As you probably know, the author of this blog has a special place in his heart for the kingdom of Denmark. Its a lovely little peaceful welfarestate with clear socialist tendencies. Now, since 2010 Denmark has been ruled by a coalition government of the danish liberal party “Venstre” and the conservatives, supported by the rightwing anti-immigration politicians of the danish peoples party (Dansk Folkeparti).
However, in economical terms this has been about as far from a rightwing or liberal government as it is possible to get without reading your political agendas aloud from marxist pamphlets. The income tax has become the highest in the world during this period, and the top tax bracket is still well above 60%. Car registration tax is 180% still (+ VAT and roadtax). Property tax was frozen in 2001 which means percentagewise its status quo. The public vs private sector has tilted further towards the public sector during this timespan. And so the list continues…and is that bad? Not really. Its what a majority of the danes want. Basically, the danes want perfect public service and are willing to pay extreme taxes for it.
As a consequence the rightwing only gets into office when the leftwing field unelectable candidates, gets involved in massive scandals or convince the people they too want a socialist state. The current government has survived so far on a combination of the three – along with playing the immigration card continously.
Now, suddenly some form of change seems to be developing. Polls are showing the government faultering and the governing liberal party taking heavy blows to their support, but the majority of the losses they are bleeding are headed towards newcomers on the political scene – The Liberal Alliance. Now, unlike any other danish politcal party The Liberal Alliance is actually liberal, if measured on criterias used outside the danish borders. The liberal alliance promote a flat low tax of 40% (low in danish terms anyway, the rest of us would still squeak a bit if the government stole 40% of our income), they want to disband the tax on entrepeneurs and media equipment, they want to lower or disband the cartaxes and not least, remove the generous pre-pension scheme that means danes can retire at 61 with full state funding. On top of this they are taking on the bureaocracy with heaps of ideas for abolishing laws, liberalising or privatising state busineses and stimulating a massive push towards less state and more private sector.
Shocking and life changing? Well to most foreigners looking in it seems quite moderate given the danish political setup, but in Denmark such voices have rarely been heard and never been listened to. That seems to be changing though. New polls show between 6 and 9% support for the liberal alliance, which is unheard of for a party not subscribing to the socialdemocratic welfarestate as a basic premise of their politics. It obviously doenst bring them close to a majority, but it does make them a significant player with a loud voice in the danish parliament..and should the current government win the next election, they will inevitably be reliant on support from the liberal alliance to be able to form a new government, rule without a majority against them and get laws passed in parliament. That suddenly makes a world of difference as the government cant just maintain status quo, as the liberal alliance votes are solely focused on liberal changes and will be needed for every single law to be passed in parliament. This development requires a recovery for the ruling government, as a victory to the openly socialist leftwing will obviously leave the liberal alliance on the sidelines as a loud opposition, but should Venstre and Conservatives pull an election victory in Denmark and judging by the polls they only need to make up 3-4% support before the election, we might actually see real reforms. Interesting times.
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