This Week's Editorial: Too parochial in Parliament - The Post

This Week’s Editorial: Too parochial in Parliament

It’s been smooth sailing up until now (photo: Benny Engelbrecht/Twitter)
November 16th, 2019 5:44 am| by Ejvind Sandal

PM Mette Frederiksen has entrusted the finance minister, Nicolai Wammen, with the job of putting the budget law to bed. And so far, it has been a very low-key performance.

Mostly trifling
While various parties have tabled some very modest suggestions, there have certainly been no demands so far.

SF has been the most outspoken – but only regarding its wishes to have a minimum number of childcare assistants at nurseries and kindergardens. However, during their investigations they’ve realised it will be impossible to fill the positions with currently unemployed workers, so all they’re likely to get is a promise for the future.

Radikale wants a softening of the immigration rhetoric and outlook, and they will be happy enough when the (less than a hundred) unaccompanied immigrant children at Udrejsecenter Sjælsmark are offered more humane conditions and the budget comes in even-keel.

Enhedslisten, as always, is shooting over the target and will probably receive nothing in return.

Reaching out
Across the divide, Venstre is offering a feasible alternative to reinvigorate the blue bloc ahead of its congress next week, although party chair Jakob Ellemann-Jensen won’t of been happy to note the launch of Fremad, a disrupter intent on further muddying the blue vision, or mission, ahead.

Still, it isn’t unfeasible that the PM, in order to avoid the mire of intricate party politics on the left, will find some middle ground with the blue parties – particularly in regard to the government’s climate change ambition to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent, which has received minimal backing up until now, beyond Venstre and her own party.

Whether it is road pricing, air ticket taxes, NOX taxes on industry or other measures intended to change behavioural habits – it’s scary for any politician to introduce such painful tools to promote a long-term political vision.

A sense of futility
There are foreseeable setbacks. A recent survey reported that efforts to separate plastic into different groups are ultimately futile, as just 20 percent is recycled and the remaining 80 percent mixed together and is either burned or transported to other countries and left to decompose there. How does this knowledge impact the moral conscience of those depositing their plastic garbage into separated bins?

Typically, the political debate centres on a call for a binding climate law. Unless incorporated into the constitution, no law is binding any more than it takes to form a majority to declare it non-binding.

It is, however, possible that a mega-trend will bring us back on track to a greener future. The current boom of electric cars, improved IT infrastructure, industrial R&D and public debate may allow politicians to keep sitting on their hands while civilians do their jobs.

But civilian efforts alone are probably too much to hope for.

Ejvind Sandal

Copenhagen Post co-owner Ejvind Sandal has never been afraid to voice his opinion. In 1997 he was fired after a ten-year stint as the chief executive of Politiken for daring to suggest the newspaper merged with Jyllands-Posten. He then joined the J-P board in 2001, finally departing in 2003, the very year it merged with Politiken. He is also a former chairman of the football club Brøndby IF (2000-05) where he memorably refused to give Michael Laudrup a new contract prior to his hasty departure. A practising lawyer until 2014, Sandal is also the former chairman of Vestas Wind Systems and Axcel Industriinvestor. He has been the owner of the Copenhagen Post since 2000.