This Week’s Editorial: The silly season

In Denmark, the silly season is called ‘cucumber time’. This is when nothing happens and everything gets blown out of proportion. The media report on trivia such as the postman being chased by a dog – and not the other way around.

Originally, 50 years ago, cucumbers were one of the causes of Danish scepticism about the EU. Regulations governing what degree of curvature was appropriate for an EU cucumber were too much for the Danes, who thought the whole brouhaha was nonsense, and that feeling has been latent ever since.

A brave voice
In the current silly season PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, together with his peers in Finland and the Netherlands, has written an article showing a positive approach to the EU. His is a daring voice at a time when political majorities and high-profiled minorities are falling over themselves with competing demands for more austere immigration policy, whilst showing little love for the EU.

This is not unlike Brexit, a peculiarly British silliness, which also in general looks negatively on the great European project that has given security and prosperity to all 28 countries – not least to the smaller ones. Thanks, therefore, are due to PMs who dare to voice positive sentiments in silly times.

Rolling up the sleeves
After the Folkemødet political festival on Bornholm where everything was draught beer and sweet-talk, it is now time for politicians to sharpen their pencils for drafting the 2018 budget.

For the first time in decades – thanks to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin – there seems to be a majority in favour of defence spending rather than cuts. It remains to be seen how much.

The navy has modern frigates – alas without missiles. The airforce has ordered new fighter bombers, but they are still a long way from being delivered. Now it remains to be seen whether a modern infantry brigade with state-of-the-art equipment can be agreed upon.

It seems that we have a lot of officers – especially among the higher ranks – but fewer foot-soldiers. It will be interesting to see if they can be recruited in times of low unemployment. Now that army support for the police is on its way, we are somewhat nervous that politicians are mixing defence with law and order. However, the home guard has done a fine job so far.

Death and taxes
Finally the all-party favourite – tax cuts – will be launched in many flavours, but the proposal to remove the top bracket tax is dead in the water.

So there is little to disturb the peace of the kingdom – not even the prince consort’s bizarre announcement regarding what is not going to be his final resting place.

The most curved cucumber of the season, some might say.