Monday, September 03, 2007

«Tired of Bad Weather? Vote for Us!»

Socialist Left Party of NorwayNo kidding: the Norwegian Socialist Left Party (SV) is really promising better weather if people vote for them in the upcoming local elections. There's a little problem with the slogan though: bad weather usually refers to cold weather, while SV wants to stop the global warming. And after having one of the worst summers in Oslo in man's memory, people aren't exactly that scared by the idea of global warming any more if it would lead to some local warming too.

The Socialist Left Party, a member of the Norwegian coalition government since the 2005 elections at which it gained 8.8% of the votes and 15 of 169 seats in the Norwegian Parliament (Storting), has always profiled itself as the climate party in Norway. For the local elections this year, to be held next week, one of the slogans is «Lei av dårlig vær? Stem SV!», which translates to «Tired of Bad Weather? Vote SV!». But does this slogan make sense at all?

Traditionally, bad weather has always meant cold weather, rain, snow, hail, ice, fog, floods, etc, but never warm or hot weather, not even heath waves. Coincidentally, Oslo has had one of its worst summers in man's memory, i.e. the last five years or so, and people are indeed getting tired of the bad weather. Newspapers had been predicting the arrival of summer for two or three months, constantly scheduling it two or three days ahead, until they gave up somewhere in the middle of August. Not to worry though, the autumn will be warmer than usual, and in fact, by the end of this week, temperatures will be higher again. No really. Seriously. In any case, if you want to find somebody in Oslo who's still afraid of global warming, not to mention local warming, it won't be easy to find one. My guess is that even some of the employees at the headquarters of SV have asked themselves these last few weeks, in a weak moment, where global warming is when you really need it.

So is there anything more behind this election slogan? Well, for one thing, SV proves again that green parties like to play on the emotions of the not-so-well informed people who can't or don't like to think for themselves. They do the same thing in the nuclear debate or the debate about GMOs. Taken plain literally, the slogan doesn't make any sense at all, but I have to admit that it does sound good if I turn my brain off for a moment. Another thing is that their supporters make strange arguments to defend the slogan, like they do in other debates too. There are in fact two arguments going around for why this election slogan is supposed to make sense after all. The first one is that global warming supposedly causes local cooling in Norway, in particular in the area around Oslo. This theory was rejected years ago, but it never really died in the minds of people. The second argument is that the bad weather in the slogan doesn't refer to the bad summer we've had in Oslo, but to the bad weather in the rest of the world. The problem with that argument is that it isn't clear why people living in Oslo should be tired of bad weather on the other side of the globe, except maybe for all the media fuzz around it caused by, exactly, environmental organizations and green parties like SV. Seems more like an argument why not to vote for SV, if you ask me.

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