In many ways the world is still turning in the well-worn early 21st Century tracks of ugly short-sightedness and fear of others, exemplified by Trumpet’s obsession with Walls, the Brexiteer’s obsession with Brussels, the Chinese Communist Party’s obsession with anything that resembles dissent and a host of dictators obsessed with terrorising the masses with machine guns. There are trade wars, verbal threats, phoney wars and sabre rattling all over the five continents. The United Nations looks increasingly ineffectual, as does the European Union, the latter despite the enthusiastic turnout and broadly positive outcomes of the Parliamentary elections at the end of May.
In searching for fresh perspectives suddenly the Danish government seems to have something to offer. After almost 20 years of miserably failing to debate almost anything apart from the downsides of immigration, foreigners, Muslims and refugees too close to home, the shift to the centre-left at the elections in early June appears at last to be ushering in renewal in the policy making sphere. Perhaps Danes had simply overdosed on the daily diet of media-driven hatred, thrust down everybody’s throats by a clique of extremists whose dreams of Aryan purity had begun to smell more and more like the smoke that drifted across Poland in the 1940s.
After lengthy negotiations a minority social democratic government is being formed, based on an agreement with two “red-green” parties on the left together with the radical liberals (a centre party) who made considerable gains in the elections. Happily, top items on the agenda for the new government aren’t how to abuse minorities, abandon international commitments and cut public spending on everything, which were the dominant concerns of the strangely unwieldy liberal alliance with the nationalists, in power since 2015. Suddenly the fate of nature and the impact of climate change have become the main priorities; to the extent that the government plans to introduce measures targeting a 70 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Maybe the grass will be greener soon… Underlining the urgency of new policies a massive heat wave has crossed Central and Southern Europe in the midsummer season with temperatures above 45 degrees celsius in France. It surely is time to help the planet cool down!
Demonstration for climate change action now in Copenhagen at the end of May