Norway’s general election


I don’t care.  And if you manage to plow through the following explanation, you will see why.

There is a general election in Norway today. I am not voting, not even following the vote counting on radio and the Internet.  I care so very, very little.  And neither does the world, I’m happy to say.

Norwegian politics are not particularly interesting.  Then again I think the same about soccer, and thousands locals still stake their happiness on it.  I guess there is some primitive need to belong to something greater than oneself.  In my case, of course, neither soccer nor Norwegian politics count as “greater”, only “bigger”.  I may be conceited, but then again so are those who engage in these things.  As I may or may not already have told you, I have yet to see anyone politically active without being discontent.  And yet, despite not being happy themselves, they want to help others.

With the Happiness Realization Party not yet present in Norway, how were things lined up?  We had a vaguely socialist coalition that had rules Norway for four years.  This was the first coalition government on the left ever, as far as I know, although the Socialist Left has generally been a loyal supporter of the Labor government for the simple reason that they detest everyone else even more (and are detested in turn).  The Socialist Left want Norway out of NATO, punitive taxes on the rich, high but bearable taxes on workers,  and plentiful immigration of the people who want them dead and their ideas eradicated from the face of the Earth.  In short, they are a bit out of sync with consensus reality.

On the other fringe of the 3-party coalition is the Center Party, which ironically hates centralization more than anyone else.  Once upon a time their name was Farmer Party, and the party’s backbone is still the farmers and the food processing industry that depends on the farmers.  They are also peacefully nationalistic, in an isolationist and protectionist way, not in the sense of invading other countries.  Formerly a non-socialist party, they shifted their allegiance in return for guarantees that Norway not join the European Union, which they strongly dislike.  In this they have found a staunch ally in the Socialist Left.

In the middle is the Labor party, which used to be the largest party in Norway.  In fact, they used to have absolute majority in the Storting, the Norwegian parliament, for most of my childhood and youth.  But perhaps because of their name, their glory has been fading. They still have a very strong organization and contacts everywhere in the bureaucracy, where they planted leaders during their time in power.  And not least, they have the main Labor Unions on their side.   They are also the most mainstream of all the parties.  If something is uncontroversial, you can be sure they are for it.  For this reason, despite being nominally on the socialist side of things, they are strong allies of the USA and eager supporters of NATO.  They have even cut the income tax, but not by much.

The opposition is even more fragmented, really.  The largest party is the ironically named Progress Party – ironic because they are the most conservative of the bunch, and in many ways even trying to go back to the “good old days”.  I suppose this is progress if we have been moving backwards for the last couple decades.  I won’t say we haven’t in some ways.  But unfortunately the Progress Party has become the default home for the stupid.  Promising extremely low taxes, better health care (paid by the state), higher pensions (paid by the state), better roads, a drastic upgrade to the police and military, and of course cheap alcohol.  They will pay for this by scrapping all farm subsidies, financial support to single mothers,  and foreign aid. But most of all they want a stop to allowing people from incompatible cultures to seek refuge here.

Over the course of my adult life, lots of people from other countries have moved to Norway. Most of them are Muslims, but there were also periods when we got people from Vietnam and Chile.  For a short time, we allowed people to immigrate to work here. This was when we had just started extracting oil from the North Sea, and in a kind of national drunkenness we decided that from now on we would let other people drive our taxis and clean our toilets,  it was beneath our dignity.  Or something like that. Anyway, we let in a good number of Pakistanis, and life was never the same again.  We soon closed the border to immigration (except to other Nordic countries and later the European Union) but continued to accept asylum-seekers.  These are for natural reasons often mentally unstable, and always unfamiliar with our culture. They now account for a significant part of our crime, particularly violent crime.

The Progress Party, always gunning for the simple solution, wants all people with foreign cultures out of the country.  If people want to live here, they should learn to speak Norwegian, and follow Norwegian traditions. Otherwise, leave now.  Simple, right?  Except people with very different cultures tend to come from very different parts of the world and therefore look very different from us.  So throwing them out would be racism.  We can’t do that.  (It also helps that the Progress Party, catering to the stupid, also has most of the country’s actual racists in its ranks.)  So they have become political lepers.  No one want anything to do with them.  And they are the biggest party.

Thanks to this, the Red-Green coalition will get another 4 years, if they manage to  stay together.  Because the opposition is too divided to present a serious alternative.