You’re Still Here: Empty promises in the sparsley-populated nether regions

W hen Dansk Folkeparti (DF) came second in the recent national elections, many explanations were proffered. The main left-wing explanation from Copenhagen was that it was Jutlanders being ignorant. The explanation coming out of Jutland was that DF was promising something none of the other parties were offering: a future for their communities.

A weak stand …
In rural Jutland, there are towns and villages that do not have decent public transport or much commerce aside from a smattering of brothels. The schools have been consolidated. Hospitals cannot recruit medical staff.

DF intimated it would sort all that out. Well, its exact election slogan was: “You know what we stand for.” Maybe it was an eye of the beholder thing where rural Jutlanders could pin all their hopes onto them, even if the party did not have a proper plan.

… followed by a backflip
But the way DF handled its extraordinary election success suggests they do not have any concrete ideas about how to get from where we are now to where their voters want to be.

What they did was pretend Venstre came in second and let them make the unpopular decisions. And indeed, DF has already gone back on the spirit of some of its election promises, all in the name of co-operating with their coalition partners.

Will their voters see through them and choose a different party next time? It seems unlikely. Criticism of DF never seems to stick – they dance away from the charges that they let down the old people or their socialist principles for expediency.

It’s an easy venue …
Another prevailing explanation for their success is the ‘tone’ of the immigration and race discussion. They rarely have to compromise on their immigration policies since all the major political players have joined them on the right. Their rhetoric has become background radiation.

Who needs DF when you’ve got Politiken, and to think it’s a left-wing newspaper. It made a graph of different famous American black people, rating them on how good or evil they are perceived to be on the x-axis and angry or well-adapted on the y-axis. Then when people complained and said that this was dehumanising and reductive, the journalists apologised, but only for being misunderstood.

As intolerant and racist as other countries are, editors in most of them would have seen the immediate problem with such an exercise. Denmark has taken a wrong turn somewhere. Unless people start listening to criticism, nothing can change.

… in the land of the blind
In the animal kingdom, ants navigate almost entirely by their sense of smell. They follow the leader by sniffing where their sisters’ feet were. Thing can go badly wrong if they walk in ever-decreasing circles. This is known as a ‘death spiral’, in which each ant follows her sisters into the centre of the coil and cannot get out.

The people of Denmark are being led by their noses, and unless they look up and see where they are headed, we are in for bigger problems than rural communities shutting down because their political representatives could not figure out a plan to save them.