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Sweden’s General Election Turmoil

Sweden’s general elections will happen this weekend and the country is in political turmoil. The governing Social Democrats, the hegemonic force in Swedish politics for most of the past century, are facing their lowest results since the introduction of democracy. Only a few percentage points behind them in the polls are the Sweden Democrats (SD) – an anti-immigration and anti-EU party – which may become the country’s biggest political group.

The polls thus confirm a fundamental shift in Swedish politics: SD – which is shunned by the other parties, who refer to its roots in the far-right movement – only entered the Riksdag after the 2010 elections, to the astonishment of large parts of the political and media establishment.

Since 2014, SD forms a wedge in parliament, preventing both traditional blocs, led by the Social Democrats and the center-right Moderates respectively, from gaining a majority of seats. Both refuse to govern with each other, or with the support of SD. This is uncharted territory, and no one knows how, or by whom, the country will be governed after the elections.

The established parties tried to deal with the problem early on in 2014 by agreeing on a new principle: The largest of the two minority blocs, would get to form a government with the passive support of the opposition. SD would thus be kept from influence.

However, this alliance, initially dubbed the December agreement, has angered citizens on the right – who have watched in disbelief as the center-right opposition has passively accepted socialist policies – and driven new swaths of voters to SD.

Consequently, the opposition is unpopular, but so is the government. At the surface, public resentment and dissatisfaction may look perplexing: To be sure, Sweden is still among the richest countries in Europe. Its public finances are strong and it remains one of the wealthiest, most egalitarian and safest countries in the world.

Swedish voters, however, are not comparing themselves to just any other country, but to their own past. Sweden used to be at the top of many international rankings of equality and affluence, but has slipped in recent years. The welfare state and social services used to perform better.

Inequality has increased sharply. Income differences are at record levels, according to official statistics, and have kept rising on the watch of the center-left government. There is likewise great dissatisfaction with welfare services at the core of the country’s social contract. Sweden has higher numbers of poor pensioners, and more children at risk of poverty or social exclusion, than any other Nordic country. One in five Swedish women aged 65 or older are at risk of poverty.

True, unemployment has fallen during the past four years, but from high levels, and recovery has been slower than in the rest of the EU. Sweden is now ranked 17th in the union, despite aggressive and costly government employment programs. Last year, Sweden’s per capita GDP growth was among the lowest in the EU.

In addition, crime has become a priority among voters. Social unrest, shootings and hand grenade attacks stand out, both from a historical perspective, and compared to the rest of Scandinavia. Only in the last month, the police reported two explosions. A number of attacks in the past years, including explosions, have been directed against police and other government agencies.

As a consequence, many Swedes feel increasingly unsafe. Almost one in three women report feeling unsafe in their own neighborhood — an “alarming” development according to a government crime prevention agency.

The government has, however, done its best to play down such new statistics. The issue is sensitive, to a large part because of the link between some types of crime and immigration. First and second generation immigrants dominate among gang members, and are over-represented both as perpetrators and victims of gun violence. A TV documentary which aired at the end of August, revealed that a majority of convicted rapists in the last five years were foreign-born – a result consistent with other Swedish studies on sex crime.

Both the Moderates and the Social Democrats responded to these findings with promises of harsher punishments and deportation of rapists – a kind of tough talk that would have been deemed xenophobic, or worse, in mainstream discourse only a few years ago. But there is little wonder that this new rhetoric on crime does not seem to convince voters. It serves as a reminder that the government will only address immigrant crime as detached from the actual issue of immigration – another top priority among voters in this election. That is not only a miscalculation on the part of the government, but the same miscalculation that has allowed SD to become a leading force in Swedish politics.

 

Paulina Neuding, b. in 1981, is the editor-in-chief of the Swedish online magazine Kvartal, and a columnist with the dailies Svenska Dagbladet and Göteborgs-Posten. Her work has appeared in, among others, The New York Times, Politico Europe and die Welt. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Follow her on Twitter @paulinaneuding 

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48 Comments

  1. Emmanuel says

    Who would have thought that opening your country’s border to a huge number of third world immigrants whose backgrounds nobody knows and letting them free to do whatever they want because you don’t want to be called racist could lead people to vote for a right-wing party ?

