The problem with fanatics, the Listhaugs, the Wilders, the ISs and the Al Qaedas of this world is that you, as a reasonable person will never be able to win a reasoned argument with them. Fanatics are always more dedicated to their causes than reasonable people ever can be, that being the whole point to fanaticism. Fanatics will be out at the crack of dawn, promoting their “alternative facts” while the rest of us are still waiting for our eggs to boil, our coffee to percolate and our toast to pop up cheerfully from the toaster.

Then one day, as we are enjoying a particularly good boiled egg, the perfect cup of coffee and some crisp fresh toast we turn around and notice that all the newspapers that used to practice proper journalism are gone. That the radio and TV documentaries that look past the sound bites and check the facts and sources against each other are no longer regarded as relevant by the vast majority of the population. That all the humanist voices suggesting that people who are not like us should be treated with dignity and respect will have disappeared into the margins of the internet, the margins currently occupied by today’s fanatics.

What will we do then?

For my part I have decided that after twenty years of “free” news on the internet it is high time for me to start paying money to quality news outlets for the work they do before they are driven out of business. It is an easy thing to do and a small price to pay for my children’s future.

I hope it is not a case of too little too late…

The Iron Lady has finally rusted away…

…she’s gone. My personal feelings on the matter shall remain just that.

However, the history of her reign is a pretty good reason why you should always avoid voting for populist, “I’m alright Jack” right-wing parties. Whilst life might be better for you in the short term, your countrymen in other parts of your country  will not be so lucky. They will never get a chance recover from a few years of “Greed is good” politics.

Once you have dismantled a “civil society” there are precious few ways to build it back up again.

Norwegian voters, take heed.

The mayor is dead, long live the mayor

I came into work yesterday to find two emails, both sent on Sunday, both informing council employees of the death of our mayor. Olaug Grønseth Granli had been fighting cancer for some time and finally died in her sleep on Sunday.

I don’t remember meeting her in person and also don’t know the details of her illness. However, there are many of my collegues who did know her personally and who are now in mourning for their friend, collegue, political opponent and relative. It has been very quiet here in the council offices in the last couple of days.

It is a strange situation for me to be in, not being personally affected in any way, yet being surrounded by people who are. It makes me think of the Heinrich Böll short story entitled “My Sad Face” for some reason.

The funeral will take place on Friday this week.

The mayor is dead, long live the mayor.