Swedish opposition leader: ‘We are agreed enough on the big issues’

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson kicked off his party's election campaign on Thursday, with a speech that presented himself as the only candidate backed by a coalition of parties with a common programme.

Swedish opposition leader: 'We are agreed enough on the big issues'
Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson speaks at his party's election kickoff in Norrköping on August 4th. Photo: Magnus Andersson/TT

In a speech in front of four hundred Moderate party members in the city of Norrköping, Kristersson said that unlike ruling the Social Democrats, his party was backed by three other parties that were agreed on enough to get necessary reforms enacted in government. 

“We have slowly but surely built a team on our side of politics which is ready and has both the will and the ability,” he said. “Four different parties which are not agreed on everything, but which are sufficiently agreed on the big issues to together get results.” 

He reiterated the praise he had given to the populist Sweden Democrats party in his speech at the Almedalen political festival at the start of July. 

“No other party has warned as consistently as the Sweden Democrats that Sweden cannot continue to increase immigration if we want to handle the problems with integration,” he said. “And that’s something I appreciate.” 

He praised the Christian Democrats for their focus on healthcare and elderly care, and welcomed back the Liberals, saying he was glad they had “found their way home to the political right”. 

READ ALSO: Swedish opposition leader: This election is about cash in people’s wallets

He stressed, however, that the Moderates’ decision in the autumn of 2019 to work with all political parties, including the Sweden Democrats had been “pragmatic but not at all without principle”. 

“On the contrary,” he said. “We have strong values which we do not compromise on.” 

He dismissed Social Democrat claims that Moderate warnings that they will bring back Sweden’s property tax were “disinformation”, pointing out that Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist had also called it “disinformation” when Kristersson predicted that the Social Democrats would change their policy towards joining the Nato Alliance.

He claimed that the Social Democrats in Stockholm wanted to bring back the property tax, as did The Swedish Trade Union Confederation, the Social Democrats’ youth organisation, the Left Party, and the Green Party. 

Let’s all take a bet on what would happen if the Social Democrats become dependent on the Left Party and the Green Party after the election,” he said. “Then they’ll bring in the property tax. Elisabeth Svantesson [the Moderates’ finance spokesperson] is right. You can’t trust the Social Democrats.” 

In the speech, Kristersson tried to give a more positive spin on the campaign, talking about how once the party takes power they will focusing on “building a Sweden to be proud of again”.  

With the left and right political blocks nearly equal in size at the start of the campaign, Kristersson said there was still everything to fight for. 

“This is an extremely good starting point,” he said. “Victory is within reach, but it is absolutely not yet won!” 

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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