    • E Oday says

      And let’s not forget giving them monthly payments from the Swedish tax payer making them better off than they’ve ever been without the need to work. Truly a winning strategy for a country if self hatred and guilt is the raison d’etre of the populace.

      Not to worry though at current population growth trends Swedes will be a minority in their own country by 2055.

    • Oliver says

      It always amazes me how freely people in the US and Western Europe (both conservatives and liberals) throw around the term “third world”. Is it that difficult to describe immigrants or countries without implying that they are somehow second-rate people?

      • Conan the Librarian says

        @Oliver

        Way ahead of you here in the USA!

        President Trump coined the term “Schitholl Countries” to replace the judgy term “Third World Countries”.

        It’s a reference to Dr Hansel Fredrich Schitholl, the Austrian postmodern economist, who showed mathematically that poorer countries are always morally superior to so-called “First World” overbanked countries.

      • Just Me says

        How does the classification of the economy of a country imply anything about its inhabitants being “second-rate”?

        Projecting much?

      • Elliot R. Morin says

        If someone is uneducated, illiterate and culturally backwards then wouldn’t that make them 2nd rate? Sorry to burst your bubble but the quality of an immigrant can largely be determined by their nation of origin. Of course this information has limited value and of course not everyone from a particular nation subscribes to a particular stereotype but if you don’t consider Afghan or Somali immigrants to be 2nd rate then your not paying attention.

  2. shunster2 says

    Not to mention mass car burnings of indeterminate origin…as the police are shackled in directing a real investigation in realistic directions….

  3. Emmanuel says

    The fact is, massive Third World immigration has provoked an increase in criminality in Western and Northern European countries. The main victims are women, who suffer from harassment and sometimes attacks from lonely men coming from countries where concepts like “equality” and “consent” belong to the realm of science fiction.

    Claiming that all immigrants are rapists and that criminality is the only consequence of immigration, or that any kind of immigration is harmful is deceitful. On the other hand, the more mainstream view that there is no downside to immigration and that all is well in the best possible world is equally deceitful.

    Yet, many political parties and medias have adopted that view. It has two major consequences :
    – Denying the existence of a social problem guarantees that you will never solve it
    -It automatically gives an advantage to anybody who acknowledge that problem, no matter how bad their solution can be.

    In those circumstances, the rise of the populist right wing in Europe is fairly easy to understand.

    Robert Conquest allegedly stated that, to understand the behavior of an organization, one should assume that it is controlled in secret by its worse opponents. I believe that right now it applies perfectly to most of the European Left.

    • Caligula says

      There is also a conflict between self-interest and idealism. As in, what is the purpose of immigration?

      If one assumes that governments are obliged to act in citizens’ best interests, then immigration exists for the benefit of the host country, and must be judged on whether or not its benefits outweigh its (financial and other) costs.

      Idealists insist that the needs of the immigrant be taken into account, and thus immigration might be justified even if its costs outweigh the benefits for the host country. Although even here one might raise the question “Well, OK, but how much idealism can we afford?”

      In any case, an association of criminality and refusal to abide by local customs tends to tarnish the idealist worldview, as even an idealist might acknowledge that if you’re working harder to help someone than they’re working to help themselves then perhaps you’ve made a big mistake.

      And finally there’s nationalism. Sweden is the home state of Swedes and not (yet) a cosmopolitan citizen-of-the-world state defined on the basis of abstract principles. It also has a small native population. And if it is to transition from “A State of Swedes” to become something defined more abstractly and universally, isn’t this momentous question one that should be decided democratically (or at least be open to public debate)?

      • Emmanuel says

        Caligula, regarding immigration all the polls have I seen in French and other European medias show the same thing : the majority of the population of almost every European countries (Portugal and Spain might be the exceptions, I need to check) wants to decrease immigration. It is one of the few topics, if not the only one, which creates a consensus among the European population. And what I find really interesting is that a non neglectable number of people whose parents or grandparents were themselves immigrants now support restrictions on immigration.
        In France, it is no longer exceptional (it does not mean it is widespread, however) for people of North African descent to support the Front national. In the UK, a few month ago, there was a study regarding on the views on immigration of people depending on their religious affiliation : well, British Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs aren’t yearning for more immigrants.

