Mette Führer’s springtime for Denmark: Government accused of dictating coronavirus lockdown reopening terms to blue bloc
Socialdemokratiet – along with its red bloc allies SF, Radikale, Enhedslisten and Alternativet – have been hard at it since 08:30 this morning discussing the reopening measures that will be announced by PM Mette Frederiksen later today.
All of the blue bloc party leaders have left the negotiations, with some accusing the head of the government of being a dictator.
Apparently it’s been Mette’s way, as advised by the experts on her so-called task force, or no way.
Leave the room!
Venstre leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen appeared on TV2 News this morning to share the events with the nation.
“We presented our views, as all the parties did, and then the justice minister said that those who think other than the government can leave the negotiations. It is not a negotiation, it is dictation,” he said.
“But it is the politicians who must be responsible for the reopening – not the experts.”
Hospitalisation prediction a worst-case scenario
At the heart of the blue bloc’s disquiet is the number 870 – the number of hospitalisations predicted in April by the experts should the government go ahead with its partial reopening.
However, this is the absolute worst-case scenario, according to Professor Jens Lundgren, an expert on on infectious diseases at Rigshospitalet.
Furthermore, Ellemann-Jensen points out, the nation’s health is being affected in other ways. A dramatic fall in new cancer cases in 2020 is not the result of a miracle, but rather the lack of screening.
“People are going to die from the restrictions we have placed on ourselves,” he warned.
“Meanwhile, many people [who we are trying to protect with the restrictions] have been vaccinated, including the elderly in the nursing homes and the vulnerable.”
Kick in the face for efterskoles
Venstre and Konservative firmly believe that the efterskole boarding schools, which are attended by 30,000 of the nation’s teenagers, should reopen because they will easily be able to close their doors to the virus and implement bubbles if need be.
According to the reopening plans, only efterskoles in three areas of the country will be able to open, most likely leaving the rest closed until after Easter, sources have told CPH POST.
It’s a kick in the face from the government for what is supposed to be one of the best years of your life.
Experts at adhering by now
Ellemann-Jensen was also at pains to point out that (contrary to the actions of a few protestors) we are not idiots.
“We have learned to live with the corona; we have learned to keep our distance,” he said.
“You can see that people are standing in line in front of the bakery. And if you can do it in front of the baker, then you can probably also do so in front of the bookstore.”
Ellemann-Jensen, like his blue bloc allies, is baffled that many small shops will continue to be closed from next Monday.
The exact conditions for stores reopening are unclear at present. No store with a total size exceeding 5,000 sqm will be allowed to reopen, along with currently closed stores in shopping centres. Customer limits are expected widely.
Other blue bloc leaders equally baffled
Konservative leader Søren Pape Poulsen, who would also like to see more public schools reopen, is also at a loss for words … nearly.
“How can we negotiate if we just hand in our wishes and are told that the matter is closed,” he told DR.
“I have never tried to have a negotiation where you say what you want and then the negotiation is over. That was the case today.”
DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl concurred: “There would be a plethora of options if the government had wanted to enter into a real debate and discuss it. That opportunity never came to fruition because we never got into a real negotiation.”