The current Norwegian center-right government would like to boast the strictest Asylum laws and policies in Europe, which is simply not going to be true. The further right element are running a double communication against on the one hand tacitly supporting racism, while on the other funding private companies to the hilt in contracts for asylum reception centers.
In fact Denmark, Hungary and of course the UK have stricter, less benevolent and more punitive asylum policies, but that is lost on the public. The mid to far left Socialist Leftist Party, “SV” are some of the few outright opponents åto the actual policies, while in fact the Labour Party and Centre Party who formed the previous government majority with support of SV, are actually by in large in support of the policies, if not of course the rhetoric in the media.
THe “Progress” Party FrP, are behind all the double communication – policy is one thing legally in respect of human rights, while the rhetoric is strongly anti immigrant. Overt racism is to the FrP Leadership, an understandable sign of the worrying of individuals. The UN Charter, and EU international on refugees and human rights are merely recommendations from other sources. They used to employ this double communication via their ‘rottweiler’ outlyer mavericks, but now they feel they can bring the race debate into the home of national democracy, and appease those learning to the far right enough that they will vote for them.
It is still hypocrisy. They are driving through the biggest injection of cheap labour ever into the country, and using private companies to house them, building capital fortunes for the few based on public spending. After this injection of labour, they will drive through typical Republican Neo Liberal errosion ofages and negotiating rights for all workers. They claim they are bound into this spending on assylum seekers by the previous ‘blue eyed’ red-green government, but that is far from the truth. Behind the scenes many in the service sector and especially small businesses who support the Frp, the kind of Tory heartland here, want access to cheap, naive labour for menial service jobs rather than having to employ the insolent, sick-leave prone candidates from the low skilled element of ethnic Norwegian youth of today.
They are quick to blame Labour for all ills in this circus of mass exodus from Islamic lands, as they are for several of the percieved malaises of Norwegian life. Youth unemployment in a time of negative unemployment- drop outs and lay abouts we call them in other western countries, here they are the poor doyen of the New Right, and all labour laws must be loosened to accomodate them into the labour market as temporary workers, a long with the growing false market for temporary skilled workers who will be bitterly affected by the proposed legal changes and damned to temping without mortgages for years on end.
The double communication continues at a march and Labour take a back seat, eat a little pop corn even, their leader goes in long XC ski race. Policy at the end of the day will be almost a mirror image across the centre of the house of parliament here, with the blue and red majority across that divide of Høyre (traditional old style conservatives) and Arbeiderpartiet (Labour) will atone the worst intentions, and that is all they are, of the FrP.
here is of course a lot of concern about so many non western asylum seekers coming here, and that a good proportion do not have a right to protection and are just economic migrants. Language is a funny thing, and while David Cameron can label all and sundry as Migrants, to wash over those with right to assylum with refugee status, assylum seeker is a kind of double edged sword. You at once declare you are xenophobic and skeptical when you start to use the term loosely to cover all those who come as if none had the right to flee war and seek safe haven in countries who can afford to take a portion of those refugees.
Labour went into more or less media hiding by having a largely judicial and academic approach to questions, which grabbed no head lines. Small differences in opinion on the same, cross parliament agreed policy changes are taken as a sign of weakness and dissarray in Labour by the FrP. However the crisis is something which is being addressed by stronger national policies and border controls across EU-EEA, as well as a huge sum which will allegedly go to aid and infrastructure where they are. In the case of Syria this seems likely to be through that well known land of clemency and open government, Turkey as Putin advances the cause of Assad in northern Syria. Putin will no doubt revel in having a new ally in the middle east to look strong with and force a psycological wedge against western democracy in the region.
Perhaps the centre left want to let the dust settle, and realise all too well that they should never underestimate the xenohpobia of the masses, particularly in Norway which is a country of contradictory intentions. Internationally, there has been the association to the Nobel Peace Prize and neutrality under WWI and the outbreak of WWII. From these roots the young modern nation (independence only in 1905) grew as peace broker to the highlight of the “Oslo Agreement” on Palestine. Norway is seen by Liberal thinkers the world over as punching above its weight and carrying the Nobel Peace flame forward. Conservatives in Israel and other areas see them as bloody-minded, self – opinionated pains in the neck.
Norway is well known historically too for its seafarers and proud emigrant enclaves in the USA . Even as far as New Zealand and Chile they still march on constitution day, the 17th of May. However Norway has a much more insular population and opinionation amongst those who only travel for holiday. Indeed the whole of southern, sunny Europe and even further afield like Tunisia is referred to as “Holidays in the South”. In truth, as with many other countries, Little Norway, in the dreary suburbs and sparsely populated countryside, is quite inward looking and doesn’t often care much about what goes on elsewhere in the world and whatever is frankly not Norwegian.
Norway has for four decades now been both completely exposed to the world via the oil industry and the disposable income holiday obsession here, while also been largely insulated from some ‘economic realities’ such as the rich getting a heck of a lot more out of society than they put in. Bathed in crude oil, the country could invest in expanding its other sources of wealths Hyrdo power and aquaculture/harvest (fish farms and fishing to you and me) and even out unemployment dips from oil price slumps with injections of cash from the oil fund, officially the National Pension Fund – Domestic and International by component.
Racism with a small “r” seems to be rampant at the moment, but it is of course both xeno – and neo- phobia which after all is something any group of insulated people would feel when significant migration occurs. It is most undoubtedly a built in, genetic and cultural phenomenon that people who live as a more or less homogenous race and culture, feel threatened by people from other cultures with different appearance.
