The Philososloth must disclose a close Norwegian affiliation. I love to have my claw on the pulse of Nordic political affairs. Luckily matters move at such a leisurely pace in Norwegian politics that the sloth has no difficulty keeping up. That is not to say that their politics are uninteresting; there can be just as many twists, turns, and exciting throws of the political dice as anywhere else… they are just fewer and further in between.
For those unacquainted with the Norwegian political system, here is a handy introduction to the parties.
Socialists (Sosialistisk Venstreparti): The leaders in the Socialist Party have a fond idea that their membership is drawn from the proletariat. The hard-grafters who go down the mines and need protection from their evil bosses. No one has the heart to inform them that their members actually consist of a motley crew of tired academics in cardigans. This crew of dishevelled 68s love nothing better than discussing disempowerment while sipping their favourite Bordeaux.
Labour (Arbeiderpartiet): The “Workers’ Party” is trying to hide the fact that it doesn’t actually contain any workers anymore. The party has a proud history of ruling Norway and making society-altering improvements for the common man, woman and sloth. However, these days its members are well-educated ambitious types, who enjoy the prospect of holding the power that the Labour Party will inevitably reclaim at some point.
Farmers’ Party (Senterpartiet): The Farmers’ Party does what it says on the tin. They are a pressure group for the boonies in Norway. Their pet project is the cheese toll trade barrier. It is designed to ensure that Norwegians never get to taste Cheddar, Bree or any other of the other processed dairy products that make life worth living. The word on this sloth’s grapevine is that the Farmers’ Party exists to protect inefficient farmers from competition.
Greens (Miljøpartiet De Grønne): This party has emerged out of nowhere in the last few years. Doing well in the government elections two years ago, and reaching new heights in the local elections a few weeks ago, it seems these bean-eating greenies are here to stay. Having obtained their first MP, the Greens are enjoying wondering round the palaces of the mighty, wearing sandals and pistachio-coloured shirts, nibbling celery and trying to locate their increasingly elusive policies.
Christians (Kristelig Folkeparti): The Christians pride themselves on being twenty years behind the prevailing debate in Norway. They have been dubbed “the party of lost causes”. Abortion, gay marriage. Anything progressive and sensible, they will oppose it. Though, in fairness, they do have do have a cuddly well-meaning bent that any sloth can appreciate. Nothing pleases a Christian party member more than wringing their hands about all the sad things going on in the world, while looking left and right for potential political allies.
Liberals (Venstre): Being green used to be the Liberals’ big thing. Now, sadly, there’s a party which is named Green and hasn’t jumped into bed with the least green party on the block. Leaked memo from their party conference read: “Existentialist crisis: Rethink meaning of it all!” We’ll hear back in a few years.
Conservatives (Høyre): Not very conservative on a UK perspective, or any perspective, really. Mainly appealing to poshies, who think Norway is good the way it is, but think they could do with paying a little bit less on their taxes.
Populists (Fremskrittspartiet): The Populist had a very nasty shock when they entered government. Before coming into power, they had been promising more welfare, less taxes, fewer immigrants, and more workers in healthcare. Alarmingly enough their leader became Minister of Finance. Luckily the dull, stolid chaps at the Treasury sat her down and carefully explained that her policies were unworkable. She seems to be weathering her exhausting double-life of keeping the swivel-eyed loons of her party under control and keeping the country’s finances ticking over relatively well. Apart from a melt-down of popular support and devastating splits in her party, that is.
Well, that’s it…. For now!