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The blue danger

This year's parliamentary elections revealed the blue danger for Norway in the 21. century: Progress Party progress. Dag Herbjørnsrud comments.


Wallmann's Salons, Akerselva, Oslo.

- Come on, Eli! Now we go home, Carl Ivar Hagen said to his wife.

It was just past eleven Monday night. While large parts of the press corps gathered on the electoral rolls of the new government parties Ap, Sp and SV, I stood almost alone one meter away from the Hagen couple at the most central table in the Wallmanns Salonger by the Akerselva river.

All the measurements then showed that the Progress Party had dethroned the Right as the bourgeois party's largest party: Over 22 percent's support in the Norwegian parliamentary elections 2005 means that Frp can now make even the Labor party rank as the big people party.

It was this Garden was so keenly aware of when he gave marching orders to his wife. She was going home to the Ullern home while returning to the big party debate at the Storting, which started ten minutes past midnight.

King Carl had been hailed a short time in advance as a mix of a Roman emperor and an American movie star when he entered the Progressive Party's vigil.

The deposit choice 12. September 2005 admittedly gave a red-green government this time around. But considering Norway in the 21. century, this was first and foremost a true blue monday.

On the way out the door

"The red danger" was a common scare message in 20th century politics. However, the challenge we now face is far worse: "The blue danger", represented by the FRP's skilful populism, cynical seduction and strategic enemy images.

One thing is the formidable progress from 14 to 22 percent, from 26 to 38 mandates. Even the married couple Hagen had not believed in such a thing:

- I heard we were about to get 39 seats, I overheard that Eli exclaimed to Carl when they were on their way out the door.

- Oh no, we probably will not get that. Being probably 37, Carl replied slightly reprimandingly.

But Frp ended up with 38 parliamentary representatives.

But this is not the main problem for Norway today. Also, this year the Progress Party has already become the country's largest party in the counties Rogaland, Vest-Agder and Møre og Romsdal. Or that Frp won the school choice and thus became the youth party.

Aftenposten's Harald Stanghelle could the next day refer to Hagen as "Europe's most successful populist".

But the problem does not lie in Hagen as a person either, he will resign as party leader this spring. The blue danger is so much greater than the man King Carl. Rather, it is the gradual path to political power, to the impact on the ideological way of thinking of Norwegian society – the insidious power of right-wing populism's ability to influence the future of our children and our grandchildren – that should frighten. We must not become so short-sighted that one rejoices in a tricky red-green victory today, without taking the challenge of the overwhelming demonstration of power from the FRP movement very seriously.

It is the very treacherous brutality that follows in the wake of its right-wing populism that should frighten. "Everyone knows" what the FRP really stands for when it comes to the view of minorities, immigrants and the so-called soft values ​​- therefore the party does not have to say it explicitly. In the realm of petrol prices, car taxes and liquor, even raw-riding moped riders without helmets can be crowned kings.

Frp's power tactics

Already in Wednesday's Stavanger Aftenblad, FRP's parliamentary representative Ketil Solvik-Olsen went out and declared that the goal was government power in 2009. He thus followed up party leader Hagen's declared election night dream of coming to FRP's national meeting sometime in the near future, be it with a walker or wheelchair. and then be received by the Prime Minister of Norway – implicitly one from the Progress Party.

Solvik-Olsen meant that the strategy ahead is to make the party less extreme. When Siv Jensen takes over, it will probably help with the image as well. The worst Rabulists are removed, while more and more women can be lured to the party by its first female party leader.

Such is no happy message, rather a horror scenario for the further political development in Norway. We have a blue wolf in sheep's clothing lurking in our midst.

It is better for the FRP to maintain its rabulist, prejudiced basic attitude than for it to become more responsible in the future – and thus attract new voters to the contagious ideology of right-wing populism.

Already in Tuesday's newspaper, VG could write that it is "a mockery of democracy if the governing parties still say no to cooperation with the Progress Party".

However, it is VG that not only scorns Norway's parliamentary democracy, but also gives the impression of not knowing the basic conditions for how parliamentarism works. Of course, it is not the case that the other bourgeois parties have a duty to cooperate with Fr.p. In the same way that Ap. the last 40 years have had no obligation to cooperate with SV or RV.

After all, it serves the leadership of the Right, the KrF and the Left to honor that they have so far kept the Progress Party outside the corridors of power, despite pressure from both grassroots and various media à la VG. Both with regard to immigration issues, human and social views, there is still an abyss between Frp and the other bourgeois parties. As long as it lasts.

New Blue Mondays

Nevertheless, VG's commentator Arve Øverby on Tuesday wrote that "The Conservatives and KrF have so arrogantly rejected negotiations with Frp and Carl I. Hagen".

If anyone has acted arrogantly in Norwegian politics, then it must be Frp and Carl I. Hagen.

It is rather a sign of health that the leadership of KrF, be it Bondevik or Høybråten, has so clearly stated that their so-called "Christian values" are incompatible with the Progress Party.

As long as it lasts, of course. The pressure from the grassroots and the media to get a collaboration with Frp will be tremendous in the years to come. After all, Frp is now almost as large as the Right, KrF and Left together.

The joy is great over today's red-green government cooperation. But four years is a short time. Monday's election shows that more brutal blue Mondays are waiting.

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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