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Juholt: 'There is another way, a different choice'

Juholt: 'There is another way, a different choice'

Published: 26 Mar 2011 12:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Mar 2011 12:11 GMT+01:00

Håkan Juholt, the new leader of Sweden's Social Democrat party, attacked the government's record on youth unemployment, child poverty and 'growing divides' in society, in his inaugural speech on Saturday.

"There is another way and a different choice," Juholt said in delivering his first speech as leader to the party congress in Stockholm.

While conceding that the economy was strong and that unemployment was falling, developments that he professed to feeling "delighted" over, Juholt reserved stinging criticism for the centre-right government.

"Excess prices at pharmacies lead to multimillion profits in tax havens," he said, going on to attack bumper profits at firms running schools and healthcare.

"This is not social democracy. We need a social democracy," he said.

Juholt argued in his speech in favour of strong state finances and claimed that (finance minister) Anders Borg was able to draw on the reserves built up by (former Social Democrat prime minister) Göran Persson to help Sweden tackle the finance crisis.

Juholt went on to offer his analysis of why the Social Democrats lost their second successive election in 2010, arguing that the party was unable to offer voters a credible vision of society.

He argued that voters need the party to demonstrate that it understands the present, and identified this as the key to reclaiming power.

Juholt quoted former Social Democrat leader Tage Erlander when he argued that there is no contradiction between security and freedom, slamming the government for prioritising tax cuts over increased benefits to the needy.

"It is always the vulnerable who pay the most when deficits soar."

According to political science professor Ulf Bjereld the speech, while rhetorically strong, left little to fear for the right in the party as it lacked concrete proposals.

"It is perhaps one of the most rhetorically skilled we have heard in the party since Olof Palme's days," Bjereld said. "The right-wing can take solace in that there was very little... that suggested a swing to the left."

Bjereld observed, for example, that Juholt made no mention of hiking taxes, school grades or nuclear power.

When asked whether Håkan Juholt would send the party towards the left on the political scale, Bjereld replied:

"With regard to privatization I think he will put the breaks on there. He took a strong stand on that," he said, while pointing out that even amongst the centre-right parties there is some criticism on the sale of state assets.

The Social Democrat congress is scheduled to continue until Sunday and during the weekend Carin Jämtin is expected to be appointed as new party secretary.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:59 March 26, 2011 by Nemesis
Another way.

I wonder if his masters on Wall Street have given different orders from those given to Sahlin.

Could be interesting.
14:27 March 26, 2011 by scandinavian leather
A "difference" choice? What would that be, Peter?
17:05 March 26, 2011 by Beavis
Is this just Mona with a mask on? Same drivel, different gimp!

Will he be pushing for butlers on the metro too?
17:49 March 26, 2011 by Nomark
I'm confused. I heard nothing of this man and yet he is now one of two people who can conceivably become the next PM.

Where did he campaign for his job in a competitive election ? Did I miss this ?

Perhaps the Social Democrats shouldn't preach about democracy since they clearly don't practice it.
23:37 March 26, 2011 by Rebel
Did Captain Kangaroo have a child in Sweden?
04:12 March 27, 2011 by Britt-Marie7
That's funny, he does look like Captain Kangaroo, my children used to watch that program. But, I think I like Captain Kangaroo better.
10:05 March 27, 2011 by rise
@ Rebel

hehe, he has already been compared to Super Mario Bros. ^^
11:04 March 27, 2011 by Byggare Bob
@Scandinavian leather - Peter? His name is Håkan.
14:30 March 27, 2011 by jackx123
at the humble age of 78 i moved out of sweden at the tender age of 19 realizing these socialist punks were going to destroy the country. was i right? oh yes. i even met olof palm when he was still wearing nappies and my impression, coming from a pretty deprived background, was to say the least, tepid.

i am reluctantly admitting that the governments has failed to take care of my dear friends who now are living on social welfare whilst the immigrants, who have contributed NOTHING to sweden, live well beyond their means and well above my poor fellow swedish born pensioners.

rest my case
15:37 March 27, 2011 by rise
@ jackx123

You're right and I don't know what the hell is wrong with this country!? We can't afford the sick and wounded people - who instead have to work - we treat unemployed like second class humans, puts them on nonsense activities that are nothing but slavery, and at the same time we're claiming to afford tens of thousands of immigrants every year!

