Venstre (Social Liberal Party) that  the parties should cooperate more, and that any future government should base their policies on broad cooperation across the middle. A deal heavily criticized by the DPP and claims were maid that the two parties, Conservatives and Social Liberals, were starting to look alike. For voters who preferred a continuation of the 2001-2011 policies this was the clear proof that the Conservatives were moving away from right-wing views, so instead the chose to vote for the DPP and especially Venstre (the Liberals).

It's questionable whether Barfoed can rebuild the right-wing credentials, that he himself played a big role in destroying. They could be saved by personal scandals or very unpopular moves from Venstre, but otherwise I think they have to change their leader and move the party back towards the right. Maybe Brian Mikkelsen, a Minister throughout the 2001-2011 years, or the young Rasmus Jarlov, who is the party leader in the Copenhagen city council and will join the Folketing when/if the former Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller, perhaps the most prominent social conservative in the group, retires.
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Diouf
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 09:13:06 am »

Social Conservative means something completely different to Americans, so lets just call them centrists ;-)

Parties don't necessarily live forever and I don't think you can assume that the Danish Conservatives will survive in the long run. Their crisis is due to more than just a few policy-mistakes and mishaps, its a structural problem in the sense that there isn't any real need for the party anymore. They will hang in there for a decade or possibly two and then disappear into the dustbin of history.

Even assuming they have a chance (and they do in the short run) I don't agree that moving to the right is necessarily the best thing to do. Those positions are already taken by others, to quote myself (bad habit): "their problem is that they have nowhere to go". Building on an image as the more sophisticated, urban, cultured centre-right alternative to crude neo-liberalism might be their best chance.
  
Historically there has always been two wings in the party: a centrist, welfare-conservative and a low tax, tough on law and order right wing. What kept the party together was the defence-issue and patriotism, but this issue isnt polarized in Danish politics anymore so it doesn't really work as a unifier. One of the reasons the party has done badly is the countless feuds between those two wings throughout the party history, so moving to the right would likely trigger yet another "civil war" and I doubt they can survive that. The right wing may be displeased with certain policies at the momemt, but at least they are not in open rebellion as long as the party is low tax, pro-business and tough on law and order.

Most Conservative voters (and potential voters) are not anti-immigration, so I especially doubt it would help them to move to the right on this one. Most of their voters where quite dissatisfied when they had to accept DPP-type immigration and refugee policies during the AFR and Løkke governments. So I think the party is better of being the voice of "bourgeois decency", as its traditionally called, on this subject as well as others.

Like the German FDP in the old days they have the strategic problem whether to be on the right or left of their big brother, with a wing representing each view. FDP chose to be to the right of CDU, but it has given them some problems and they lost certain groups. But the major problem in this is that Liberal Alliance is basically the Danish FDP while DPP has the reactionarians, national conservatives and the "hang them high"-crowd. Its not really a viable position IMO.

I don't neccessarily assume that they will survive in the long run, but I do think that retreating to the position they had before Barfoed became leader will give them a better chance of survival in the short and the long run.

The problem with the left-turn they made is that I think it will be very difficult to convince "the sophisticated, urban and cultural elite" away from the centre-left parties, mainly Radikale Venstre. And the young globalized business elite will remain in the Liberal Alliance.

I think the party was reasonably united under Bendt Bendtsen, who was probably slightly right-leaning. Lene Espersen was clearly a member of the right wing, but until the holiday scandal the party remained quite stable. Her leadership triggered Pia Christsmas-Møller to leave, but she had been marginalized for years anyway. And neither Christmas-Møller nor Seeberg's resignations seemed to hurt the party. Those voters advocating "bourgeois decency" to a large extent already left in the beginning of the cooperation with DPP. And althought, it might be difficult to keep the 10-11 % with Liberal Alliance around, they could arguably have stabilized themselves around 7-8 %.

