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The Local _ Swedish news _ Ideology adds fuel to marathon campaign

Posted by: The Local 9.Sep.2005, 11:24 AM

Ideology adds fuel to marathon campaign

If you?re planning to be in Sweden for the next year, I hope you?ve got a good supply of wet towels and smelling salts. It?s going to be tough.

Polling day for the Swedish general election is the third Sunday in September. That?s September 2006, folks, and we?ve already had two televised party leader debates. We?re in this for the long haul.

But if the campaign is set to be long and gruelling, the one thing it won?t be is boring.

If you disagree with me on that, then you?re not alone. Many people are heartily fed up with the whole campaign before it has even started for real. But coming from a country, Britain, where ideology has been erased almost entirely from politics, to a country where old fashioned socialists battle it out with conservatives and liberals is every bit as refreshing as it is weirdly retro.

Of course, Sweden isn?t the only Western democracy where ideology has reared its head in recent campaigns. Analysts may be divided over the extent of its impact on the result, but religious ideology in the last American presidential election pervaded the whole campaign.

What viewers saw in Sunday?s party leader debate was two sides with very different views of how Sweden should be. Put crudely, the Right put the emphasis on creating jobs through cutting taxes and benefits, and the Left preferred instead to concentrate on defending high levels of unemployment benefit, and accusing the Right of wanting to ?Americanize? Sweden?s economy.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, the leader of the conservative Moderate Party, may have tried to do a Blair, and move his party towards the middle ground of Swedish politics, but he is still way to the right of Göran Persson?s left-wing block.

But with unemployment lying somewhere between seven and twenty percent (depending on who counts as unemployed), there?s a real chance for Reinfeldt?s Alliance for Sweden to dent the Social Democrats? hold on power.

The question remains whether he and his chums in the alliance have moved far enough to the Left to attract dissatisfied Social Democrats. It also remains to be proven whether the four parties of the Right will maintain their united front to the election.

But again the comparisons with Blair are striking ? like the British Labour Party in the mid-nineties, the Right is hungry for power, and dissidents realise that a less-than-perfect right-wing government is better for them than another four years of Social Democrats.

The Right certainly cannot afford to be complacent. While Reinfeldt?s Alliance has had a ten point lead in some polls, one survey this week saw their lead cut to just one percent.

This should ? and must ? lead to a stimulating and high-level debate in the run-up to the next election. Sweden has a real choice next year, and both sides have everything to play for.

James Savage

Posted by: Paul Sabino 10.Sep.2005, 10:22 PM

The truth : all communist parties in the world have gone bankrupt :!: Sweden is selling exports to non communist countries, so that is the way to go :idea:
Out with the commies, biggrin.gif , in with the real people :!:
God bless

Posted by: Dimitri 11.Sep.2005, 04:48 PM

I did not know Sweden was a communist country. Well, it looks, feels, tastes and smells like a Communist country. It treats its citizens like a Communist country.

Only thing missing is officially calling it a Communist country and raise the old Russian flag on the City Hall way on top of the 3 Crowns and to paint the crowns in Coca Cola red.

Posted by: Paul Sabino 11.Sep.2005, 08:54 PM

Dimitri, kalispera; all the ex comunist parties are in the Socialist International with the Swedish socialists; all those AK-47 genociders; they are so confortable next to each other, you would bet they have been together for over 70 years.
Kalinigta
Paul

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