The results from today's Norwegian elections are more or less clear: with some 26.8% of the vote, the Conservative party (Høyre) is poised to head Norway's next coalition government.This, according to Alf, is an ‘unsettling rightward turn’.
The events that left 77 people dead, prompted public debate to focus on a deeply troubling question: what was it about Norwegian society that had made 22/7 possible?
Norwegian society had to confront deep-seated xenophobic attitudes and embrace the fact that cultural and ethnic diversity had come to stay.And it seemed to be working as Alf preferred; the electoral support for them dropped off in the wake of the Breivik massacre. But now, it’s rising. Leaving Alf with some uncomfortable truths to try and explain away.
He gives it his best shot:
A very likely reason is the fact that Norway has failed to take the lessons of the attacks that befell us that dreadful day to heart. Breivik's actions and ideology were quickly pathologised and turned into an aberration…You mean, just like all those 'aberrations' emanating from the Religion of Peace, Alf? Say, just why is it that this shouldn't also be 'an aberration'?
An aberration, of course, is not something that weighs down on a nation's collective conscience. Norwegian society could move along, safely ensconced in its affluent comfort zone. And this should be a matter of great concern for those of us who were hoping for a more tolerant society to emerge from the trauma of 22/7.Clearly, Norway isn't flagellating itself over this to Alf's satisfaction...
It is equally disconcerting that victory has been claimed by a conservative political party that advocates tax cuts, privatisation, deregulation, and a substantial reduction of public spending on welfare. This agenda is of course familiar in these austerity-ridden times, but the paradox is this: there is no crisis to warrant such policies.The voters clearly think differently.
In other words, the 2013 elections have thrown up a marriage of neoliberal conservatism and rightwing populism that threatens to entrench that which we need to rid ourselves of and erode that which we should struggle to keep.The voters will decide what they want to keep. Seems they don't share your views. They must be wrong, eh, Alf? It couldn't be you, could it?