        The “idealists” who support mass immigration are over-represented among the “chattering classes” but under-represented among the general population. The result of that situation is what those same “chattering classes” refer to as “populism”.

        • Kessler says

          The main political force in the society is middle & upper classes, the people who have sufficient financial resources to be idealistic. When you are wealthy, you can afford to pay higher taxes, live in rich communities, where crime isn’t an issue or ignore slipping educational standards, since you can send your children to private schools. This is the classic “Let them eat cake” scenario, where wealthy confuse their own circumstances and interests, with circumstances of the rest of the population.

    • > It automatically gives an advantage to anybody who acknowledge that problem, no matter how bad their solution can be.

      Yes, this. There is one party in Sweden who will actually say “Admitting immigrants from war-torn Muslim countries leads to a significant increase in both crime and poverty. And specifically, crime against women.”

      It’s there in numbers, clear as day. But the other parties twist themselves into knots trying to avoid this truth and they’ve paying for it dearly in votes.

  4. If the article hadn’t spent most of its length disingenuously skirting around or obliquely addressing the ONLY reason that a ram-shackle party like the Social Democrats was able to go from parliamentary nothingness to being what might soon become the most important political force in Sweden – that is, the public’s reaction to the migration of armies of mostly unassimilable, largely unemployable, and disproportionately crime-prone Muslims and Africans into the country (please read the long-suppressed but recently-released rape statistics for both Denmark and Sweden) – I would have had a lot more respect for it. Instead, it read like a fairly typical white-washed (no pun intended) MSM account of what’s going on in Sweden. A better and more accurate title for an article surveying the political and social landscape of contemporary Sweden would be “Still More Adventures In Masochism and Demographic Suicide from the Country That Gave the World Stockholm Syndrome.”

    • @ A New Radical Centrism (@a_centrism)

      Boy, I felt the same thing. I kept waiting for the author to get to the real issue, and in the end it was sort of mentioned in passing at the end. That is THE issue. Why will people not get real about this?

  5. Farris says

    As part of its war on Western values, the Left decided to abandon the requirement that immigrants assimilate. Not requiring immigrants to abide by the culture, customs or laws of the host country can only lead to the erosion of those values. Assimilation does not require immigrants to abandon their religion or rituals but it does require respect for the customs and attitudes of the host.

    • E pluribus unum — those who think plurality of culture can survive should consider what happens when a house is divided, when people are clannish, when we have a Babel.

  6. I have found Sweden politics fascinating over the last few months. You have a country that had open borders for years, and systematically covered up any issues caused by said open borders. It has been really interesting watching as government officials could no longer deny issues and have had to own up to what they have caused.

    Let this be a reminder that while immigration as a whole is good, all immigration isn’t good. And admitting refugees isn’t always correct either. You know who has had hundreds of thousands of war refugees fleeing out of the Middle East in the last few years? ISIS and its closest advocates. Letting these kind of people into your country with little vetting is asking for violence and disorder, and that’s exactly what’s happening in Sweden.

    So even if you support mass immigration, this should serve as a reminder that any immigration needs to be controlled and measured. If you don’t, it’s just a matter of time until you let in bad actors and the public revolts. In the case of Sweden, they’ve probably destroyed the perception of immigrants for a generation due to their misguided generosity. Look forward to seeing this play out Sunday.

    • Well, immigration is a much bigger issue in non-free societies, and those that give out other people’s money in social services. You can abuse a healthy body for only so long before the harm becomes apparent, but like drug addicts, the initial high can last a while before the reality of authoritarianism and coercion sink in.

  7. TarsTarkas says

    The December agreement reminds me of the pre-1991 unwritten agreement between Italy’s non-Communist political parties, whereby they conspired together to ensure the Communist Party never became part of the government. It was an understandable position, given the presence of US armed forces (including nukes) on Italian soil and the fact that the PCI was an organ of the Soviet Empire.

    By contrast the SD is not part of some Right-Wing International but like UKIP, AD (in Germany), and the FPA (Austria) is simply a reaction to the crime, misery and fear caused by the policies of the Open Borders political parties and their consistent denial of responsibility for the results of those policies. SD is not Right-Wing in the Leftist sense (which to some means anyone whose views are less totalitarian than those of Shining Path or the Khmer Rouge), but Right-Wing in the sense of trying to reduce overweening government control over the lives of individual people. SD supporters have had it with ‘just shut up and endure, it’s all for the greater good’ BS they’ve been fed for the last few decades, and with the victories by like-minded leaders in the US, Hungary, and Italy (not to mention Brexit) they intend to do something about it.

