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Ulrik Haagerup on Constitution Day: We must fight to protect democratic society

8 JUNE 2023

At Hotel Democracy’s Constitution Day celebration on 5 June 2023, Constructive Institute CEO and Founder Ulrik Haagerup gave a keynote address on the challenges facing democracy and the media in 2023 — and how we can work toward a better future.

Read Ulrik’s full remarks below.

A few years ago, there was a well-known speaker who, in an assembly hall in Jutland, began by banging on the microphone and shouting out into the hall: “Can you hear me?”

Then it was down at the back that it sounded: Of course. But I’m happy to trade with someone who can’t.

So I’m grateful for the applause before I’ve said anything. And for the invitation to celebrate the Constitution with just you.

A father of a teenage daughter – it could have been me – was on a Friday night with his usual admonitions, telling her urgently where she shouldn’t go, what drinks she shouldn’t drink and who she shouldn’t kiss…

While he was taking in air, she looked up and said: Dad, sometimes you should listen louder.

Listen louder…. The father had never heard that term before. Maybe because he is both a father and a journalist. And we are much better at talking than at listening.

But the ability to listen has never been more needed. Need for genuine curiosity about how others see the world. Need to build more bridges, as we sang about just before. And need to remember the words from our Queen’s New Year’s speech, where she reminded us that it is not enough to want to build bridges, if you only want to use them to get others to come over to yourself and your own point of view.

So here we stand. On the hill of the gods, which 174 years ago formed the most beautiful setting for the fledgling but dangerous thoughts of an alternative to totalitarianism.

Imagine if you could say whatever you wanted. Imagine if you could choose your own leaders. Imagine if democracy was allowed to take root in Denmark.

Blicher’s public meetings did not become the start of a violent revolution, but ten years later a voluntary transition to a new constitution, which we have routinely celebrated on June 5 since 1849. You know that story well.

But what happened next is almost more interesting – especially right now, when it is dawning on us that, contrary to what we thought, democracy is not something we can take for granted.

Because do you know when Statistics Denmark was created? The answer is eight months after the adoption of the constitution.

The rationale is worth clinging to in a time when facts have become something more and more people think they can choose for themselves. But even if you insist that London is the capital of Japan, it is still wrong regardless of how many likes you have received on the claim that knowledge is just a point of view.

Because when the Danes and their new politicians suddenly got the freedom to express themselves freely in the summer and autumn of 1849, things went completely crazy. Everyone was suddenly claiming anything. Knowledge, postulates, gossip, anecdotes, misinformation, lies and Latin tumbled among each other and spread across the nation. It was quickly discovered that without a common foundation of facts from which everyone could start, the new democracy did not work. So you had to hire someone who could count, and in the beginning of 1850 Statistics Denmark opened with the clear aim of pumping facts into society and the public conversation.

In other words, the realization in the fledgling democracy was that without a common knowledge and a more or less similar perception and recognition of how the country is situated, politics does not work. Then the people’s government collapses.

In other words, freedom of expression is not enough in itself. More decisive is the responsibility you get when you have it: For what do you use that freedom of expression? It is essential to avoid censorship and thought control, but in our part of the world we may not have the greatest need right now for even more people using their freedom of speech to shout; spreading hatred, fear, division, demonization and creating distorted images of reality.

So here we stand on the very same Himmelbjerg and have to admit that we have to fight again. Yes, again for freedom. But also for the right to access truthful information. For the restoration of free and credible journalism. For a proper tone in public conversation. For the right to keep our own data. For decent conditions for our elected representatives. For our community. And for the whole idea of ​​being a democratic society.

It doesn’t get more high-profile and more significant.

And if you start to hear yourself saying that something is so important that someone will have to do something at some point somewhere, then it’s probably time to ask yourself what you can do yourself do.

How do we become the change we are waiting for?

