Where are you, Reinfeldt?
Yesterday a very friendly Christian organization working with foreign aid (Diakonia) held a ”Make poverty history” manifestation in central Stockholm. All the party leaders came, except for the Prime Minister Göran Persson who had an excellent excuse (he is heading the UN General Assembly in New York) and the leader of the Swedish Tories, Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt. The Social Democrats were instead represented by the Secretary General, Marita Ulvskog, but the Swedish Tories did not show up at all. I spoke with the Secretary General of Diakonia today (Bo Forsberg) who said that they had been in touch with the Swedish Tories, underlining that they did not have to subscribe to every detail of the campaign, but just to make poverty history in general. Still Mr. Reinfeldt did not come. Maybe it is because of lack of interest, maybe it is because he would get too many questions about why he wants to lower taxes and pay for it by slashing the Swedish foreign aid budget.
When U2 played in Gothenburg this summer they dedicated the song “One” to the Swedish goal to give one percent of our GDP in foreign aid to less fortunate countries. I felt very proud when my friend Henrik told me that (I missed the concert due to the ECOSY summer camp in Portugal). I share Mr. Bo Forsberg worries about what will happen if the right-wing alliance will win the general election in Sweden in 2006 (read my interview with Bo Forsberg and others here). Reinfeldt is not in the picture from the manifestation above. I certainly hope he stays out of any picture where he would be responsible for Swedish relations with developing countries, such as Swedish Prime Minster, for example.
(Thanks to Markus Marcetic at Moment Agency for allowing me to publish the photo. If you want to see some nice photos, check out their website).