This Week’s Editorial: Will Christmas be peaceful?

In the UK the Brexit plans are in turmoil and now there seems to be no prospect of a decision this side of Christmas. In France the ‘yellow vests’ have taken to the streets and forced the president to climb down on what were some necessary reforms for French society.

Only Germany seems to work in an orderly fashion with the election of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as Angela Merkel’s successor. In the US the post-midterm election balance in Congress has made the president marginally less unpredictable.

The stock market is a rollercoaster, but in Denmark we have a budget law in place with no surprises. The last round of austerity measures against immigrants is included, so the upcoming election has taken that into account and the parties are devoting themselves to other issues. The race to the bottom has come to a stop, as there is hardly any more room for action.

No island paradise
The austerity measures are leaving the country in bad standing regarding human rights, for which only a few years ago Denmark was held in high esteem. The majority of the population is in agreement with the government, as it is the image of social immigrants from Africa on the move that provokes nervous reactions. That is in spite of the fact that the wave of immigrants/refugees is at its lowest in years.

The latest idea for housing criminal asylum-seekers, who are in the queue to be deported, on an island at a cost of 1.8 million kroner per person per year is reaching a peak of intolerance. Even Venstre hard-hitter Marcus Knuth is airing reservations – maybe because the proposed island camp is in his constituency. So don’t say that politicians have no respect for voters.

It is unlikely that the PM will call the general election this side of the year-end. It is, however, going to happen in the early spring. So we are in for a peaceful holiday season.

Health to the fore
The PM is gearing up to make health a big issue. This has been his field of expertise for a long time and he will be moving in the direction of a unified national health service in connection with the mega regional hospitals under construction.

There will probably also be a focus on local centres housing a number of GPs, further phasing out the old family doctor single surgery option.

The other big issue will be the environment. That will include necessary but unpopular measures, so it may well be put aside during the election campaign and dealt with when a new government is in place.

Dickering for position
The polls are in no way clear on the issue of who will form the government. The turning point will be Dansk Folkeparti. Are they red or blue? The interesting question is whether for the first time DF will take government posts and thereby assume direct responsibility.

They are losing support to the new girl in class – Pernille Vermund – who with a logically impossible manifesto seems to have a chance of getting four to eight seats, which could be enough to tip the balance.

Let us enjoy the holidays and wish each other a Happy New Year. It does not look so bad after all.