Realization was precisely the reason why six years ago I quit my job as news director in DR to found the Constructive Institute. I needed to think and understand, which is difficult when you are constantly interrupted by constant deadlines, budget adjustments and stories about DR correspondents who get to transport horses across the Atlantic for license funds.

Today, the Constructive Institute is located at Aarhus University, and works all over the world to change the global news culture with more focus on solutions, nuances and dialogue. We work based on two simple questions:

  • Is the press part of the problem in the crisis of democracy with our focus on speed, likes, attention and angle on the most dramatic and conflict-filled?
  • And how do we become part of the solution? Because we have to.

Imagine if there were no journalists to tell the rest of us about what is really happening. So can we be sure that it is Greenpeace, the banks, Facebook or ChatGPT who are giving us the best attainable version of the truth? And it is no longer a rhetorical question whether you can imagine a world without independent journalists. News deserts are spreading all over the Western world because commercial media have to close, because the advertisers who used to be the main source of income for decent journalism are now going to Google and Facebook, and because fewer and fewer people want to pay what journalism costs.

At the Constructive Institute, we are trying to get ourselves and our colleagues to listen more to those who have long told us that they are depressed by our negative worldview, that they do not trust us, and that our content does not provide enough meaning and value. We try to be a mirror that journalists, publishers and editors-in-chief of ailing media can look into to see for themselves clearly, before it is too late in a time when it is difficult to find the energy to stop and look properly. We fat middle-aged men know very well that unless we dare to stop, take off our clothes and step on the scale in front of the mirror behind the locked bathroom door and then take the consequences of what we see, we will never lose weight.

So the point is that you can’t start talking about solutions until you recognize the problem. Self-criticism is the starting point for any change.

You cannot be constructive without a well-documented problem to be constructive about. Otherwise, it will just be cute and a bit unimportant.

So what is it that we as a society are facing right now? Here are five challenges – and afterwards a number of suggestions for possible solutions.

The problems first, so they are clear.

Point number one: Polarization is the next pandemic.

Because the virus of division spreads rapidly. Between North and South, The rich and the poor, Between the political parties, Politicians and the population, The press and politicians, News media and the population, Between population groups in each of their echo chambers, and the woke and those who have no idea what it means.

Take a vegan in Nørrebro and a cattle farmer from Kjellerup and you have polarization in full bloom.

The polarization comes not only through social media algorithms, but also in the toxic culture of politics and media. On Facebook and Instagram, you get more of the content you click on. So quickly you think that all people agree with you, and you constantly have your perception of reality confirmed. And you get the most likes if you feed the anger, the hate, the frustration and the demonization.

Earlier this year I was in the United States, where I have lived and which I love and have admired. But it is no longer the United States. These are the States of the Unforgiving. Neighbours, colleagues, families are divided into atoms – profoundly disagreeing about reality, because they do not get it from the same place. When I was little, most Americans watched every evening the talk show host Walter Cronkite, who, based on deep professionalism, fairness and independence, gathered the nation with credible news stories about what was worth knowing.

Today, Conkrite is dead, news has been replaced by views and more and more Americans deliberately avoid following the social debate and the rest is divided between Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, which caters to the white Republicans, who follow themselves squeezed between Los Angles and News York, and here climate change is only referred to as bad weather and all democrats are communists and election defeat is due to cheating. If you are a Democrat, on the other hand, you watch CNN or MNBC, where all Republicans have land in their heads, and any idea of ​​limiting illegal immigration to the United States is described as racism, even though it was the Democrat Clinton who started building a wall on the border with Mexico from the same concern as Trump’s.

Here at home, both Politiken and especially Berlingske have given up the idea of ​​being nationwide so-called omnibus newspapers, which is the Latin expression for a media that addresses everyone. Politiken provides a worldview for the retired high school teachers who vote red in Virum, while Berlingske has become a bourgeois parish newspaper for those who vote blue in Charlottenlund and the surrounding area.

