Political debate without politicians? Amid soaring prices and record long lines at food centers and the Salvation Army?
Yes, it is indeed possible, and something the Norwegian people experienced on Tuesday night.
Program leader Fredrik Solvang was able to say in his introduction that neither Minister for Employment and Inclusion Mart Magus Bersen nor anyone from the Norwegian Parliament could participate. The reason was supposed to be the ongoing budget negotiations.
– So in fact they say there should be no political discussion from the time the budget is submitted on October 6 until the beginning of December when it is adopted, Solvang said dryly.
Instead, the Norwegian people have heard heartbreaking stories about what it is like to live on minimal benefits in the face of rising prices. When Solvang pointed out the massive increase in food distribution, he had to fight back with tears — like many in front of the television in thousands of homes.
But the country’s main trade union representative in the region, Labor Minister Marte Magus Bersen, who bears political responsibility, was not there. And none of the other prominent labor and social politicians met in the Ap, like Tuva Moflag.
Yesterday was the next day in the Labor party:
– It was a collective decision not to attend the debate and a collective mistake. The Minister and I watched the discussion yesterday, and quickly agreed we should have been there. We have jointly addressed this internally today. We believe that the Labor Party should put forward a debate, it is a standard that we must adhere to, Tuva Moflag writes in a short letter to Dagbladet.
On Wednesday afternoon, Magus Bersen and Moflagh also moved on in one flight NRK-chronicle and apologize for not applying.
Marte Mjøs Persen explains the non-participation in the following way in an SMS message to Dagbladet:
– It was a collective miscalculation. But my responsibility in the end is that I myself did not apply it. The national budget proposal is considered separately in Parliament and is subject to negotiations. Everyone understands that we cannot negotiate with SV on TV.
– but then the discussion became much broader than I thought. So I would really like to be there. Primarily to hear from those who spoke about the challenges they face with poor finances, but also because I would have liked to part the discussion somewhat with how we are seeking to solve some of the challenges in the welfare system, writes Mjøs Persen.
Internal dishwashing meeting
Dagbladet understands that there have been strong reactions within the Labor Party to the fact that discussion of one of the party’s core issues took place without their participation.
An alarm went off during the discussion and the laundry began the next morning.
Dagbladet also understands that not participating was the subject of the group’s meeting in the Labor Party’s parliamentary group on Wednesday, where it was agreed that not voting was a big mistake.
Many party members say there is great frustration with the decision not to send anyone to the debate.
Dagbladet was told that many associated this with the catastrophic measures that Ap.
The public self-examination by party leaders this past week has been very much about the fact that the party has to get better at listening. And at the first opportunity, “we screwed up big,” a source told Dagbladet.
He also points out that it seems strange to voters that you don’t vote to listen to “those at the bottom of the table,” as Solvang puts it.
Ip was asked eight times
At Dagbladet’s request, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Solvang shares all the attempts the editors have made to persuade the Labor Party to stand in the debate in the district where the Minister is.
It is so comprehensive that we have to take it point by point:
- – We first contacted the Ministry of Labor and Integration on Monday at 12.52. An hour later, we asked the Labor Party’s communications department in parliament. Then the request was about participating in a debate about unemployment benefits, Solvang wrote for Dagbladet.
- – At 14.17 the Communications Department called and refused on behalf of the Labor Party of the Norwegian Parliament and justified it with the ongoing budget negotiations, the NRK file continues.
- – On 16.11 we amended the request to the Ministry to include the level of benefits in addition to unemployment benefits.
- – We did not receive any clarification from the ministry, so we called at 08:33 the next day. At 10.08 the ministry’s communications department apologized that it took so long to give us an answer, but the minister refused due to ongoing negotiations, Solvang continued.
- – At 10:33 we asked the ministry to make a new assessment, and we determined that the first part of the broadcast would be about the general level of benefits in light of the price hike. In this email, Solvang says, we asked the department twice for a new evaluation.
- – At 12 noon, we called the ministry again to urge us. We also urged by email on 15.05.
- – At 21.15 hours the Communications Department replied in writing and reiterated that the Minister could not speak again due to the ongoing negotiations.
- – At 16.20 we called again the press phone of the parliamentary bloc and asked them to turn off the sound because the minister refused again. We sent the emails that reached the Ministry’s communications department, as it seemed that the topic of the broadcast was also the general level of benefits.
- – At 5.32pm, the Communications Adviser to the Parliamentary Group in the Norwegian Parliament replied via e-mail that, unfortunately, they could not participate in the discussion due to the ongoing negotiations, concludes Solvang.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”