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Top Social Democrat to US: party 'lacks ideas'

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Top Social Democrat to US: party 'lacks ideas'
09:51 CET+01:00
The Social Democrats' foreign policy spokesperson Urban Ahlin criticised his party's lack of ideas in meetings with officials from the US embassy, according to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

Ahlin also said his party did little more than say no, the Aftonbladet newspaper reports following a review of the secret telegrams.

Speaking with the TT news agency, Ahlin said there were no astonishing revelations in the documents.

"It was a totally normal conversation, the sort I have with ambassadors and embassies all the time," he said, adding that the conversation took place in his office.

"I don't run over to the American embassy and gossip."

Aftonbladet has reviewed reports following two meeting between Ahlin and diplomats from the US embassy.

In one meeting held on November 14th, 2007, Ahlin said the Social Democrats were losing the war of ideas.

"The Moderates have a programme. All we do is say no. We have no think thanks that put forward ideas, no alternative programme," Ahlin is reported to have said.

"We were in a bit of a shock after losing the 2006 election. We did have access to the government offices any longer and we had a hard time finding our bearings. Besides we had just changed party leaders," Ahlin told TT.

When asked why he was talking to American diplomats about the Social Democrats' internal problems, Ahlin explained that it was a conversation about "domestic politics."

"It's about a discussion about domestics politics and what happens in domestic politics. They wondered if they could already write back to Washington about how the Social Democrats had won the election. 'No,' I said, 'it's too easy to celebrate' and so I talked about different things that could affect the campaign. Unfortunately, I was right," he said.

"I'm not the least bit ashamed. There's nothing in this that I wouldn't have expressed publicly or to a journalist who would have asked or internally in the party."

Ahlin is also reported to have said that the tactics of the Red-Green opposition coalition ahead of the 2010 election was to malign the government with scandals.

"That I said that we shouldn't take an election victory for granted because he had good opinion numbers in 2007, is that strange? I've said that internally, I said it publicly and I said it to the American embassy," he said.

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