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ALMEDALEN 2022

PM’s Almedalen speech: ‘I love Sweden and I’m proud to be Swedish’

Swedish Prime Minister Sweden's prime minister went all out with a strongly nationalist message in her speech at the Almedalen political festival, presenting the Social Democrats as defenders of Swedish values the right-wing parties seek to destroy.

PM's Almedalen speech: 'I love Sweden and I'm proud to be Swedish'
Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson after her first speech as party leader at the Almedalen festival. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Magdalena Andersson began her first speech at the festival as party leader with a lyrical description of her love for Swedish summer evenings, and night-swimming in lakes “near meadows full of daisies, bluebells, and buttercups”, before shifting onto her love for the country itself.  

“I love Sweden and I’m proud to be Swedish,” she declared, while acknowledging that it was unusual in Sweden to express your love for your country, in such a bold, heart-on-sleeve, way. 

“We Swedes have always been a bit careful about expressing our love for our country,” she said. “It’s perhaps out of a fear of being overbearing or boastful. History has taught us, moreover, of the risks that come with a dangerous nationalism: shortsightedness, narrow-mindedness, and in the worst case, war.” 

Most Swedes through, she said, nonetheless felt “a healthy pride in and strong bond with our country, and so, too, do I.” 

It wasn’t just the country she loved, she went on, but its values, of “thoroughness, duty, and common sense”, of equality, the rule of law, and social trust. 

“We are a country where men take child leave and look after children, a country where women work, and can become prime minister,” she said, to a loud round of applause. 

She then ran through Sweden’s problems and challenges: the pandemic, the war in Ukraine which has pushed Sweden into Nato, and rising inflation, before launching into an unusually harsh attack on the right-wing parties. 

She blamed the Moderate Party for the economic crisis Sweden had suffered in the 1990s, calling the crisis “The Moderates’ economic catastrophe”. 

“To live through the middle of that was my political education. I am never going to forget the price we had to pay for those irresponsible economic policies.” 

She reiterated her three priorities: solving the gang problem and ending segregation, speeding up the green industrial transition, and “taking back democratic control over welfare”. 

She then ended her speech by warning that the right-wing parties, if they win the election, would form “the most right-wing conservative government we have had in modern times”. 

They would, she said allow companies to continue drawing profits from schools, put a break on the green industrial transition, and ignore the need to prevent the criminal gangs gaining new recruits. 

She then painted a grim picture of the country’s future, “if the right-wing conservative parties get to rule”. 

“Sweden will become something different,” she said. “A Sweden where one group is set against another, one person against another. A country where social divisions grow and polarisation increases, where the number of luxury yachts rises but the number of school counsellors falls, where trust is eroded, both for one another and for society.” 

“The right-wing conservatives say they want to preserve our country, but in reality,” she warned, “they want to attack exactly those things we love about Sweden.”

The full speech can be found in Swedish here and in English here (Google Translation).  

Sweden Elects is a new weekly column by Editor Emma Löfgren looking at the big talking points and issues in the Swedish election race. Members of The Local Sweden can sign up to receive the column plus several extra features as a newsletter in their email inbox each week. Just click on this “newsletters” option or visit the menu bar.

 

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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