RIS, OSLO (VG) Jonas Gahr Støre believes the bottom has been reached in the Labor Party crisis and says that he is the right man to take the party into government.
At home on the kitchen table at Ris in Oslo, Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre serves cinnamon buns from Baker Hansen and freshly brewed coffee.
The 60-year-old has left behind a deplorable autumn with crisis measurements and political turmoil in Trøndelag.
It is now believed that the Labor Party’s party leader is turning things around. It has to.
– We have had difficult times. It is the leader’s responsibility to move on from that. I believe that we are on the right course, says Støre.
– Have you ever regretted becoming the leader of the Labor Party?
– No I have not. I have followed enough countries and enough leaders to know that you must endure waves of waves just like peaks, if you are the leader of a party with the ambition to lead a government.
Will put the noise behind him
The Labor Party loses on most fronts after six years with Støre.
On VG’s party barometer for October, the Labor Party received 22.7 percent support, which would have been the party’s worst election in 99 years. To VG on Thursday, LO veteran Sture Arntzen said that the party has been too invisible, and proposed Raymond Johansen as party leader after Støre.
The seas: This is how Støre has lost voters
– It has been a difficult time for two reasons. We have had cases that have not been about politics and the patience for it is less than before. People are not born into a party from cradle to grave. They look around and do not like what they see when it is that type of fight, says Støre.
– We have put that behind us. It required quite a lot. It was necessary to do it, it fell on me and I have done it.
Former deputy chairman Trond Giske announced this autumn that he will resign from top politics.
– The second is that the Labor Party, like most social democratic parties, must find its way to communicate and be in a more fragmented time. I feel that we have managed that and the election campaign will be about that.
– Are you the right man for the Labor Party now?
– It has been the Labor Party’s opinion for several years in a row and I agree with them.
See an overview of how the Labor Party has lost in rural and urban areas since 2014:
Dare to say no
The Storting election next autumn will be a fateful election, both for the Labor Party and Støre.
He lost his first parliamentary election as Labor leader in 2017 and Erna Solberg is already the longest-serving Conservative prime minister of all time.
– The Labor Party will be higher than today. I can state that clearly. I believe that we can become the largest party, says Støre.
– How wrong can it go in the Labor Party before you enter the years?
– Wise from experiences that predecessors have had with setting numbers, deadlines and dates, I have never done it. The Labor Party must deliver at its best. But what is good enough? It’s making a difference.
Jonas Gahr Støre has now led the Labor Party for more than six years, since he took over from Jens Stoltenberg in June 2014.
– Do you have people around you who say no – and who is your corrective within the Labor Party?
– I have a party leadership of very specific people. Hadia Tajik, Bjørnar Skjæran, Kjersti Stenseng. We’ve been through some tough times together. There is clear feedback and clear messages. And of the people who help me to make everyday life come together, I have always sought those who say things straight out, says Støre.
– So the answer to that yes: I get rake pucks, with yes or no.
The Labor leader points to the new party program as a way out of the crisis.
He led the program work as a whole, with special responsibility for the chapters on climate, environment and work – and believes they succeed in creating policies that unite oil workers and climate youth.
The Labor Party crisis: This is how Støre has lost voters
– The 2017 election did not turn out as the Labor Party had hoped. Then one must assume that the policy must also change before the next election. Has the Labor Party been a political workshop until now and how has the policy changed?
– We have presented a party program now that I believe draws a very clear plan for the 2020s, where we are a force to combat growing differences in Norway that is married to the change we are going into. We say very clearly that work to all, security for work and security at work is our main concern.
– It requires a more active state. That’s a change. We say that we should have a stronger welfare state, not just take care of the one we have, he says.
The price of milk
– This autumn, there has been a lot of adversity for both you and the Labor Party. Why are you bothering?
– I grew up in a family with great financial security. Politics has had less to say for my own safety and that of my children. But when I think about politics, I think very closely by saying what kind of society I want my children and my now two grandchildren to grow up in. I think about what qualities that society should have, says Støre.
At home on Ris in Oslo west, Støre looks beyond a well-maintained neighborhood. Joining the Labor Party was an active choice – which he does not regret.
– Everyone is shaped by where they come from. I am me. I think party colleagues and Norwegians know me quite well now, what I stand for, what I am passionate about, what I spend my time on, says Støre.
– Do you know what a liter of milk costs?
– Twenty kroner plus, twenty-one, says Støre and adds:
– I usually say to foreigners I meet that I am proud to come from a country where we politicians live life close to everyday life. I too can miss the app on the subway, because that’s the way I get around just like you do. It is a quality in our society that we should be happy about.
Prime Minister Vedum?
The Center Party has sprung up throughout Norway, at the same time as the Labor Party has fallen.
The SP leader himself, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, will neither confirm nor deny whether he wants to become prime minister. No matter how many times VG asks.
– Could you or the Labor Party have been in a government where Trygve Slagsvold Vedum was prime minister?
– I am a prime ministerial candidate for the Labor Party.
– And you will be prime minister in 2021?
– That is what we will work for. The Labor Party must be the leading force. We should become stronger in order to set that direction properly.
– When will it turn for the Labor Party?
– I choose to think that it has changed.