Just as a break from more urgent matters, I want to offer some thoughts about the reshuffle which Danish pundits have begun discussing and which they expect to be carried out before the beginning of the coming parliamentary year.
First, reshuffles always create a lot of media attention but we have no real proof that reshuffles do in fact improve the standing of a government in the medium-to-long term (as in: The next election). Policies are more important even if individual ministers may be more or less competent in handling their portfolios. So even if there is a reshuffle in September or early October, we shouldn’t expect it to have any long-lasting effects on opinion polls.
The Social Democrats and SF are well advised to spend their scarce resources on developing their programmes.
Second, in the present government portfolios are distributed with 11 Social Democrats, 6 Social Liberals and 6 SF. It will be very difficult to change this formula even if the Foreign Ministry appears to be overstaffed with ministers.
Third, yes, by now Villy Søvndal is fair game but having him resign as Foreign Minister risks opening a Pandora’s Box. Still, if a Social Democrat gets the portfolio, S and SF can do a swap in one of the other high-level portfolios while a new second-tier portfolio is created to replace the Europe portfolio. The question is: Which high-level S portfolio would be available?
Fourth, Annette Vilhelmsen may not have been the optimal choice for the Business portfolio and vice versa (note the surprising return of Holger K. Nielsen) and the spectre of Henrik Sass Larsen is looming over her but moving Vilhelmsen is not that easy. Social Affairs have been suggested but that would mean a) swapping an economic for a social portfolio (lesser problem) and b) that Astrid Krag would probably have to leave her portfolio in favour of a Social Democrats and perhaps leaving the government altogether, something which given the factional politics in SF could create even bigger problems within the crisis-ridden party.
The last thing SF needs now is a(nother) former minister defecting to the Social Democrats.