With regards to position, it seems that Barfoed has placed the Conservatives to the right for Venstre on economic issues and to the left for them on law and order and immigration. Their position  actually seems clearer now that under Bendt Bendtsen, but this has arguably caused some of the defections.
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Diouf
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 10:00:01 am »

Diouf: I basically disagree that the Conservatives have turned left under Barfoed. They courted the Social Liberals during the campaign, sure, but their policy positions are not more left leaning than they were under Bendtsen, they are just a little clearer.

But the deal with the Social Liberals was not just about courting them and the broad cooperation idea. Immigration was clearly stated as an area where the Conservatives wanted to make agreements wil the Social Liberals which inevitably means a left turn. Barfoed said about the deal: "I easily think we can get into step in the future in relation to integration and the labour market, and to secure humanism and brotherliness in what we do".
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Diouf
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 07:01:29 am »

Are there any Danish polls which display party support by demographic group (eg age, education etc) ?

There are two Danish articles here on age and workers.

http://www.altinget.dk/artikel/de-unge-flygter-fra-s

The tables in the bottom should be relatively easy to understand.
The first three tables deal with party choice of different age groups at the 2011 election, in April/June 2012 polls and October/December 2012 polls respectively. The last three tables are even more specific and shows party choice in relation to both gender and age; Mænd (men) and Kvinder (Women).

These tables shows some very significant, although not very surprising, figures. The Liberal Alliance was the second biggest party among young men with 15.3 % at the 2011 election. The Danish People's Party received 17.7 % among people above 65, and 19.9 % of men above 65. The Social Liberals (16.2 %) and the Red-Green Alliance (12.1 %) both fared markedly better among young women than among voters in general.

http://www.altinget.dk/artikel/arbejderne-flygter-fra-socialdemokratiet

There are two tables in the bottom of the article. The first one shows the party choice among the population as a whole at the 2011 election, October/December 2011 polls, January/March 2012. The second one shows the party choice of the workers, both skilled and unskilled.
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Diouf
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2013, 11:32:39 am »

Venstre's Lykke Friis has retired from politics and has returned to the University of Copenhagen as a pro-rector. She had the same position before she entered politics in November 2009 when she was named Minister of Climate and Energy. In the 2011 election she ran for the first time and got a brilliant result; she received 30.910 personal votes, the sixth-highest number of all. She was widely expected to become Minister of European Affairs, or perhaps even Foreign Affairs if Venstre regains power after the next election.

She says that she has always known that she was not going to be a lifetime-politician and that she looks forward to go back to the University.

A big loss for Venstre as she was one of the most popular politicians in Denmark
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Diouf
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 12:51:36 pm »

Given that Søren Pind has made himself "unappointable" (dunno if thats a word, but it should be Wink ) and Venstre will be going solo next time I think it was pretty clear that she was destined to become Minister of Foreign Affairs in a Venstre government. Which leaves Løkke with a problem. Who do you think he will chose? I dont see Pind getting it - not a diplomatic bone in that guys boney bod.

Well, I would still see Pind as the most likely Minister of Foreign Affairs, although he is indeed quite divisive, both in the party and in the population. His criticism of the US and its drone usage has certainly not made it easier for him to get that job. Lars Løkke does seem to rate him quite highly. It's a tough call, but there are no other clear candidates.
Michael Aastrup Jensen, Gitte Lillelund Bech and Eva Kjer Hansen have dealt quite a lot with foreign policy, but neither of them really seem high-profile enough for such a role. If you want to go with the old diplomat type, then perhaps Bertel Haarder could be a option. He has been a Minister of seven or eight different things, including European Affairs and a MEP, but he is not really popular and to some extent a loose cannon. Ellen Trane Nørby is quite talented, popular and well-known, but she is perhaps considered too green for the job. She could be a good guess as Minister of European Affairs.
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Diouf
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2013, 05:00:55 pm »

A recent poll shows the strongest results for the Danish People's Party in several years in the polls made by Greens Analyseinstitut.