But you're wrong about one thing cause the "socialists punks" (Socialdemokraterna?) haven't been in power for several years and won't be the coming four years either.
15:55 March 27, 2011 by Freotheric
Assuming "Jackx123" isn't an artefact on the hard drive of a Stay-behind Army operative, where does he live now, I wonder? In Florida, where elderly residents will pay for an $X billion tax give-away to the big corporations? Or union-busting Tennessee, where Electrolux just shipped 1,300 jobs out of Canada?

I didn't move from Canada to Sweden two years ago to put up with hearing "socialist" used here as a political swear word.

Given Håkan Juholt's talent as a speaker, I hope he will make it a priority to re-educate public perceptions. I would hope the same of Canada's New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton as he opens my former political party's federal election campaign this week. It's time to stop talking politely and talk bluntly.

Never mind "borgerliga" for Moderate-Folkpartiet-Christian Democrat Alliance in Sweden. Never mind trying to distinguish Liberals from Tories in Canada. Just tar them all with the same brush: call them "capitalists." Now that's a word worth swearing at.
00:36 March 28, 2011 by rise
@ Freotheric

Well said! The Swedish government as of now is like a narcissist wanting to have a good and shiny face outwards. "O come here all you poor refuges; we'll take care of you all, cause we're the rich and and peace-loving and sweet little Swedes". And at the same time the Swedish population is treated worse than animals (a wounded race horse doesn't need to race while a wounded human has to go to work) and peace-loving Sweden is among the top ten exporters of war material in the world.
13:11 March 28, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
@ Freotheric,

LOL Jack Layton isn't competent to be in charge of a Guinea Pig farm. He'd probably make a good neighbour helping with clearing snow and such. A young fellow I was talking to said, "The only difference between the NDP and the Liberals from studying their policies last semester is that they have different party colours and Jack Layton has a cool 'stache..."

Your problem is that Socialism (not the fair distribution of the value of work which has NOTHING to do with Socialism - which is simply Atheist Technocracy - noting how the wealth was divided up in the old USSocialistR :-) ) doesn't produce functional societies, it simply wears away the value built up by previous generations. China has discovered that you need economic freedom to build wealth (shouldn't be suprised, Adam Smith taught us how it works hundreds of years ago).

You should move to N. Korea, Freotheric, now THEY practice Socialism.
13:40 March 28, 2011 by LeoKinmann
what the heck. the influx of immigrant started ages ago, long before the right-wing alliance was anywhere near power. which government started bringing in the refugees in the first place? social democrats im afraid. its true that the current government have done lots of stupid things. however, a social democratic government is even worse. those idiots have a delusional picture of whats going on both inside and outside the border of this country.
14:54 March 28, 2011 by Syftfel
Yes Juholt, there is another way! But I'm afraid it is not socialdemokraterna Juholt. No Swede wants to hear any more about egalitarianism, growing divides, and tax-the-rich. Let's face it, we can not trust these faux marxists. Crush these people even more in the next election! Make them go away!
19:18 March 28, 2011 by Svenskamartian
Interesting. And what way would that be ?

He is right that there is a huge problem with youth unemployment, but do not blame the immigrants for that. In order to get a job in Sweden one has to be swedish, and know someone. Yes, of course there are job adverts, and selection processes, but just as with the Social Democrats, that is all a fraud. It is who one knows that is important.

There is the added problem that the Generation X are holding on to their jobs, as they are so scared of handing over to younger people, that may actually have brighter ideas of how to change this stagnant country. The average racist swede is too concerned about missing 'fika' to actually worry about being effective at work which is why they are so scared of the immigrants, who want to work, but can not, and the youth, who also have the same problem.

The question is, who is going to pay the taxes in the future to keep the bloated social benefits in place - parental leave; dagis; schooling; health care; generous sick leave; and of course the big one - pensions. !!

None of the parties seem interested in tackling those issues.
11:19 March 29, 2011 by johnny1939
I love the red shirts surrounding Juholt. also I think he looks a lot like Stalin......
16:56 March 29, 2011 by Rishonim
The great dictator was such a remarkable film
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