Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Scandinavian politics updated

For those of you who follow Swedish politics through this blog, the following story might be interesting. Norway had an election last Monday, it was won by the center-left (hurray!) and now the leader of the Social Democratic Party in Norway (Jens Stoltenberg) will lead a coalition together with the Left party and the Center/Farmers party. The Center/agrarian parties in Scandinavian politics have traditionally cooperated with the Social Democrats, in Sweden for example during the 1950s and the mid-1990s. But the Swedish Center party is now very neo-liberal and it is part of the right-wing opposition alliance in Sweden.

Funny enough, the Center parties of Sweden and Norway have quite a close cooperation (they basically have the same logo), so today I called the Center party in Sweden and asked if they had sent a telegram to congratulate their sister party in Norway, since they are part of the winning coalition that will form a government with the Social Democratic party. The answer was that they had not done that. But when I called the Center party in Norway they were pretty happy about the telegram from Sweden that they also sent me by e-mail.

Finally I also found the telegram on the Swedish Center party’s webpage, somewhat hidden. The comments made by the secretary general of the Swedish Center party were pretty funny, and you can read the whole story here. Three quick points in addition:
1. Congratulations to all my Soc Dem friends in Norway; Gry, Eirik (sälunge!), Geir, Kjetil and the others in AUF (I know I still owe you money Kjetil, and congrats to the Rosenborg victory yesterday Geir, and you were awesome in the Trondheim-debate Gry, I saw it on Swedish TV). And congrats to all your young, new MPs, Truls and the rest.
2. I prefer the Norwegian Center party to the Swedish one.
3. It is always more important for the opposition to have a concrete alternative to the ruling government than vice-versa; the voters know what they have but not what they will get. But the Social Democratic party in Sweden needs to think about how it wants to govern the country in the future – because I don’t want to see the leader of the Swedish Center party as a Minister of Anything in my country. Ever.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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14/9/05 16:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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14/9/05 16:06  
Anonymous Jon Worth said...

The Finnish Centre Party (Keskusta) also seems to be more reasonable, although maybe the parallels there are not to valid... They are in government with the Social Democrats though, although also a member party of the ALDE in the European Parliament. There's an excellent page on Wikipedia about them here.

As for why the Swedish Centre Party are in the right wing alliance: maybe something to do with the SAP having been too damned effective at winning elections until now (better than the Norwegian social democrats), leading to a more unified opposition?

14/9/05 17:19  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

The Wikipedia page sure was very informative. I think the Finnish Keskusta is pretty close to what the Swedish Center party was five years ago, before the neo-liberal trend started. One thing that speaks in favour of the Swedish Center party though is their new "federalist" view of the EU, according to Wikipedia the old Finnish agrarians/now called Keskusta are pro-CAP...! And on the other hand, the Finnish Social Democrats are very progressive when it comes to the EU.

14/9/05 20:11  
Blogger Örn said...

Enough yapping about Scandinavian politics - which are about as entertaining as Bob Saget. Lets get a footballing lesson from Christiano Ronaldo:

15/9/05 02:26  
Anonymous Andreas Ribbefjord said...

Sweden's leading daily Dagens Nyheter and loads of others subscribe to the new definition of the Swedish Centre Party as "socialliberal" by domestic definition, and free from their special interest legacy.

Still, you're neoliberal assessment. What is neoliberal? Does it apply to Social Democratic privatisations during the 1990's? Who cares? As long as it sounds frightening to our readers and passes strapped on to our non-socialist enemies, it's useful!

15/9/05 09:17  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

Örn: That was indeed really funny, what is your take on Owen going to Newcastle and not L'pool?

Andreas: I don't think the agreement in Bankeryd can be called "social liberal" according to the traditional "Bengt-Westerberg-definition" in Swedish politics. Maud Olofsson spoke of "rött ogräs" (red weed) when the Swedish Liberal party still wanted the replacement levels at 80 percent for cancer patients and others; that is a nasty, neo-liberal comment to me.

15/9/05 09:35  
Blogger Örn said...

I am indifferent to Owen. If he would have rejoined he might cause other players to become unsettled. Anyway Owen wants to win trophies, so Newcastle is good place for him.

15/9/05 14:48  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

Trophies with Newcastle? Did you hear about the break in into the trophy cabinet at St James' park? The police is looking for two men and black and white carpet...

15/9/05 15:24  
Anonymous Andreas Ribbefjord said...

Bengt Westerberg? To the best of my knowledge, Bertil Ohlin set the Swedish definition of "socialliberalism".

"Rätt ogräs" was a pun Maud threw handing over a photo of the tree planted by the non-socialist alliance next to her home. Remember? She was referring to the Swedish Liberal party, yes, since the recipient was party leader Lars Leijonborg. Your interpretation, however, demands a bit of an imagination. As does your use of the word neoliberalism.

Replacements benefits amount to over half of the state's budget these days, you know. It'd be really amusing to hear you complaining about neoliberalism as a supposed post 2006 socialist government is forced to cut benefits as a result of unbearable budget strain.

16/9/05 00:26  
Blogger Petteri Oksa said...

Eric, that's quite right that our Center party is pro-Cap. They are honoring their agrarian background by defending farmes money very effectively.

I think I've told you before, but I have to add that we have a saying in Finland:"Center party always betrays". It is not totally wrongly said, which makes it quite difficult from time to time to be in same government with them...

16/9/05 09:59  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

Petteri: So I guess the Norweigian Center party wins the beauty contest in the Nordic countries right now!? By the way, didn't your Center party go through quite a few scandals lately (Prime Minister in trouble)?

18/9/05 20:30  
Blogger Petteri Oksa said...

Oh, yes. The PM who got elected by strongly promoting "family values" got divorced and was and still is being accused cheating his wife by anonymous woman. The woman claims to be the one who the pm cheated his wife with. Go figure.

Well, it's not bad thing for us considering the upcoming presidential elections ;)

19/9/05 08:49  

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