Social Democrats           17.2 %
Social Liberals                8.3 %
Conservatives                3.8 %
Socialist's People's Party  6.1 %
Liberal Alliance               6.8 %
Christian Democrats         0.7 %
Danish People's Party      17.9 %
Liberals                         28.1 %
Unity List/Red-Greens      10.9 %
Others                           0.2 %

SD + RV + SF + EL = 42.5 %
V + DF + K + LA = 56.6 %
V + DF = 46 %
V + LA + RV + KF = 47 %
V + DF + K = 49. 8 %


SF seems to have regained some of the voters it lost to the Unity List. Perhaps this is because the party finally had a success as the government,just before the summer holidays, decided to phase in the reform of unemployment benefits in a slower way. This also means that there has been little internal critcism in the last few months and the subject of unemployment benefits is not discussed intensely any more in the media as it had been for months before the decision. DF holds on to many dissatisfied Social Democrats and has perhaps attracted some liberals too after a heavy discussion in the media about the Liberal's policy of 0% growth in the public sector in the coming years.

In other news, it now seems safe to say that the Conservatives and Liberal Alliance have switched positions on immigration policy over the last year or three. Today the Conservative leader Lars Barfoed said that he would not support any tightening of immigrations laws that goes beyond the status at the election in 2011. The three other right-wing parties all disagreed with that statement. It's not suprising that V and DF disagree, but that LA does as well seems the final indication that they are now to the right of the Conservatives on this issue. Quite significant as Liberal Alliance was founded as the New Alliance which had a very liberal immigration policy and had a clear goal of keeping DF out of power. Even when many of the left-wing members had left the party and it was reshaped as Liberal Alliance, it kept a very liberal immigration policy and even voted for some of the current government's policies just after the election. However, they have moved significantly right on this subject and now demands a narrower definition of asylum so fewer seekers will be granted asylums and that is should be easier to expulse foreign criminals.
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Diouf
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 08:45:33 am »
« Edited: August 07, 2013, 08:57:45 am by Diouf »

Out of curiosity - are there still parties on the right calling for the re-introduction of Danish border controls? It definitely didn't help marketing Denmark as a tourism location in Germany....

The Danish People's Party, who pushed it through in 2011, is the only party who actively and continuously campaigns to re-introduce the border control. However, as the recent history will show this is not just a right-wing thing. Furthermore, because it is not debated that often it is difficult to say exactly what the different parties think right now.

In 2009 at the European Elections the Social Democrats called for a re-introduction of the old-style border controls as a temporary measure while a newer and better form of control was build-up. However, the party seemed quite divided on the issue and it was not clear whether the Christiansborg Social Democrats agreed. When DF put forward the proposal in the Danish Parliament later that year. it was only supported by them and the Unity List. The latter supported it because they believed it would help fight human trafficking and show the EU that Denmark had its sovereignty on this issue.

Then in 2011, the Liberal-Conservative government needed DF's support for reforms of the unemployment benefits and the early retirement scheme. DF, however, would only accept these if the government agreed to re-introduce border controls. In the end a deal was made with the ambiguous name "Permanent customs controls (a strengthening of border controls) and it included the building of a new building at the border with permanent manning which should control 1-4/1000 of the cars and a general rise in the number of customs officers. This meant that DF could happily brag about a permanent border control with barriers, while the government stated that there was no permanent border control and that it was simply more money to fight crime. The SD and SF at first supported the measures, but then changed their mind and even demanded that the vote should be in the full parliament, where VKO did not have a majority, instead of in the committee, where VKO did have a majority. Whether this change of opinion was due to the EU's reaction and Thorning-Schmidt's affinity to the EU, or a tactical measure to portrait the government as weak and stumbling around is hard to tell. The Unity List's reactions to the measure was shortly put that they liked the proposal, for the same reasons mentioned above, but did not like the proposers so the voted against it. In the end the Government managed to convince the two former Conservative independents to vote for the measure so it narrowly passed.
At the 2011 election the Social Liberals, who had always been against border controls, campaigned heavily against it and used it as a symbol of a tired and insular government/majority. After the election the new government + the Unity List and the Liberal Alliance repealed the measure. I think that the Liberals and especially the Conservatives will be quite reluctant to re-introduce the measures in light of the media storm last time.


