Mon Nov 5th, 2007 at 08:32:10 PM EST
Back in the comments to Election Times, Take Two, Helen asked how the polls looked and what that meant for the parliamentary situation. The first question is relatively easy to answer:
The major changes are within the blocs. NA is losing ground steadily, V, S and SF are gaining, R and DF are more or less stable, and K and Ø go up or down depending on which newspaper is doing the poll, but it looks like Ø is going to make it into parliament after all, which I personally would not have expected a couple of months ago.
Overall, the left wing is gaining a little bit, but the right wing is still in the majority in the polls. It does not look that way in the graphic representation, because the newsies are obliging enough to label the neoliberal New Alliance as unaligned w.r.t. the blocs, but that's the biggest lie in Danish politics since the Tamil Affair blew up in Poul "Nothing Is Swept Under The Carpet" Schlüter's face.
The second part of the question requires a bit of
political analysis tea-leaf reading on my part. So when reading this diary, keep in mind that almost everything below the fold should be taken with a largish grain of salt.
There is a great deal of personal antipathy as well as political tension between DF and both NA and R. This pretty much (to my mind at least) precludes the possibility of a V-K-DF-R working majority. But that in turn means that R is going to be pushed even further into the Social Democrats' back pocket. Whether the party can survive that remains to be seen.
OTOH, NA's polls have been declining lately, presumably because people are taking their first serious look beyond the charismatic Naser Khader at the underlying neoliberal policies, and fleeing in terror at breakneck speed (well, one can hope). They are now at a size where they will, both in terms of age and size, be the decidedly junior partner in any right-wing majority, competing with the Conservatives for the same voters (the top five percent of the income distribution, and whatever suckers they can scrape together from the bottom five of the IQ distribution).
This means that if the polls hold, NA will be in the unenviable situation of having to break one of their two major campaign promises basically on election night: Either they break their promise to support Fogh, and instantly lose the rest of their voters for good and presumably ever, or they support DF, opposition to which is half their (official) raison d'etre.
I think they'll choose Fogh, but I may well be wrong.
There is another possibility, however, and that is that we will see a Fogh government with only intermittent support from either R, NA or both, similar to the first two Schlüter governments in the 80s.
Back then, the conservative PM Poul Schlüter presided over a minority K-V-CD*-KD** government with a working majority composed of K-V-CD*-FR*-KD**-R. R dissented from the government line on the subject of NATO policy, however, causing the somewhat unusual situation of a sitting government being in the minority on foreign policy without being subjected to a vote of no confidence or calling a general election.
Presumably, this time around such a situation would mean a minority V-K-(O) government supported by NA and/or R. That would mean that fiscal and taxation policy (and possibly educational policy, if R remains in principled opposition) will be run by the right, while 'values' policies - which is newspeak for immigration and integration policy - will be run by the left plus NA and R.
But I don't seriously believe that, because DF has a history of playing hardball when it comes to bloc politics: If one of their allies ever cuts a deal, on a subject DF finds important (such as immigration), with someone other than DF and without involving them, there is a better than even chance that that someone will no longer be an ally of theirs. Which would yank the rug out from under any of the possible right-wing government constellations.
So I foresee either a very stable parliamentary situation where NA and K will for all practical purposes merge - their policies are certainly similar enough and their position is fringe enough that that's possible - or we'll have a very unstable parliamentary situation where all bets are off, and presumably another election will be called very soon. I see very little in between.
I hope for the latter, but think the former is more realistic.
(Actually, a small, vindictive part of me hopes that the Fogh III government will be in the hot seat long enough for the boom driven by irresponsible lending practices of the last half-decade (which are in turn caused by the government's irresponsible deregulation of the banking sector and grossly irresponsible cuts on real estate taxes) to unravel. Bad Things are going to happen when it does, methinks, and (from a vindictive, personal point of view) it would be highly satisfying to see skyrocketing unemployment blow up in the bastards' faces. But that's only until I realise what four more years (well, three more years, given Fogh's habit of calling elections of convenience) of stable right-wing rule would do to our society...)
*Party no longer running for parliament.
**Party will soon no longer be running for parliament.
[editor's note, by Migeru]