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Swedish elections today

by fjallstrom Sat Sep 8th, 2018 at 09:58:27 PM EST

Sweden goes to the polls today. With low unemployment, sinking murder rates and improving school results, if you believe statistics. However, a large portion of population, media and foreign media treats statistics as a foul conspiracy and is intending to make it about how immigration ruined Sweden.

frontpaged - Bjinse

Now, as you may or may not know, Sweden has been an immigration country since after world war two. Segregation, and slightly higher crime rates among immigrants didn't appear until after 1990, when Sweden abolished full employment policies. Besides, immigration has shrunk dramatically since the iron borders went down across the continent. This hasn't stopped the Soc-Dems (useless) and the Moderates (conservative) from keep moving to the right, and in turn their poll numbers has slipped to around 25 and 17. Now, the Sweden Democrats (founded by actual world war two Nazis in the 80ies, but heaven forbid anyone labels them fascist) has actually also slipped in the polls, from over twenty percent, to around 17 (unless you believe glorified web panels).

Despite a record warm summer, and climate change tying with immigration as the second most important thing to the voters, the Environmental party (green) is threading water at 5-6%. Instead the left party (post-communist) seems to have cashed in on their opposition role and is around 10.

The most important thing to the voters, is actually health care. The Christian Democrats looks like they will remain in parliament at around 5-6, thanks to a misguided belief that they are good at health care.

Also in the running are the Liberal party, running on what a hundred years ago was called conservative school system, polling around 5-6, and the Centre party (farmers plus big city neoliberals), that has cashed in on being anti-anti-immigration, and polling around 9%.

Unless the polls are useless, forming a government will be tricky. Ah well, we will know the results in less than 24 hours, so government formation speculation can be post-poned until then.

This is very hit and run. Not even a link.

I will do the - in Sweden - tradition handing out of ballots outside a nearby polling station tomorrow. There are ballots inside too, so it's purely symbolical. As usual I am running for something, this time for a seat on the regional council for the greens. Probably why they don't get a snarky presentation. Or maybe I am running on their ticket because I feel they're less deserving of snark?

Anyway, got to sleep.

by fjallstrom on Sat Sep 8th, 2018 at 10:06:37 PM EST
then more hit and run please.

This election is extremely important, not only in and of itself, but as a case study. Thank for you posting this diary, and hats off for running, and lycka till.

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 11:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Segregation, and slightly higher crime rates among immigrants didn't appear until after 1990, when Sweden abolished full employment policies.
This correlates with the rise of extreme right more than any other factor: this is also the case in France, and, I suspect, in most European countries.

Unlike the neolibs with their "job insecurity is good for you" and the socialists who've been emulating them for the past there decades, the far right parties have made full employment one of their main planks (this and the expected racism).

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 09:16:55 AM EST
Like here in Austria the socialists got 5% less and the conservatives 5% more than the last time we had the far-right in government. And the socialists went into the election with a leader already burned from having to defend the completely random positions the much maligned coalition government took, while the conservatives used their old party leaer as ablative armor.
Similarily, what was the big difference between the 2002 and 2017 election in France? 4% for Le Pen?

European centrists feel like they have been absolved of all sins.

by generic on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 12:29:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Segregation, and slightly higher crime rates among immigrants didn't appear until after 1990, when Sweden abolished full employment policies.

The unemployment rate among Sweden's "native-born" population was 4.8% as of September 2017, but 15.4% among the "foreign-born" population.  (Labor participation rate for native-borns: 83.7%; for foreign-borns: 78.4%.)

What accounts for this disparity in unemployment rate between "native-born" and "foreign-born" population? Government policy? Retail racism (implicit as well as overt)? Self-segregration by immigrant communities?

A quote by an "American-educated Somali immigrant who works as a policy analyst at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce,...  grew up and now lives in the suburb of Rinkeby-Tensta, where some 90 percent of residents have a foreign background, roughly 80 percent live on welfare or earn low incomes and 42 percent are under age 25":

"When I came here in 1998, to me this place was paradise. Today, I wouldn't want my children to grow up here."

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 12:38:08 PM EST
There is certainly self-segregation, but I don't think it accounts for unemployment.

Based mostly on my own experiences and comparing with friends at university, whenever there is a squeeze at the labour market those with least useful connections fare worst. You miss that entry job, or that next step, and then you are objectively less qualified next time.

And sure, retail racism is part of it. But more so lacking the right network. And that is why I am sceptical against self-segregation as much of an explanation, because it is not like you suddenly will have a great native-born network if you move to a predominately native-born suburb. Instead you may end up isolated in a very implicit social surrounding. Swedes are in general nice to foreigners - or for that matter strangers in general - but we tend to scare easily if the social context gets to deep quickly. I guess that is why we are nice, so we don't have to deal with conflicts. Loneliness is a big problem. Some communities run "borrow a Swede" programs, to try and combat loneliness among Swedes and lack of connections among the recently arrived.

So the way I see it is someone has to be unemployed if you run NAIRU style economic politics. After almost thirty years of it, it is clear that that someone is anyone who has less connections then their peers. Which is predominately - but not only - foreign borns.

by fjallstrom on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 01:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lacking the right network, indeed, must be a big factor.