It certainly did not make Denmark a popular destination amongst politicians and newspaper editors, but I'm no so sure about Germany as a whole. Online polls at the time in Die Welt and Bild Zeitung showed that 84 and 77 % respectively approved of the measure. There are of course caveats with those kind of polls, but it doesn't seem like it has played much of a role amongst tourists. When owners of holiday houses and centres are asked, they say that the biggest German worry is the Danish Dog Law as they are unsure about which dog races are forbidden and which offences that will lead to the killing of the dog.
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Diouf
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 01:00:44 pm »


Anyway, good to hear that most Danish parties will be reluctant to re-introduce the measure. However, if I understand the latest polling correctly, after the next elections it may be quite difficult to form a government without DF, so they may start a new 'blackmailing' attempt ..

Well, right now it looks fairly certain that the next government will be a pure V-government if the right wing gets a majority. DF has made it quite clear that they do not want to participate in government after the next election; they often state that they don't want to end up as SF. Liberal Alliance is simply too extreme economically and wouldn't want to join either. The Conservatives are really trying to differentiate themselves from the other parties and probably realize that their last term in government was too long and didn't provide them with enough results. More than half of the Conservative parliamentary group are former ministers, but that might work both ways. They have tried government and doesn't need to go there again, or they have tried it and want to return. If another party is going to join the government it will be the Conservatives, but the chance is really low, I reckon.

The interesting part is the which kind of support the V-government would have to draw upon and which majority options it would have. The easiest thing for them would probably be if they could form a majority with DF alone, or with RV + LA + K. That could provide them with a stable platform, and I guess Lars Løkke Rasmussen might prefer the latter option as it would mean that his economic policies could largely be carried through. A majority alone with DF would allow them to carry through their immigration and justice policy with knobs on, but they would have difficulties agreeing on economic policy. However, right now neither of these options have a majority in the polls, and even if they did have it would be a very narrow one. So most likely V would have to deal with DF + at least one of the other three parties which would make every single negotiation hard.
An unknown quantity is the behaviour of S and SF after a lost election. SF will almost certainly backtrack to a markedly more left-wing position. The approach of S would probably depend a lot on their leadership; will Thorning-Schmidt stay and if not who will take over. If S continues approximately their current economic policies and is willing to cooperate a lot, then things could be a lot easier for a V-government.
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Diouf
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 03:49:20 pm »

The media is reporting that a cabinet reshuffle will take place tomorrow. Exciting to see how many changes will happen. Foreign Minister and former SF leader Villy Søvndal will be sacked according to most pundits, and the party might try to exchange that post for some ministries that they feel will be better for them such as Climate and Energy, Education, and Social and Integration.
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Diouf
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2013, 04:02:54 am »
« Edited: August 09, 2013, 04:33:33 am by Diouf »



The cabinet reshuffle has been rather moderate. Only one new person enters the government and two persons leave it in addition to a number of shifts of ministries for current ministers. Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal was spared and continues in the government. The Social Liberals' ministers were not involved in the reshuffle while S and SF each had a goal to fulfill with the reshuffle. SF wanted a new post for their leader Annette Vilhelmsen who couldn't profile herself very well in a very technical Ministry of Business and Growth while S wanted to introduce Henrik Sass Larsen into the government. Sass Larsen has long been a high-ranking Social Democrat and was widely expected to become Minister for Finance after the 2011 election. However, under dramatic circumstances he chose to withdraw as a potential minister when he was told that the intelligence service could not give him a security clearance. The main problem was his friendship with a corrupt local Social Democrat who often moved on the edge of the law. Through this relationsship he had been in contact a couple of times with a high ranking member of the criminal motorcycle gang Bandidos. Since then the whole case about the clearance has been rolled up and most people agree that the relationsship was not as reprehensible as it seemed at first.

List of changes. New/remaining ministers from left to right on picture:

Minister for Transport Henrik Dam Kristensen (S) is no longer a part of the government.
Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Mette Gjerskov (S) is no longer a part of the government.

