Sometimes I think Norwegians still get a bit of a bad rap, dating back to the Viking times. But I’M not particularly fierce! (But then I’m only half Norwegian!)
Even the Vikings may have a more sophisticated way of governing than you may have guessed. Apparently, the Chief would listen to all of the group-old, young, sick,healthy etc and only then make their decision. OK, the chief makes the decisions, but at least the others get listened to. Whereas here, less than half the people actually vote for the ‘chief,’ yet alone get heard on each issue. OK, I’m not exactly advocating it, but its a thought.
In more recent times, in the ’70s, masses of Norwegian women went on strike until there was a more equal gender representation in government. And it worked – there was (shock horror !) positive discrimination for women MPs. When I lived in Norway, fifteen years ago, the leaders of the three main political parties including the prime minister were women. I bet you didnt know that! Including one who became known globally for her contribution to the environment.And yes, they have different working conditions, including shorter working hours.
Oh, and another thing. In Norwegian politics, it is simply not allowed to make aggressive or personal remarks to another politician in parliament. The debate is simply stopped automatically, by the chairperson. Something to learn from the ex-Vikings after all?
Zenith Milner 22 March 2011