Our View | Culture before politics

Statements about integration show the new deputy mayor knows what is important to his voters. He should have started by making sure he shows he knows what is important to cultural types

Last month’s local elections in Copenhagen, most media outlets duly reported, had two main winners: the far left, in the form of Enhedslisten, and the far right, in the form of Dansk Folkeparti.
While Enhedslisten has run away with most of the media attention, it now appears the air is already seeping out of its balloon, making the party as much of a fad as Socialistisk Folkeparti was after the 2009 election.

Now that the electoral dust has settled, the most solid gain appears to have been won by Dansk Folkeparti, which found itself being represented among the ranks of the city’s deputy mayors for the first time in the party’s 25-year history.  

The party had hoped its rise to power would see it able to claim responsibility for forming the city’s immigration policy. That office, fortunately, was held on to by Anna Mee Allerslev (R), who has said she will work to ensure that integration policy remains inclusive.

Instead the party, represented by Carl Christian Ebbesen, will now be seeking to use the office of deputy mayor for culture and leisure to influence the course of integration for immigrants in the city. Cultural types, never known for their sympathies for Venstre, are already wishing for the good old days under the former deputy mayor for culture Pia Allerslev (V).

A Danes-first mindset is part and parcel of Dansk Folkeparti law-making, so it comes as no surprise that immigration snuck into Ebbesen’s first publicly-aired policy thoughts. For anyone interested in culture, the statements are something of a disappointment. For Ebbesen, though, it shows he is well aware of the interests of his voters.

During one of his first major interviews, Ebbesen, speaking to Politiken newspaper on Tuesday, misspoke and called himself “culture minister”. Given the steady growth of his party in the past quarter century, the honest slip of the tongue may turn out to be prescient, but for now the city would be best served if he concentrated on the duties of his current office.