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A long way to go for politicking

Pity Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian PM, who is off to Antarctica in January. Aftenpost reckons he "will become the first Norwegian Prime Minister to visit Antarctica".

I would be fairly surprised if many other pols have made the trip, although it would appear that New Zealand's leaders take jollies to the Antarctic from time to time. In line with usual practice, I am prepared to stump up a large contribution to buying a one way ticket for 'our' Prime Minister.

Stoltenberg is off to the amusingly named Troll research station, which is well within the Circle, unlike King George Island on the Antarctic Peninsula which Ban Ki Moon went to at the weekend. That is at 62 S, and while remarkably cold, is about as far away from the Pole as the Faeroe Islands from the North Pole. So Stoltenberg is clearly quite hardcore, although I think it rather poor that he is not visiting Bouvet Island, a small part of the South Atlantic that is forever Norway, or would be but for being uninhabited. In a somewhat rare occurrence, we claimed the Island for over 100 years, at one point under the name Liverpool Island, but waived our claims in 1929 and let our Norwegian friends have it, which is nice. Having consulted a slew of 19th and early 20th century maps, it appears never to have rated being coloured pink as part of the Empire.

As I noted a while back, the claim that Hitler holed up in Antarctica after the war appears to have been debunked, so I imagine that Stoltenberg can claim to be the first Northern Hemisphere head of government to go to the Antarctic.

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