Suspension This is a comment written by a member of the editorial board. Commentary expresses the positions of the author.
There is one subject crying out for his absence in this election campaign. It’s the same topic many of us thought a few months ago would dominate; Coronary artery disease management.
This is not happening because the epidemic is over. exactly the contrary; The decisions that the government will make in the coming months are among the most important during the time we have been afflicted by the Covid-19 virus: When will we fully reopen society again, and what criteria will be used as a basis for that?
Aftenposten recently confronted party health policy spokesmen with the absence of a coronation debate on the campaign trail. The standard answer is that this is not a political question, but a medical question.
This answer is an expression of boundless political cowardice. Perhaps he was only surpassed by Aps Ingvild Kjerkhol, who did not even want to answer the question.
Of course, when Norway will reopen must be based on medical advice, but it is still a 100 per cent political decision.
Just as FHI Director Camilla Stoltenberg told VG on Monday: “It’s (first and foremost) a political decision about how much risk you want to take.”
Stoltenberg had it before; If we are to reopen Norway, we as a society must be prepared to accept more risks than we are doing today. In other words, we must learn to live with COVID-19, because we live with thousands of other viruses every day without resorting to drastic measures.
No doctor or researcher can tell us the degree of risk we must take before it becomes relevant. It is only a decision we can make. Through the politicians we choose to lead us.
Now we choose them without knowing their opinion of the case, and we choose them for four years. What legitimacy do they then have to make such a risk assessment? How can they know that the decisions they make are in line with the will of the people?
Will those who shout the loudest and fear the most decide? Or should we as a people leave this to the “authorities”, as they do in countries with which we do not like to compare ourselves?
What makes politicians’ fear of being touched now so strange is that earlier in the pandemic they weren’t afraid to make political decisions.
In a number of cases the government has reviewed clear advice from the National Institute of Health, with the understanding that it should take into account broader considerations. The government is also well aware that the handling of the epidemic in Norway will be subject to political control.
This is in contrast to our neighboring country Sweden, where conscious political inactivity suddenly made the name Anders Tegnell world famous.
But now suddenly all the responsibility for the pandemic rests with our local cartoons, while politicians run and hide.
It’s easy to understand why. First, there has been broad political agreement on managing the pandemic so far, and the government has largely been allowed to do as it pleases, without interference from Parliament. So who will get voter points for criticizing whom?
Moreover, these are very difficult questions without a definitive answer. This leaves both politicians and voters unsure of what to think, and so there are few votes to be won of clarity and determination. Better then with porridge and shuffle.
So there are many explanations for what is happening now, but that doesn’t make the situation any better.
The Corona pandemic will undoubtedly be the most important issue that the government will have to work on in the coming months, regardless of which parties it will consist of.
Then it appears from the alarming weakness of Norwegian politics that this particular case is completely absent from the election campaign.
When our politicians do not dare openly and publicly discuss the most important issues of the time and in front of their constituents, what does that say about the state of Norwegian democracy under epidemic pressure?
We have been living in a totalitarian emergency for a year and a half already. Can we look forward to four new years at a time?
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