The Norwegian bellicose foreign minister Huitfelt has just been exposed in what appears to be a case of serious corruption. Her husband made some strikingly lucrative investments after she became a Cabinet member. I have seen no proof that decisions she has made as a foreign minister has contributed to their joint wealth. Yet, there is no doubting that her decisions as a foreign minister contributed to an abrupt hike in the value of stock in the arms industry, in which he invested. We all assume that, at the very least, his investments were based on information that was not immediately available to the general public, information she certainly possessed.
You should see her puckered cocker spaniel face as she denies he received the information from her, denies having the slightest idea, even, that he had invested a big lump of their money in stock that would prove extremely valuable just a few days later. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this sort of thing is called insider trading.
When Bill Clinton earnestly looked into the eyes of the US-American public and stated, enunciating slowly and very clearly, that he had never had sex with … etc., I thought he looked like a playful, slightly abashed dog, never mind what kind of dog. When our blond foreign minister is caught being bad, she definitely looks like a cocker spaniel. I hasten to add that cocker spaniels are anything but as angelic as they look. They can be very, very (and joyfully) naughty. Moreover, they can be very strong.
So what do we do about it? Well, the Norwegian papers are pondering whether she is telling the truth. The truth!!! Since when do politicians tell the truth? I add, for the record, that Foreign Minister Huitfeldt famously expressed, a couple of years ago, her confidence that the British authorities were adhering, and would continue to so, to international Human-rights treaties in their ongoing persecution of Julian Assange, something the British authorities notoriously failed to do, then as now, as Huitfeldt well knew. So much for “the truth.
“Should she be dismissed?”, a few of our dailies ask timorously. “No,” she replies earnestly. “I want to repair my mistake.” A heading reads: “I am deeply sorry that I made a mistake”, with sub-headings to the tune of “- that I did not check the rules.” Rules? In this country, every child older than 5 years knows that insider trading is against the rules, is bad, is evil, is the stuff that Hell is made of. (We were, after all, a deeply religious country until fairly recently.) But she, poor dear, was not aware of “the rules”!
Anybody who reads the international news, knows there is corruption everywhere. Corruption is the stuff the “accelerating ecological breakdown” is made of. But Norway has come a long way by marketing itself as a country that is almost devoid of corruption, that is “peaceful”, that is benign in every sense.
Huitfeldt and her husband were caught, if not not prosecuted. My question now is: What about our prime minister? Regardless of what political views Norwegians have, he is generally regarded as an earnest and relatively devout Christian, a “good man”. But he is also said to be enormously rich. What do we know about the source of his wealth? And what about his friend and political comrade, the warlord Jens Stoltenberg? Has he invested in the “industrial military complex”? For the record, some of that military industrial complex sits right here in Norway
We have just had a period of deluge here in Norway. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes, many of them permanently. In June, we had a drought that nearly halved the grain harvest. The August deluge ruined much of what was left. France and Spain have seen their harvests crippled by drought year after year. Will Europe be able to even feed itself in coming years? We are in for a long run of droughts and deluges, unprepared as we are to replace Russian gas, and unprepared to meet, not to mention prevent, the climate disasters that have been forecast for decades. The only thing we are prepared for is war. War is always the solution of choice when the powers-that-be have made a mess of thing: War to divert attention from real and, in this case, existential threat.
The Norwegian foreign minister may be suffering some humiliating moments, but she will be fine in the long run, and wealthy, as opposed to those of us who work for median or less wages. I must remind you that median income is “the amount of income that divides a population into two equal groups, half having an income above that amount, and half having an income below that amount” (source: Wikipedia” as at 1/9/2023.) I should add that in Norway, the income of 60% of the population is less than the “average”.
What do you do when you see that you will not be able to pay the rent at the end of the month? I, for one, have not been in that situation for very many years, but I remember. So I know that what you do is to eat cheap and unhealthy food, freeze in winter, have your teeth and those of your children pulled rather than pay regular visits to the dentist, and when your bronchitis makes you too miserable, you splurge on a baby elephant.
We all divert attention away from real – “existential” – threats. The powers-that-be do so by tricking us into hating “the enemy”. As individuals, we trick ourselves into purchasing what we definitely cannot afford.
Let me tell you a secret. When I was as desperately poor as I hope none of my readers will ever be, I almost took a bank loan – in those days, bank loans were thrown at you – to buy a glass piano. Would you believe it? A glass piano! I wasn’t even a half-decent pianist, but an instrument of glass would surely have been the most beautiful object imaginable. Or so I thought, because I had limited recourse to beauty.
Fortunately, I took to my senses. After all, I knew I would someday become an academic of sorts, if not a good pianist, and would be able to lead a “normal” life.
And now, as an academic, I have learnt that foreign affairs are just as business affairs. Please take note, because this is important:
If you are a businessman, your job is to beat your competitors, preferably to take over their customers and suppliers.
- If you are a nation, your business is to beat competing nations, take over their trade and trading partners.
If you are a businessman you should prevent your employees from unioniising You do so either by firing them or by offering attractive conditions, wages etc.
- If you are a nation, you should prevent your population from revolting. You do so either by subjecting it to police terror or by providing decent living conditions.
What I’m saying is that neither business nor foreign affairs are based on lofty ideals.
In short, this is definitely not the time to bring babies into the world.