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Sweden's 'SD' In From The Cold
'We should have put on the brakes and asked ourselves what we're doing.'
Sweden's political party, the Sweden Democrats, are finally coming in from the cold. This was made clear by Elisabeth Svantesson, the conservative party's #2 who deals with financial matters. Svantesson was on Anders Holmberg's '30 Minutes' interview program on Wednesday.
Both Svantesson and a great number of traditional politicians criticised 'SD' for being 'racist' - back then, when many outside the elite circles may have instead, even back then, preferred to describe them as 'the party of common sense'.
The Sweden Democrats came to everyone's attention when they were voted into parliament 2010, when many expected Rick Falkvinge's Pirate Party to finally arrive. Who were those Sweden Democrats?
Their party leader, Jimmie Åkesson, who today is the 'doyen' of party leaders in Sweden, was a very deferential character. Humans aren't normally equipped with such patience. He could be invited onto a chat show where the other politicians dominated by talking over each other, and he'd just sit there, patiently, waiting to ask a single crucial question.
It wasn't until TV4's interview series in 2018 that many learned more about him and his party. Steffo Törnquist and Jenny Strömstedt traveled out to Jimmie's hometown Sölvesborg, brought along a thermos of coffee, and chatted with him about his own life and the origins of the Sweden Democrats.
Then they visited Jimmie's own office downtown, a tiny broom closet and no more, before winding up at Jimmie's own home for a hearty lunch.
The Sweden Democrats were outcasts before they even took their seats in the parliament. They were banned from official ceremonies, including the Nobel banquet.
Yet, time and again, the other parties found out that the politics of the Sweden Democrats were the way to go.
The cornerstone to the Sweden Democrats - the reason Jimmie and three others got into politics at all - was Sweden's imminent membership in the European Union. Sweden had long been a very neutral country in many respects, and been willing to pay the price for this integrity, something that gradually led other countries to hold Sweden in high regard. This status - the quality of life that this represented - would now be in jeopardy.
For each of the other parties in Sweden, there was one reason or another to try to smear the Sweden Democrats.
The Social Democrats, responsible for the utopia label bestowed on the country, had become hopelessly corrupt. The conservatives, known formally as the Moderates, feared the Sweden Democrats for offering more honesty. The farmers party 'Centre Party' were hostile to an extreme, as they had a strong alignment with Bilderberg and similar groups. And so forth.
Back in 2016 Svantesson said 'the fundament of the Sweden Democrats is 'us and them' thinking', but now she goes so far as to admit she didn't even believe that back when she said it.
Then why did you say it, asked Anders Holmberg in the interview.
Everybody was saying things like that back then, Svantesson told Holmberg. 'That was a time when all of us were trying to smear them.'
'We all went the same way', Svantesson told Holmberg. 'We should have put on the brakes and asked ourselves what we're doing.'