Yes, I know that I’ve promised some final thoughts about the distribution of portfolios in the new Swedish government but this week has not only been very busy but also brought some very bad news so I’m not really up to anything remotely creative right now.
In the meantime, let me just note that the Danish party Centrum-Demokraterne – they were big in the 70s and 80s – in a final desperate attempt to gain publicity commissioned an opinion poll which showed that if the Social-Liberal MP Naser Khader ran as a candidate for CD, support for that party would increase from less than 1% to more than 10%.
This had two immediate effects: First, the former party secretary and minister A.O. Andersen left CD in disgust, then the leader of the Social Liberal Party Marianne Jelved publicly announced that the Social Liberals would be seeking advice from a marketing bureau in order to make the best use of Khader politically and electorally. I think that both the opinion poll and the public announcement that a party would use external advice to promote one politician other than the party leader must be firsts in Danish politics.
Today, the agreements on parts of the 2007 Budget were coming fast and furiously: Money for research and higher education, a “Globalisation Fund” (not strictly a fund but a reserve on the budget) and funds for targeted social policy programmes. Worth noting is that these agreements were made in broad coalitions between the government, Danish People’s Party, the Social Liberals, the Social Democrats and – in the case of the social policy funding – the Socialist Party.
Finally, the Egyptian Deputy Tourist Minister Ahmed El Khadem visited Copenhagen in an attempt to boost business after the numbers of Danish and Norwegian tourists visiting Egypt have fallen dramatically in 2006 compared with 2005. That’s fine, but: Why would anybody in her or his right mind want to visit a country where a large majority of the inhabitants are hostile to you? And is building golf courses really a sustainable strategy for a country like Egypt?
And to sign off, a quote:
Can you keep a secret? I’m trying to organize a prison break. We have to first get out of this bar, then the hotel, then the city, and then the country. Are you in or you out?