Friday, November 02, 2007

Part 5: Sweden and Denmark, closed and open systems

The constitution is one component in what constitutes an open political system of fair play, with checks and balances and real power to the people. But there are many more. As we learned from Iraq, universal suffrage itself doesn't get us far. If it's not backed up the proper political climate and traditions its merely of ceremonial value. Among the other components needed are: i) an arena of debate that is not closed for entry of new agents and ordinary people, ii) real freedom of organizing political meetings, both public as well as internal meetings.

Once again the comparison between Sweden and Denmark becomes a study in closed respectively open systems. The media all over the West is heavily tilted to the left, and more or less closed systems, but in Sweden it is almost a perfectly closed system, while in Denmark it is more open than anywhere else.
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Sweden has often been described as a "duck pond". The elites reside together in a small bubble in Stockholm. Politicians and journalists are friends and socialize at dinners and parties. There is a strong agreement about what to write and what not to write in the news papers. The Nazi background of Sverker Åström, diplomat and eager opinion maker for the Social Democrats, is not mentioned. Well, unless it's a column by Per Ahlmark, but Per Ahlmark also writes for Washington Times, so he's considered a far-right lunatic. The alcoholism of Gudrun Schyman, former leader of the ex-Communist party, was kept hidden for long. Well, until she was so blasted that she peed on the floor of a cinema theater at a premier. But even then she was allowed to come out about it on her own terms (the peeing was not mentioned of course). While anyone else who does not belong to the Socialist block and is not the mascot of the media, will have to run the gauntlet in media even for imagined personal problems.

There's simply no diversity in Swedish media, and they essentially all write the same things. Also the supposedly "independent Moderat" (i.e. the most right-wing you get) Svenska Dagbladet wrote in 1975, when the US withdrew, the Vietnam was liberated. When it comes to people and individuals who have concerns about the mass immigration, they are simply blocked out. The are not allowed to write columns or letters to the editor. Even advertising is refused. And if they are ever mentioned, the journalistic guild has agreed to always tag the prefix "xenophobic" before every mentioning of them. At the Swedish Television this was even written down in their guidelines, regarding the Sweden Democrats.

In Denmark the tradition is very different. Denmark is also a small country and could have suffered from the "duck pond" phenomenon. But the attitude is very different. Part of the reason I think lies in 20th century history when the Swedes acted as cowards, while the Danes were among the bravest ones, in fact the only ones that stood up as a country for the Jews. Denmark has good karma, and a good constitution. News papers in Denmark have several pages of letters to the editor. And there has always been lively and open debates. If you send in a letter critical of immigration it gets published. In Sweden the news papers have half a page (at best) of letters to the editor. And letters critical of immigration are regularly refused.

When it comes to public meetings by parties critical of immigration, they have often been sabotaged by leftist stormtroopers. This year it was for very long even impossible for the Sweden Democrats to find a location for their yearly party meeting. There are also examples of people being fired from their jobs simply for being Sweden Democrats (while it's otherwise almost impossible to be fired in Sweden). With politicians expressing their self-righteous satisfaction over it -- yes, Mona Sahlin.

So how will a closed system as Sweden affect the development of anti-establishment parties? It makes it virtually impossible, but as we have seen the frog has jumped anyway. To be continued in my next post...


Anonymous said...

"There are also examples of people being fired from their jobs simply for being Sweden Democrats (while it's otherwise almost impossible to be fired in Sweden)."

Spot on!(Here and all the rest as well! Just brilliant!) But I can´t help that the absurdity of this country still is kinda funny/laughable...maybe it´s because I´m sure I can get out of it in time...

Anonymous said...

I'm still cracking up at the idea that Sweden has people observing the elections of others, while yours are botched. The more I read about countries like Sweden(in which I might have ended), the more I realize how awesome my country is. Here you don't lose your job if you are a racist, our press is a lot freer(I always laugh when some idiot from the social democrats gets busted with some fool who should be in jail) and it's easy to make a party. Hell, if you get enough signatures you can force a regional referendumum as a non-politician - for example, a guy raised 48000 signatures to have a referendum in his town to have his mayor fired. lol