• Sweden edition
 
THE LOCAL AT ALMEDALEN
Sweden's Green Party: moving to the city?

Sweden's Green Party: moving to the city?

Published: 04 Jul 2012 12:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Jul 2012 12:35 GMT+02:00

The Swedish Green Party (Miljöpartiet) has gone from being nerdy to trendy. In the 1980s, when they were a new phenomenon, the Economist described the party “nutty but well meaning”.

Today they are a serious political party that could be in government after their next election. Despite their new found professionalism, they have maintained the structure of the old pro-environment party. For example, they have two leaders who are referred to as språkrör (which translates literally as "speech pipe", but is commonly known in English as 'spokesperson').

One is Gustav Fridolin who is young, charismatic and has a touch of Barack Obama in his rhetoric. The other one, Åsa Romson, is a bit more of an environment nerd...something which isn't too hard to fathom when you see her.

On Monday, Romson spoke in Almedalen for the first time. She was clearly nervous and thought that the audience would have rather listened to Fridolin – or former Green co-head Maria Wetterstrand, who received a lot of the credit for the party's recent success.

But Wetterstrand had stepped down and Fridolin was on paternity leave, leaving Romson alone on centre stage.

But Romson had a solution for anyone concerned that she lacked the requisite star quality to wow the crowds at Almedalen.

She invited Pär Holmgren, a famous TV-weatherman, up on stage to talk about climate change. The folksy Holmgren, who is also very engaged in climate issues, was a hit with the crowd.

His part of the presentation was very entertaining and felt like more of a discussion. When Romson said “you cannot negotiate with the climate” she also received a huge round of applause. It's also the issue which wins the strongest support among voters.

People trust them when it comes to the environment. Romson knew that but she also knew that the party had to broaden its electoral appeal. However, she did not succeed in doing so with her Almedalen debut.

For example, when mentioning “foreign policy” she said the Greens wanted the massacres in Syria to stop. That was it. She did not suggest any form of solution.

And when she criticized the current centre-right Alliance government she sounded much like a ranting left-wing politician.

It was easy to forget that, only a week ago, the Green Party had made a deal with the government that would grant illegal immigrants access to Sweden's public healthcare system.

But the main message of the speech was that the government was doing things the wrong way. It was a speech for the already converted.

Romson failed to understand that the Green Party has to speak to the electorate, and not to those who wave huge “no to nuclear power” banners as some in the audience did.

She was later interviewed on TV and had difficulty defending why those who live in the Swedish countryside should pay high taxes on petrol.

If anything, this is a sign that the Green Party is becoming a very urban party – something she could have explained in the speech.

Overheard at Almedalen

On a final note, although many journalists and members of the chattering classes vote Green, some of them looked rather bored during the speech. One of them was Gunnar Wetterberg who is head of research for one of Sweden’s largest white-collar trade unions, SACO.

In the audience there was also a fair amount of what some Americans might call liberal elite arrogance. When Romson said that “we need to understand the climate” a girl representing a student union at Uppsala University quipped: “Duh, we're the ones here, we get it”.

David Lindén is a PhD student in history at King’s College London who is serving as the acting political editor for Länstidningen in Södertälje for the summer 2012. Follow him on Twitter at @davidlinden1.

Your comments about this article

13:29 July 4, 2012 by Uncle
Hehe.

Seriously? "wowed" the crowd? "Huge round of applause"? "From nerdy to trendy"? No looking into the trunks? No digging in the purses?

No wondering why a party that has no plan whatsoever on replacing the nuclear energy or how to avoid economic collapse if their crazy proposals in regards to making air cleaner in a country that emits less than half a percent out of world emissions, became a "normal" party that could actually win the next elections?

How come? Is it perhaps because they are tightly related to the left wing, obviously so cherished by the reporter? Mmm. Good that they added "commentator" in his title. No sign of journalism so far.

I am sure that the applause to the social democrats leaders will be "deafening" and the happy, as well as inspired youth will throw flowers to their feet with tears of ecstasy in their eyes.
14:16 July 4, 2012 by cbgbg
Don´t forget that cycle repairs will be cheaper
14:24 July 4, 2012 by Youdee
>Surely it should be white COLLAR?
15:23 July 4, 2012 by Chloe Monroe
..and a political party is a collective noun - 'IT was', not 'THEY were'.

Only The Local brings out the grammar Nazi in me *sighs*
18:25 July 4, 2012 by JohnAndersson
The translation is very confusing, since Grönapartiet (The Green Party) is not the same as Miljöpartiet (The Environment Party).

The Environment Party is a neoliberal party with green nuances, while The Green Party is a left-leaning party with a green focus.
19:18 July 4, 2012 by old git
I like her dress- reminds me of my curtains in the 70's...recycled maybe? A definite save the climate statement....especiallly with her red knitted cardi...don't get angry folks - just having some fun1
11:39 July 5, 2012 by Puffin
Strange article - haven't Mp always been a city based party? Whereas C have been the countryside party of the farmers

The big news reported in the Swedish media is that mp is going to increase its activities outside of the cities mainly as the new C leader is deeply unpopular in rural communities - yet The Local's headlines read the other way around???
Today's headlines
National
Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

National
Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

National
Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Sport
Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Analysis
Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

National
Sweden protests over Russian plane incursions
A Gripen plane was scrambled to see off the Russian planes. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden protests over Russian plane incursions

UPDATED: Sweden has summoned the Russian Ambassador for a dressing down after two Russian planes violated Swedish airspace last week. READ  

Elections 2014
'Good prospects' for Alliance co-operation

'Good prospects' for Alliance co-operation

UPDATED: Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven says he is positive that his party can co-operate with the former governing Alliance on some issues. READ  

Lifestyle
Introducing...Astrid Lindgren
Pippi Longstocking comes to live at the Astrid Lindgren theme park. Photo: TT

Introducing...Astrid Lindgren

The creator of Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren, is the most translated author from Sweden, and has filled children's imaginations since the 1940s. The Local finds out why her work has become a timeless classic. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

857
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN