Thursday 17 January 2019

How long can Sweden and the whole of Europe ignore the voters?


I translated this very eloquent and shocking article in the Swedish press by Paulina Neuding using Google Translate, which does a very good job - a far, far better job with English than with Romanian. Paulina Neuding also writes for Quillette.

For a number of years, voters have asked the parties the same question, in different forms: What should one as a voter do to prevent a more liberal migration policy? For as many years, the answer has been more liberal migration.

It was just over ten years ago, in August 2008, and Margot Wallström, then Vice Chairman of the European Commission, was invited to the BBC's flagship Newsnight to be interviewed on the EU's new foundations. The treaty had been voted down in a referendum in Ireland without being seen as a hindrance to EU leadership. The new legislation would be pushed through, the question being just how it would do so technically.

Consequently, a number of times the presenter repeated the same question to Commissioner Wallström:

Can you explain what voters have to do for the treaty not to go through? What must voters do to kill the treaty?

After having questioned the question in various forms, Wallström finally suggested that the voters would "leave to the leaders to discuss what to do a situation like this" and emphasized that these leaders "invested a lot of political capital" in the project.

It was unbridled political power-crap, and it became a classic Youti clip.

Since then we have of course been given Brexit.

Wallström's response on British television must have been uniquely uncontrolled and frank. But the view she expressed about the role of politics in relation to the will of the people is central to the crisis that Swedish politics is currently undergoing.

For a number of years, voters have been asking the parties for the same issue, in various forms:

What should voters need to do to prevent a more liberal migration policy?

When SD [Sweden Democrats who are anti-immigration] entered the Riksdag in 2010, the government replied Reinfeldt to enter into a migration policy agreement with the Green Party for a more comprehensive immigration. This despite the fact that opinion polls for a number of years have shown that only a minority of Swedes supported a more liberal migration.

The 2014 election, and SD's growing voter support, resulted in the December agreement.

Then came the asylum crisis, and Sweden received more asylum seekers than any other country in Europe per capita.

Now, SD has 17.7 percent of voter support, which has divided the political landscape and thrown us out in an acute political crisis. And it is pointless to continue arguing in terms of just over 82 percent of voters not voting on SD, when the election result is to be interpreted. The fact that almost one in five voters cast their vote on a party that large parts of the media and political establishment have fought against is no small thing in a consensus-oriented society like ours.

But of course it is not just about the Swedish Democrats' voter support: The Moderates, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats also sent clear signals of a changed migration policy prior to the election.

So what is the result of this seemingly clear message from the voters?

An agreement between the Center, the Liberals and the Red Greens, which includes a point about liberal family migration.

Which brings back the question: What should voters need to do to prevent a more liberal migration policy?

Leave it to the leaders, Wallström said.

1 comment:

  1. Has there ever been an example of the voters being able to force the ruling class to do something the ruling class didn't want to do? Hasn't democracy always been a way of telling the voters what to do whilst making the voters think they're the ones with the power?