Sunday, September 09, 2007


The national media's portrayal of the Norwegian election campaign more resembles the singing contest Idol than a political content debate. Maybe it's because the local election struggles can only be fought in the local press. Or maybe it's because it's so much more convenient to roll a dice to characterise Lars's and Jens's performances, rather than ask them why they won't answer whether rush hour tax is a good way to save the environment.

While the government cuts funding for higher education, journalists are more concerned with analysing internal party consequences of a 2 per cent dive in the polls. Must the leader go? Has the party failed to grip its core voters? Who are the core voters, anyway? These are fair sociological questions, but far from important compared to the actual content and consequences of the parties' policies.

Neil Postman blamed television for the decline in the quality of the American public debate (Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1985). The party debates in this Kingdom's biggest TV channel are introduced to the chorus of "Let me entertain you". You don't need to be a grumpy old bastard to see that the system's seriously fucked up.

But don't forget to vote tomorrow! A worryingly high proportion of young people don't.