A bolder and clearer Siv
By Tone Sofie Aglen
While everyone is concerned about how the FRP can lie out as far as possible on a marginal outer right, there should be a wide-open room for a room-right party in Norway.
This is a comment. The commentary expresses the writer’s attitude
Many people wonder if Siv Jensen is not tired and bored. Tired of guarding against Carl I. Hagen’s small ambush attacks, well helped by forces in Oslo Frp. Tired of being a party leader. 14 years is a long time. Many suspect that she really misses herself as finance minister, or longs for some top international job far away from old party leaders in the horn and other troublemakers.
In his speech to the corona-exposed national assembly, there was a FRP leader who was bolder, clearer and with more energy than in a long, long time. After the party left the government, people have wondered what they have been buzzing about, but now they have woken up.
The question is still not bad. It is a mystery what motivates Siv Jensen now. First, she managed to take the party into a historic government that few thought would have a long life. All predictions were shattered when the government was re-elected. And when almost everyone thought the FRP would not let go of life with power and black cars, she took the party out of government. There is not much left undone.
Generation First House
The political landscape is also not the whole world to maneuver in. A new, happy majority government with KrF and the Liberal Party appears as a Soria Moria castle, if they never win the election so much. Although the FRP dislikes the idea of Støre as prime minister, there is hardly enough motivation to avoid it either.
Then the possibility remains that Siv Jensen actually likes it. People around her point out a particularly well-developed competitive instinct, and a great desire to leave a party “shining”.
Today, the debate about what the FRP should be dominated by is the split between what we like to call the mainstream FRP and those who want to take the party in a national conservative direction. Jensen’s own local team Oslo is a driving force lately, led by the Storting representatives Carl I. Hagen and Christian Tybring-Gjedde.
Earlier this week, Hagen presented an eight-page note on a new direction. The essence is far stricter immigration policy, a more nationalist attitude to international cooperation and the fight against “climate hysteria”. Although they are strong in the belief that there is a pot of gold at that end of the political landscape, there is little empirical evidence to support it.
There are guaranteed to be some voters there who have little confidence in established politicians. At the same time, Oslo Frp, in good company with other big cities, has had little voter success with this recipe. On the other hand, the party does very well in counties such as Møre og Romsdal and Rogaland, where they talk more about business and industry than about the nation state and immigration.
Have we lost the ability to be far-sighted?
Contrary to what many people seem to spend their energy on, there should be a wide-open room just by being a fairly clean right-wing party in Norway.
For while the Conservatives openly boast that they have pushed the Labor Party politically to the left, the Conservatives have also moved towards the center. That impression is greatly reinforced by government cooperation.
Tax relief has almost become an insult. Erna Solberg quickly put down the Conservative National Assembly’s small tax revolt. With the Liberal Party and KrF in government, high taxes are a euphemism, whether it is on alcohol, tobacco, petrol, CO₂ or anything else that pollutes or is not good for you. Solberg talks in and out about work and inclusion. Where the FRP wants to cut the county governor’s wings, the government has made it a big deal to rename the county governor to something gender-neutral. You do not have to be a right-wing extremist to think that it will be a bit much.
Apart from the fact that Siv Jensen was accused of taking a Trump when she gave her opponents the nicknames “Vingle-Jonas”, “Ulve-Audun”, “Bompenge-Lan” and “Kommunist-Bjørnar”, there was little national conservatism to be seen .
The main lines of her speech were the fight for the individual against the system, a broad side against bureaucracy that “makes life difficult for people”, the fight against taxes and “sponsorship of Sweden”, better roads in the districts and more for pensioners and residents in nursing homes.
Ap and the green seducer
Even in climate policy, which obviously divides the party, she argues that costly climate measures must have sufficient benefit and effect. “Just because you put climate ahead of something, you can not throw taxpayers’ money after all the bad projects,” she said. You do not have to be a climate denier to nod in agreement.
To VG, the party’s returned big son, Ketil Solvik-Olsen, said that he wanted “a milder FRP who talks about immigration with consent”. He believes that the harsh words scare away many and cast a shadow over the party’s policy. He was reprimanded by Siv Jensen, who did not want to use consent at all.
Therefore, it was interesting what she actually said. There was little to remind her of closed borders and to assimilate immigrants in her speech. Instead, she boasted of entrepreneurial companies that employed immigrant women. Neither the fight against cousin marriage nor the critical review of development assistance funds is to use a vote out in 2020.
Siv Jensen showed that it is possible to be rude, clear and sharp in opposition. Without pulling the part as much as a millimeter further towards the promised outer right.