Opposing predictions revisited

You may recall that after the mass shooting of dozens of larval Labor politicians in Norway, there was a discussion of whether this would turn the Norwegian electorate to the right or to the left.  Many predicted an anti-nativist backlash that would strengthen the ruling Norwegian Labor party and support its vision of a multicultural, multiethnic Norway. I, on the other hand, predicted that Breivik’s action would eventually be seen as a harbinger of Norway’s belated move towards the ethnic nationalism that is sweeping across most of Europe.

I believe we can safely conclude that the verdict is now in:

Norway will be holding elections for Parliament on September 9, just two weeks before Germany votes. If polls taken over the last year are accurate, the eight-year-old Labor-party government of Jens Stoltenberg is headed for a landslide defeat.

Normally, you would think it would be a shoo-in for reelection. Labor’s social democrats have long thought of themselves as the natural party of government — Labor has been the leading party in Norway for all but 16 of the last 78 years. While much of Europe is wracked by recession, Norway’s economy grew by 3 percent last year, and the unemployment rate is only 3.5 percent. Norway’s GDP per capita is now over $60,000 a year.

But Norwegians appear likely to elect a conservative coalition government for the first time in over a decade. Polls show the Conservative party leading with 32 percent of the vote, which should give it 58 seats in the 169-seat parliament, a dramatic increase from 2005, when it won only 23 seats. The Labor party has about 30 percent of the vote, and its left-wing allied parties are floundering. The Progress party — a populist party that supports low taxes and stricter limits on immigration, and that worries about Muslim extremism – has about 16 percent of the vote, and it and the Conservatives, together with their smaller allies, look to have a clear majority in the new Parliament.

Charles Martel, William Tell, and Winston Churchill are all seen as national heroes for their violent opposition to foreign immigration and occupation, so while some might find it very hard to believe now, it will not be terribly surprising if Anders Breivik is one day revered by Norwegians for his murderous stand against the invaders and quislings of his homeland.