Economics, as with the Trump campaign, play a role in fanning the flames of small “r” racism, epitified by the call “help them where they are” , into outright discrimination. The Saudi engineered slump in oil prices means that around 30,000 direct oil industry jobs have evapourated and it is likely that up to 100 – 150,000 folk will lose their livelihoods if the price remains below 50 USD/ barrell, which it probably will for a while.
The Arabs are intent now on making oil their business again, as a Cosa Nostura, and pricing the expensive extraction fields out of the market. They want more power and influence on the world political table, and they are prepared to burn their savings to balance their own extravagant national budgets and state investment plans for another year at least. Their production costs on some oil fields can be as little as 12 dollars, perhaps on average 18 USD. THe very cheapest oil from the British Sector is perhaps also a daily in production cost of around that 18 dollar, but has far higher life cycle costs.
Norway is far from in a “perfect storm” with the ill winds of migration on the one side, and the cold freeze of $30/ barrell on the other.
WIth Sweden, FInland and Denmark also stramming in their borders, and a new agreement with Russia, Norway will become as isolated as the UK is from the masses of migrants and be able to offer the direct route from camps as a kind of lottery ticket people will languish in turkish tent cities for. But why have so many refugees proportionally to population come to Norway?
It can be contested that Norway offers the best social welfare system for those not wanting to work, but in fact many asylum seekers know little of the supposed allure of unemployment and faked sick benefits compared to 30, 000 young people in Norway who are basically high school drop outs who cant or wont hold down a job. Norway and Sweden have both been involved in the Palestinian refugee crisis and negotations around the Holy Land. So that is one high profile, pro non Christian peoples branding which they have. Also there are trail blazers these days who report back dutifully on safe havens with a comfortable existence via SMS and Social Media. Even war torn cities near Damscus stil have mobile internet networks.
I happen to work voluntarily with asylum seekers and those who have been granted long term asylum here in Norway. Some have told me that Norway is known as a safe land, and it is as far away as they can get on foot from Assad. Others heard there was good work here, and you can start from nothing and work your way up to being wealthy. All seem keen to get into a job, and would rather learn Norwegian at night school while doing some menial job during the day than going through the slow paced ‘introduction programme’. Syria is a special case because it is in fact a multi religion, secular society where women often achieve high education and status in society. There is a more traditional housewife consensus amongst many once they marry, but that is little different to the gender pattern out in the woodland and farmlands of inner Norway.
Afgani’s are problematic because they have learnt in the last 30 years a very poor opinion of women’s place in society and it is largely young men and teenagers who arrive in far flung Norway, via Sweden. Almost none speak English as a go-between language and they are often poorly dressed and look a bit shabby. Anyone working with young assylum seekers will tell you the teenage boys are the biggest handful in the assessment waiting centres, and a tiny minority of them turn to knife violence to try and settle arguments over money, cigarrettes or the pool table with Syrians and other nationals who can speak an arabic language.
Afganis and Somalians now will probably be the focus on blocking further access to Northern Europe because both countries have large safe zones which can accomodate all but particular religious and politically displaced people. Somalians with assylum granted are even taking holidays “at home” in Somalia. It is also possible that the conflicts in Eritrea will come to some safe zone resolution or that economic migrants be sent back when they are shown to be from peaceful areas and not in opposition to the government. The real crisis and perhaps a long term wound will be the war and Assad backlash in Syria, now that Putin is in bed with Assad militarily. In this IS become a side show with both the west and Putin keen on disrupting them now and dismantelling them soon, with a western incursion in Libya likely.
All in all there is actually consensus in Norway and several other countries that we cannot go on following the UN Refugee guidelines blindly, nor an we allow assylum seekers to pick and choose the country they most want to end up in which is against the UN and EU-EEA mandate. The biggest issue here is one which the EU were warned of from the day the Schengen agreement came into practice- that external ‘Federal’ borders are great, as long as they are policed by a strong Federal presence.
This has been completely ignored, with the poorest countries and most exposed land falls being a magnet for migrants. Africans saying they are Syrians just to get on through Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary and further on to their goal of the UK, Germany or Scandinavia.
Into all this comes of course the resurgence of both the nastier side of nationalism across Europe, and ‘soveregnism’ as we see in Denmark, Norway, FInnland, Sweden, Hungary and the UK. The latter has a not so insignificant referendum as soon as June perhaps, which will suit seemingly both sides in the rush to see who can create more fear of job losses and even reverse migration camps as the struggeling David Cameron faltered over this week, his intellect for once succumbed to a junior spin doctor on crystal meth’ it seems.
The UK referendum and the national policies on immigration will set the new agenda for the future of the EU, which is now on the one side looking tarnished from the Liberal and socialists’ vision of a United States of Europe, while the ‘centre’ right christian democrats are seeing the sour fruit of privatisation to multinationals of once adequate public services which fed money back into the economy via living wages for staff and cheapness at point of access for the masses.
Now the New Right look less like liberal in meaning and more like creating a new international meta governance to exploit the masses of workers who don’t have the latest, greatest skills. The left is in dissarray over being too nice to asylum seekers and even internal work migrants, while the right is being seen as feeding the meta democratic beasts of Brussels and organised international capitalism.
In Little Norway there will be far more brown faces “dooking up” around the small towns and suburbs to come. There will be heart warming stories of the hardest cynic anti immigration Norwegians becoming voluntary workers who show Christian compassion to assylum seekers, just as much as there wil be unruly, disrespectful young males who sexually assualt norwegian girls and women. Many will take a road to Damascus in the years to come.