Much to liberal media consternation, the Norwegian elections have produced a majority for the conservative coalition which includes a populist anti-immigration movement known as the Progress Party—most famous for once having as a member Anders Brevik, the Utoya shooter.
Despite desperate media attempts to smear the Progress Party with that association, most voters have seen through the deception and understand that no party has control over what ordinary members, and especially past members, of their organizations can do. The “guilt by association” smear has in this case, failed completely, observers pointed out.
The Progress Party, led by Siv Jensen, 44 (pictured), took 16.3 percent and claimed 29 seats. The Coalition has at least 96 seats in total, 11 more than necessary to form the government. Those figures might change slightly once final results are in.
The media has also claimed that the Progress party has “toned down” its stance on immigration. There appears to be little evidence for this claim, as the party’s program still seems to be identical to that of a few years ago.
The party has a long history of anti-immigration rhetoric, and only recently, when asked about the presence of immigrant Roma beggars on the streets of Oslo, Progress’s leader, Ms Jensen, replied: “Put them on a bus and cart them back to the Balkans.”
However, the party’s position on immigration has also been misrepresented to a degree by the media, in a an attempt to hype up its connections with Brevik.
In a speech in the 2007 election campaign, party leader Jensen claimed that the immigration policy was a failure because “it lets criminals stay in Norway, while throwing out people who have worked hard and who have followed the law.”
In 2009, the party proposed an official goal of reducing accepted asylum seekers by about 90 percent, from 1,000 to 100 a month.
In 2008, the party announced that it wanted to prevent “illiterates and other poorly resourced groups” from entering Norway, and specifically named Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The party wants to ban the use of hijab in schools, and to deport parents of children wearing the hijab, citing the hijab to be oppressive to women and children. Finally, the party wants a referendum to be held on immigration in Norway.
In other words, in Progress party terminology, “anti-immigration” means only a reduction in immigration, and increased programs to “integrate” the Third World invaders already present in Norway—a policy more akin to typical (and equally self-defeating) “conservative” parties in Europe.
An indication of where the Progress Party actually stands in relation to “anti-immigration” policies came in 2008 when the party’s international secretary Kristian Norheim distanced himself from groups such as the Dutch Pim Fortuyn List, the French Front National, the Freedom Party of Austria, and the Belgian Vlaams Belang. Norheim was quoted at the time as saying that these parties “lack of liberalism” was inconsistent with the Progress Party’s platform.
In another important indicator, the Progress Party is Norway’s most outspoken supporter of Israel, and was the only political party in Norway to support Israel throughout the Gaza War of 2008 and 2009, when the Jewish state used phosphorous to bomb civilians. The Progress Party also wants to relocate the Norwegian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a policy which even the United States has declined to consider.
All in all therefore, the media hype over a “far right” party entering the Norwegian government is greatly overinflated. Even the relatively mild immigration controls proposed by the Progress Party are likely to be watered down in the coalition.
The real reason for the media hype over the Progress Party is because their far-leftist Labor Party has lost power, rather than any “extreme right wing” threat.