The uproar in Sweden over Sverigedemokraterna (the Sweden Democrats) has reached an unprecedented pitch. The recent op-ed by party leader Jimmie Åkesson served as a excuse for a crackdown among political leaders and the media on the “racists” of SD.
Years ago Belgium’s political parties established their cordon sanitaire around Vlaams Belang, preventing any significant party from joining a coalition with VB. Now the Swedish establishment has formed its own Nordic version against Sverigedemokraterna. The Moderates (the closest thing Sweden has to a conservative party), the Social Democrats, the Greens, the Communists — all have pledged to make common cause with one another and form any coalition required to make certain that the Sweden Democrats have no say in the government once they are elected to Parliament.
An unintended consequence of this Night of the Long Knives against SD is the demonstration that Sweden’s major political parties have no principles whatsoever.
Their ostensible causes — social justice, the proletariat, the environment — have been sidelined. They are nothing in comparison to the urgent need to suppress Sverigedemokraterna. The Swedish establishment has no animating principle left except the imperative to keep the Sweden Democrats out of power and prevent any meaningful discussion about the merits of mass immigration.
SD have become the untouchables in the Swedish political caste system. The latest word from the Fredrik Reinfeldt — the prime minister, mind you — is that “the Sweden Democrats are uncouth racists.” Our Swedish correspondent LN has translated a brief excerpt from Nyhetskanalen:
“Sweden Democrats have now shown the brutal xenophobia they stand for,” said Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to Nyhetskanalen.se.
He also fears that xenophobia will increase in Sweden. According to the Prime Minister, there are several reasons why you cannot cooperate with SD. “I will resign instead of taking help from SD, if they gain entrance to Parliament”.
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Fredrik Reinfeldt also indicates that SD wants to dismantle the “labor line” and is against the EU.
Kent Ekeroth, the international secretary for Sverigedemokraterna, explains the “labor line” (arbetslinjen) and the essential dishonesty of Mr. Reinfeldt’s statement:
Currently Sweden is run by the right-wing bloc (observe that the “right wing” in Sweden is rather left wing, especially when it comes to immigration, etc.). The current government, called “the Alliance”, coined the phrase arbetslinjen (work or labor line), which is their idea of getting people into jobs, instead of bidragslinjen (the welfare line) that the Social Democrats used to have.
What this “work line” involves is making it easier for businesses, lowering taxes, and also lowering the benefits unemployed people get — all to get people into work, instead of relying on government welfare.
When Reinfeldt says that we want to “dismantle the labor line” he means that we want to go back to the “welfare line” that the Social Democrats are running.
This is not true. We are in many ways opposed to the social-democratic view of economics, but we have opted for an increase in unemployment benefits, from 65% to 80% (80% is the level it was on under the rule of the Social Democrats, which ended in 2006). However, we are in favor of many of the changes that the Alliance has made. I’d say we are a centrist party, and want to have roughly the same economic policy that they have in Denmark.
Regarding immigrants: there are different things that this government and the one before have done for the benefit of immigrants. Nowadays new immigrants do not get unemployment benefits. To get that you have to be enrolled in what we call “unemployment registry” in which you pay a monthly fee (like insurance). New immigrants, however, get other kinds of benefits — they don’t really get “unemployment benefits” (since they haven’t worked here before).
However, Swedes are discriminated against in Sweden today. For instance, the Alliance has created the instegsjobb (entry job) for immigrants, which mean that the state pays 75% of the cost for the employer. So if someone costs 100 kr, the employer only needs to pay 25 kr.
But this rebate only applies to immigrants! So Swedes are effectively discriminated against, and this is directly from the state itself. A Swede would then cost an employer four times as much as a subsidized immigrant.
There are several examples of things like these, and SD is of course opposed to any such discrimination.