Former Minister of Defence Nick Hækkerup (S) becomes Minister of Trade and European Affairs
Former Minister of Integration and Social Affairs Karen Hækkerup (S) becomes Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.
Henrik Sass Larsen (S) becomes Minister for Business and Growth
Former Minister for Business and Growth Annette Vilhemsen (SF) becomes Minister of Integration, Children and Social Affairs.
Former Minister for Trade and Investment Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF) becomes Minister for Transport.
Former Minister of European Affairs Nicolai Wammen (S) becomes Minister of Defence.
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Diouf
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 03:13:45 am »



The MP and former Minister Uffe Elbæk has decided to leave the Radikale Venstre/Social Liberal Party to become an independent. He says that he can no longer defend the government's policies and mentions several examples of polices that he has opposed: The new publicity law which in some areas restricts the media's access to information, the Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon's statements that the modern welfare state is and should be a competition state i.e. New Public Management is the way forward, that the Kurdish TV station Roj TV has had its license withdrawn. The straw that broke the camel's back, according to Elbæk, was that the government a few days ago decided to ditch the earmarking of parental leave to dads and instead introduce a small financial bonus for the dads who decide to go on parental leave. All the four left wing parties agreed on the measure before the election and it was even in the government programme, but especially the Social Democrats got cold feet.
He says that he still supports Helle Thorning-Schmidt as PM, but the reliable left wing bloc has now been reduced to 91 seats. A majority in the Folketing requires 90 seats.

Elbæk has had a long career in the cultural world as an entrepreneur and supported others who wanted to start up their own project in that field. He was a member of the city council in Aarhus from 2001 to 2007 and was elected to the Folketing in 2011. He was very surprisingly made Minister of Culture in the new government, and many questioned whether he would be able to manoeuvre in the political world which he didn't seem to fit perfectly into. He resigned as a Minister in December 2012 after heavy criticism from all the non-government parties as it was disclosed that the ministry had held several arrangements and dinners at the Academy of Untamed Creativity where his husband worked and where he himself had formerly been a board member.
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Diouf
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2013, 05:16:36 pm »

Danish Government agrees on budget with Liberals and Conservatives

Persons in picture, from man with the striped tie to the left: Peter Christensen, Financial Spokesman for the Liberals; Margrethe Vestager, Minister of Economic and Interior Affairs and Social Liberal Leader; Brian Mikkelsen, Conservative Spokesman on Industry and Taxation; Bjarne Corydon, Social Democratic Minister of Finance; Lars Barfoed, Conservative Leader; Holger K. Nielsen, Minister of Taxation from the SPP; Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Liberal Leader

Surprisingly, the Danish Government tonight decided to make an agreement on the budget for 2014 with the Liberals and the Conservatives. Normally the budgets are agreed upon with the government's support party/parties, but despite long negotiations with Enhedslisten/Unity List - Red Green Alliance, they could not reach an agreement. The main obstacle in the negotiations seemed to be Enhedslisten's demand that it should be inserted into the law that care-requiring persons should have the right to at least two showers a week. The Government argued that it would create too much bureaucracy and that it would circumvent the local democracy which we have just had elections for. Instead the Government offered some other things, including a billion kr (130 milllion euro) for elderly care which the kommuner themselves could decide what to spend on in that area.

As Enhedslisten didn't back down on their demand, the Government instead started negotiating with the Liberals and the Conservatives today and made an agreement a short while ago. The agreement included things that was in the negotiations with Enhedlisten, including the billion kr for the elderly, but other than that there were three main things in the agreement. 800 million kr of tax concessions for companies will go into force a year earlier, 900 million kr to higher job allowances, especially for single parents, and the annulment of the increased allowance for trade union membership which had been in the agreement that the government had planned to do with Enhedslisten.

