It is often said that you can learn the most about a place by chatting to its taxi drivers.
But Norway’s Prime Minister decided to try it the other way round, using an afternoon spent in disguise ferrying Oslo residents around the city to get a glimpse into voters’ concerns as elections approach.
Donning a pair of sunglasses and ditching his customary sharp suit for a cardigan and red tie, Jens Stoltenberg appears successfully to have hoodwinked a number of residents into revealing their thoughts ahead of elections on 9 September.
Their views will be much appreciated: current opinion polls suggest Mr Stoltenberg will be defeated by the Conservative Party, ending eight years of a Labour government.
“It is important for me to hear what people really think, and there is one place people really say what they think about most things, and that is in the taxi,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying on the Aftenposten newspaper’s website.
In a video posted by his Labour Party on YouTube, Mr Stoltenberg can be seen from a hidden camera on the dashboard chatting to the men and women who enter his cab. Most appear to eventually cotton on to his charade, and he removes his sunglasses to reveal his true identity.
The video, filmed in June, will form part of the election campaign, which kicked off in Oslo on Saturday. The latest polls suggest that the Labour Party is trailing the Conservatives by four percentage points. Despite their having overseen eight years of economic growth in Norway, which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, political analysts say voters are looking for change.
Labour Party candidates, however, are confident they can come back from behind and secure another term for the Prime Minister.
If Mr Stoltenberg does lose the vote, he is unlikely to find further employment in a taxi cab: the media picked up on some basic errors behind the wheel, and the Prime Minister admitted on his Facebook page that he is “not the best driver”.Reuse content