3_0_ScanMag_66_July_2014_Text_Svetlana:Scan Magazine 1
Scan Magazine | Business | Ask then vote
you cannot count in absolute numbers, while Anders W. Jonsson (C) pointed out that the poorest tenth is now far better off. Johan Pehrson (Fp) highlighted that equal opportunity is not the same as equal outcomes, with Johansson (S) adding that a growing number of people cannot live off their income alone, but need to seek income support, suggesting that employment level measurements must look to the whole of society, also considering part-time workers and those on leave. Landau, it must be said, deserved a standing ovation for all the subtle yet persistent glass clinking he did to remind the speakers about brevity.
choose, but then you may well make poor decisions, which of course can be solved with a poorer-quality, less effective society by centralising all the decisions and removing your right to choose, but then I think choice is more important.” Attefall agreed, bringing up a family’s right to choose in regards to parental leave: “We don’t believe in quotas and coercion. All families are different.” Proudly Swedish – but where to from here?
Some clear rhetorical themes developed throughout the night. Anders Wallner (Mp) was keen to target causes rather than consequences, for example in regards to public health as well as the reasons why xenophobic feelings develop and where. Stefan Attefall (KD) insisted on a diplomatic and humble style of argument, repeating that progress has been made but there are many challenges still ahead, in regards to both the health care system and education.
Two issues led to more consensus than any others: those of the need to stand united against the growing xenophobic wave and the image of Sweden that most Swedes abroad are proud of. Gender equality, a relatively HBTQ-friendly society, and a leading position in environmental innovation were among the key defining features celebrated. “‘What’s up with all the gay nannies?’,” Wallner (Mp) referred to a classic tourist comment. “Another common reaction is ‘Look at how clean everywhere is!’ I think this is something to be proud of, and judging by how people voted in the European Parliamentary elections, so does the electorate.”
Pehrson (Fp) took a bluntly ideological line of argument: “That is the classic liberal dilemma: we give you the power to
The question remains: where do we go from here? “Yes, there is a very positive image of Sweden out there, but this has not
been created now – on the contrary, it’s being ruined,” said Johansson (S), backed up by Dagostar (V): “This was the whole point of the alliance’s policies: to make the poor poorer, not to invest in Sweden.” But those on the right were keen to show a united front, with von Sydow (M) pointing to the reason why Obama was recently keen to spend time in Stockholm, the capital of a country heralded as a successful economy: “Of course we should be a leader in terms of the environment and equality, but we also need a political leadership with the drive and energy to modernise.” Or in even more confident words, signed Jonsson (C): “Sweden is already the leading OECD country. It’ll be hard to improve when we’re already so good – but of course we will get even better.” The Swedish Chamber of Commerce was very happy with the evening in Marylebone. “The debate was definitely a nailbiter with exciting remarks from all participating representatives, interesting comments, and eye-opening one-liners,” says Wiberg. “We are proud to have brought this event to the Swedish community in London, and hopefully we have shed some light on the different options of London Swedes who will cast a vote when the time comes.”
Sweden is a parliamentary democracy. The Constitution declares that all public power in Sweden proceeds from the people and that the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) is the foremost representative of the people. Above right: The seven party representatives gathered on stage at the Swedish Church in Marylebone, alongside moderator Harry Landau and managing director of SCC, Ulla Nilsson. Photo: Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK.
Issue 66 | July 2014 | 95
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Lars Mikkelsen.