I would probably vote for SV if I was a Norwegian citizen and could vote in the Norwegian elections this September, as I agree with them more than I agree with most other parties, but I think Mathias Fischer has a valid point that SV’s current social media campaign, #norskeverdier, has some flaws. The premiss of the campaing is to “reclaim Norwegian values” from the right wing parties and show that Norwegian values (= norske verdier) are in fact gender equality, equal rights, diversity and solidarity, values that of course are central to SV’s party program. Audun Lysbakken, who leads SV, is shown in a national costume eating a kebab to front the campaign, though personally I like the photo of the full leadership group, looking wonderfully silly in their national costumes.
The retweets on Twitter suggest that the flaw is that anyone can use the #norskeverdier tag, and of course hashtags can’t be locked down. So you have tweets like “Oil and gas. #norskeverdier” or “Refusing illegal immigrants with third degree burns medical help after suicide attempts. #norskeverdier”. Not quite what SV had in mind?
Or perhaps it was. On Dagsnytt 18 last night, Lysbakken said the purpose of the campaign wasn’t to get all Norwegians to post tweets about equality and solidarity but to challenge FrP’s claim that they are the representatives of “Norwegian values”, and what Norwegian values are. Lysbakken said we shouldn’t think there is a set of values that “all Norwegians” (whatever that means) share. In an opinion piece in Dagbladet, Lysbakken writes that SV wants to break down the division between a Norwegian “we” and an immigrated “them”.
Certainly as an immigrant, or a second-generation immigrant as I’m known here, since I was born here of immigrated parents (no, you don’t get to be Norwegian just because you’re born here) the idea of Norwegian values raises very mixed emotions. On the one hand, I love living in a country with universal healthcare, good parental leave, subsidised and high-quality child care, no meetings after 4 pm because everyone knows parents need to pick their kids up, decent unemployment benefits etc etc etc. On the other hand I am regularly appalled by the xenophobia I see here. What is the fear of dual citizenship, in a world where so many of us have cultural roots in more than one country? What do you mean my children inherit the worst possible residence rights – not my permanent residency after 35 years of living here, but their father’s at the time temporary permit, since he had only lived here two years? What do you mean two Norwegian-born children lost their Norwegian citizenship because their Australian father signed them up to also be Australian by descent, and now Norway won’t let the family return to Norway with the Norwegian mother because the two twins are not Norwegian citizens and their mother doesn’t have high enough income to get a family reunion visa to bring them with her?
Norwegian values. I love them and I hate them.
I like some of the photos SV is sharing as part of their campaign, though. The caption on this one asks “Am I Norwegian enough now?”
This morning the satirists at Opplysningskontoret posted their own response, on FrP’s behalf, with Per Sandvik (the second in command for FrP) as Chairman Mao and the tagline: “OK, Audun. Let’s talk about equality.”
I’ll leave the interpretation of that up to you.