The Danish welfare system is all about redistributing taxpayers’ money back and forwards in one big merry-go-round until there is nothing left to spend.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen of the Liberal Party (Venstre) explains this with a straight face in this video clip, that is, sadly, not texted in English.
We give you the translation. It is actually quite easy:
»We have chosen to make a system where you hand over a bit less than you did before. This is what we have chosen to do, and this of course has had the effect that those that earn more, and hand over a lot, and now hand over a little less; that they now hand over more less, than those that earn a little less, and hand over less, but that now hand over less of less«.
Note the deadpan expression on his face when he delivers this key policy statement in parliament. If it wasn’t so ridiculous it would be tragic.
Memorise the above quote, and deliver it whenever you get into a political discussion.
There are eight political parties in parliament. But since 2001, the Liberal (Venstre) and the Conservative (Konservative) parties have been running the government, supported by the mandates of the right wing anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti).
After nearly ten years in power, the fatigue has clearly started to set in. Voters are sick and tired of it, and want something new.
Look how hard it is for Conservative Minister of Justice Lars Barfoed to get ANY reaction from pedestrians on the walk street, when he tries to hand out his brochures from his Segway. In fact, they avoid him like the plague. This is the saddest thing.
Voters are not the only ones feeling nauseous. Click forward to 1:40 and see the Minister of Agriculture Henrik Høegh of the Liberal Party (Venstre) throwing up on camera at an event where he was supposed to show his best side.
One minister in particular seems to be showing the strain. Bertel Haarder, the Minister of Interior and Health loses patience with a journalist in this clip, then goes into a manic fit, repeating that he wanted to go home to his wife and eat some rice pudding. Fast forward to 10 minutes to see a politician on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
So far our tour has been of the parties in government.
But opposition politicians are desperate to get in, so they can secure their minister jobs and a minister pension if they are just competent enough to hold down their job for a year.
Anders Samuelsen of the pro-free-market Liberal Alliance is probably just as desperate as everyone else. But he apparently spends more time updating his facebook, than meeting the voters and doing politics. His reaction to this revelation was not pretty, as he tries, unsuccessfully, to turn the heat back on the TV journalists.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the leader of the opposition Social Democrats (Social Demokraterne), is a smooth operator, and hardly ever slips up. So here is one for the fetishists. A shot of her in red raincoat from a few years back. See a video for further down for a more updated, slick version of Helle.
She leads a party that is supposed to support the common man, and believes in taxing the rich. But Helle, or Gucci-Helle, has an elitist image. Married to the wealthy son of the former British politician Neal Kinnock, it was a scandal when it turned out a large part of her household's income was reported in the tax haven Switzerland. As a Social Democrat, she argues against privatisation. Luckily for her, her own kids are packed off at a private school.
Socialist People's Party
Villy Søvndal is the leader of the Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti) and a candidate for Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs if the opposition to the left, the so-called red block wins the election. Not a good position for someone who, honestly, can’t speak English. This is painful. Not for the faint of heart this one, turn up the sound to max, and squirm.
To the left of the Socialist People's Party, out on the fringe, the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) is like Robin Hood and wants to tax the rich, and share everything out to the poor. Hang on to your wallets. They do have one attraction, however: Their candidate Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen. This is not funny at all, but she is cute.
Danish People's Party
The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti), doesn't like immigrants. But they say they like old people. Candidate for parliament Alex Ahrendtsen is being interviewed on this election video at the ghetto Vollsmose, a ghetto that in Danish happens to sound like ‘violent swamp’.
He is interviewed by a fake ‘immigrant type’ with an ‘immigrant’ accent, while ‘an old lady’ is attacked by an ‘immigrant’ behind him.
The Social Liberals like immigrants, and they believe that Denmark should be part of the world. They are extremely hard to pin down, and are masters at playing off the two sides against each other, always somehow ending up as the party in the balance and kingmaker when a governing coalition is to be formed. There is absolutely nothing funny about them, so this video is just to show the main candidate Margrethe Vestager. Click one minute in, and then say goodbye to her.
It has been an election for the spin-doctors. But their finest hour was not when they advised Prime Minister Lars Løkke-Rasmussen to spring a surprise at a recent TV debate with, among others the tall blonde Social Democrat prime minister candidate Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Everything is going fine, and the candidates are discussing the housing gridlock and the financial crisis. Then Lars Løkke decides to take centre stage.
What he didn’t have is an exit strategy. After her initial shock, Helle Thorning coolly picked him apart. And the TV host didn’t help by giving Prime Minister Løkke a friendly half-hug saying to Helle Thorning ‘Don’t worry, I will hold him back’. Not to be outdone, towards the end of the clip, Socialist People’s Party’s Villy Søvndal tries to move onto centre stage as well, devaluing Løkke's move completely.
What most people don’t realise, and this clip has been analysed to death, is that Lars Løkke Rasmussen is using an old strategy by Al Gore in his campaign to topple George W. Bush in the 2000 US election.
We all know how that went.
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