Point number two: Representative democracy is in crisis. Our entire system is based on the fact that the best will dedicate their time and talent to lead the rest of us. When I was little, my parents bragged at family parties that our neighbor had been invited by a respectable circle of citizens in the town to run for Parliament. Because back then, the mere idea that you could get laws to represent others as elected by the people was one of the most prestigious things. Today, if you hear about someone who would stand for a democratic election, the first thought of too many people today is that they probably can’t get a real job.

At the parties’ formation meetings, where they have to find the politicians of the future among the citizens present, there is now still coffee left in the single thermos that is placed on the table. Because virtually no one shows up. I spoke to a candidate for a major party in a major city close to here in the run-up to the last municipal election. And he confided in me that he did not hope to be elected, but that as chairman of a constituency he found it so embarrassing that he could not get anyone to sign up, that he had to write himself on the ballot .

The parties are no longer popular movements. Membership has plummeted. The historically two biggest political powerhouses, Venstre and Socialdemokratiet, today together have fewer members in the whole of Denmark than there are inhabitants of Silkeborg.

And those who are elected to the most important posts in the country increasingly either get stressed like Jakob Mark, Alex Vanopslaagh, Jacob Ellemann… or leave frustrated again like former tax minister Karsten Lauritzen, who last week published a distress call in a book , who stated that Danish politics has broken down. The speed in Danish politics has run out, and the development could cause the political system to collapse, he writes.

Former head of department in the Ministry of Health also during the pandemic, Per Okkels, formulates the crisis like this:

“Any political response to a problem is quick action, more control, more consultation and committee questions and the consequent quiet but systematic breakdown of central administration. Speed ​​is a must. Appearance in media is a must. A quick doorstep is better than a well-thought-out deal. Speed ​​makes the inclusion of knowledge and input from the outside almost impossible.”

The country’s political nestor Bertel Haarder expresses himself more poetically, and although I know from personal experience that he can get angry, the man is worth listening to. His analysis reads like this:

The press has lowered a blanket of stupidity over humanity.

So let that formulation be the third item on the list of current challenges.

Journalism is the most important filter between reality and people’s perception of reality. And it is important, because we humans do not make decisions on the basis of facts, but on the basis of what we think are facts. And where do we get that view from? From those we ourselves talk to and can see out of the window. The rest we have from the media. Perception is reality, it’s called in modern Danish, and anyone who has attended business school or stood in a store knows this. Bilka is just cheaper, it has been said for 30 years in marketing, to make us believe that Bilka has the lowest prices. Just cheaper… than what? Than yesterday?

Everyone has the right to a good kitchen, it was said in the advertisements leading up to the financial crisis, which abruptly put an end to the lie that money is not something you have, but something you have a right to and just lend yourself to free of charge. 

And politics has taken over business school logic: We want our country back, it was said in the run-up to the Brexit vote, and then the British left the EU. And only afterwards did they wake up and think “I wonder who stole it?” The most Googled question in Great Britain the day after the vote on EU membership was “What is Brexit?” And a new book about Boris Johnson in Downing Street documents that the later British Prime Minister, who recommended a yes to Brexit based solely on a cynical calculation of what benefited his own political career best, into the night when the historic result stood clearly, sat petrified in front of the audience in his underpants and an Argentinian soccer shirt and said the winged words that could stand as a headline for the victory of populism: “Oh, shit, what the fuck have we done??”

I’ve just been to London, and among other things I’ve been to the BBC, which is now painfully reviewing its own role in Brexit. The BBC did not take a position like the Murdoch newspapers The Times and The Sun, but the large public service media too often left emotions and facts in its coverage.

The debate was, after all, about whether the ice could financially hold if the UK embarked on it in a future outside the EU, or whether the ice would break. 1000 economics professors warned based on their knowledge of the economy’s carrying capacity, and predicted great difficulties for Britain outside the community. The BBC’s way of covering the complicated subject was, so simplistically, to place professional experts on one side of the studio alongside a 55-year-old crystal healer from Sheffield who crocheted her own tampons and who clearly expressed that she felt that that ice could carry well, and that she also thought that those professors were somewhat arrogant and unpopular. When feelings and facts are given equal importance, facts almost always lose.

