Racists are Poised to Hold the Balance of Power In Sweden After Polls Close Today

by Beth Cherryman

Immigration.  Immigration.  Immigration.  Just a pseudo-issue in our own election, throw out as a question no one really expected an answer to, the aim instead being to fluster the politician it was directed to.  However, it seems the far-right party Sweden Democrats with their racist ideologies may play quite a significant role in Sweden’s next government.

The Sweden Democrats, formerly a bunch of skinhead racists ignored by any kosher press or politics, seem to blame Muslim immigration for all Sweden’s woes (e.g. the 46 shootings that have occurred this year in the city of Malmo).

Of course the world’s rightwing press has jumped on the bandwagon, bolstering fear and the opinion that Sweden is currently compromising too much with Arab “anti-democratic values”.  As usual Rupert Murdoch’s empire looks to be thoroughly enjoying its self.

America is dealing with its own growing prejudice toward anyone of Arab decent.  But lets face it, we saw that one coming.

Traditionally socialist, it first surprises me that Sweden has had a coalition government ruled by the moderate right and that the moderate right four party alliance is likely to oust the Social Democrats yet again.  It would seem that Swedish people are coming around to the idea of sacrificing the welfare system for tax cuts.  Unlike the UK, I might add, who seems to be sacrificing our welfare state for significant tax increases.

It secondly, and more greatly, surprises me that Sweden Democrats are poised to assume the role of kingmaker in the forthcoming Swedish parliament.  A Synovate survey predicts they will steal 5.9 percent of the votes (21 seats).

How has Sweden, in just two terms, strayed so far from their quiet and progressive mindset?

Obviously the economy must play a part.  Sweden has managed to spare itself from most of misery Europe has seen.  Surely this will make the moderate right government popular.  But it does not explain the growing anti-Islam culture.

Then again the British National Party (BNP) achieved a similar notoriety and force before being flattened in the UK elections earlier this year.  Perhaps, support for the Sweden Democrats is simply a message that immigration should be addressed, and that these people actually will never be able to bring themselves to positively vote for such extreme ideologies.

The Iraqi immigrants have tended to settle in one place, such a concentration of people ‘unswedish’ in appearance and custom, probably goes a long way to scaring the outnumbered Swedes in the area.  No doubt, their perception is somewhat warped of reality.

Indeed of the 14% of the Swedish population that are immigrants, the largest influx has come from neighbouring Finland.  Iraq is the second largest group.

I will look on with interest as the results come in at the end of today and I hope that UK government will do the same.  It is not difficult to draw parallels with the UK; a previously second rate issue ought to be addressed to make sure we never find a far-right racist party with the balance of power here.