Plans by the President of the Parliament’s staff to hold a winter ball right after New Year have been met by sneers and snickering by several of the Members of Parliament expected to come. “I think this has balled up a bit,” commented the head of the Christian Democrats, while other top politicians had worse reactions.
“We attend enough fancy dinners as it is,” claimed the head of the Socialist Left party, while the head of the Liberal Party called it “snobbish and old-fashioned.”
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that the ball was the idea of the Storting’s fourth vice president, Ingjerd Schou of the Conservatives. She has proposed flying in spouses or partners of Members of Parliament for a gala dinner at the Grand Hotel on Friday January 9. Then they’d all walk across the street to the Parliament building for more food and drink, entertainment, live music and a ball. The whole affair, budgeted to cost NOK 770,000 (USD 125,000), is meant to provide a social outlet for MPs and share their workplace and colleagues with spouses. Schou’s party planning also includes one of two “open house days” at the parliament in the course of the session.
She pointed out that the parliaments in Denmark and Sweden host balls for MPs and their spouses and Norway should as well. She wasn’t prepared for the negative reaction, though, and the plan is pending approval from the parliamentary leaders for each party. “If they think the New Year’s party plans are a bad idea, there won’t be one,” she told DN.