August 1, 2011
Jens Stoltenberg, the prime minister of Norway, has called on political parties not to discuss the issue of immigration during the nation’s upcoming election campaign.
“We all have something to learn from the tragedy,” Stoltenberg told lawmakers at a ceremony honoring the victims of the July 22 attack. “We can all have a need to say ‘I was wrong,’ and be respected for it.” He said that goes for politicians and the media.
The Norwegian PM “didn’t single out anyone but seemed to be referring to sometimes harsh discussions on immigration,” Time reports today.
Norway’s political parties have agreed to postpone election season campaigning until mid-August as mourning for the victims continues. Stoltenberg’s comment appears to be designed to remove the immigration issue from the national debate. Elections in Norway are held in September.
On July 7, The Norway Post published the results of a poll on immigration. 53.7 per cent said they want to put a stop to immigration, while 48.7 per cent are of the opinion that Norwegian integration policy has failed, according to Aftenposten.
The poll reflects similar sentiment across Europe and Britain.
In February, a Populus survey revealed 63% of white Britons, 43% of British Asians and 17% of black Britons believe immigration has been a bad thing for Britain.
“The political class has been warned,” said Jon Cruddas, a Labor MP. “Put simply, unless political parties step up and provide a new language of material well-being, of identity and belonging, then these political forces might refract into more malign forms,” he added.
In other words, as Sky News puts it, a large number of Brits may elect a “far right” party that would limit or eliminate immigration, especially from Muslim countries.
The suspiciously timed attack of confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik allows the establishment in Norway to do what would have been unthinkable a month ago – shut down political debate and dictate what opposition parties and the media that reports on them will be allowed to do.