First, I don’t think it is relevant to see Thorning-Schmidt’s New Year’s speech as the last chance for the government. On the other hand, it wasn’t a speech like Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s 2002 or Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s 2011 speech which managed to define a political agenda.
Thorning-Schmidt’s main problem was to strike a balance between creating a traditonal crisis consciousness on the one hand (hardships are brought upon us from the outside) and the rights-and-duties discourse on the other. The “Søren”-story was a traditional appeal to solidarity but there was no comparable case about the rights-and-duties dimension.
Part of Thorning-Schmidt’s problem is that work on tax reform and benefits reform is still in the initial stages which limits her possibilites for being specific about policies. This is something which has also led the government into problems during the past months with accussations against Helle Thorning-Schmidt for lacking a political project.
All in all: A good but not brilliant speech. A 7 on the new Danish scale.
Update: Here is the Wordle