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Danish election roundup

by JakeS Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 04:10:51 AM EST

Today (technically yesterday as of this writing) Denmark held parliamentary elections. I have been remiss in covering this election for ET. Partly because I have had other things on my mind for the past month (the election campaign was, by one measure, three weeks long. By another it's been six months); partly because European events have held my attention; and partly because I got the urge to break things every time I turned on the TV from all the cargo cult economics being peddled.

Then I remind myself that election campaigns that revolve around subjects I know less well are probably equally loaded with sanctimonious bullshit. And that thought is just depressing.

But you came here to get some results and perhaps a little coalition poker. So here goes:

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

As of this writing, the latest results are:
A: 44 (-1); Social democrats; PES (Schröderites)
B: 17 (+8); Social liberals; ALDE (Lib-Dem-ish; compulsive centrist disorder sufferers)
C: 8 (-10); Conservatives; EPP (Tories)
F: 16 (-7); Socialists; Greens/EFA (Social democrats)
I: 9 (+4); Liberal Alliance; Unknown, presumed ALDE (Glibertarians)
K: 0 (-);Christian democrats; N/A (I don't know, and they don't seem to either)
O: 22 (-3);People's Party; EFD (Ugly party)
V: 47 (+1);Liberals; ALDE (Neoliberal)
Ø: 12 (+8); Red-Green; GUE/NGL (Socialists)

You need 90 seats for a majority, because our Atlantic territories fill four seats. Which will, barring direct divine intervention, break down 3:1 in favour of the good guys.

Now, there's a couple of binding constraints on possible coalitions that pretty much obviate the usual coalition poker:

  • A and F will form a government, with Ø support.

  • V, C and I form the opposition.

  • O can't make policy with A, because then A will hug them to death (also, O and A leadership hate each others' guts).

  • B can make economic policy with V and C, but can't work with O at all. And then they don't have 90 seats.

If the new government is smart, it will sell everything - and I do mean everything - else to B to keep them out of the economic policy. Giving B a veto on economic policy is a dead certain way to lose the next election. Also, get atrocious economic policy, but with a Schröderite PM I take that as the baseline from which improvements might be made, not a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

If the new government is dumb, it will either attempt to shortcharge B enough to break the coalition, and get massacred in the subsequent elections (this is what the wingnuts are already crowing about). Or they'll meet B halfway on economic policy, in which case we'll have 15 % unemployment in four years, and then we'll lose the election.

Promoted by DoDo


Nothing to see here, move along

[Edited 23:09 on 16th Sep.]

The second thing an election roundup usually has is an analysis of where voters went and for what reasons. I haven't seen any polling data on this, but I'll give you my impressions of this year's voter swings.

The red bloc is boring in that respect, because it's not the voters who move, it's the parties. Overall, the red bloc gains two seats keep the same number of seats. On the upside for the left bloc, there turnout was unusually high (low turnout is disproportionally a problem for left-leaning demographics, so higher turnout should benefit the red bloc). On the downside, F has been leaking voters dissatisfied with their "pragmatic" stance on immigration policy to both the right-wing SocLibs and the left-wing red-greens.

On the right wing, things are a bit more interesting (and my tea-leaf reading is a lot less reliable). The ugly party loses three seats - if I had to guess, the Liberals picked those up. Partly because they've run a foreigner-bashing campaign in the last week up to the election, partly because it seems to be unhealthy to be a minor coalition party. The Conservatives took a pounding. My guess is that this is due to making overtures to the Social Liberals - the four seats the extremist glibertarians picked up come from the conservatives, as surely as the Sun will rise in the East later today. The rest of their losses are probably the same minor-party-in-coalition effect that hit the ugly party.

Overall, the right-wing coalition lost eight seats, which probably went to the Social Liberals, for reasons which I will not pretend to understand. I gave up trying to understand those guys an election and a half ago, because their electoral results behave like spring sale fads, and I was never any good at understanding those either.

So in summary,

The Good: The craziest parties suffered a net loss.
The Bad: The Social Liberals doubled, which will make it much more difficult to medicate their compulsive centrist disorder.
The Ugly: The Conservatives are really looking like they will go under. I would really rather have preferred them to survive, because there's only policy space for one far-right party on the political spectrum, and the glibertarians are flat-out insane.

Oops, she did it again
Or: How to piss away three full percentage points in three weeks.

This election was way too close. Three weeks ago, ABFØ had a comfortable 53-point-something per cent lead, which should translate to a twelve seat advantage (thirteen with the Atlantic seats). I'm not quite sure how the SocDem's managed to accomplish that feat, aside from the fact that the press is - to put it very politely - stuffed full of wingnut talking heads pretending to be "political analysts."

- Jake

Incidentally, the people who code TV stations' websites need to cut down on the damn javascript. Their moving graphics are annoying enough on the screen - a website is an interactive medium already, so this faux-interactivity is insulting as well as annoying. Also eats my processor cycles. And isn't even standards-compliant, since it will only execute in M$ firmware. Amateurs.

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European Tribune - Danish election roundup
How to piss away three full percentage points in three weeks.

Yep, for months the media have been telling us the soc-dems were ahead.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 03:20:11 AM EST
Then I remind myself that election campaigns that revolve around subjects I know less well are probably equally loaded with sanctimonious bullshit. And that thought is just depressing.

Still – can you tell how the following themes featured in the campaign (if and when they came up at all), and what to expect from the new government on them?

