Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Debates: Fredrik and Ardalan were the best!

At 11:30 every day there is a debate just outside Wisby Hotell. Today Sven-Otto Littorin (Tories) and Anders Karlsson (soc dem) talked about… (yawn) I guess the two political alternatives we have in the election 2006. The debate made me somewhat worried. Sven-Otto mostly tried to hold Anders Karlsson responsible for everything that is not working in Sweden (notably the ”high” unemployment). Anders replied that things were not too good when the right-wing alliance was in power in 1991-1994. That was a long time ago Anders, but luckily he moved on and talked at least a little about a progressive growth agenda (mostly underlining the importance of education, life long learning and research and development).
As I said, the debate made me worried. Sven-Otto had nothing interesting to say and could not explain how lower replacement levels in the social security system could create more jobs, something that the acknowledged economist Assar Lindbeck questioned in the news yesterday. But the social democrats must move on and really present a detailed, progressive and radical agenda that will stimulate growth and create more jobs. Hopefully Marita Ulvskog will come with some hints tonight.
To cure this depression I went to the seminar about the future of the UN and the panel with all the leaders of the political youth organizations (except the Greens, who did not show up). Some introductory remarks where made by Maud Olofsson, leader of the formerly Farmers’, now Centrist, party. During the week of politics in 2003 she said that Hitler did “a lot of stupid stuff”, something I have written about here earlier. Now she spoke about the UN and it was the first time I heard her speak about international stuff. I was not too impressed since she basically read out quite a few nice things about the UN in general. She did mention that we have a huge problem when the UN is blocked or too weak during an on-going genocide, which was good. But would I like to, or can I even imagine, Maud Olofsson as Sweden’s Foreign Minister next to Annan, Blair or Solana? No.
After that a quite fun debate started. The new leader of the Christian Youth (Ella something) wanted a strong UN to promote women’s rights, funny as I thought that she came right out of the anti-abortion movement. She did stand up for foreign aid though. The two best debaters were, as usual, Fredrik Malm (Liberal youth) and Ardalan (Social Democratic Youth). They both took strong positions and combined it with a lot of personal examples. I don’t always agree with Fredrik but he says what he thinks: The UN had a lot of relevance during the Cold war but now it is wasting money and is incapable of delivering its overriding goal (peace, that is, stupid). He also quoted a bumper sticker from Tel Aviv: “UN: Unwanted Nobodies”. I don’t agree but I like strong positions.
Ardalan stood up for the UN, mentioned Nobel Prize winner Hjalmar Branting and used his experience from Iran to come to the following conclusion: If you grew up during the Iran-Iraqi war you never got to like Saddam, but to bomb without a UN-mandate or a VERY strong case (on-going genocide) can never be right. He also mentioned what I wrote about earlier, that Reinfeldt would like to count peacekeeping military operations as foreign aid. Are you reading my blog again, Ardalan?
Anyway, after following the debate for one hour I concluded that Fredrik and Ardalan seem to know a lot more about foreign policy than Maud Olofsson, and they both spoke with more passion than Maud. And by the way, why was Maud invited to the seminar?

Final note: Cannot think about foreign policy and/or Almedalen without missing Anna Lindh. Very very much.


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