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Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen: the “new queen of the Red-Green Alliance” in Denmark

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Summary of a story from The Guardian, health October 1, search 2011

In the recent Danish election, 27-year-old Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, the “new queen of the Red-Green Alliance” received more personal votes than the new prime minister: the British equivalent of a Green party member outpolling the Labour leader.

Schmidt-Nielsen is famed for her activist stunts. In 2007, she dumped 200kg of pasta and 40 litres of tomato sauce inside the finance ministry in protest at student grant cuts.

She has planted bushes in a park in a protest for gay rights and strung red suspenders from the social affairs ministry in a protest for women’s equality.

Schmidt-Nielsen’s activist days may be over  but her goals remain radical. She wants to nationalise the energy industry, set up a state-owned bank, impose a Tobin tax on the financial sector and withdraw from the European Union.

Top of her agenda is to undo the migration laws pushed through by the far-right Danish People’s party. She also wants to block moves to limit unemployment benefits and raise the retirement age.

“We know that we can’t get everything that we want,” she concedes.

“But for 10 years, there has been this logic that if you just keep whipping the unemployed, suddenly a lot of new workplaces will come up in Denmark, like magic, and it’s not happening of course, because the problem isn’t that they don’t want to work, the problem is that there’s no place for them to work.”

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