Basically,this has made Enhedslisten even more angry with the government, and probably created even more dissatisfaction among many members in the SPP and the Social Democrats. The Liberals are quite happy to get some positive media time after a lot of talk about their leader's travel scandal. 
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Diouf
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 11:16:03 am »
« Edited: December 10, 2013, 03:16:16 pm by Diouf »

Danish Minister of Justice forced to resign


The Danish Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov was today forced to resign after the government's support party Enhedslisten declared that they no longer had confidence in him. So had all the opposition parties and therefore he no longer had a majority of MP's behind him and would not have survived a no-confidence vote.
The reason for the parties' lack of confidence in him is that the lied to the Folketing's Justice Committee about the reason for a cancelled Justice Committee trip to the controversial, anarchic Christiania area. The intelligence service had told the Minister that such a trip would include great threats to their security, especially due to the presence of former DF/DPP leader Pia Kjærsgaard who is not very popular in these sorts of areas. However, the Minister lied and told the committee that the trip was cancelled because the police chief couldn't make it that day. He claims that he told the lie so that the intelligence informant in the area would not be revealed.

This case comes on top of a lot of other negative stories about the minister, and Enhedslisten is not all that pleased with neither him as a right-wing Social Democrat nor the government as a whole right now. Bødskov has been touted as the next Danish EU-commissioner, and I'm not sure that this case makes that less likely.
Recently, the leader of the intelligence service has resigned after a number of bad cases, the last one related to the abovementioned case as documents had revealed that the intelligence service had, at least planned, looking in Pia Kjærsgaard's calendar to find a date for the trip where she could not make it. Whether they actually did is not clear yet.



The Prime Minister is in South Africa for the Mandela memorial ceremony and received his resignation via sms. Bødskov was one of her closest allies, and a part of the Coordination Committee where the seven highest ranked/most influential ministers make a lot of the big decisions. No new minister will probably be appointed before she returns home.
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« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2013, 04:55:16 pm »
« Edited: December 11, 2013, 04:01:44 am by Diouf »

Danish Minister of Justice forced to resign
The reason for the parties' lack of confidence in him is that the lied to the Folketing's Justice Committee about the reason for a cancelled Justice Committee trip to the controversial, anarchic Christiania area. The intelligence service had told the Minister that such a trip would include great threats to their security, especially due to the presence of former DF/DPP leader Pia Kjærsgaard who is not very popular in these sorts of areas. However, the Minister lied and told the committee that the trip was cancelled because the police chief couldn't make it that day.

That seems like a very unnecessary thing to lie about. He should join Håkan Juholt's group "Politicians that lie for the fun of it even when there's no reason to."

Indeed. Perhaps he had gone too native in terms of his relations with the intelligence service since he believed it so adamant to protect an informant that he would lie to the Committee. I don't see why he could not have given a briefing, perhaps even a confidential one, to the committee where he could have broadly outlined the threat without going to so much detail that it would compromise the informants.
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« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2013, 05:27:48 pm »

Any particular reason for the recent upswing for the government in Denmark? Apparently Rasmussen (stupidly) flew first class to a conference and things have spiraled?

The Rasmussen case was probably the main reason, yes. He flew on first class nine times in his role as President for the Global Green Growth Institute which is mainly funded by development aid from a number of countries, including Denmark. Whether the case directly moved voters or trigged movements which would have perhaps happened otherwise is hard to tell; perhaps a bit of both.

However, in the recent month the government has had a lot of poor cases so it might turn a bit back again. The budget deal with the Conservatives and the Liberals created new tensions among the left wing parties and internally in some of the government parties. Furthermore, it allowed Lars Løkke Rasmussen to once again stand beside the government and talk about being a responsible opposition which has the clout to pull the country in the right direction instead of talking about first class flights.
Also, in addition to Bødskov's resignation, the Social Liberal Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach had to resign recently, also due to lying. He had said that the government, which as a co-funder had a seat in the Global Green Growth Institute's board, had not approved the expensive travel rules which Løkke Rasmussen travelled according to. However, they actually had done just that. This part has helped Rasmussen a bit as he used that as a part of his defence, but when the minister said they didn't accept the rules, the tabloid who led the campaign against Rasmussen had a front page which simply said "liar" and accused Rasmussen of making the travel rules himself.

