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Swedish Newspaper Bashes "French Vanity"

by NordicStorm Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 04:41:05 PM EST

Eurotrib user someone has previously done a run-down of Swedish media coverage of the French presidential election.

Swedish daily newspaper Expressen is apparently not happy with the French presidential campaign. In a recent editorial they're lamenting the fact that there's no "self-proclaimed liberal" among the twelve candidates. What follows is the usual neoliberal talking points bashing all things French. The economy is in the toilet, unemployment is enormous, France is in decline, liberal reform is the only cure. Not even Sarkozy is spared from the wrath of Expressen, though towards the end they manage to squeeze in some faint praise anyway.

Fransk fåfänga

Tur att man inte är fransk väljare. I det startfält som ställer upp i presidentvalet 22 april återfinns socialister, trotskister, en globaliseringsmotståndare och nationalister, men inte en enda självutnämnd liberal.
French vanity

It's fortunate one isn't part of the French electorate. In the line-up participating in the presidential election on April 22 you can find socialists, trotskyists, an opponent of globalisation and nationalists, but not a single self-proclaimed liberal.
Och i stället för att debattera Frankrikes enorma problem - en skyhög ungdomsarbetslöshet, låg tillväxt och en genomreglerad och statsdominerad ekonomi - domineras dagordningen av nationalistiska teman.
Högerns kandidat Nicolas Sarkozy har sjunkit allra djupast genom att föreslå ett ministerium för "immigration och nationell identitet".
And instead of debating France's enormous problems - sky high youth unemployment numbers, low growth and a through and through regulated and state dominated economy - the order of the day is dominated by nationalist themes.
The right's candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has sunk to the lowest level of all by proposing a ministry for "immigration and national identity."
Efter tolv borttappade år med Jacques Chirac borde Frankrikes väljare törsta efter verklig förändring. Landet sackar ohjälpligt efter och alla de problem som Chirac en gång lovade att lösa har tvärtom förvärrats. I stället för att hela Frankrikes "sociala frakturer", som Chirac lovade, har förorterna exploderat i upplopp. I stället för förändring och reformer blev det tolv år av stagnation.
De franska väljarna skulle behöva presidentkandidater som vågar säga de obekväma sanningarna. Som att det är dags att vakna upp till den globaliserade världen. Frankrike måste öppna upp sin ekonomi, sitt jordbruk och sin kultur.
After twelve lost years with Jacques Chirac, the French electorate should be thirsting for real change. The country is falling hopelessly behind and all the problems Chirac once promised to solve have, on the contrary, worsened. Instead of healing France's "social fractures," as Chirac promised, the suburbs have exploded in riots. Instead of change and reforms there was twelve years of stagnation.
The French electorate would need presidential candidates who dare to speak the unpleasant truths. Like the fact that it's time to wake up to the globalised world. France must open its economy, its agriculture and its culture.
Men ingen av presidentkandidaterna har haft modet att ta en sådan debatt. Sarkozy har visserligen flaggat för reformer tidigare, men det budskapet har på sistone drunknat i protektionistiska utspel och i hans allt skamlösare nationalistiska offensiv. Royal vågar inte utmana sina vänsterväljare och den nye uppstickaren, François Bayrou, rasar mot vad han kallar för "orättvis utländsk konkurrens" och förordar ett beskyddande EU. But none of the presidential candidates has had the courage to take part in such a debate. Sarkozy has certainly previously signaled for reforms, but that message has recently drowned in protectionist outbursts and in his ever more shameless nationalist offensive. Royal dares not challenge her left-wing electorate, and the new emergent candidate, François Bayrou, rages against what he calls "unfair foreign competition" and promotes a protective EU.

So, in other words, they would be fine with Sarkozy, if he would just stop draping himself in the Tricolore and bashing foreigners. A bit of liberal "reform" and voilà! the "sick man of Europe" will be back on his feet in no time.

Although Royal doesn't figure prominently in the editorial, they manage to get in a dig at her of the not-so-subtle kind. If you click on the link above, do note how the editorial begins with a large picture of Ségolène Royal immediately above the headline, Fransk fåfänga, French vanity. When Expressen writes about "French vanity," the image they want you to have in your mind is that of Ségolène Royal. One wonders why.

