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Tempers flare in final party leader debate

TT/The Local · 17 Sep 2010, 08:53

Published: 17 Sep 2010 08:53 GMT+02:00

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The accusation came after Moderate Party leader Reinfeldt claimed the Red-Green budget proposal was underfunded by 20 billion kronor ($2.84 billion).

“That’s a lie, a lie,” the Social Democratic party leader replied while Left Party leader Lars Ohly and Reinfeldt began to exchange words, after which Ohly explained that the Red-Greens wanted to invest 100 billion kronor in new railways.

Reinfeldt replied by accusing Ohly of wanting to spend wildly.

“Every time Lars Ohly speaks, money starts flying out of his pockets,” said Reinfeldt.

After things calmed down again, Sahlin came back to her previous complaint.

“A lie is a lie even if you scream it,” she said.

The debate, which was televised live on TV4, was filled with spirited exchanges between the party leaders on a number of issues.

Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson and Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson sparred over the government’s green credentials.

Olofsson claimed the government had doubled investment in railways and asserted that the government stands for results, not just talk, when it comes to the environment.

“You lie too much,” Eriksson replied.

The Red-Greens also accused the Alliance of closing the door on working class children.

“Not everyone wants to be a college graduate,” said Liberal Party leader and education minister Jan Bjöklund in response.

At issue is a proposal by the Alliance to start vocational training programmes in high schools which won’t allow students who complete them to qualify for entry in colleges and universities.

The Red-Greens are against the proposal.

“You sound like a subway driver. Mind the gap, the doors are closing,” Ohly said to Björklund.

Sahlin pointed out that the labour movement’s education policy has always been about opening doors for the children of the working class.

“Why then does the Alliance want to lower the knowledge requirements for vocational education programmes and close the doors on those who want to improve their knowledge through Komvux [municipal adult education programmes],” asked Sahlin.

She went on to remind her counterparts that the educational pats of both Social Democratic economic policy spokesperson Thomas Östros and finance minister Anders Borg had taken them through Komvux.

“You must be gripped by election panic,” answered Björklund, who then accused the Red-Greens of spreading falsehoods about the government’s education policy.

Olofsson added that small businesses have hailed the government’s plans for expanded vocational training and apprenticeships in high school.

More practical and vocationally-oriented programmes are needed, argued Reinfeldt.

“We have different talents in Sweden and all of them are needed,” he said, adding that it seemed like the Red-Greens didn’t understand the value of talents that can be found in people’s hands.

Following the debate, Reinfeldt was satisfied with the outcome.

“It was a good debate,” he told the TT news agency.

Story continues below…

“I was able to make my point that the opposition has a 20 billion kronor hole in their budget.”

He added that the shortfall will likely require the Red-Greens to renege on their campaign promises if they win the election.

But Sahlin disagreed.

“It’s just a bluff, he’s waved that list around before so we’ve been able to take a look at it,” she said.

According to Sahlin, the list includes some proposals which don’t exist and others which are twisted interpretations of other proposals.

Nevertheless, she was happy that the debate had a bit of spark.

“The heat is on now, the differences come through quite clearly and the ideologies became sharper, so it was noticeable that the election is in the final phase,” said Sahlin.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:08 September 17, 2010 by Rebel
"I know you are but what am I?"

Pee Wee Herman
14:57 September 17, 2010 by glamelixir
Three things.

1- Is someone actually surprised that a liberal party is trying to win an election on lies? That is kind of a common rule worldwide!

2- Does Reinfeldt understand that intelligence and the "different talents", even though they exist, are actually not associated to the economical background of parents...so... why guaranteeing a rich kid education and reduce the chances of the poor one?

3 - Talking about budgets: Doesn't everyone wonder how much did the electronic billboard at Hotorget cost and how "envirormental friendly it is? I actually wonder why the city is so overflooded of Moderaterna signs in relation with the other parties....private capitals? mmm that can lead to corruption... Seen it before... oh good old right.
15:19 September 17, 2010 by here for the summer
my wife has often said that Swedish TV news and debate was more civil than us . But if the top leaders actually call each other liar's then the discourse if below that even on fox ( the worst of the US news IMHO ).

what is your deal with these posts about world wide politics from people who don't have any experience with the US, China, India or other parts of Europe.. Chile's economy has shown that democracy and capitalism work better than communism . Even Castro the last of the Soviets admitted recently that communism didn't work .

I don't understand the argument about the education system. As I understand Germany's economic success has had a lot to do with it's early skilled trades path and I thought Sweden followed this at gymnasium.
18:16 September 17, 2010 by Audrian
@ here for the summer

What Castro said was that the Soviet type of econimic system does not work. This is different from saying that communism does not work. Just like there are different types of capitalist systems, there were different types of socialist systems. What you are quoting is misinformation.

Recently he gave an interview to US journalists where he said, capitalism with all its wars and inequity is a destructive system and that it might instigate a nuclear war.

He does not want to see US capitalism taking over Cuba and creating heaven for America's rich, like it had before the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

The communist party of Cuba aims to reform the system and make it more productive, e.g., allow private ownership of land and privatize minor economic activities, e.g., barber shops.
19:12 September 17, 2010 by svenssonek
Reading and following nearly all the information regarding what is happening in Sweden in general, has cemented the fact that I was indeed correct in leaving my precious Sweden.

It has gotten so pathetic that I have even stopped coming for vacations.

The swedish hubris gets on my nerves as there is nothing to be proud of any longer. Haughty, spoilt, we know better, whiny, it's not fair etc is the general flavor of todays swede. A dose of reality would not hurt.

Good Luck!
19:34 September 17, 2010 by here for the summer
@\It is very nice that Castro and Cuba have the thought that people should be allowed to own theri very own Barbershop .. What a nice gift .. As I understand he did in fact admit the obvious fact that cuban system was not working then later retracted.

Capitalist Democratic Socialism with followed in one form or another by most of the successful world is a far cry from communism.
03:59 September 18, 2010 by glamelixir
I find it so surprisingly irracional when people compare communism with socialism.. and they do it without hesitation.

I wonder if it is because of copying the moderaterna speech without questioning or if it plain ignorance.
09:05 September 18, 2010 by RobinHood
Er no, I think it's just that most people think socialism and communism are closely related to one another.
22:13 September 18, 2010 by Vidyadhara
Lars Ohly was the sharpest one last night. Reinfeldt's fatherly sober act might backfire if people think he looks like a pompous, trained ass because of it. The rest were so so. It's fairly obvious the right owned the debate territory (the Swedish media has been quite biased against the left-greens and it has decided the questions which make up the debate territory), so the left/greens were faced with the task of explaining to the lay-public how to disarm a complicated security system. But that's what it's all about, showing power, who has power in the groups, how the group dynamics work, who is built to rule. Not logic or fact. But among all the lies, the right lied most last night, which if you simply view their double-speak campaign propaganda, you'll see how easy it is for them to do 180's with the meanings of words.
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