A botanical guide to the election : the parties as houseplants

Having a hard time choosing which party to support at the election today? To help you decide, we've compared them to different common houseplants. Finding a favourite should now be simple!

It struck me, on a recent visit to my local garden centre how the Danish political parties have in common with every-day house and garden plants. So clear and sudden was this revelation, that I felt like God was speaking to me, like I was destined to share this information with the world. So here is my totally objective, god given, not-even-a-tiny-bit-politically-biased comparison of house plants and Danish political parties.


The Danish People’s Party (DF) – Ivy
DF is like a vine growing over the outside of your house. Your grandmother came over with it one day, and at that time it was just a little, innocuous looking piece of foliage. You planted it and forgot about it, and now, years later, it has taken over and strangles its way to domination. Its magnitude is great, but its ultimately boring and ominous – unreceptive of outsiders and favoured by the elder generation. From a distance it promises greatness, but up close it’s coarse and sinister. This is a piece of flora you want to keep your eye on.


Conservative Party –  Fern
You know what it is just from the name. It’s universal, and a little tired. It is the Conservative fern. Their posters might be green but their policies are not – pick off the leaves and underneath you will find a brittle brown centre. What can it do? Not all that much. You might recognise the “Stop Theft” Conservative party campaign posters, presenting an apparent issue with no suggestions of how to actually fix it. There you have the brittle brown conservative centre – beyond the leaves there’s not much going on.


Venstre – Spider plant
Spider plants can tolerate plenty of abuse. Return after a long summer and there it is, sitting on the window sill, but not only that, it’s got a little baby spider plant hanging off it – a clone waiting to plant its roots. Harmless-looking, simple to grow but boring to look at, they can only be Venstre, the liberal party. Its leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen – former prime minister and gunning for the top spot again – has definitely been in the wars since his defeat in the last election. Whether it was flying first class on tax payers money or getting his party to illegally buy him clothes, all attempts to undermine his leadership qualities glide off him like water off a waxy leaf. Like an unwelcome housewarming gift, there’s no getting rid of him, so voters have learned to embrace him anyways. It’s even sadder than it seems.


Liberal Alliance – Money Tree
Liberal Alliance are a lot like the Pachira aquatica, commonly known as the “Money Tree”. Both promise wealth and prosperity, with little maintenance needed. But are these things as easily achieved as claimed? In reality, the money tree just sits in the corner of the room, shedding yellowed leaves. Kind of appealing, and making tall promises, but ultimately a disappointment.


Social Democrats – Cactus
The rose is the emblem of this party, but upon closer inspection, it seems that the Social Democrats cannot identify with all aspects of this romantic flower. Prime minister and party leader Helle Thorning Schmidt has gone on the attack against her opponents and matched their anti-immigration policies in order to keep voters from moving to DF. Sure, roses have thorns, but the Social Democrats now seem pretty much all spike. Their left-wing coalition partners definitely felt like they got their fingers pricked when the Social Democrats pursued policies more reminiscent of the right wing. Defensive and slow moving, I can’t help but think that they’re like that cactus on your windowsill. You have a quiet appreciation for it, but you definitely don’t want to get too close.


The Social Liberal Party (De Radikale) – Peace lilly
Peace lillies are the most sensible plant in your home. While other plants whither from one day to the next if you forget to water them, a peace lilly will show you they are in need of watering by drooping a little. As soon as the water is added, up they rise again. De Radikale is also a practical party when it comes to society’s most fundamental needs. A sensible economic policy, a social policy that supports the weakest, and with a practical eye on future issues. They are the only party to suggest increasing property taxes to fend off a devastating housing bubble. They can see the droop, and they want action. But despite being a handsome and practical plant, voters have grown weary of them. You see, they’ve got their eye on a more hip and compelling substitute…


The Alternative – Aloe Vera
The environment is high on Alternativet’s agenda, particularly increasing organic food and renewable energy. Aloe vera is also known for its ability to cleanse the air around it, which is what the Alternative aims to do – purify the air in the stale and closed off parliamentary building. It also has other uses. Did you get burned last time you voted. Not a problem, just break off a piece of the Alternative aloe vera and spread its sap liberally over your skin for some relief. Sure it could just sit there looking pretty, or we could put it to use and see what it can do.


Red Green Alliance – Chilli
Known as Enhedslisten in Denmark, this piquant number is an alliance of red fruit (socialists) and green leaves (greens). A little too spicy for some, they really divide the political spectrum – no one can be spicier and more left wing than them. Like the chilli, Enhedslisten has global appeal for those with an appetite for them, advocating for increased foreign aid and support for asylum seekers. Makes life more tasty, but it’s too much for most people to swallow.


The Socialist People’s Party (SF) – The Sensitive Plant
SF are the second most left wing party in parliament, they aren’t as tough as Enhedslisten to their left, and lack the cunning and aggression of the Social Democrats to their right. They joined a three-party government with the Social Democrats and Radikale, but were forced to pull out after a series of deals that pulled the government to the right rather than to the left. They imploded in the polls, and have swapped leaders twice, but have recently made a small comeback. Their lack of resilience means they are like the mimosa pudica, or sensitive plant, whose leaves fold inward and droop when disturbed, but later reopen. SF too is sensitive to disruption in its immediate environment. A little too shaky for some.

Photo credits:
Ivy – Ishikawa Ken / flickr
Fern – Robert S / flickr
Spider plant – Edward Webb / flickr
Money tree – Wikimedia commons
Cactus – Costel Slincu
Peace lilly – Cliff / flickr
Aloe vera – Arijit Gupta / flickr
Chilli – Andrew Ratto / flickr
Sensitive plant – Wikimedia commons



By Henry Richards

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