    • Farris says

      @Tars
      I would respectfully add that any party or coalition that seeks to preserve its country’s values and traditions while simultaneously demanding respect for its laws is now branded as extreme or far right.

  8. Alex Russell says

    Many western countries populations would be decreasing if not for immigration. Immigration is required to bring in young workers to support an aging population. Immigration is usually a benefit to the country if done correctly. Immigrants should be chosen for their skills and other attributes, like age.

    Canada for example, uses a point system that gives 20 to 29 year old’s more points than any other age group. Language skills are important, as well as education, and to a certain extent, family already in Canada.

    And a country has make a realistic assessment of how many immigrants it can successfully integrate. I doubt any country can handle receiving 25% of its population every year, while most can handle 10%. As much as good people want to help refugees, the number of refugees a country accepts must be within it capacity to successfully integrate and succeed in their new country.

    It is good to limit immigration to sustainable levels.

    • Emmanuel says

      “Immigration is usually a benefit to the country if done correctly”.
      The problem is the “if done correctly” part of the sentence.
      Immigration is not a problem when it is controlled : when the host country can choose who is coming and is able and willing to enforce its own conditions (such as not stabbing or raping the natives).
      When you open your borders to everybody who wants to come and let them do whatever they want, it stops being a good thing.

      • Jeremy H says

        @Alex Russell

        “Canada for example, uses a point system that gives 20 to 29 year old’s more points than any other age group. Language skills are important, as well as education, and to a certain extent, family already in Canada.”

        You haven’t been paying attention to Canada recently then. The current requirement is to simply walk across the border outside of an official entry point – on duty border agents even carry your luggage for you (yes, our “refugees” come with luggage and yes, our “border” agents do carry it for them.)

  9. ga gamba says

    The polls thus confirm a fundamental shift in Swedish politics: SD – which is shunned by the other parties, who refer to its roots in the far-right movement – only entered the Riksdag after the 2010 elections, to the astonishment of large parts of the political and media establishment.

    On 29 Aug 2018, Bloomberg reported:Different pollsters are showing wildly different results for the Sweden Democrats (SD), but they are all in agreement that the nationalist, anti-immigration upstart will make major gains in the Sept. 9 election.

    According to YouGov, the party is set to overtake the ruling Social Democrats as the biggest party, with backing of 24.2 percent in its most recent poll. [Note: this was the fourth consecutive poll where SD topped all others.] Sentio Research estimates its support will rise to 21.8 percent. At other pollsters, it averages 19.1 percent.

    That’s a 27% difference between the average and the high. Sentio and YouGov are web-based, which have problems with self-selecting populations, but it is thought Swedes are more forthright on internet surveys than telephonic ones, which have their own problems due to so many people not publishing their mobile numbers. The difference may be due to the ‘Shy-Tory’ phenomenon where respondents holding what are deemed unpopular opinions in the legacy media and politic society don’t answer honestly.

    The Social Democrats also polled higher than the previous month, apparently at the expense of the Greens, suggesting leftwing voters were swapping parties strategically in worries over the SD being the top voter getter. In an interesting wrinkle, a YouGov poll of 5 Sep asked voters which one party would they vote out of parliament, if such a possibility existed. The SD would be voted out by 44% of voters and 21% chose the Greens.

    Sentio’s 2014 web-based survey most accurately captured the voters’ thoughts and its forecast of 12.7% for the SD was almost spot on; the telephonic pollsters predicted SD would take 10% or less – this difference was a miss by greater than 21%.

    The bookmakers’ odds have SD becoming the largest party. Bloomberg: At Betsson, a bet on that pays just 1.7 times the money, the lowest among all parties. A bet on the Social Democrats will return 1.85 times, while a bet on the Moderates will yield 12 times the money.

    I mention this because I generally think money talks and bullshit walks, but, that said, the bookmakers failed on both Brexit and Trump, so punters may be a bit more risk averse than the voters. It appears seismic shifts aren’t captured well by the odds makers.

