Home » Trond Giske, Nidaros | A bunch of sour bastards

Trond Giske, Nidaros | A bunch of sour bastards

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Trond Giske, Nidaros |  A bunch of sour bastards

comments expresses the writer’s opinions.

(Trønder debate): Yes, I would proceed systematically and purposefully, and implement the following five-point plan:

  • Weakening people’s confidence in the party’s ability to govern
  • Weakening people’s confidence in the morals, character and general disposition of the shop stewards
  • Present the party as far more concerned with itself than with the surrounding society
  • Replace clear and distinct communication with loud talk about your own shortcomings
  • And, most deadly: Transforming the Labor Party’s image from stoic and able to govern – to sour and quirky.

This weekend’s opening of the annual meeting of the Trondheim Labor Party would have been my finale, my magnum opus.

Not many years ago, Ap dominated Trondheim’s politics completely, and enjoyed a trust and support from the city’s population that is unparalleled in any Norwegian metropolis.

Now the party has reduced itself to being a bunch of shop stewards who cannot dominate anything but each other, in increasingly complex and degrading position wars that occur every time the party has to gather for an annual meeting.

What this year’s basket roof is really about depends on who in the annual meeting hall you ask. Leader Gunn Elin Høgli has received a motion of no confidence against her from the Østbyen labor union. This comes in the wake of frequent criticism of the organizational standing of the Trondheim Labor Party from Nidaro’s social democratic forum – led by Trond Giske – and after the election committee’s leader Eva Kristin Hansen is said to have asked Høgli to step down as leader of the municipal party.

The Labor Party leaders in the city council, let’s call them “Rådhuset Arbeiderparti” for the sake of simplicity, believe this is a revenge attack as a result of Høgli and Giske no longer being allies. Or: “You have to be quite close to the cardboard not to realize that Giske has a hand in the game”, like Sara Shafighi and Jørn Arve Flått stated to Address newspaper.

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Almost exactly one year ago Høgli was moderator at the annual meeting of Nidaro’s social democratic forum. With support from precisely Giske and Nidaro’s social democratic forum, Høgli became leader, while the opposing candidate Jørn Arve Flått withdrew. In a kind of poetic foreshadowing, he slurred with the door on the way out of the leadership race.

Now there is a chasm between Høgli and Trond Giske, while Flått and the rest of the AP leaders at the town hall support Høgli.

If you have trouble keeping up, that’s completely understandable (and a sign that you have more important things to worry about in this life). Because it is also difficult to reproduce, within a journalistically sound framework, what actually takes place at the Labor Party’s annual meeting in Trondheim. What the individual says to the newspapers is sometimes in direct contradiction to what others say in the so-called “background” in the meeting room.

What is said on the podium is often wrapped in several layers of codes, which can only be interpreted and decoded if you have many years of history in the party.

Last year’s bitter enemies are suddenly close allies, without anyone actually being able to point to real, underlying political contradictions.

And in the middle of it all, Trond Giske – who is now being pointed to by upset, leading Labor party profiles at the town hall as the origin of the conflicts – has positioned himself so that he can sit back, stand completely uncomprehending to the criticism from former, close allies, promise hands in the air and declare yourself “tired of the political banter”.

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The conflicts in the Trondheim Labor Party have reached a level that sometimes makes the party appear as one absolutely bizarre assembly. Or, to put it bluntly, like a bunch of weirdos.

And that is perhaps the very worst thing, seen from a Labor Party point of view. It is one thing that the party allows the opening of its own annual meeting to drag on indefinitely to promote distrust of each other, while vicarious arguments fly in all directions.

The Ap leaders in the town hall are heavily criticized for running to the media instead of dealing with conflicts internally, the election committee is heavily criticized for playing tricks, while Vegard Nilsen from Østbyen Ap, who is promoting the no-confidence motion against local association leader Høgli, fascinatingly ends his no-confidence motion with to remind everyone that “we are here to make policy”.

For Trondheim has just changed political regime after twenty years of continuous Labor Party rule. The Center Party and the MDG have actively chosen the Labor Party as a partner. Kent Ranum and his team work tirelessly to win the hearts of the population, and make Trondheim a national showcase for the Right.

It is in this context that one must understand the significance of the Trondheim Labor Party’s profoundly self-destructive behavior. “I’m here to catch the shitshow,” one attendee at the annual meeting told me. Further forward, AUF-ers sat with candy and popcorn. It must be a funny experience for them to see former Giske allies suddenly find themselves on the opposite “side”.

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During the first hours of the annual meeting, the Trondheim Labor Party on the whole radiated more energy than they did in the entire municipal election campaign last year.

If I were Kent Ranum, I would pour myself a large glass of brandy this Friday evening, and follow the updates that ticked in from the Labor Party’s annual meeting. Without any help from the Conservative Party, the arch-rival has transformed himself from appearing stoic and able to govern – to appearing grumpy and strange.

Many parties can live well with being seen as odd. Wing parties always have to live with the fact that many people see them as strange: The liberal FRP-ers in Trondheim (yes, especially in Trondheim!) will never win the majority of hearts in the city. That’s not why they exist. And although both SV and Rødt have a large voter base in this traditionally red city, wing parties are characterized by the fact that they want to do a little more, go a little further, than the vast majority.

As of today, only the Labor Party and the Conservative Party have the opportunity to be a really large, leading party in the city. Now the Labor Party is doing its best to leave that potential to the Conservative Party. The way Ap now opens its existence in opposition may indicate that the Conservative Party has more than one term in power in store.

Not because the Trondheim Labor Party disagrees internally, but because they have become the very worst version of themselves.

Where the Trondheim Labor Party previously appeared to be most concerned with Trondheim, they now appear to be most concerned with themselves, and their endless, year-long palace intrigues.

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