20 days to go until the Swedish election, the campaigns are in full swing. So what should be made of all of all of this? And might the Social Democrats manage to hold on to power in the face of the conservative ‘alliance’? For election news in English, try The Local here.
First of all, campaigns in Sweden strike me as being quite fun. In each town centre you will find a valstugan [pics from Google] for each of the political parties. It’s a small wooden shed, staffed by party volunteers, where you talk to voters and hand out literature. There’s a pic of the Social Democrats’ valstugan in Solna at the end of this entry. I’m not sure how effective the valstugan method is – I don’t think you change voters’ opinions that way – but these very visible and fun little huts do show the population that there’s an election going on and inspire a link between a community and its politicians. Add to that the fact that there are plenty of posters all over the place – many of them pleasantly designed – and the whole impression of the election is a positive one.
Second, there’s the issue of what a Brit who doesn’t speak any Swedish can do in the campaign. The answer has seemed to be so far to hand out some leaflets and bottles of mineral water, and keep children amused by playing table football at one of the Social Democrats’ stalls at Berghamra Festivalen. Oh, and I was also introduced to Minister of Justice Thomas BodstrÃƒÂ¶m. I’ve also had some meetings to coordinate the visit of 11 members of the Young Fabians to Sweden during the election campaign. We’ll be joined by some Irish, Danes and Norwegians too, so it should be a fun few days in September.
Third, I’ve been wondering what the make of the election campaigns of the Social Democrats’ opponents in the election, especially The Moderates. Modelling themselves on Tony Blair in 1997, they are terming themselves ‘nya moderaterna’ (New Moderates) but as most of the candidates I saw (and were displayed on the posters) look quite elderly, you do wonder. Further, the ‘nya’ on the posters looks like it has been scrawled by a small child, and their colours are a pastel blue and orange, something that looks like it has just come out of the local nursery. Plus their support in the recent polls is down 4% – see this from The Local.
I’ll write more about the election in due course, but it seems that things are going the right direction for the Social Democrats at the moment, and that the right wing alliance is not managing to make a decisive breakthrough.