Is Denmark facing a system collapse when it is finally exposed how officials and politicians treat the population of the “democratic” country?
By Kathrine Lilleør, 17th of October 2014
Officials employed in the ministries have a duty to say no if a minister who wants to propose a bill, which is “clearly illegal”. However, often they don’t, because they are no longer impartial officials but actually they are backing groups to spin doctors for any minister currently holding office. A new book tells us how.
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Former Head of the Office of the Taxation Ministry, Peter Loft, explains the dominant practice this way: “Situations arise where there is doubt as to whether a proposal is legally sound. In such situations, we will typically say to the minister that we are not sure if this is legal. Then, if the minister says that we’ll take the chance then, naturally, we don’t make a note on the doubt of the legality. We then make a note stating those things that support the bill. End of story.”
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About six months ago we were lessoned that top officials in the Ministry of Justice can use “emergency lies”. One has to understand that officials in the ministries withhold information from parliament as the most natural thing in the world as a part of the political game. They have apparently all become spin-doctors.
People talk about contempt for politicians. But the contempt doesn’t stop there. If we also develop contempt for officials, the contempt for the entire democracy will flourish fully.
Forget about the dream of impartial officials. Give us in stead political top officials who resign when the government resigns. This is about the credibility of democracy. Nothing less. We cannot leave it to crumble in the pockets of random officials. Even more end of story.
OFFICIALS ON A WOBBLY COURSE
Berlingske.dk, 18th of October 2014
By Lisbeth Knudsen, Responsible editor in chief
Is information given to parliament manipulated when ministers propose new laws or answers questions from members of parliament so the information is twisted and adjusted to fit the political wishes of the minister? A new book by the journalist Jesper Tynell, “The Dark Light” (“Mørkelygten”) seems to raise that accusation based on anonymous sources in several ministries. The book is a hand grenade in the debate on embarrassing cases in several ministries.
BOOK: OFFICIALS MISINFORM PARLIAMENT ON PURPOSE
Politiken, 17th of October 2014
According the book “The Dark Light” (“Mørkelygten”) it is normal procedure that parliament is not given the same legal information as the government. Thus, politicians often have to make decisions based on misinformation.
Several experts on administrative law have read parts of the coming book. To Berlingske, they say that the practice of the lawyers is a “serious problem to democracy” and an example of “direct manipulation”.
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Head of parliament, Mogens Lykketoft (S) is also deeply concerned.
“You cannot tell a lie to parliament. It is completely unacceptable. I understand that there may be doubts, but if there is no doubt amongst officials that something violates the law of EU, then that is an information, which must be passed on.”
“I think a government must be obligated to pass on a doubt”, he says to Berlingske, referring to various governments, which have passed laws they knew violated EU-law.
The case will now be discussed in the so-called Nordskov Nielsen-committee in parliament, which scrutinizes the Danish system for officials.