It’s election time in Sweden, and the far right, in the shape of the ‘Sweden Democrats’, appears to be on the rise. The party apparently has its origins in a far-right groupuscule/campaign titled ‘Keep Sweden Swedish’, sentiment echoed by former British PM Gordon Brown in his ‘British Jobs for British Workers’, delivered by the Scot at the 2007 Labour Party conference. Presumably, it won’t be very long before the same slogan is adopted by one of the major parties in Australia.
The Swedish election brings with it some faint echoes of the recent Australian election, at least insofar as the two major blocs — the ruling centre-right coalition and the opposition Red-Green bloc — are evenly divided in popularity, as were the ruling centre-right Labor and the Coalition in Australia. In Sweden, immigration and Islam appear to be issues of slightly greater concern to a larger and more significant minority; certainly, the ‘Sweden Democrats’ are hoping to capitalise upon anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic feeling. In Australia, on the other hand, the demise of Hansonism, and the successful absorption of much xenophobic sentiment by the major parties, has provided a significant obstacle to the (re-)emergence of far-right populism; rather, a progressive challenge has crystallised in the shape of the Greens.
Moaron that subject later. As for Sweden:
The “crunch point” of Sunday’s election though, according to Karlsson, is denying the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats a kingmaker role.
Immigrants make up 14 percent of the country’s 9.4 million population. The largest immigrant group is from neighbouring Finland, followed by people from Iraq, the former Yugoslavia and Poland.
The Sweden Democrats maintain that immigration has been ignored as an issue in Swedish politics.
The party has traditionally viewed immigration an economic burden, draining the welfare system and channelling jobs to newcomers who work for lower wages.
According to Karlsson, over the past few years, the party has managed to widen its appeal. “This used to be seen as a party for skinheads,” said Karlsson. “But now they seem to be men in suits. Party leader Jimme Akesson has been credited for toning down their arguments and their language and he’s also thrown out some of the more radical elements from the party,” said Karlsson.
Anyway. Here’s the vid (click on the CC button for English translation):