Reinventing Social Democracy: An Updated Swedish Model
Well, Bo, thank you very much for joining us today to do a SWOT analysis of the Swedish Social Democratic party SAP. What is the historic position of the SAP in the Swedish political system and where does it stand currently?
Well, the Swedish Social Democrats have I think forever, at least since back in the 1920s, been the largest political party. They have been out of power of course now and then, but it’s for sure the dominant party, yes. Although it’s smaller now than it used to be, I think its record score was over 50% of the vote, then for many years it was around 45, 40% and now it’s down to a little below 30. But it’s still the largest party.
It still has a dominant position in the political system?
Yes, and currently it’s in a coalition government with the Green Party with some parliamentary support from the Left Party, but it’s a minority government. The parliamentary situation is complicated because we have an anti-immigration, xenophobic party known as the Swedish Democrats. Unlike similar parties in Norway, Denmark and Finland, this party has clearly a brown heritage. I mean, there are populist, anti-immigrant parties also in other countries and they are populist/anti-immigrant but this party in Sweden has clear historical connections to Nazi and fascist organisations. So that makes it basically an untouchable party. Although it’s the third largest party, nobody so far wants to collaborate with them.
If we come to the starting position of a SWOT analysis, in your view what are the strengths and the particular weaknesses of the Swedish Social Democratic party?
Well, I think I can speak for this type of social democracy in general. The strength is that the facts are on the side of social democracy. By that, I mean there are now a lot of measurements, rankings and studies comparing countries on everything from economics and things like the population’s health of course, but also things like are people happy, gender equality, innovation, do people trust other people and so on. If you put all these measures together, there’s a very clear result. The traditional, northern European, social democratic model, which has been replicated to quite some extent in countries like Australia and Canada, beats everything else. This is the model that creates on average most human well-being. This is not to say that there are not poor people or unhappy people or miserable people in this model, but much, much less so than in any other model that has ever been invented.
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You can also listen to the podcast version of this interview below (right click, save as)Haikugal, Robert Thomas 85 like this
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