One might think that when someone says it is raining and others that the sun is shining, it is the job of the press to look out the window and report the facts. But not only the tabloid press failed, but also the serious one.

But attitudes cheap, require no research and sell. And if you can scare with a good headline, then you get the clicks that make up the business model for the free commercial news media all over the world. In Denmark, is fighting with Ekstrabladet to become the biggest news site — and thus our biggest, common filter between reality and the perception of reality.

Hospitals warn against this liquid, it was said recently on, and many in Ry and the rest of the country clicked for fear that it would be gin and tonic – or breast milk substitute. But when you clicked, it was a ten-line story about water. If you drank more than 9 liters of water a day, it was not healthy, you had to understand. I don’t know if you know anyone who drinks 9 liters of water a day, but it doesn’t matter because BT got your click.

Do you remember the heat wave a few summers ago? Ekstra Bladet came out with a story about a profusely sweating new father who had contacted the newspaper indignantly and said that it was roaring hot in the delivery room where his child had just been born. And the idiots who had built the new super hospital in Skjeby had spared the air conditioning, and now he himself had looked at a thermometer while the wife insisted that it was 37.5 degrees in the delivery room. Good story, thought Ekstra Bladet, and knocked it out on the front page and all fast platforms, where it went viral in a flash, and the journalist was praised and began to dream of the Cavling prize. Hundreds of thousands of Danes quickly shared the outrage, politicians who wanted publicity demanded consequences, explanations and firings, and Jyllands-Posten immediately came out with an editorial.

A little slowly, the communications department at Aarhus University Hospital got started, and after a few days they could say that they had now investigated the matter. And it was really enough that it was hot throughout the country during the heat wave — also indoors. But 37.5 degrees was not there now, not even in the delivery room. And there was actually no thermometer at all that measures the air temperature inside the delivery room. On the other hand, there really was a thermometer, and it sat on the Incubator. And it is now once again best if it shows around 37 degrees.

Then it was that someone thought of contacting Ekstrabladet to see if they should perhaps send out a small correction.

“We can’t fact-check everything,” replied the editor. “If a certain man says that it was very hot and that he saw a thermometer, we just quote him for that. What’s the problem?”

Yeah, that’s the problem, dammit. It is not enough to say that the numbers are right if the picture they create is wrong.

The hidden TV recordings of Else in the swing at the nursing home behind the facade were not wrong after all. But was it really the image that this is how Grandma is treated in all the country’s nursing homes? Was it the image of the nursing homes in Aarhus, or was it just at Kongsgården, in that department, in that living room with a single stung vessel among the employees? No one knows, and it was not TV2’s ambition to make us more aware of it either. The consequence is, on the other hand, a survey by the Constructive Institute showed here this spring, that the elderly in Aarhus now do not dare to come to care homes in Aarhus, and that it is difficult to get someone to work looking after the elderly. And we were also able to document that the perception of those who have direct knowledge of the conditions, because they have relatives in the care homes or themselves know someone who works there.

Challenge number four is misinformation.

Like many of you with the same hair color, I grew up during the Cold War. Back then in the 70s and 80s, it was clear that the Soviet Union’s propaganda war was about getting us to take over the Kremlin’s worldview. Nuclear weapon free zones were good, Reagan was bad and communism was paradise. It was somewhat transparent, and at least in the long term not a strategy that won either the battle for perception in the West or internally in the Eastern Bloc.

Putin, who grew up in the KGB, has learned from the mistakes. He knows that the battle for storytelling is far more important than tanks or drones. And his strategy today is far more cunning and effective.

Inside Russia, the strategy is to prevent every critical question, remove any semblance of free journalism, and give Russians access to only one version of the truth. Kremlin’s. Today, it costs five years in prison if you call the special military operation in Ukraine a war.

