Professionals warn: The commuter housing issue can affect people’s trust in the state apparatus. They believe a comprehensive clean-up is necessary.
Major mistakes and shortcomings have been rolled up around the handling of politicians’ goods this autumn. Several politicians risk backlash on the tax. Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Storting may have paid too little employer’s contribution.
This week it became known that the police will investigate more politicians. A minister and a president of the Storting have had to resign, and several investigations are underway.
Now professionals are warning of the consequences the case could have for people’s trust in the authorities.
– A good cleaning job is crucial
Researcher Dag Wollebæk at the Department of Social Research writes in a post in Aftenposten that a crisis of confidence can ultimately lead to a political vacuum, which in turn can be filled by populists. As has been seen in the United States.
The trust survives that politicians make human mistakes, such as when Erna Solberg eats sushi in Geilo, he points out.
“But what can put it seriously under pressure is a perception of a culture among top politicians that casts doubt on both integrity and whether one thinks more of oneself than those one is to represent. Then the thoughts quickly go to King Solomon and Jørgen Hattemaker. ”
Although Wollebæk emphasizes that the situation in Norway is far from the United States, trust is not something constant, he points out.
– If politicians make many mistakes over time, it is right that people have lower confidence in politicians. Nor is it an ideal for people to have high trust in those who do not deserve it.
Wollebæk says a good cleaning job is now crucial for rebuilding trust. It may come back, but he thinks there are two things in particular that stand in the way of this case:
- Get concessions
- Lasting change
– No one will admit that they have done something wrong without explaining away and blaming unclear regulations, Wollebæk points out.
– It is important that extensive changes now take place, and that comprehensive control routines are established that prevent this from happening again. The population will demand something more than just “cosmetic changes”.
– Has it been a culture?
Signe Bock Segaard is an election expert and researcher, also at the Department of Social Research. She says the commuter cases are serious on two levels. The scandal can go beyond the trust of both individual politicians and the political system.
– I think many can perceive the politicians’ reality as a parallel society, where you have different rules than most people. This provides fertile ground for mistrust if you do not clean it up.
She says the commuter cases can affect people’s trust, because the cases deal with something very concrete.
Signe Bock Segaard, election expert and researcher at the Department of Social Research.
– It’s about money and quite large sums. When it turns out that it is not just an individual, but several politicians who have acquired goods over a few years, it will give a feeling of injustice. It will be the same as with the Nav scandal. People react because it is unfair.
In Norway, confidence in politicians is fairly stable. Segaard is from Denmark. There is increasing contempt for politicians, she says.
– The crucial thing now is that the clean-up is done in a good way. People must have confidence that the process finds good solutions and arrives at why this has happened. Has there been a culture in the Storting, or have there been individuals who have made mistakes?