    Looking at what voters claim to be their concerns, housing trumps immigration. In fact, housing is the top concern – other polls have healthcare. Does this favour a party pledging significant investment in the nation’s housing stock? Perhaps. But maybe not. Voters may be looking at who’s to blame for the current shortfall and the reasons for it. Reading news reports of 2016 and 2017, we find the housing crisis has been reported frequently.

    In Oct 2017 news site thelocal.se reported: 60 percent of Swedish municipalities said they had experienced a ‘displacement effect’ – where other vulnerable groups had a difficult time finding a home because of the right to housing for asylum seekers.

    “As a consequence, others who need housing go without. We are not obliged to supply housing for them,” said Thed Carlsson, head of social services in Hässleholm municipality.

    In August 2017, the same news source reported: According to the country’s National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket), 255 of Sweden’s 290 municipalities now report a housing shortage. Adding: Sweden’s young people are a group suffering particularly badly from the current situation, and for many of them the idea of having their own home in the near future is increasingly a pipedream. According to a recent report by the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen), almost a quarter of young people aged between 20 and 27 in the country currently live with their parents.

    In Feb 2018, a Boverket report stated Sweden must significantly ramp up its home construction in the next few years, or the country’s housing crisis risks worsening even more.

    “Sweden needs to build 600,000 homes by 2025 to satisfy the need.”

    I think we can safely forecast those who oppose immigration will support the SD strongly on Sunday. What remains to be seen is whether ‘housing’ is a Shy-Tory code indicating displeasure with immigration too.

    My Swedish brother-in-law’s guess: SD outperforms expectations and takes 28% of the vote.

  10. Paul Ellis says

    “I doubt any country can handle receiving 25% of its population every year, while most can handle 10%”

    The UK population is currently a bit north of 63 million. 10% of that – 6.3 million – is 6x larger than the population of the UK’s 2nd largest city, Birmingham (population 1.1 million).

    Apparently some people think the UK is capable of building 6 Birminghams per year to house these people. Oh, and give them incomes, too, and maybe even jobs, and education for their many, many children. And healthcare. And pensions. And the rest of it.

    If you’d said most countries can handle 1% – 630,000 – we’d still be looking at a number larger than the population of Glasgow, which at 593,000 is by far Scotland’s largest city, and the UK’s 3rd largest.

    Realistically, given the cultural, educational, and skills gap between typical immigrants to the UK and the indigenous population, the UK might just about cope with an annual influx of 63,000, or 0.1%.

    That’s a city the size of Dewsbury, home of the 7/7 London Tube and bus bombers, to be built and provisioned annually.

    Yes, “It is good to limit immigration to sustainable levels.”

  11. In Europe, there are 2 categories of nations: the ones with, and those without a colonial history. Those with, seldom had much respect for the colonized citizens, in fact, they thought often that they had the task to civilize them, to educate them, to slowly teach them to democratize and westernize . More often than not, the colonizers had even different laws for the colonized, there was nothing like equal rights. Sweden never had colonies, therefore, miss an important stage, and floor to learn and handle such things somewhat. So, I pity them. Poor Swedes!

  12. Susan says

    Douglas Murray, among others, says that most Swedes will live long enough to see themselves becoming a minority in their own country just as the British have become a minority in London.

  13. D.B. Cooper says

    One of the strangest things to me, I must admit, is just how nonplused our (the West) titular free press becomes, when editorializing on the potential causes for the balkanization of Western societies. How much ink does one need to spill when positing discursive theories for the contemporary degradation of Western societies? Naiveté this is not. To earnestly think that Europe could open its doors to – and in some cases more or less import – legions of people (many of which are young males, no less) from third world countries and not suffer pernicious effects, proportional to the place and size of the population that was allowed in, is well, so preposterous, so absurdly divorced from reality it’s not even wrong.

    I can’t help but wonder, if it ever crosses the mind of journalists to stop midway through that first draft and ask themselves what it was, exactly, that made the countries that these people are fleeing ‘third world’, because it wasn’t the dirt or the trees or the water that made those countries – to borrow a phrase – shitholes. It wasn’t ‘third world’ air that was holding these people back from realizing the economic and social progress seen in European societies.

