The Danish party is over – and now a diet is in order.
As we know, the Danes are from time to time inclined to let their hair down. And so, a lot of politicians, lobbyists, celebrities of many kinds, and local and general members of the public gathered last weekend on Bornholm – the isolated island in the Baltic Sea.
Taking part in hundreds of arrangements – discussions, duels-on-words between government reds and opposition blues, beer drinking, late-night singing and what have you – it was three days of summer camp, without any parental control. But behind it all lay a more serious issue: the next general election, which we expect to happen a year earlier than expected – at the latest in November 2014.
So what are the issues?
Not the European Union. The European Parliament elections showed that was not an important issue. Not withstanding the fact that Danish reservations are becoming more and more embarrassing, unnecessary and in the way of political progress in the areas of joint security measures, monetary stability, policing and citizenship. No politician dares to open debate on these issues in fear of giving more ground away to Dansk Folkeparti, which has grown to be one of the biggest three parties at the polls. A dynamic positive EU policy is suicidal.
Then what? Growth! Yes – everybody wants growth. Not exactly the same sort. A precondition for growth is competitiveness in a global market. That will conflict with the Danish welfare system, which has been run for the last 25 years as if there was no tomorrow.
But now is the day when we need growth and, at the same time, to turn our welfare wheels backwards. A lot of things that were free of charge must be limited in supply or paid for.
And high wages and prices are also a problem. Dental tourism is one example. Dentists in Sweden, Poland and Thailand are taking over. And then there are the jobs in construction, berry picking, cleaning and transport – all in the hands of foreigners, often Europeans. Go to the walking street and the staff in the shops and cafes are most likely to speak Swedish as their mother tongue.
The Danes will simply have to create growth and at the same time go on a diet. We all know how much more difficult it is to lose weight than to gain it, but that is what the Danes are in for.
The election will be won by those who have the most convincing formula for losing weight without changing the diet. (ES)