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MARGARET THATCHER: 1925-2013

BRITAIN

Sweden reacts to Thatcher’s death

Swedish reactions to the death on Monday of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 87, ranged from celebratory to lumping her together with former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Sweden reacts to Thatcher's death

“She was an ideologue among pragmatists,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told the TT news agency.

“Like many others, I was impressed by her strength, how she stuck to her principles, and by how well-informed she was.”

Reinfeldt, whose Moderate Party has long had a kinship with Thatcher’s Conservative Party, theorized that Thatcher’s most lasting legacy may have been inspiring Tony Blair to makeover the opposition Labour Party.

Reinfeldt also praised Thatcher for being “the first female leader in a male-dominated world”, adding that her legacy as UK prime minister was also marked by the end of the Cold War.

“The Berlin Wall fell at the end of her time in office, that’s something one must consider when measuring her achievements and how she acted,” Reinfeldt told Expressen.

While expressing his admiration for Thatcher, who ruled Britain from 1979 until 1990, Reinfeldt admitted that he didn’t share her scepticism about European integration and the European Union.

Thatcher refuses to jump for Swedish journalist Stina Dabrowski in a 1995 interview

European Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) took to Facebook to hail Thatcher’s pioneering role for women in politics.

“R.I.P. Margaret Thatcher was the first female government head in the western world in 1979. As a woman with power she was a true pioneer in Europe,” wrote Ohlsson.

Centre Party leader Annie Lööf also paid tribute to Thatcher, who died following a stroke after suffering several years of ill-health.

“Margaret Thatcher was a strong and a controversial politician. A colourful woman has left us,” Lööf wrote on her official Twitter account.

Meanwhile, former Social Democrat Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson, who governed Sweden toward the end of Thatcher’s time in office and visited her in London on an official visit, chose to remember her personal qualities

“She was quite charming and a person brimming with humour. There was a Margaret Thatcher with warmth and humour and I’m glad I was able to experience that.”

However, Stig Malm, former head of Sweden’s powerful trade union confederation, was less flattering in remembering the “Iron Lady”, as Thatcher was frequently called. He grouped her together with Chile’s former dictator Augusto Pinochet and Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, whose theories inspired many of Thatcher’s market-oriented economic policies.

“They played a very large part and reoriented politics across the globe. Those of us who weren’t conservative were made to suffer a great deal because of it,” he told TT.

“She had decided to make unions as small as possible. She pushed a very, very conservative policy, and if you like that, then perhaps you like her; and if you don’t, then you don’t like her.”

Swedish political scientist Gunnela Björk of Örebro University in central Sweden, who recently penned a biography on Thatcher, said that her policies continue to have a huge influence across Europe.

“Great Britain and Margaret Thatcher became something of a model for how problems should be solved in many European countries, even in Sweden,” Björk told TT.

“It’s primarily in connection with the 2008 financial crisis that people have started to question the concept.”

TT/The Local/dl

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UK

Who is Måns Zelmerlöw? Swedish Eurovision winner to co-host UK search for 2018 entry

Swedish singer, TV host, and former Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw will host the TV search for the UK's entry to the contest.

Who is Måns Zelmerlöw? Swedish Eurovision winner to co-host UK search for 2018 entry
Former Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Zelmerlöw will co-host Eurovision: You Decide, set to be broadcast live from the southern English city of Brighton next February. The venue, Brighton Dome, is where Abba won the 1974 edition of the contest with their performance of Waterloo.

IN PICTURES: Måns Zelmerlöw through the years

Zelmerlöw will share the honour of hosting with British presenter Mel Giedroyc, who is best known for her role as co-host of The Great British Bake Off.

The Lund-born singer was a household name in Sweden long before his Eurovision fame, having entered Swedish talent show Idol in 2005 and competed in Melodifestivalen – the Swedish show which decides the country's Eurovision entry – three times before winning in 2015.

His song Heroes went on to win the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest and since then he has become a regular face on Swedish TV, presenting TV shows, starring in musicals and even parodying Miley Cyrus at the Swedish Gay Gala.


Zelmerlöw performs at the QX Gaygala in 2014. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

He also hosted the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Stockholm, together with comedian Petra Mede.

In that competition, the pair presented a spoof song, Love Love Peace Peace, as an example of how to put together a winning song for the competition. 

It made fun of some of the typical tactics used by Eurovision entrants, from elaborate costumes to elements of national folklore, with the chorus: “Love, love, peace, peace, four women baking bread, peace, peace, love, love, and a man in a hamster wheel.”

The UK could probably use all the tips Zelmerlöw can give them, having reached the top ten only twice since 2000, while Sweden has been the most successful country in the contest in the 21st century, with two wins and a total of ten top five results.

READ ALSO: Six signs Sweden takes Eurovision too seriously