    Frankly, it should be insulting to any thinking person that a supposed free press – media orgs (large & small), journalists, bloggers, vloggers and the like et al. – would pretend believe (and more importantly want you to believe) that the type of problems we see in Sweden are due to some irreducible complexity of a just so story. It’s not.

    For much of the media – and for damn sure the MSM – the discourse on immigration from the third world is constrained by an implied blank-slatism philosophy. The media’s tortured struggle to legitimize idealistic justifications for the sudden onset of problems in Europe springs from their resilient, yet, empirically untenable belief that man is born a blank slate. It is simply taken as an article of faith that innate differences do not exist. To publicly extend the consideration that differences in intelligence and personality traits have some explanatory power is simply a bridge too far for any respectable member of the fourth estate.

    Although the author does throw a bone or two to the social conventions of our time by waxing and waning her way through a list of nonfatal ailments (e.g. women >65 poverty risk) that almost certainly play very little roll in the Sweden Democrats meteoric rise, she does – to her credit – have the good taste to draw the line at not acknowledging the actual problem: immigrants. I would argue the line probably should’ve been drawn before the 4th to the last paragraph, but she pinned the donkey, nonetheless.

    Let’s be blunt here, it’s not as if the West is running a deficit on the chronically unproductive, socially maladaptive, and/or cognitively infirm. I’m reminded of this truism every October by way of an unsettling mob of evidence that my yearly family reunion provides. They’re not the right color, granted; but they’re a shoo-in for every other disconcerting quality that makes you want to lock your doors at night. Is it really a good idea to import more of that?

    If Western countries are going to have such a hard-on for immigrants, we should at least have the good sense to maybe give potential candidates an IQ test or some type of standardized test that’s scalable. Until five minutes ago, a kid couldn’t get into a single university in America without taking the SAT/ACTs. The idea that you wouldn’t let an American kid into a public university without gauging their potential, but you’d let a foreigner into your country without knowing if they can do long division seems like a bad idea. But, maybe I’m just being a bit draconian about it all.

    • Kessler says

      The truth isn’t nice. And in modern world niceness is everything. I think this is partially where all this no platforming and shutting down of debate is happening – to avoid confronting ugly truths. He’s a Nazi – quickly children, put fingers in your ears and shout la-la-la. I’ve watched a couple videos, when a person bluntly stated scientific facts and it basically shut down interviewers, because it didn’t adhere to proscribed narrative.

      • D.B. Cooper says

        Reality is what remains once you stop believing in it.

    • Paul Ellis says

      “The media’s tortured struggle to legitimize idealistic justifications for the sudden onset of problems in Europe springs from their resilient, yet, empirically untenable belief that man is born a blank slate.”

      Culturally, I think man probably is born a blank slate – babies absorb their cultural surroundings – but the slate quickly gets marks put upon it, most of which become indelible. Very few African immigrants are newborns. Most are people already indelibly imbued with their host cultures, which they most certainly bring with them, and which evidently tend to frown upon assimilation.

      This is not to deny that innate differences do not exist. How could they not?

  14. Enough is enough says

    “it remains one of the wealthiest, most egalitarian and safest countries in the world.”

    “In addition, crime has become a priority among voters. Social unrest, shootings and hand grenade attacks stand out, both from a historical perspective, and compared to the rest of Scandinavia. Only in the last month, the police reported two explosions. A number of attacks in the past years, including explosions, have been directed against police and other government agencies.”

    Pick one mate, because they can’t both be true.

    • Kessler says

      To think the day has come, when doublethink is flourishing in the West, rather then being confined to totalitarian communist states.

    • They can, Enough i.e., it all depends where you are, in the suburb Rinkeby, with few women on the street , but many doner kebab bistros and 90% immigrants, or in downtown Stockholm and the white suburbs. There is now a book on the issue, Leere Herzen, of German Juli Zeh, a futuristic dystopy, in which this whole segregation is clearly explained. People are living a comfortabe life in their own fortifications. That’s our future in Europe, at least, if this fiction is going to be realised.

  15. Darwin T of BC Humanists says

    No background depth of the history of the Social Democratic Party in Sweden is given. Nothing about how it started out too far right and is now right wing but not too nutty. Define nutty you say! Exactly, where is the background and foreground information.

