1. Watching the Danish Conservatives is a bit like watching a train-wreck in slow-motion. With Lene Espersen out of the headlines, this week’s news concentrated on Lars Barfoed’s problems with attracting voters. This shouldn’t really be surprising: Barfoed may be more reliable than Espersen but he still has to come up with a strategy which will appeal more broadly to centre-right voters. On the other hand, it is still worth noting that DF – despite Peter Mogensen’s claim about an impending doom – has a steady support from 13-14% of the electorate.
But Barfoed faces more problems: The economic problems of political spokesman Henriette Kjær are well-known and in many ways it is a sad story of a talented politician trapped in personal problems. Kjær may have earned a reprieve as she was a close ally of Lene Espersen, but when the editor of Berlingske Tidende pulls the plug, Conservative voters listen.
2. I’m trying to figure out if Margrethe Vestager is very brave or very foolish. The proposal to cut the rate deduction for mortgages is right out of the Economic Council’s recommendations about shifting taxes from income to property. The obvious problem is that property taxes make a lot of economic sense but at the same time raise a number of didactic issues for politicians. The Social Democrats and SF have gone for the easy solution (“don’t mention the property taxes”) and that opens the road to some fascinating debates during the electoral campaign.