Communicator of the Week: Jens Stoltenberg
13th August 2013
Politicians the world over are criticised for being remote or "out of touch". The more senior a politician gets the less likely they are to have a "normal" life. Where then should a prime minister go to hear real views, expressed openly? A taxi of course. Which is what the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg did when he spent an afternoon working incognito as an Oslo taxi driver.
Mr Stoltenberg said that the conversations soon turned to politics - isn't that the norm when you're in the back of a taxi - and that it was important to him to hear what people really think. His conversations with his paying passengers were captured by a secret camera which are now available on Mr Stoltenberg's Facebook page. They are also being made into a campaign film ahead of Norway's general election later this year.
While Mr Stoltenberg himself admitted he hadn't driven for eight years, after hitting the brake rather than the clutch in his automatic taxi, the film available so far is a PR success. A selection of Norwegians are seen engaging their prime minister in conversation, having fun or gently ribbing him about who they are going to vote for next time. Stoltenberg comes across as likeable, warm and genuinely interested in what his passengers have to say about life.
So, the whole episode is a stunt aimed at securing election but, to my knowledge, is not something any other prime minister has attempted and demonstrates an openness most voters crave for from their politicians. For this reason I make Jens Stoltenberg my Communicator of the Week.
Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.