These days I’m leaving Sweden for the summer and relocating to more Southern parts of Europe.
The pace of blogging will certainly suffer somewhat as well.
We are heading towards the Midsummer celebration, and that’s normally when normal activity on these latitudes cease. After that, Stockholm is a city left for the tourists to explore, while the natives migrate to all different directions.
But after the summer comes to elections on September 17. They will decide who will govern Sweden during the next four years. Most important.
The governing Social Democrats have been plagued by a series of scandals of different dimensions during the year. All have betrayed the increased arrogance that comes with having too much power for too long.
The Danielsson scandal – which I have commented upon repeatedly here – has caused him to take an extended – essentially eternal – vacation from his job, and there is now an official investigation into his lying.
But in spite of the different scandals of arrogance, opinion polls have shown the red-green bloc recovering some lost ground, and the situation as we head into the summer seems fairly balanced between the two blocs.
You might argue that with the perception being that the economy is booming, they should be well ahead in the polls. But they are burdened by the scandals and by an urge for something different and more forward-looking.
It’s far from clear which ground the election will be fought on. The debate so far is rather uncertain.
The centre-right Alliance is focusing on the inability too create sufficient employment in the economy, which is undoubtedly a key long-term problem, although it might not be seen as that acute in a situation in which the figures are starting to improve somewhat.
The Social Democrats, for their part, are almost exclusively concentrating on negative campaigning against the opposition. It’s the usual smear campaign, saying that any other government would be the fairly immediate end of most of the good things in life.
But they have a numgber of big problems.
One is that while PM Göran Persson certainly does not want to lose the election, I’m not certain that he really wants to win. He gives the distinct impression of wanting to do most other things in life except being Prime Minister – done that, seen that. And the quality of governance is clearly suffering as a result.
Then there is the problem of his semi-alliance with the Green Party and the ex-Communists. They are both pretty wild in their demands.
The ex-Communists have just published a platform advocating a massive increase in public empliyment as well as Sweden leaving the Schengen cooperation and the ”dissolution” of the European Union.
For a party that never asked for the ”dissolution” of the Soviet Union that’s undoubtedly somewhat on the thick side.
How Persson intends to govern with this increasingly aggressive lot is beyond anyones imagination. It is most probably beyond his as well, and add to the impression that he doesn’t reallt want to win. It looks much too messy on the other side.
At the end of the day I would guess that a rather lackluster election campaign after the summer will result in Persson having his secret wish of leaving the entire mess fulfilled.
The combination of the arrogance of power and the obvious absence of will to really do anything any longer might well be what tips the balance with the large number of undecided voters – polls speak about record numbers of undecided.
But September is a long way from now. This is my interim assessment.