  1. immigration, borders
  2. energy policy (in particular wind and gas)
  3. infrastructure (in particular the Fehmarn tunnel, ERTMS and electrification)
  4. transatlantic relations


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 04:31:38 AM EST
DoDo:
  1. immigration, borders

And did Breivik play a role?

In the recent local elections in Norway the main effect appears to have been a large movement of voters from the ugly to the conservative party. I have wondered if this would spill over to the Danish election.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 05:06:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With the caveat that I did not follow the campaign diligently, for reasons stated in the diary:

  1. The ugly party and the Liberals tried their scary-darkie routines, but an economic depression has a way of focusing people's attention on the unemployment numbers. The Conservatives tried to pretend they don't have a policy about it, because their policy is incompatible with that of the ugly party so every time they talk about it they remind the voters that the ugly party has a firm grip on their balls. A and F made the tactical decision to promise to maintain the status quo, while the Social Liberals did their usual schtick with pretending to be on the left by being in favour of human rights as if this made their right-wing economic policy somehow less odious. (It is a sad commentary on our times that this is grounds for summary exclusion from any viable right-wing coalition - and an even sadder commentary on our times that it's a significant point of contention with a left-wing one.)

  2. Not that I am aware of. Nobody likes to talk energy policy, because nobody wants to tell the voters that we'll be a lot poorer in just a few years when the North Sea carbohydrate production falls off a cliff.

  3. I didn't follow enough details to know the status of the Fehmern connection, but from what I can tell it has enough bureaucratic inertia behind it by now that it will probably happen. Nobody wants to talk about the state of the rail net, because everybody shares some of the blame for the shitty condition it's in.

  4. What's there to talk about? The only people who are not firmly Atlanticist are Ø and F. F was busy getting married to A, and a row over NATO is... not conducive to that process. Ø has more interesting things to talk about, what with the whole "economic meltdown" thing going on. There was one interesting episode when it became clear that Denmark is going to recognise the Republic of Palestine if it comes to a UN vote. But that's the only foreign policy "discussion" I've seen.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 04:46:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A and F made the tactical decision to promise to maintain the status quo

Do you mean the status quo in immigration law in general, or the border controls? On the latter, while doing the Salon, I found this:

In terms of policy, the Social Democrats have announced they are to roll back the enhanced border checks policy - a concession made by the centre-right to the anti-immigrant People's Party - which has put Denmark on collision course with the European Commission and Germany.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 17th, 2011 at 02:09:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Immigration policy in general. But it's sloganeering for the benefit of voters who would be drifting to the ugly party, more than a matter of conviction. So if they can roll back some of the more egregiously stupid rules and "blame" it on the EU (or expect that nobody will notice), then I don't expect them to actually feel bound by their election slogans.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 17th, 2011 at 03:49:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody wants to talk about the state of the rail net, because everybody shares some of the blame for the shitty condition it's in.

The main lines aren't even electrified yet, are they? A certain neighbouring country had that part done some 80 years ago... ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Sep 17th, 2011 at 06:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, get atrocious economic policy, but with a Schröderite PM I take that as the baseline from which improvements might be made, not a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

This sentence is a bit mysterious to me. In what sense do you use "Schröderite" and how does hope stem from it?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 04:33:24 AM EST
I understand it as Soc-dem - Schröderite - economic policy will be bad, but the social liberals is worse - centrist.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 06:10:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And, therefore?, that the Soc-Dem would not view the economic disastrous as being as economically disastrous as it would be, but merely as being less then ideal?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 12:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not even that. They are going to think that disastrous economic policies are economically beneficial. The SocDems and SocLibs differ only on their willingness to trade equity for efficiency, not in the degree to which they accept the existence of this fantasy-based trade-off in the first place.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 05:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That does make "concessions to [purely imaginary] economic effectiveness" depressingly likely.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Sep 17th, 2011 at 12:06:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Askod's reading is correct: It's a snarky comment on my low expectations for the economic acumen of anybody substantially to the right of Konrad Adenauer.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 04:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Jake.

A somewhat hopeful result IMO and perhaps a crack in the EPP dominance of Europe.  It would be too much to hope it marks a high-water mark in racist right-wing populism.

Did the big red/green vote increase come largely at the expense of the Social Democrats?

by Pope Epopt on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 04:56:52 AM EST
With the caveat that I have no polling data to base it on, my interpretation is that the red-green gain is the half of the old guard of the popular socialists who don't like being wedded to the Schröderites.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 04:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
am seeing comments that the new Danish PM is The Kinnocks daughter-in-law

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 06:17:20 AM EST


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 05:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Overall, the red bloc gains two seats

I can't reproduce that calculation :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 06:44:36 AM EST
I can't either ~ I see the red bloc -1-7+8=+0, the independent left O down 3, the centrists up 8.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 12:33:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O is not left; they're the immigrant-hating, pepper spray distributing ugly party.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 01:23:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, but that doesn't modify -1-7+8=+0.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Sep 17th, 2011 at 12:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And thanks for the clarification ~ keeping track of which names mean what gets complicated in national politics you haven't been following.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Sep 17th, 2011 at 02:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, that was using an earlier projection and not corrected when I got the final provisional tally.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 16th, 2011 at 05:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't Ø condition their support on something tangible? Would they?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Sep 17th, 2011 at 11:15:58 PM EST
They do. Traditionally, they don't vote for policies they do not support. Which means that if the new government wants to destroy some social programme or another, it has to fish for votes on the other side of the centre.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 18th, 2011 at 05:32:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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