To get to the point: A guy takes the plunge and then the really interesting bits start leaking to the press. Familiar story.
In this case we are talking about Morten Messerschmidt, the young Danish People’s Party MP who left the party less than a day after accepting the candidacy in the Djursland district.
Formally, Messerschmidt left of his own free will quoting his case against the tabloid BT for defamation. The general perception is that it was a case of “jump or we’ll push you”.
In case you haven’t read Danish media or my earlier post: BT’s allegation was that Messerschmidt had sung Nazi songs and made the Nazi salute in the middle of the Tivoli amusement park in Copenhagen while being drunk.
Now a new story has surfaced according to which Messerschmidt in an earlier incident at a Copenhagen bar not only was seriously drunk but also made the Nazi salute publicly and called a member of the Liberal Party a (quote) corrupt negro (unquote).
How shall we interpret this? First, while the DPP lacks young politicians, Messerschmidt appears to be expendable. (These days it is definitively not acceptable for a politician to be drunk in any kind of public setting in Denmark).
Second, attacking Arabs and Muslims in a fairly crude way is acceptable in the DPP but behaviour which suggests an affinity for traditional racism, anti-semitism or nazism is not.
This may come as a surprise for Mr. Messerschmidt but anybody else with the slightest knowledge of the DPP’s history will know that the party always has distanced itself from the kind of neo-nationalism and neo-nazism seen in Continental Europe.
And so, the Messerschmidt crashed.
The Danish People’s Party has had a fascinating week where a number of MPs and MEPs have been queueing for putting their feet in their respective mouths.
Just to make a brief summary:
- In a debate about adoptions, MP S°ren Krarup branded homosexuals as handicapped.
- Mr. Krarup also defended the use of the death penalty under certain unspecified circumstances.
- Mogens Camre, MEP, alleged that Asmaa Abdol-Hamid (the veiled parliamentary candidate for the Unity List) was mentally disturbed. Mr. Camre later retracted the allegation but is facing a police inquest.
- According to the tabloid BT, Morten Messerschmidt was not only drunk and (very) disorderly in Tivoly at the entertainment garden’s opening day, he also sang German war songs and made the Nazi salute. Mr. Messerschmidt denies this and has sued the tabloid.
The DPP’s leadership was not amused by the controversies and Morten Messerschmidt today announced that he would leave the party and continue as an independent MP. (By his own free will? Berlingske Tidende says “no”).
Meanwhile in the real world: The Socialist Party is holding its annual conference this weekend.
The party leader Villy S°vndal has announced that his goal is that SF should enter a formal government coalition with the Social Democrats. The SD responded to the invite by stating that the SD’s priority was a coalition with the Social-Liberals.
If you have very good eyesight, Berlingske Tidende brings us the latest opinion poll from Gallup.
It may come as a complete surprise to you but there is in fact one major World Championship Denmark has managed to qualify for in later years.
Denmark has never been a contender for the medals – participation is more a question of avoiding relegation – but the team has been able to annoy the big plyers and produce one or the other upsetting result.
This time, though, the Danes started the tournament by losing 1-9 to Russia. Next out are the Finns who according to media reports show the Danes the proper respect by resting their first-choice goaltender, Frederik Norrena, in today’s match.
That does it! For what it’s worth, I’ll be supporting the Swedish team in the play-off round.
Update: Finland won 6-2.
In these parts of the world, calling a politician or a policy neoliberal is intended as the ultimate condemnation. Morally, neoliberals seem to belong in the same category as fascists and certain really ugly sexual deviations which I will not specify here.Washington Monthly has an interesting exchange between Ezra Klein and Charles Peters about the background and meaning of neoliberalism (complete with a 1983 manifesto).Mark Thoma of Economist’s View has a friendly critical perspective of the exchange. Thoma raises an important issue about approaches to public policy: Through neoliberalism the earlier preoccupation with market failure was replaced with a focus on policy failure and what used to be the problem – the market – became the solution.Policy makers and advocates these days have a hard time understanding that market and market-like solutions aren’t the patent solution to all of this world’s demands.
More for possible German-reading visitors: Die Zeit visits Finland and wonders how and why Finnish schools seem to have succeeded where others have failed.Maybe some points could be:
- Learning, not elimination, is the aim of schooling (an obvious lesson for the conservative German educational system which – at least in my view – has yet to leave the 19th century).
- Pedagogy is based on subjects and student teachers are selected on the basis of questions like “how will you bring knowledge about this subject on to your pupils?”, not “how much do you know about this subject?” (a fundamental problem in all kinds of teaching).
- Teachers are still figures of public authority.
A topic for discussion could be:
- Can the Finnish model be transferred to other countries? Are some of the successes due to factors unique to Finnish society rather than to the Finnish schooling system?
One point is that the Finnish system shares some important characteristics with the Danish and Swedish systems for primary and secondary education but the Finns seem to succeed where the Danes and Swedes, if not fail, then have some performance problems.Is this due to the relatively high degree of homogeneity of the Finnish society or have the Finns managed to create models for learning that could be applied in other countries as well.A final point could be that school teacher education programmes in Denmark and Sweden have a hard time attracting qualified students while Finnish programmes are sought-after. Why is this? Wages, working conditions or the status of teachers in society-at-large and in the schools?
Before I crash completely, let me just note that this Friday was a little special: I started the Methods (Introduction) course and it may well be the last course I teach here in Umeň – and perhaps even the last course I teach at a university. A little strange.
On a more positive note: Kate Bush is a genius. This is not – repeat: not – a topic for discussion but an indisputable fact. (For some reason I had my iPodÖ play Aerial earlier this evening – no further motivation is necessary)
The first round of the case against a number of officials from the Liberal Party as well as a journalist and a member of the Social Democratic youth federation in the data intrusion case which blew up right before the election last September reached its conclusion today.
In an almost solomonic decision, the court in Stockholm sentenced three of the accused – former press secretary of the Liberal Youth Federation Per Jodenius, political reporter Niklas Svensson and Niklas S÷rman from the Social Democratic youth federation – to minor fees while the Liberal Party’s former party secretary, Johan Jakobsson, was acqutted along with former press secretary Niki Westerberg and a former regional chairman in the Liberal Youth Federation Nicklas Lagerl÷f.