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A bogus we-want-our-country-back narrative has taken hold in Sweden
For the past few months, the country has been bombarded on social media by an avalanche of trolls, fake news, misinformation and alternative facts - outright lies, in other words - as polling day approaches.

The origin of these attacks is obscure, though Sweden's cyber police have identified thousands of social media "bots", probably located abroad. But the trolls have a single theme - that Sweden is finished, falling apart, doomed. It is crime-ridden, and overrun by illegal immigrants. Its cities are no-go areas for police, and rape is at epidemic levels.

All of these claims are false, or misrepresent basic facts, and are contradicted by evidence, as the Swedish government and media have gone to great lengths to show. Yet the narrative the torrent of abuse has inspired, of Sweden as a nation in a deep crisis, has fed into the election campaign and aided the rise of a far-right party called the Sweden Democrats.

The Sweden Democrats are the latest addition to the ranks of Europe's resurgent hard right. They share its conservative-nationalist hostility to immigrants and the European Union, and an ideology tinged with scapegoating and anti-semitism. One of the party's founders was a Nazi, and others had ties to neo-fascist groups. That makes the party's rise to mainstream status as sinister as that of the Alternative for Germany faction that was the big winner in the German election last year.

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Some variant of that bogus we-want-our-country-back narrative has taken hold in Italy, America, Hungary, and even Germany. Now a growing number of Swedish voters appear to be in its grip, in response to the message that the country's widely admired model of equality and fairness is broken.

Yet the peddlers of that message are a political movement which offers nothing except the scapegoating of immigrants and the untenable, catch-all argument that the country is in "crisis". If they embrace the Sweden Democrats on Sunday, Swedish voters will deal a grievous blow to their country's progressive and liberal credentials, and to its image as a society to be emulated. The losers will be not just themselves, but the vital centre of European politics.

The people with the moral right to demand their country back - because they have really lost it - are Syrian and Rohingya refugees. If western societies refuse to acknowledge that fact, then they truly have lost all sense of proportion.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 05:05:53 PM EST

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