The latest average has 46.5 % for the left-wing parties, and 53.5 % for the right-wing parties. Before the travel case, the average said 43 % for the left-wing parties and 57 % for the right-wing parties.
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2013, 10:46:48 am »
« Edited: December 11, 2013, 11:00:41 am by Diouf »

Merry Christmas. As a political note, I can say that the DF/DPP candidate did not become Mayor in Hvidovre; he ended up supporting the incumbent Social Democrat. However, a part of that deal was that the kommune will now spend more money on celebrating Christmas, including a Christmas tree at the main square, and that the institutions shall serve traditional Danish food.



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Diouf
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2013, 11:00:22 am »

Foreign Minister resigns due to health problems


The Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal (SF/SPP) today withdrew from politics due to health problems. The Minister has been on a leave of absence since October when he suffered a coronary. A few days later his wife had a heart attack. So due to him and his wife's serious health problems, he is retiring from politics; i.e. not only as a Minister, but also as a MP.

The replacement will be named tomorrow, and since there are now two major posts that need to be filled, it would probably require some reshuffling.

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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2013, 02:45:01 pm »



Two ministers were promoted and two new ministers were appointed at today's reshuffle. From the left in the picture we have Jonas Dahl, (SF/SPP) the new Minister of Taxation; Karen Hækkerup, a Social Democrat promoted from Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries to Minister of Justice; the PM; Holger K. Nielsen (SF/SPP) promoted from Minister of Taxation to Foreign Minister; and Dan Jørgensen, who was leader of the Socialdemocratic MEPs and is now Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.

It is quite remarkable that Holger K. Nielsen is now the Danish Foreign Minister. He was the leader of the SF/SPP before Villy Søvndal, and is probably mostly remembered for his Eurosceptic views. He was the leading voice in the successful campaign against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 with his famous slogan "Holger og konen siger nej til unionen (Holger and his wife say no to the union)", it rhimes in Danish Wink. Therefore, it was very important for the yes-parties to convince him to support the Maastricht Treaty at the second referendum, so he more or less dictated the four Danish opt-outs. When four opt-outs were accepted, he supported a yes in the second referendum. He was still opposed to the euro in the 2000 referendum, but like most of the SF/SPP he has become much more positive towards the EU and today declared himself an "almost full-blown European". Ironically, he is now in a position where he fights to get the opt-outs removed. The government wrote in its program that there were gonna be referendums about two of the opt-outs, defence and JHA, but no date has been set yet, so it's doubtful whether it's actually gonna happen. The previous government made the same promise without fulfilling it.

Dan Jørgensen was also a slightly controversial appointment due to some of the strong views that he has earlier expressed in that area. He has been very critical of the conditions in the farms which he has called cruelty to animals, he wanted cage eggs to have warning pictures like tobacco, and he wanted to ban mink skin production. The Danish mink industry exports for nearly 10 billion kr (1,34 billion euro) a year.
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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2013, 05:31:34 am »

He was the leading voice in the successful campaign against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 with his famous slogan "Holger og konen siger nej til unionen (Holger and his wife say no to the union)", it rhimes in Danish Wink

Though presumably only to the highly limited extent that anything can rhyme in Danish... Tongue

What is this Danish you speak off? I think you mean the sound of choking on too much food in your mouth. 

I recommend this brilliant clip, from the Norwegian comedy show Ut i vår hage. It pretty much tells you all you need to know about the state of the Danish language. (Almost entirely in English, so can be viewed by our non-Nordic friends as well). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-mOy8VUEBk

And perhaps even more about the state of the Norwegian humour Wink
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2013, 09:03:31 am »


Pretty well. A few has referred to some of the negative treatment it got in some British and American newspapers so it could damage her/Denmark's reputation, but the vast majority thinks it's funny and Twitter and Facebook has been flooded with all sorts of politician and political commentator selfies.

Here two of the Liberal Alliance MPs make a selfie with Helle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqp9yRxgaIQ
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2014, 12:44:02 pm »

Agreement on Train Fund

Persons in picture from left: Minister of Transport Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF), Social Democrat spokesperson on transport Rasmus Prehn,  DF spokesperson on transport Kim Christiansen,  Social Liberal spokesperson on transport Andreas Steenberg (the one to the right of those in the back), Enhedslisten spokesperson on transport Henning Hyllested.

