Theater of Cruelty

Renovation in progress

Will the left side in SV be satisfied only Audun Lysbakken will be the deputy leader at the national board meeting this weekend? Hardly. It is now the battle of SV's soul starts.


The government booth became the triumph of the center-seeking middle generation. A victory for the leader trio Kristin Halvorsen, Øystein Djupedal and party secretary Bård Vegar Solhjell.

With them in the government corridors, they brought important parts of the party leadership, the parliamentary group and the advisers. Again, the left and an abandoned party sit and do not quite understand what happened when the results of the adventure castle Soria Moria were to be turned into practical policy.

Since then, we have had parliamentary representatives who demonstrate against their own government, and internally in the party, the discussion is now at a level where several people are talking about saving what can be saved by the radical SV.

Several are wondering where the radical SV soul got rid of when Halvorsen took his women and men and marched from the Storting and into the government quarter. It has not been obvious from the government offices.

The F16 planes are going to Afghanistan. Commissioned by the Government. And SV openly supports this. And the SV leadership takes it as a victory that Erna Solberg believes that the government's policy turns Norwegian foreign policy to the left.

You can be happy with that – that Erna sees this. But the left wing in SV does not see this. Instead, they see that the party's representatives become too similar to the Labor Party. A thought that makes it run cold down the backs of many in the party. The last time the party tried to work closely with the Labor Party – in the city government of Oslo – most of the party's front soldiers disappeared into the Labor Party and also became EU supporters.

This weekend, the left side is seriously starting its march for a more visible and more radical SV. With Audun Lysbakken in place as deputy leader, this wing of the party has gained a foothold in the leadership. In the party discussion this is pointed out as important, because Lysbakken is good at arguing and is ideologically solidly placed in the party's history. It is also emphasized that Lysbakken can distinguish between a socialist and a social democrat.

For the party organization, it becomes important to get people in the center who can take the initiative, have contact with all parties in the party and keep the debate going.

The party's new leadership trio; Kristin Halvorsen and Bergens Audun Lysbakken and the new party secretary Edle Daasvand Skjæveland; makes sure everyone has got some. Skjæveland has not previously been one of the marked SVs outwards, and she lies in the middle between the wings.

The new management will restore SV's trust among voters – and not least among its own members.

There are many disappointed SVers around the country who say that they do not recognize their party. SV has a long history of strong internal strife over political choices. It is too early to say whether the party risks a split now, but it is pointed out that the safest way to create internal battles is to start a march in violation of international law. One must remember that no one in the party has forgotten that SV supported NATO's bomb war in 1999, and with the decision to send the F16 planes to Afghanistan, the party leadership is strewn with political cluster bombs that can hit anyone in the party. Attempts to explain and justify this decision are to no avail. The decision is contrary to SV's soul, and then it does not help with more and less logical explanations.

For the trotters in the local teams, the challenge is that they already have to start the job towards the next municipal election and in four years the next Storting election. In that perspective, this weekend's country board meeting is extremely important. The party needs a clear and distinct profile, and the party's left will fight with beaks and claws to turn the party into a more radical line. In this struggle, the old guard of party veterans and party founders, together with the young and promising politicians, led by Audun Lysbakken.

While Ingrid Fiskaa and Audun Lysbakken seem to represent a new and more radical generation in the party, we cannot escape the fact that these have much in common with those who started SV in the mid-seventies.

Many in SV experience the last few weeks as an unhappy entrance to government offices. There has been a lot of SV debate in the party and in the media. But so far we have not heard anything from people like Berge Furre, Kjellbjørg Lunde, Ottar Brox and Stein Ørnhøi. They started the party, and they participated with their experience in the preparations for SV's entry into the corridors of power. They have so far held back with their opinions about flights to Afghanistan, people on the lawn, hot school meals, parental responsibility and table prayer. They have not thought highly of SV as a governing party – but there have been some comments on individual issues. What is the cause of the silence we can only imagine. The government is fresh, and needs time, but already now many conclude that SV's ministers in particular are struggling to make it happen. For veterans, government power must be particularly painful when it comes to the issues that have been debated.

For the party leadership and the ministers, it is tough to get this criticism. Such is politics. At the same time, the ministers and their advisers must take into account that they come from a party where the members meet at work every day and must defend the flow of opinions – some mean nonsense – from SV's ministers. These should be in line with the party's program and the party's foundation.

It hardly hurts the party that parts of the parliamentary group appear in public and show that they are still on the party program. It shows that there are radical and steadfast SVs left. Whether the warring parties in the party should enter into a peace agreement may be, but they hardly need to think about the voters. As a Swede said the other day: “Our voters are not that bad. They are not shy. They just pretend to have voted for the Labor Party – something most people also have


These can be more, if we get new initiatives that poke away at people's childhood beliefs. There are other ways to create a new Norway. Taking away people's table prayer is hardly a mainstay in a new and modern society.

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