I’m supposed to be on holiday, but I am after all spending a week in Åre with a very political bunch of people… So Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (today) have been devoted to the SVT television programme Ordförande Persson (Chairman Persson), a four part documentary (final part is Monday so I’ll miss it – sob) that looks at Sweden’s Social Democrat Prime Minister Göran Persson, in office between 1996 and 2006.
OK, I am a great admirer of the Swedish social model, and a centre left administration is better than a centre right one, but I have never much liked the bullying style of Persson. The programme has probed his behaviour in some depth, how he has managed to sideline opponents such as Margot Wallström, and how he stated that thinking was not Mona Sahlin‘s strongest point. Sahlin has since succeeded him as leader of the Social Democrats.
The aspect of the programme about the Euro referendum was also very interesting, how Persson allowed the jovial but dangerous Leif Pagrotsky to effectively lead the no campaign. Persson – unconvinced by political union – cut a lonely figure throughout the aspects of the campaign shown on the documentary. Worse still, SVT’s news programmes have been probing the issue still further today, hauling Pagrotsky onto the evening news for interviews.
Anyway, I hope that after the final show in the series to be shown tomorrow, the Persson story can come steadily to an end. He can retreat to his controversial mansion in the countryside. Björkvik Folkets Park can fall silent, bemoaning the political end of its favourite son. And the Social Democrats can start to rebuild after the bullying leader that ruled the roost for a decade.