Excuses, excuses

Just when I thought I was ready to show some disciplined blogging, I neglect them again. Starting two blogs was asking for trouble. I will write yet another entry here that apparently forces me to follow up quickly, and see if it works now.

The only real explanation is a lack of aforementioned discipline, but instead I will indulge in a range of excuses. This is after all an election year, and soon, thankfully, we will be put out of our misery and a vote will take place. Anything to put an end to months of evasion, excuses, lying and bickering. Norwegian politics never used to be like this, it has clearly learned from more experienced countries – this is not just my opinion, but one based on a rigorous sampling of friends and neighbors.

The above list is especially tiresome because the tactics are so obvious. Journalists, particularly on NRK,  the Norwegian equivalent of the BBC, have become quite good at adamantly repeating questions that are clearly being avoided. I have yet to see this result in a direct answer, but at least the politician involved is exposed.

Recently I listened to PM Jens Stoltenberg, who in my mind has become the most evasive top pol here, manage to talk about the ‘strengths’ of his current government, despite being asked four times to identify its weaknesses. He couldn’t even be bothered not to use the word ‘strengths’ to start his deaf response, every time.

To be fair, he at least tried four different answers rather than his usual stance of sternly repeating a single version when confronted with questions he will not answer. Since he has also greatly improved his slash and parry techniques in debates against opposition party leaders, he has enhanced his image as the most prime ministerial politician in the country.

Excuses are similarly simple and transparent. A thorny issue being discussed is the result of policies from the last time the opposition was in power, no matter how long ago this might have happened. An excuse should be slipped into every debate, preferably in the first sentence. Lying and bickering need no elaboration.

My excuses for not following up my previous promise to try and create some debate on my own by poking Norwegians/stereotypes are many. Norwegian politicians have been deflecting my frustration muscles. The second installment of the ‘morgenkåseri‘ dwelt on language issues and only works for Norwegian speakers. The first installment was so charming it made me feel angry and petty. And an article appeared in Christian daily Vårt Land about Norwegian manners that was so appalling it put me off the subject for a while.

The Vårt Land piece reported a vicar’s need to write about good manners in his parish magazine after presiding over a series of funerals that were interrupted by ‘mourners’ rushing to light up cigarettes as they left the church, and loud and boisterous conversations taking place during the funeral procession and on the burial green.

This is far worse than anything I have seen or imagined, so I will need to rest and regroup before resuming my look at some of the more humdrum annoyances of life in Norway.


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