Externally, the goal is not to get us outside of Russia to take over Putin’s world view, but to doubt everyone else’s, as the Nordic public service stations recently demonstrated in the important documentary series, Shadow War. If one doubts the truth, then the common frame of reference, trust and the community crumble. And so democracies erode from within. Therefore, for years, Putin’s regime has supported forces in the US, Africa and Europe that can divide. Front National France is financed by banks owned by Russian oligarchs. The Yellow Vests in France, the Five Star Movement in Italy, Trumpism in the US are not controlled but backed by Russian troll armies on social media. Who blew a hole in the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 near Bornholm? Putin would like us to be in doubt, so that we would just as easily believe that it was the USA, England or Ukraine.

And so we come to the fifth and greatest threat: The technology.

Here comes the question that you can get used to asking yourself, your country, your children and grandchildren: What can you do that the new chatbots can’t do now or in ten minutes?

The Constructive Institute was at Oxford University recently, and spoke with, among other things, a professor of Artificial Intelligence. In other words, the technology where computers learn by themselves and can perform tasks in a flash, which previously required both a long time and the thinking power and cooperation of many people.

He said that he has studied the so-called AI for many years, and for a long time thinks that all the talk about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence has been exaggerated. But in recent months, the development has gone so fast that he now believes that artificial intelligence will change our society more and faster than the invention of electricity and the Internet.

And let’s just understand what we’re talking about. For many years, we have gotten used to asking questions to Google, which then responds with a number of links to a number of websites that might give us the answer. The new chatbots from Microsoft, OpenAI and Google themselves do not respond to tasks with links, but with a bid for an answer. So if you ask what the capital of Turkey is, it doesn’t just link to sites where you can find the answer Ankara. It responds with the answer. Also if you ask it to write a short story, as Karen Blixen would have written it about Blicher and the public meetings. Or write a PhD thesis about this and that cancer cell. Or you ask it to make an original song like the Beatles would have made it about love in the Himmelberg tower, or whatever. The other day we held a presentation in Stockholm for the heads of the Swedish response to DR, SVT. I asked Chat GBT to write a news story in Swedish about the Constructive institute holding a workshop for SVT editorial management. Four seconds later it was there. In formal Swedish. Even with a quote from me, which was not mentioned in the question, and which was smarter than anything I have ever formulated. And then it began to lie even more with fine quotes from some of the participants, who in the article praised the workshop, which had barely begun, in high tones.

A TV station in Dubai now lets a digital robot, who is a very pretty woman with a pleasant voice and a very low hourly wage, read the weather forecast and the news. For years, Bloomberg has let robots write news stories about companies’ accounts. Many stories in the media about sports and property deals are already written by robots today. Soon, more and more news is generated without the use of journalists. In Los Angeles, hordes of screenwriters are out of work this spring because the chatbots skillfully deliver faster, cheaper and often better stories for the upcoming films and TV series.

Do you remember the poor people who were trained as correspondents in Spanish and English in the 1990s? After all, they are doing something else now because Google Translate has long since taken over their work. In the same way, AI will take over jobs such as accountants, lawyers, editorial secretaries, analysts, consultants and countless other jobs.

But that may just have to go, just as previous technologies have changed society, so that the coachmaker instead became a car mechanic, and the typographer retired.

What is particularly worrying is how good the new robots are at lying. And how difficult it is to discover it. They can make a song so that you can’t hear the difference between it and Steffen Brandt. Writing novels so you don’t know if it’s Suzanne Brøgger or a copy. Make a video on YouTube, Facebook or in the news app where Joe Biden or Mette Frederiksen declare war. Or peace. Without you having an earthly chance to discover whether it is true or false.

Our perception of reality faces gigantic challenges.

The Prime Minister calls it “dizzying challenges,” and 350 top managers and researchers signed a joint warning the other day that the new technology can be as deadly as pandemics and nuclear weapons, not only because they can replace millions of jobs, but because they can think for themselves and without democratic control can take power from the people. And make the concept of fact irrelevant. One of the experts is Sam Altman, who as director of ChatGPT has, in other words, acknowledged that he has created a technology that he can no longer control.