I think helping immigrants understand and adjust to Sweden's cultural environment would help with that a lot, as well as reduce retail racism and discrimination.

I found this (quite long) article very informative and eye-opening about Sweden's efforts to integrate immigrants both economically and culturally:

How is Sweden tackling its integration challenge? | The Local

"... Compared to our neighbouring countries of Denmark and Norway, Sweden is mostly doing a bit better in labour market integration of refugees though. It's doing quite well so far, and certainly not worse than its neighbours," he [Professor Pieter Bevelander, an integration expert from the Malmö Institute of Migration, Diversity and Welfare] says.

Plenty is being done in Sweden to try to aid the side of integration linked to employment, but what about less quantifiable questions of culture and social norms which some would argue are equally important?

It's those things that Mustafa Panshiri focuses on in his work. A former police officer, he recently quit his job to focus full-time on travelling around Sweden and speaking to lone refugee children (more than 37,500 have come to Sweden since 2015) about the process of adapting to their new country. In his opinion, helping the kids to get a proper understanding of Swedish values is vital if they are going to integrate.

"A job is important of course, but integration is also to do with respecting Swedish society's values and rules. What I focus on is what it means for someone who comes from Afghanistan for example to enter a democratic society. How can that transition impact a person's view of life? How can the ideas they bring with them collide with ideas in Sweden? I try to find a common ground between the kids and Swedish society," he tells The Local. ...

... "When I walk into the room I look like the kids, speak the same language as them. And you know, when we speak about these things - things we take as a given here in Sweden like equality of the sexes, for example - it can be a challenge for them. But that reduces to some degree when they speak with me. I can say to them 'I made that journey'." ...

... Some of the most popular pages so far are those with information about making friends in Sweden. Something that could be a big factor for the youngsters one day integrating into Swedish society.

"We can already see from the few statistics we have that exactly those pages about meeting new friends have been really popular. It's a really important issue: it can often be that someone comes here and perhaps lives in a home and is isolated from other Swedish kids as the home is a bit further out of town. So they're very interested in learning how you go about forming friendships," [Youmo project leader Lotta] Nordh Rubulis explains.

"Many of them have also lived a very gender segregated life and perhaps never had a friend from the opposite sex. It's exciting to see (them learning about that)." ...

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 02:14:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, as a dedicated introvert living in Norway, may I say that I'm perfectly happy being left alone.
by Andhakari on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 05:25:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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.


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
Not reading too much into the exit polls, but they do seem to suggest that the Swedish Democrats underperformed expectations, although polling better than 2014. The center-left and center-right parties also appear to have taken a hit, according to the exit polls (see here and here). Obviously waiting to see actual voting totals. Forming a government will be, shall we say, interesting.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 06:27:28 PM EST
Exit polls gives Sweden Democrats 17-19, and either a slight lead for the left bloc or an even smaller for the right. So, well, nothing settled.

First districts are counted, but they are the smallest districts and I don't think it says anything.

by fjallstrom on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 06:37:24 PM EST
Seems very little new over the last half hour either on the Guardian or my Twitter feeds, so it's just wait and see at this point. I tend to be just a bit wary of exit polls. If the sampling is well done, they give us some idea of what probably is going on, but there is always that pesky sampling error. We'll see.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 06:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like the Left coalition (Social Dems, Left Party, Greens) will just barely edge out the center-right coalition. Numbers seem to be holding steady with 85% of the vote in. Looks like the final tally will probably be fairly close to what the various exit polls were projecting. Question then becomes what kind of government forms? Some speculation that the Moderates would be willing to make peace with the Swedish Democrats. That is a bit disquieting.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 08:57:44 PM EST
Right now the seat count is 144 left bloc, 143 right bloc and 62 far right. But still to be counted are the so called Wednesday votes, votes done before the election, but not in time to be delivered to the polling station and counted at election night. These votes are counted, but not until Wednesday. So final results will probably be done Thursday.

And then to the thorny issue of forming a government. The smaller bloc may accept a government formed by the other, but it isn't certain. The far right may accept a right bloc government, but it isn't certain. The liberals and centre may accept the support of the far right, but it's a bit unlikely. And finally a cross bloc government could be formed, but that is rather unlikely. Or a new election may be called, which we haven't had for decades so no one knows how the voters would react.

by fjallstrom on Mon Sep 10th, 2018 at 04:51:22 AM EST
So, all the possible outcomes are unlikely, have I got that right?

Ah no, it is probable that the smaller bloc would let the larger bloc govern; though not necessarily pass any legislation, of course.

But the government didn't have a majority before the election, did they? Has anything really changed?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 10th, 2018 at 02:36:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What has changed is months of party leaders - more notably on the right - saying that "let the bigger bloc rule" is so 2014. (Except the Left party.)

The Alliance party leaders called yesterday for Löfven to resign. Which he won't do unless he has to, as the incumbent has an advantage: a Swedish PM can rule on as long as a majority doesn't vote against him or her. The Soc-Dems and the Greens has opened for a government in the middle, with the Center and Liberals. That would break the blocs, which hasn't happened for real since world war two.

So no particular scenario is likely, which means all are on their own unlikely. But something will happen.

Oh, and if the Wednesday votes flips a seat so the blocs are exactly equal then that ads to the mix.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 11th, 2018 at 05:38:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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