Finally I have arrived at the SSU-congress in Linköping and I can just confirm what a lot of people are saying: the ambiance here is pretty good! To share the leadership between the two sides (“left” and “right”) was most probably the only way forward and I wish Anna and Mattias the best of luck. The new leadership is however carrying a huge responsibility and the way forward must be full of politics and new ideas and positions - and SSU must not use the rearview mirror to find these new ideas. I find some of the decisions of the congress quite worrying, for example the demand for a six-hour workday (heard of demographic challenges, anyone?), that all three year olds have to be placed in kindergartens (will the police come and get them otherwise?), and that all education must be run by the public sector (say fare-thee-well to all wonderful schools run by NGOs, trade unions, and other actors in the third-not-private-nor-public-sector). Also, if you decide that the replacement levels in the welfare systems should be increased to 90 percent, I would also like to know how to pay for it.
Right now a debate over free trade is going on, and one delegate just proposed that free trade should only be allowed between already rich nations. I advice people questioning free trade to read the book I am reading right now, “Why globalization works” by Martin Wolf
. Naturally, as a social democrat I am not only happy with free trade, after that politics (i.e. redistribution, ensuring trade union rights and good working conditions) must follow, as one delegate (think it was one of the Aranda-brothers) just underlined. And I hope that these forward looking points of views in SSU will not lose political ground, even if I definitely think that compromises must be made in many areas, and most naturally the congress will have the last word.
Lastly, you can find interesting op-eds in Swedish about the congress by Monica Sundberg here
and by Åsa Petersen here