Merged Viken is an idiotic construction for which we can “thank” the Liberal Party. It is nevertheless greater idiocy to deconstruct the large county.
This is a leader. The leader expresses VG’s attitude. VG’s political editor is responsible for the leader.
We therefore agree the county council in Akershus Ap, where the “half” government has its origins, in that reversal of the merger decision – as unwise as it was – is not advisable.
It will simply cost more than it tastes.
The estimate for splitting the mastodon is NOK 440 million. It comes on top of a price tag of 336 million, which it has cost to erase the borders between Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold.
On the day you turn up the old signs again, and reintroduce each state administrator in all three counties, our authorities will then have dumped close to a billion kroner of taxpayers’ money right in the Oslo Fjord.
There are quite a few hundred million kroner that could instead have been used for better services and public services for ordinary people in this area.
Though mastodon; Viken County is larger in area than six U.S. states, true enough, and almost as large as the seventh, Massachusetts, with the city of Boston. At the same time, Viken is “only” the sixth largest county in Norway.
Both Vestland, Nordland and Trøndelag are larger. The hinterland is twice as large, while Troms and Finnmark can take the triple compared to Viken’s 24.5 thousand square kilometers.
Approaching a scandal
It’s not the size that matters. It is arbitrariness, planning, implementation and, above all, the weak legitimacy that make the Solberg government’s regional reform a political craft of historical misery dimensions.
The process stood in stark contrast to the original rationale; a virtually cross-party agreement on larger regions with more power to strengthen local democracy.
The Storting has been eager for this ever since the municipal ministers were Ragnhild Queseth Haarstad, Odd Roger Enoksen and Åslaug Haga, all from Sp. The first two ministers in the Bondevik I government. The latter in Stoltenberg II.
Had they even started with the division of tasks and looked at what functions the new regions could better take care of!
Instead, it was up to Erna Solberg to give the Liberal Party ownership of a premature reform that the rest of the government deeply disagreed with. For some incomprehensible reason, it was more important to merge old counties than first to define what the «new »The county should preferably engage in and how it should best be organized.
County municipal megalomania
But done is done. And more and more municipalities in Viken have crossed both two and three sticks to make the new everyday life work. No mayors report lost identity, or residents who miss their own county councilor.
On the contrary, county and municipal leaders report from most parties that they are now trying to fill the regional reform’s unspecified roadmap with useful tasks and use the new opportunities to optimize the service offer for the inhabitants.
Returning to the start is a bad and expensive alternative that will not fulfill any intentions other than fulfilling Trygve Slagsvold Vedum’s wet reversal dream.