No one has summed up our democratic challenges more accurately than the winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, Philippine editor-in-chief Maria Ressa, who opened our 4th Global Constructive Journalism Conference in Bonn last year with these words:

“Without facts, we have no truth. Without truth we have no trust. Without trust, we have no shared reality, and governments, the press and democracy cannot function. This is how our world is today. So what should we do? And how should journalism develop? Constructive journalism is what journalism should have always been. And I think we have to think this way. To define the problems very clearly so that we can help our society to find the right solutions. And the critical word here is help.”

The word constructive means having a beneficial purpose. So if we just stopped the Constitution speech here, we would all go home on a beautiful sunny day deeply depressed and apathetic — with a feeling that the world’s problems are so unfathomably terrible that there is nothing to be done anyway.

The two most important questions in constructive journalism, once the problem has been illuminated, are therefore: What now and how?

Here are a number of suggestions for solutions that I — all too slowly — have arrived at:

1. We must understand that globalization and the dream of a world without borders had a downside. We do not have the same interests and values ​​as Russia — and certainly not China either. And we must invest heavily in defending our freedom and democracy.

2. We must stop being naive. As a society, we must begin to regulate the tech giants who, on the one hand, have democratized the flow of information and given us access to all knowledge and all people with a few taps on our phones. On the other hand, they have become the superpowers of our time, with more influence on our lives, our health, our reality and our future than even the biggest countries and biggest diseases.

3. You have to understand that if something is free, you are the product. Now stop saying the platitude “I have nothing to hide” when you discover that Google, Amazon and Facebook know everything about you because you have unwittingly clicked yes to let them gather knowledge about the most intimate details of your life. So turn off the possibilities of collecting data about you and your digital activities on your mobile. And in your new electric car.

4. Now stop parking your infant in front of the iPad just because it’s easy so you can check your emails yourself. Get your boy up from the Gamerstolen in the basement, and your teenage daughter out of Instagram and TikTok. It’s not just dumbing down and a waste of time. It also turns out to pose the biggest threat to our children’s mental health. We now have the first generation who have been allowed to spend double-digit hours a day for their entire lives with the mobile phone or the joystick in hand, and never have young people been more anxious, less concentrated and more socially disabled. Not all, but far too many. And yes, remember to be a proper role model yourself and keep your mobile away from the dining table, the family sofa and the double bed.

5. In Blicher’s time, you had to come from a home with a piano to be educated. Now we have to talk about coming from a home with access to proper information. Do you keep a newspaper? Do you have a digital subscription to Midtjyllands Avis, Jyllands-Posten or Zetland? Don’t make the lame excuse for not giving yourself and your family access to credible information from media outlets that want the best for you, that you can’t afford it. You’ve never spent more money on media than now: You just spend it to kill time: Mobile phones, apps, games, movies, series. If you just drop one of your streaming services – Netflix, HBO Max, Discovery Plus, Disney Channel or Viasat – then there is advice to keep local journalism alive. Midtjylland’s Avis now works according to the slogan,Together we make Midtjylland better , and it was they who secured district heating for Demstrup and the other villages around Himmelbjerget when gas prices went sky high. If you don’t invest in proper content, it will disappear. And it’s too late when you soon discover that it’s missing.

6. Pay your media license with pleasure. Don’t believe those who claim that commercial media alone can do the job of keeping a population well informed. Tell us stories about the others who are just not like ourselves. Because if we don’t know anything about the others in other parts of the country, those with a different education, a different background, a different economy and ethnicity, then we don’t care. And if we don’t care, then solidarity disappears — and without it we cease to be a society. Public service from TV2, DR and TV2 regions are still the largest common reference frameworks that must bind our country together. And their competitors are not Politiken, Berlingske and Børsen. It is Amazon, Meta, Netflix and other international entertainment giants who want to steal Danes’ time, community, attention and money.

