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Political dialogue and weblogs

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Political dialogue and weblogs2003-04-04 12:16
picture by Flemming Funch

One thing I appreciate about how Denmark is run, which I didn't see the same way when I lived there, is that people who are in the position to decide big things will talk it over, seemingly endlessly. Well, that's what it used to look like to me. The news is filled with politicians talking and talking; people speaking for many different sides; nobody apparently committed to much of anything. That is drastically different from the U.S. where the news is filled first of all with disasters, and secondly with politicians who seem very sure about everything, but who only seem to have the opinions they're being paid for having by their corporate handlers. And nobody actually *talks* things over. It is more about getting your side to win, through force, persuasion, lies, money, diversion, or whatever it takes.

In Denmark, the politicians actually seem to be there to talk things through, so that the right decisions can be made. And even though everybody still hates most of them, and even though it takes a while to get anywhere, it is quite real. Working things through with everybody who has a stake is a shared value. Most politicians will be very non-committal, and will refer to that things have to be talked through before they can state anything with certainty. And what I realize now is that this is a good thing. A commitment to dialogue and consensus and openness. Most Danes will probably not agree or recognize this, and will probably tell me that the politicians really are a bunch of crooks, and that nothing gets done, and everything is really bad. But, seeing it from the outside, and only visiting once in a while, things are not too bad in Denmark. It is a wealthy country that takes good care of its people. People are friendly, and everything works. It all looks better than it did when I moved from there 18 years ago. Something is working.

Thomas Madsen Mygdal predicts that the next Danish prime minister will have a weblog. He might very well be right. Whereas it wouldn't work for the current style of politicians in the U.S., it would work well for most Danish politicians.

As a matter of fact, the prior Danish prime minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, now has a weblog. It is in Danish, so chances are you can't read it. But it is real. He talks about what he does every day and what he feels about it. That is a real big thing, for a politician to be open like that. And I hope the world sees more of that.

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