|Member of Parliament
11 September 1989 – 12 September 2005
3 March 1953 |
|Political party||Progress Party (1975–2001)
Democrats (currently loosely affiliated) (2002–)
|Religion||Church of Norway (not member 1998–2005)|
|Website||Blog (Frie Ytringer)|
Jan Simonsen (born 3 March 1953) is a Norwegian writer, freelance journalist and politician. He was a member of parliament from 1989 to 2005. He was a member of the Progress Party until he was expelled from the party in 2001. From 2003 to 2004 he was deputy leader of the Democrats party.
Since then he has largely withdrawn from party politics to focus on his writing and journalism. He is also active on his blog, which is one of the most popular blogs in Norway. Frequent issues in the blog revolve around immigration, multiculturalism, Israel, Islam, politics and foreign affairs.
Early and personal life
Simonsen was born in Stavanger to businesspersons Viktor Holck Simonsen (1913–90) and Martha Espevoll (1917–91). He was born and raised in the city district Våland, and later lived a few years in Eiganes. He studied social science at Rogaland University College and has a minor in history. He has been editor for the publications Strandbuen, Video- og TV-guiden and the official Progress Party publication Fremskritt. He is not married.
While he was christened in the Church of Norway, and as an adult remained a strong supporter of the church, he left it during the term of Gunnar Stålsett as bishop of Oslo. This was as Stålsett had been the chairman of the Centre Party in the 1970s, and got his bid for bishop supported by Centre Party MPs in 1998, with Simonsen thinking the choice to have been too politicized. When Stålsett stepped down in 2005, and was succeeded by Ole Christian Kvarme, Simonsen however rejoined the church.
In 2005 Simonsen was a competitor on the television show Robinson VIP, a Scandinavian adaptation and celebrity edition of Survivor, achieving the position as runner-up. His favourite Album is Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, and his favourite writer is Leon Uris.
Simonsen was during the 1970s active in the nonpartisan youth organisation Moderate Youth (Moderat Ungdom), and was the chairman of its Rogaland chapter from 1975 to 1977. He joined Anders Lange's Party in 1975, which was renamed the Progress Party in 1977, citing a great admiration of the party founder Anders Lange (who though had died in 1974). Simonsen held numerous positions within the party, including chairman of the Rogaland chapter of the Youth of the Progress Party from 1978 to 1981 and vice chairman of the Progress Party from 1991 to 1993. From 1989 to 2005 he was also an MP.
On 19 October 2001, the Progress Party expelled Simonsen from the party after 25 years as a member. The same day, the party's secretary general Geir Mo made the statement to the Norwegian news broadcast NTB that "the Progress Party has, after a complete evaluation, decided that it is best for both parties to leave each other". Prior to the exclusion, Simonsen had faced scrutiny due to a Rikets Tilstand documentary on TV2, alleging that he had used his position as representative to help a friend obtain a liquor license. Simonsen however hold that party chairman Carl I. Hagen misused his position to exclude him together with other high-ranking members in 2001 for rather non-existent reasons. He has since had a poor relationship with both Carl I. Hagen and his wife Eli Hagen, though he remains largely on good terms with Progress Party politicians in general, including Siv Jensen.
Since then, Simonsen sat as an independent MP until 2005. From 2003 to 2004, he was vice chairman of the Democrats, a party founded in 2002 largely by other Progress Party members who had been excluded around the same time as Simonsen. He withdrew from the Democrats as a member in 2007. While he was not a member of the Democrats, he however ran as the top candidate for the party in Akershus for the 2009 parliamentary election.
Simonsen is a staunch supporter of Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism, citing that he as a teen read much about the Second World War and the Holocaust, which coincidented with the breakout of the Six-Day War. He however assert that he has friends both on the Israeli and Palestinian side of the conflict. In 2003, he congratulated Israel for the assassination of Ahmed Yassin and Russia for the liquidation of Aslan Maskhadov. Before the 2009 election, he said that his most important issues was to "fight for our basic democratic, liberal and human society values against external pressure, mainly from Islamic societies".
Simonsen is the author of several books.
- (2004) Ikke helt A-4 (biography)
- (2005) Guttene fra Yorkstrasse (novel)
- (2007) Døden på Stortinget (crime novel)
- (2009) Høyresidens frihetsaktivister (nonfiction)
- Simonsen, Jan (13 April 2005). "Åpent brev til biskopen i Stavanger". Norge IDAG.
- Pettersen, Charlott Lokland (14 September 2007). "- Noen av de drepte er tilfeldigvis fra Frp". Dagbladet.
- Simonsen, Jan (17 August 2009). "Frie Ytring har passert 250 000 besøkende". Frie Ytringer, Jan Simonsens blogg.
- "Simonsen, Jan (1953–)". Stortinget.
- Jenssen, Grethe Kielland (6 July 2009). "- Skal bygge seg opp som alternativ". NRK.
- Simonsen, Jan (6 December 2009). "Gratulerer med andreplassen Christian". Frie Ytringer, Jan Simonsens blogg.
- Simonsen, Jan (10 September 2009). "Mitt forhold til Fremskrittspartiet". Frie Ytringer, Jan Simonsen's blogg.
- "Simonsen ekskludert fra Frp" (in Norwegian). VG. 19 October 2001.
- Sandnes, Svein Villy (11 November 2003). "Bok aktuell Jan Simonsen: Stor Israelvenn". Norge IDAG.
- "Jan Simonsen vil gratulere Israel". Aftenposten. 23 March 2004.
- Oustad, Hans Ola (10 March 2005). "Gratulerer med drapet". Aftenposten.
- Frie Ytringer, Jan Simonsens blogg (In Norwegian)