WATCH: Norway’s PM poses as a taxi driver
Prime ministers are not supposed to get themselves mixed up with the likes of Jeremy Beadle. But in a breaking-the-mould move across the North Sea, the man in charge of Norway's government has been doing something more akin to Trigger Happy TV than the Today programme.
His decision to don a taxi driver's uniform and adopt the less-than-perfect disguise of a pair of dark glasses was a gimmick, put on with the help of an advertising company, to boost his hopes for re-election.
The inclusion in the video of the odd driver error – and the admission he hasn't driven a car in eight years – serves to heighten the sense of a man doing something he shouldn't, at the expense of making him an approachable man of the people.
The limited disguise and resulting ease with which he is recognised makes the ploy a gratifying one for a man who would hope and expect high voter recognition – even if this move is painfully obvious.
And the sense of a prime minister playing a practical joke on his poor unwitting citizens might be considered by some as being in bad taste.
But it's hard not to watch the video and come away from it liking Stoltenberg a little bit more than you did before. He talks reasonably, even when explaining why he disagrees with the Socialists' oil policy or insisting he can't crack down on executives' pay. And the stunt is so unusual he gets maximum points for chutzpah.
"Yes, but you are the prime minister," one old lady complains. Stoltenberg responds by shrugging his shoulders. It seems for a moment as if he's about to start mouthing off about the government, as if that is the default reflex of all taxi drivers. But then he remembers he is the government, and that he needs their votes to remain in power. "I will vote for the Labour party now," one old man tells him. "That's great," the prime minister replies. If you watch this video – and happen to be Norwegian – Stoltenberg will be hoping you'll be won over, too.