Let’s see: One point which I forgot in the previous post is that the Social Liberals probably have another hidden agenda besides trying to pull the SocDems away from SF. The thing: Compared to the Danish Social Liberals Mrs. Thatcher (remember her?) was a staunch supporter of the trade unions but what we have seen recently is a revival of the traditional links between the SocDems and the blue-collar trade unions in the Danish LO. So I suspect that another aim of the SocLibs is to force Helle Thorning-Schmidt to go against the demands of the trade unions. Finally, the SocLibs are no friends of the politics of triangulation as performed by Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
But what about the prospects for Danish politics after the election?
Let us for the sake of argument assume that the SocLibs and DF (and LA) enter an agreement with the government which includes an abolition of the Early Retirement Benefit linked with an agreement between DF and the government about border controls and other anti-immigration initiatives. From this, we can construct three base scenarios:
In Scenario #1 there is an electoral backlash among DF and Liberal blue-collar voters which gives SocDems and SF stronger than expected gains. According to Berlingske’s Barometer SocDems, SF and the RedGreens at present have 45,9% of the vote against 53,5% for the Liberals, DF, LA and the SocLibs.1 It will take some effort to pull that one off but winning 1-2 percentage points from both the Liberals and DF and the left-wing is nearly there. Such a result would mean that the Social Democrats hold the median legislator and the Early Retirement Benefit agreement is dead and the SocLibs left without political influence
Scenario #2 sees the Liberals being rewarded handsomely for their bold economic policies. Here, the baseline is 52,2% support for the opposition (including the SocLibs) and 47,1% for the government (including DF and LA). That is something like 2-3% of the electorate which has to be moved. It will be difficult but it could be done. Here, DF controls the median legislator and while the agreement lives, the SocLibs are again left without political influence.
Then we have Scenario #3 which sees the balance of power relatively unchanged. In this scenario – which is the one the Commentariat is discussing (and basically, my previous post deals with this scenario) – the SocLibs hold the median legislator and we get all kinds of complications in the parliamentary arena as long as the party is committed to supporting Helle Thorning-Schmidt as prime minister while effectively opposing her policies.
Well … I always expected Danish politics to be more complicated after the next election because either LA or the SocLibs would mess things up. The question is if we are looking at a situation like in 1973-75 and 1987-88 (or as in the UK in 1950-51 and 1974) with a second election coming up within a very short time?
- I leave the 0,7% for the Christian Democrats out of the calculations [↩]