The larger point the editorial is trying to make is that the nationalist themes running in some of the campaigns are distracting from issues that, you know, matter. Which, in itself, is a perfectly legitimate point. But Expressen's contention seems to be that the issues being distracted from consist primarily of how one most effectively dismantles the social safety net and lets liberalism rule supreme.

It's cute that they've neglected to mention that the last time around, when there was a self-proclaimed Thatcherite liberal, Alain Madelin, he came in 10th place, with less than 4% of the votes.

You know, democracy works like that - people vote for what they wish to vote for, and unpopular ideas don't go far. But I imagine that the editors of this particular rag aren't particularly democratic.

At least Ekstra Bladet has a redeeming "Side 9 pigen" feature. I can't seem to find it in this, Sweden's apparent journalistic equivalent.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 05:13:02 PM EST
Expressen's editorial staff has completely drunk the neoliberal kool-aid. Though, they're primarily a tabloid rag. When they're not bashing French presidential candidates, they're typically reporting on the recent exploits of Britney Hilton and Paris Lohan, or whatever their names are.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 05:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's what I figured, based on the layout. Basically an Ekstra Bladet in Swedish.

Although I can't seem to find the page 9 girl.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 05:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm wait a minute, maybe that would explain the seemingly gratuitous picture of Royal in the editorial...she's the page 2 girl!

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 05:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, when I think about it, the combo liberal editorial staff / tabloid rag makes perfect sense. They believe in the free market, and they've discovered that the best way to sell papers is to appeal to lowest common denominator and report on trivial stuff of little relevance. The market has spoken, hallelujah!

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 05:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The people in charge of Expressen are total and complete idiots.

They are freaking neolibs, pushed the war and frenzily attacked Carl Bildt and the documentary about former pm Göran Persson.

They are a bunch of completely humorless neocon-neolib politically correct assholes.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 06:58:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now don't beat about the bush, Starvid, tell it like it is...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 07:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
typiska svenska fördomar

but on the other hand, it's difficult for a Swede to understand what the French left is whining about. The French socialists on the Swedish scale, are on the level with the old Swedish VPK, that is to say the communists. And the extreme-left has always been marginal in Sweden.

If Ségolène (who is proclaiming the "Scandinavian model" as her inspiration) was really trying to put in a program she would be called a fascist by the French left, except DSK. Pension at 67, 40 hours a week, teachers working like everybody else, only three major "public services" (part of energy, part of railways and a big mining company) compensated with one of the best and efficient welfare systems in the world and low unemployment, who wants such a thing ? and total transparency of state's affairs (diareföringen), ministers that have to resign because they buy a toblerone with state money (no hidden ISF avoiding Mougins real estate here), and practically no right to strike ? Who wants that ?

Expressen is a dirty rag and has always been. But they just represent what the average Swede thinks even if he whines about taxes. Who doesn't ?

Few of Expressen's journalists can read French, to they probably get their stuff through the bias of the anglo-saxon prees, which doesn't help.

God beware us for Swedish liberalism. It's called social-democracy.

by oldfrog on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 10:28:44 PM EST
Hey, oldfrog, do you speak Swedish?

The SDP has been gradually drifting rightwards for quite a while now. My father (who's rather extrême gauche) always laments the fact that the Swedish Left Party of today is where the SDP was at 20-30 years ago.

My impression is that Swedes generally are better at French than us Finns, but I could be wrong.
Heck, they even imported a king from France! ;-)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 03:36:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pension is at 65, while in reality around 62, and teachers working like everyone else?

They get the same vacations as the students, that is 10 weeks in the middle of summer on top of christmas leave, february leave and a couple more.

The transperency crap is just that - crap. As everything written down that is not secret is public, the important stuff just isn't written down...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:24:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pension are at 62-67 with increased benefits the longer you wait. I have not seen any statistics on what the actual pension age is.

Some important things are not written down, but on the other hand a lot of things has to be written in order for a bureaucracy to function. And digging through those documents and sorting the pieces can form pretty convincing puzzles.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 5th, 2007 at 12:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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