It’s storming once again around Oslo’s Transport Agency Lan Marie Berg (MDG).
Following the gigantic budget gap for the new reserve water supply in Oslo, FRP has submitted a no-confidence motion against Berg. These days, the city council’s support party Rødt is also considering whether they will support this.
A similar tone is prevalent in all opposition parties in Oslo. In the worst case, the case could mean the end of Berg as a transport agency councilor.
Several MDG politicians have in recent days gone out with a strong defense of Berg. Among other things, they believe that the criticism is directed extra harshly at Berg because she is a successful woman.
The opposition believes that this is a complete derailment of the political debate.
– Suspects successful women
The leader of the MDG, Une Bastholm, is one of those who has shared MDG colleague and former parliamentary representative Rasmus Hansson’s recent article in VG, which is entitled “Be humble, woman!”
Here Hansson writes, among other things, that it is now the second time in a year that the opposition in Oslo directs the cannons at the MDG city council, and that both times there are the same demands behind it: Berg must show more humility.
To the post, Bastholm writes the following:
“Lan is probably the most thorough and stubborn political craftsman I know, without ever losing sight of visions, goals and promises. But since she can not be taken on implementation, the opposition in Oslo City Council is becoming increasingly creative. Moldy, patriarchal prejudices and gender stereotypes that make successful women suspicious make it possible.
Bastholm is currently in mammaperm. She does not want to elaborate on the comment to Dagbladet now, but gives permission to reproduce the post.
– Gender is irrelevant
But not everyone agrees that the criticism goes to Berg as a successful woman.
– We have never discussed anything other than the case, and we intend to continue with that. I perceive this as a desperate attempt by the MDGs to shift the focus away from what is at the heart of the matter, and that is the budget gap and how it has been followed up. It seems like they want to discuss everything else, says group leader in the Conservative Party, Anne Haabeth Rygg.
– Are you a misogynist?
– I think the city council’s gender is irrelevant. It does not concern me. What is important to me is how an extra bill of 5 billion, which is passed on to the inhabitants, could arise and how we can prevent such exceedances from happening again. And why in the world did we get the information so late. It has something to do with the city council’s responsibility and handling of the case, says Haabeth Rygg.
– Is myself a woman
In previous cases, city councils have resigned after far fewer exceedances, and where the information has reached the City Council much earlier, the Conservative politician believes.
– This is the most serious violation we have seen in the City Council and where we have not received information. That we question this has neither to do with age nor what gender Lan Marie Berg is.
Group leader in Rødt, Eivor Evenrud, is among those who have objected in both Bastholm and Hansson’s comments field on Facebook.
“What does ‘woman’ have to do with this case? Four of the six parties that do not sit on the city council have female group leaders. I myself am one of them, and have submitted a number of requests for access in this case. It is not humility that is requested, but the case itself and the handling of Kommune-Norge’s largest investment project ever », she writes.
“I can be accused of too much, but moldy patriarchal prejudices, I do not accept to be alleged to have,” she adds during Bastholm’s post.
Nor does she want to elaborate on this further, but gives permission for Dagbladet to reproduce the comment.
Not shielded from criticism
Group leader of the Oslo City Council Sirin Helvin Stav responds on behalf of the Green Party (MDG).
– We have never intended that Lan Marie Berg or other of our city councilors should be shielded from criticism. Criticism and dissent are crucial in a democracy. What we react to is that Frp and the rest of the right wing have a completely different standard for Lan than for their own.
She believes there are many indications that Berg is exposed to differential treatment of Oslo politicians.
– An example: Lan was responsible for only 6 percent of the municipality’s violations of working time regulations, a total of 15,000 violations. Minister of Health Bent Høie from the Conservative Party was responsible for almost 500,000 breaches in the health trusts, year after year. But Lan, not Høie got distrust from Frp and lots of headlines about crimes. One of the most important arguments was that Lan had not been “humble enough”, says Stav.
She believes the water supply case is an echo of the previous no-confidence motion against Berg.
– Now the same thing happens again. The cost increase for Oslo’s new water supply is mainly due to an unforeseen price increase in the market, which Lan cannot do anything about. Minister of Transport Jon Georg Dale from Frp had a much larger cost increase for the train development to Moss, and spent more time informing the Storting about a possible crack than Lan used to present a quality-assured case. Again, the FRP promotes distrust of Lan and criticism that she is not “humble” enough. I think that is a democratic problem.