Today the Danish Government, Enhedslisten and DF made an agreement on setting up a Train Fund which will spend 28,5 billion kroner (3,82 billion euro) on train projects over the next decade or so. The most important goal of the investment is the introduction of the so-called "hour-model" which will mean that it will only take one hour to travel from one of the four big cities to the next (Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense, Copenhagen). The agreement has been in the pipeline for a while, but disagreements about how the airport in Billund should be connected to the railway system held it back for a while. DF wanted a light railway line, while the others just wanted a normal railway system. In the agreement, it is not completely decided which it shall be, but it seems like DF has backed down.
The fund is financed by increasing taxes on some of the companies which are extracting oil and gas in the North Sea, so that all the companies are now following the same tax level. Venstre (Liberals), Conservatives, and Liberal Alliance are not a part of the agreement as they don't believe in the financing of the fund. They think the extra taxes will mean that some companies will stop their investments and extractions in the area, which means that the expected funds will not materialize and jobs will be lost.
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2014, 10:25:57 am »

Enter Goldman Sachs, Exit SF (SPP)?

The current discussions about the state's pending sale of 19 percent of DONG Energy, Denmark's largest energy company, to the American investment bank Goldman Sachs have made discussions about SF's(SPP) presence in the government resurface. Tomorrow, the day before the Financial Committee will make the final decision on the sale, the party's parliamentary group and executive committee will have an extraordinary meeting to discuss whether the party should support the sale, and whether the party can continue in the government. The SF MP Karsten Hønge, who just entered parliament as a stand-in for Anne Baastrup who is on a leave of absence due to her role in the case which ended with the resignation of the Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov, said to Jyllands-Posten today: "We are on the edge, and bloody playing with our existence. As the situation has developed, I lean towards leaving the government". This is a quite extraordinary statement from a MP from a government party, but he has been a relatively outspoken critic of many of the government's decisions before entering parliament.

The Danish state currently owns 81 % of DONG Energy, but a sale of parts of DONG Energy has been on the agenda for a while. It was planned to happen in 2008 but to the unrest in the financial markets, the sale was postponed at the time. After a terrible 2012 result with a loss of 4 billion kr (0,54 euro), the company needed capital so the plans to sell parts of it were then restarted. A number of funds and investment banks made offers, and in September 2013 the Ministry of Finance reached an agreement for selling 21 % of the company to different investors; the large majority (19%) of this sale was to Goldman Sachs. The sale has been criticized from a number of sides, among them former Social Democrat PM Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and Enhedslisten. DF (DPP) originally supported the deal, but has now turned around completely and is opposed to the deal. The main points of criticism: Goldman Sachs played a big part in the financial crisis and ethically it would be wrong to do business with them, Goldman Sachs will buy the shares via companies in Luxembourg, Delaware and Cayman Islands to reduce the amount of tax they must pay in Denmark, Goldman Sachs will get a veto on changes to the company's overall strategy, and that the current environment is not a good one to sell in so a higher price could be achieved later. The government and Venstre (Liberals), the Conservatives and the Liberal Alliance support the deal.

With regards to SF, I think the party's top leadership, i.e. the ministers and a few others, will try to keep the party in the government, while a fairly great number of the regular members of the executive committee and the parliamentary group will be opposed to the sale, and might want to leave the government. I think they will end up staying in the government, but as the party leadership election in 2012 showed, it can be hard for outsiders to predict about the inner workings of the party.
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2014, 04:58:36 pm »
« Edited: January 29, 2014, 05:30:45 pm by Diouf »

SF accepted the sale in today's meeting. The Executive Committee voted on the deal; 10 were in favour, 7 against. One of those 7 was the deputy leader Peter Westermann, who was an outspoken Vilhelmsen-supporter in the leadership election. Due to the defeat in the vote, Westermann has now resigned from his position as deputy leader.

EDIT: Political and financial spokesperson Lisbeth Bech Poulsen has now resigned from her posts as well as she also belonged to the no-side. More resignations and perhaps even defections are probably to follow over the next days.
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