All that fascinating live TV from the House of Commons in the UK is coming to an end now. Boris Johnson has a strong majority and, being a man of action, he will use it. The opposition is in ruins, so no point tuning in for another five years.
In Denmark there is probably more than three years until the next general election. What can we expect to see? Certainly, PM Mette Frederiksen is facing challenges.
Dropped a brick
Firstly, her promise of a reform of the early retirement law was a vote winner. But can she deliver? For decades, people have assumed that to qualify you had to be worn-out physically – bricklayers, for example – and be able to demonstrate your state of disrepair. But Frederiksen sees early retirement as a legal right.
It will take some time and deliberation to define ‘worn out’, and many politicians are expecting fallout. It may have helped her win the 2019 election, but it could end up becoming a brick wall at the next election.
Secondly, Frederiksen has taken on the climate fight, even though there are no obvious ways using existing technology, to achieve her ambitious 70/30 declaration. And the funding isn’t there in the budget. So will the future be kind to her?
Her saviour might be the Danish people, who are radically altering their behaviour. They are reducing their air travel and meat consumption, whilst embracing electric transport and generally trying to raise their awareness. Young people are the voters who will be around the longest and more Greta Thurnbergs are inevitable.
Thirdly, there is crime and the feeling that the government’s hardline stance on immigration and continued border controls could come back to haunt Frederiksen.
The controls are wasting police resources to the extent that people are increasingly turning to private policing. After all, a burgled home is of little interest to the police. They rarely show up at the scene and are prone to dismissing the case after less than a week.
Incompetent at the core
Fourthly, there is corruption – and there’s nothing the general public dislikes more than a scandal in public administration.
Somebody working for the Danish Defence authority responsible for buildings and facilities managed to get a home extension worth 1.7 million kroner, the Britta Nielsen trial continues to rumbles on with over 100 million kroner unlikely to resurface, and don’t forget the billions swindled in the share dividend tax refund scandal – the common thread is incompetence among public employees.
Factor in the failure of the health service to adapt a uniform IT system and the general disarray facing a national tax office that needed to start from scratch, and the public have a lot to grumble about.
No wonder the PM started her government with a declaration that there was a need for trust.
Yes, there are no doubts: 2020 could be a testing year. In the meantime, let us wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!