  16. Pingback: Swedish democracy – Ralph Waldo Porcupine

  17. RichieRich says

    It’s massively telling that this article on Swedish politics, written (I’m presuming) by a Swede, makes no explicit mention of Islam or Muslims.

    I don’t believe that Swedes generally or the SD in particular are anti-immigration in the sense that they oppose all immigration. I suspect they’re more than happy to welcome the occasional Norwegian, Dane, Finn, American or Brit. But what an increasing number of Swedes are opposed to is the importation of large numbers of third-world Muslims.

    Shame on the author for not stating this explicitly and shame on Quillette for publishing an article that can’t get beyond hints, intimation and nudge nudge wink wink.

  18. Cassandra says

    There have been a lot of comments criticising the author for not being more explicit in recognising the concerns about third world immigration into Sweden which are mobilising support for the SD.

    Rather than criticise, I think readers should be interested in the author’s analysis, and what it may show about Sweden.

    For me, it reveals the depth of commitment to a social and political identity , a way of looking at the nation which is deeply embedded. I remember a Swedish Minister in tears on television because the government was being forced to admit that they could not cope with the influx of migrants during the high tide of 2015. Many of of us in other countries thought this was foolish or pathetic, but I don’t believe that most Swedes did. It represented their own feelings about being forced to fall short of a widely accepted ideal of behaviour.

    I think,it is also possible that many Swedes, as I believe is also the case in Germany, are just not informed about what is happening in their country. The MSM do not report most of these incidents, or if they do, they are toned down and disguised. Although the BBC tries hard to follow suit, it cannot manage, because we have access to other media, with the great advantage of using one of the worlds most popular languages. I cannot forget how the media derided Trump for asking what was going on in Sweden. Several months later, their own Prime Minister appeared to be asking the same question when faced with orchestrated gang violence and disorder across several cities.

    So I think the author is representing a large number of intelligent people in Sweden, who are beginning to question the direction their country is taking. Calling her out because she doesn’t have the perspective of foreign watchers is unhelpful.

  19. Does anyone have any idea what has happened with that Swedish student activist Elin Ersson who prevented a plane with an extradited immigrant from taking off? It seems like there is complete censorship over the internet on that, apart from her ‘heroic’ acts in the end of July. Seems remarkable that no one medium has followed through on such a lefty and fruitful story.

  20. martti_s says

    In Finland we had a party official of the Greens try the same stunt on a Finnair flight but they threw her out and pressed charges.

  21. I remember something different on a flight from Brussels to Kampala. Remember, Belgium once was the colonial boss there in the area. We were all seated, and saw from the small plane windows ( everybody had boarded already),a shouting black woman , forced by police, being brought to the steps, and forced to enter the plane. She kept shouting until she was in. Then she was quiet and in Kampala just left the plane like us. I thought: finally, good action,why not more so?? (though I never knew the backgrounds and the juridical case). I told the anecdote to friends in Kenya, where they all sided with that woman, to my surprise, because I had learned to know Kenyans as quite reasonable persons.

  22. Dr George B Miller says

    “The government has, however, done its best to play down such new statistics.”

    All Western governments are doing this. Patting the populace on the head and reassuring them everything is fine. And completely unable or unwilling to see that massive uncontrolled immigration is a problem.

    Many of the immigrants from Syria were not fleeing Assad but were fleeing the jihadist mercenaries who took over the revolution. They should be encouraged – even paid – to return to Syria once the government is again in control of the country.

    And it would help if the USA could be persuaded to change its policy of perpetual war in the Middle East.

  23. Far right bad. Far left good. Far right bad. Far left good. Far right bad. Far left good. By the way what does being far right even mean? I would consider myself pretty conservative therefore I must be far right yet many of the motivations or policy perscriptions ascribed to that moniker are nothing anything I or any other conservative I know shares. Most of the time its just a slur to conjure up a phobic boogey man to tar people who have ideas progressives disagree with. And what does anti-immigrant mean? If I want a sovereign nation that controls its own borders and only want to allow people in that benefit the nation (ie merit based immigration) does that make me anti-immigrant? Sure seems so apparently. Even on this site the authors frequently use the elite speak poisining the important discussions of the day.

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