7. But it requires the media to understand their responsibility and live up to it. I sit on the government’s Media Response Committee and believe that the time has come for journalists who want to make a living by conveying credible content to the rest of us via the mass media, commit to the responsibility they have when they have the privilege of being able to present reality to the many. Other professions with great social responsibility must have an authorisation, which they can lose if they do not live up to their professional responsibilities: the state-authorised accountant, the lawyer and the electrical installer, for example. Newly qualified doctors must solemnly sign the Doctor’s Pledge. Promise to use his knowledge with diligence and care for the benefit of society and his fellow men, as it was called in the doctor’s promise back from 1815. When I became a journalist, we got a draft beer and that was it. Anyone and everyone can and does call themselves a journalist. It is an unprotected title. Being a journalist and working for the public to pass on the best version of the truth is protected by the freedom of speech in the constitution. Now it is time for my profession to also show that we have understood the responsibility and demands for diligence, orderliness and care that come with it. We must have introduced the journalist pledge.

8. You need to understand how powerful you are. You decide. Not just when you vote in the elections. But what you clap, like and buy, more will come of it. If you put all your shopping in Bilka, then it is hypocritical to lament when Gl. Rye Brug’s shutter. If you buy all your clothes online, you are not only helping to close the shops in Ry, you are also increasing the CO2 footprint with parcel post vans, huge amounts of packaging and burning the returned items that just didn’t fit the size and is too cumbersome to clean and repack. And if you like the perfidious remark on Facebook or share the sensational news without checking who it comes from and whether it is true, then you are not only spreading hate, but also lies and stupidity. You are protected by the Constitution and therefore have the right and freedom of expression on your side. But don’t you want to stop complaining about the coarse tone of the debate and how stupid people have become? Instead, remember to treat others as you would like to be treated. Even when you have a keyboard in your hands.

9. Treat our elected officials with respect. Our system is a representative democracy. We need the best to stand up and make decisions together on our behalf. But the way we in the press treat them in the media and the citizens treat them in the comment fields keeps more and more people away from politics. We invited the newly elected parliamentary politicians to a so-called Democratic Bootcamp for 24 hours at Ry Højskole in January to help the new ones not to take over the old politicians’ habits of just criticizing the others to get attention and otherwise spending up to 60 percent of the working time on media and self-profiling. And it was a good experience. So it is not all elected representatives who are greedy and corrupt livelihood politicians. Actually, I don’t really know anyone. Most are decent people who think that they have ideas for solutions to the community’s challenges – and which will nevertheless make a difference and improve life in Denmark and the world. So if you can’t stand up for yourself to take responsibility for making our common future better, try to get the best of your friends and neighbors to do it. And understand that our politicians must of course be checked and have critical questions. But they must also have decent working conditions. Freedom from serious bullying and accusations of alcoholism because they have been seen with draft beer. A decent salary. Time to get to grips with things. Praise for stating that they don’t know yet, or even better: that they just adjusted their position because they heard a good argument from their political opponent. It is not a loser who says that, but a politician who dares to admit that he or she has just become wiser. So knock it off. Because then there will be more of their kind.

10. Believe that change is possible. Every Friday at 12, the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo is now sending a white dove into the world with a story tied to its leg about hope. Something that has been improved. A crisis that has been resolved. A progress that can inspire. – The world needs hope. Because where hopelessness reigns, there will be war, the reasoning goes.

So hope is power. But as Bill Clinton once said when he was in Denmark: Hope without effort is naive. Effort without hope, on the other hand, is just exhausting. Only by combining hope and effort do you create development and a better future.

So thank you because Blicher and his friends on Himmelbjerget dared to both hope and fight for our democratic constitution.

Now is the time to fight again to preserve hope for future freedom and people’s rule.

Look, these are facts.

Happy Constitution Day. Thank you for listening louder.

Good morning, little country…