Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Election watch: Leijongate, Persson, etc

Leijongate: This sad affair might have taken a new serious turn: the “24 year old press secretary at Liberal Youth” has said to the police that when party secretary Jakobsson sent him to the media, he was not asked to confess. He was told by Jakobsson to give the password away to a journalist, so that the media could dig up dirt about the Social Democrats. The journalist who the “24 year old” eventually went to says the same thing. Did Leijonborg know? Why isn’t Reinfeldt answering question about whether he knew?

Imagine if the Social Democratic party secretary Marita Ulvskog sent the press secretary of the Social Democratic Youth (SSU) to a journalist, telling the press secretary to encourage the journalist to spy on the Liberal Party, giving him a secret password. The media would go nuts. But so far this is not a major story. And when TV4 broke the news about a site put up by the Liberal Party, a site predicting the Social Democratic party’s next political move!!!, that story died down pretty quickly as well. Imagine if the Social Democratic party put up a site like that, got the predictions right, and at the same time had been spying on the Liberal Party through their intranet…

I agree with Per Wirtén who said on the weekly public radio show Godmorgon Världen that this ought to be a bigger story. But my advice to the Social Democratic party remains the same: focus on a positive message and the own campaign, and let’s hope that other journalists will do the digging.

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Tonight SVT will broadcast a documentary in which journalist Jan Josefsson will discuss the moral of the Social Democratic Party. As far as we know, Josefsson will make a contrast between Göran Persson’s speeches about poverty and the “classless society”, and the new, big farmhouse that the Prime Minister is building.

My whole take on this is the following. I wrote my first article about the “triangulation” tactics of the Conservative party already in 2004. I think the article was called “When Reinfeldt reads Dick Morris, the fight gets tougher”. The basic idea with “triangulation tactics” is to move as close to your political opponent as you can, steal their best political argument (jobs, in this case), and then beat them through being the “fresh”/”younger”/”less corrupt” alternative.

Since we have known for quite a while that this is the new Conservative strategy, Göran Persson’s new house and all the Social Democratic scandals came in almost too handy for the opposition. I have warned about his before, and to a certain extent we have helped them with their strategy.

Personally, I have no problems if Göran Persson wants to use his hard earned money to build a house, together with his wife. It is their house, their money, and their decision. He knows how most Social Democratic party leaders have lived before (less fancy, that is). The problem, from my point of view, is that the media easily can fit this into a story of how distant some Social Democrats are supposed to be from their core voters.

My experience after quite a few years in the Social Democratic party, two of them as a member of the Executive Committee, is that all people I have worked with are in it for the politics. They are in it for the values and ideals of the Social Democratic party. Not for the money or the urge to become part of some kind of “elite, political class”. Honestly, that’s my view, and if you have heard Göran Persson talk about his house and his love for the nature and the region where it is located, it is pretty clear that he has found new energy out there. Energy he needed after the death of Anna Lindh.

And naturally, Åsa Petersen is right when she writes that the most important thing Göran Persson can do is to continue to stand up for policies that can enable many more people to do the kind of class journey like the one he has done. And that’s what this election is about.
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16 out of 16 professors in economics at universities in Stockholm support congestion charges in the city. More here.

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Professor Bo Malmberg shows that Göran Persson was right in the debate against Reinfeldt about inequalities in Sweden and Europe. More here.

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I have already forgotten The Merseyside derby I watched Saturday, and I am sure Liverpool will beat PSV Eindhoven tonight.

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“All the King’s Men” will soon hit cinemas in Sweden. A film about US politics, with Sean Penn as leading actor… But the gossip from across the Atlantic is that it did not live up to expectations!? I will watch it anyway, cool trailer here.


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