Tuesday, November 01, 2005

For once in my life...

... I really wish that the right-wingers here in Sweden will win the next election in 2006. I also hope that they will remain in power for at least two periods.


Well, first you'll get a quick history lesson:

The Social Democratic Party has been in power for almost 80 years in succession. It was built up from representatives of workers unions.

1881 the first socialist speech was held in Malmö by August Palm. This speech led workers, tired of social injustice, to form the Swedish Social Democratic Labour Party (SAP) in 1889. The issue that was in the forefront was the right for everyone to vote. This question became the symbol for the party's wish to work in a democratic way (and not in a revolutionary way).Reformations should come gradually.

At that time, being a Social democrat was pretty dangerous. Employers would fire you, and possibly blacklist you too, if they found out.

The only people that were allowed to vote were those well situated. This eventually led to a big social democratic demonstration with demands on general right to vote in 1902. The conservatives agreed to a compromise: All men above the age of 24 got the right to vote for the second chamber but not the first chamber, and women were still not allowed to vote at all. This was a big break for the party.

Many workers were dependent on their employer's good will. They often rented their housings from the employer and if there was trouble, they often got evicted. They weren't allowed to hold meetings on the employer's premises and the rarely dared to speak their minds.

The unions changed all that. They started to build meeting halls (Folkets Hus = House of the People). The unions built their own schools (Folkhögskolor = People's High schools) and formed ABF (Arbetarnas fortbildningförbund= The Workers Union for Higher Education). Most important was that they financed and built their own apartement buildings and tenant-ownerships. This way, they broke the one-sided dependency that many workers had to their employers. They even formed their own chain of stores called Konsum.

1896 the party got their first representative in the Parliament, Hjalmar Branting. 1920 he formed the first social democratic government.

1928 PerAlbin Hansson took over as Prime Minister. Per Albin Hansson is the man who really formed the politics for the Swedish welfare state (Folkhemmet = The People's home) with this speech:

"The good home does not know of any privileged, nor neglected, no favorites and no stepchildren. There, one does not look down upon the other, no one tries to take advantage on others, the strong do not oppress nor plunder the weak. In the good society, equality, consideration, cooperation and helpfulness prevail."

Those sentences are, for me, the inner core of my own personal political beliefs. This is the core of Social Democratic politics, or was, up until the mid-eighties. Since then, much has changed. Slowly but steadily, people who actually had held a job, were outmanoeuvered by "political broilers", ie. people who chose a career in politics already at a young age.

This became obvious after the murder of Prime minister Olof Palme in 1986. His successor Ingvar Carlsson carried the torch of social democracy but had only held a couple of summer jobs. Several of the Cabinet members were involved in various scandals and it became obvious that moral and ethics had changed among the higher party members. They covered up for each other, supported each other and this, together with some economic issues, led to their downfall in 1991.

The party came back to power in 1994 and has since then barely managed to win elections. The last ten years have been filled with scandals of tax evasions, hiring grey labour, excessive use of governmental credit cards and the list goes on.

Göran Persson, our Prime Minister for the time being, lost all credibility as a leader for blue collar workers, which make up the base for the party, when he bought himself a private mansion and thereby confirmed the right-wingers accusations that top social democrats had become the new aristrocasy. Göran Persson alone has made more damage to peoples perception of social democracy than the scandals during the last twenty years.

Now the right-wingers feel that power is within reach for them. The Moderats (there's nothing moderate about them, they're as right-winged as you can get without being a fanatic.) have changed focus in their debates from emphasizing tax-cuts to talk about the nessecity of saving money, hence they would like to cut down in our welfare systems. And they, of course, use the lure of tax-cuts for the poor.

Every tax-cut that benefits the poor will have a greater impact on those who are not and looking further up the income ladder, it's soon obvious who is going to benefit the most from the "tax-cut for the poor"...

And now, I actually want them to win the next election. Why? I want the Social democrats to clean up their act, fast. Having people with more money than they can spend in their lifetime as representatives for the working class, makes me feel uneasy. I want politicians I can believe in when they say that they are my representatives, politicians who have actually been employed and had to work for their survival. Anything else feels utterly wrong.

Will I vote for the Moderats? No, I just couldn't do that. What I can do, is vote even further to the left, although these guys don't have much credibility either.


Virginia Gal said...

oh I don't know if having the right-wing in will clean up the act of the left. Look at us in the States, we liberals or left-wingers or Democrats if you'd like to call it, lost all three major branches of the US government in the last election and has that motivated those Dem's in power to start a fire and clean house. Nope. It's sad really, at this point in American politics, I think there is a vaccum of good politicans..which we desperately need.

PissedOffPencil said...

Virginia Gal: You don't understand how utterly spoiled people are over here. Sometimes I almost wish for a war so that people stop whining and recognize what we have.

I mean, the working class is voting for the party that's traditionally on the side of CEO's with millions in salary? A party that now promises taxation cuts? How spoiled can people get?

Luckily we don't have any shortage of good politicians. The problem is that those sitting at the top, a clique of roughly 200 people, are holding them back. They will only step down if they lose the elections.

ScandinavienNova said...

Hm, I see the I have missed out on a very interesting post.. But lucky for you that I don't have the capacity to argue on this at a high level in english .. ;-)

But you are right in many ways, I don't say nothing else. But to me and my fellows it would kill us if the Blue ones gets to sit 2 mandats. Even if it for sure is gonna be a good lesson for many.

But I pray to God that Göran Persson somehow is gonna make it once more.

Btw.. wanna join the crowd? *grin*

PissedOffPencil said...

ScandinavianNova: I'm schocked! That must have been the first time ever you make such an excuse! ;P

You know you can always argue with me in Swedish, if you really want to... :D

PissedOffPencil said...

Nej, innerst inne vill inte jag heller att borgarna ska vinna. Jag är bara så jäkla trött på allt gnäll från människor som sitter i miljonvillor med pool och kvider över att dom bara har råd att åka utomlands två gånger i år.

Sossarna har förvandlats till en klick ryggdunkande skattesmitare och fan vet om jag har lust att rösta på dom.

ScandinavienNova said...

Okej.. Nu känns det bättre när jag kan läsa på svenska :)

Jag håller ju med dig till fullo. Jag är precis lika less på alla dessa hycklare. Och jag tror att vi svenskar har blivit allt för bortskämda med alla dom förmåner vi har: Div.bidrag, gratis sjukvård, gratis skola, Kunna vara hemma med våra barn i minst 1 år osv.

Vi vill bara ha mer och mer. Vi kan inte "bara" se oss omkring i världen och vara tacksamma.

Men skulle det bli ett maktskifte så blir det ett helvete för såna som mig. Jag har ingen möjlighet att förstärka min situation via privata försäkringar osv. Nu hinner dom ju inte göra allt för stor skada på en mandat period, men på två så skulle dom allt kunna det.

Politiker föraktet är stort. Men jag har lärt mig att bita ihop och inse att det aldrig kommer att förändras. Vi idealister är för få :)