The dark side of Sweden

Sweden is my spiritual country.

Moving here has shaped me into the person I am today. When I moved here, I fell in love immediately with this modern country in the north. I was impressed by Sweden’s strong belief in equality, democracy, human rights, acceptance and tolerance – and it moulded me. Like Sweden, I believe in an open society where everybody is of equal value and has the right to live how they want. I believe in humanity where people respect each other. I believe in a social contract where we take care of the weaker members of society when they need it, and they take care of me if I need it. For me, this is Sweden. This is what it means to be Swedish. Swedes should be so proud of this legacy.

But is this Sweden still there? 20 years ago, it clearly was. But today? Is this Sweden just a Utopia? Just a distant memory of something good? Is my open Sweden actually shutting down?

Cold winds are sweeping over Europe yet again. Sweden is no exception. The Sweden Democrats – a right wing conservative nationalistic party, dressed in sharp suits, is spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of Sweden’s citizens. And they are gaining ground. Approximately 20% of the population now support them.

These 20% are willing to vote for a party that is openly xenophobic and clearly sexist. Members of this party have, in recent memory, stated that gays are animals, that Jews are not Swedes, that women should have their abortion rights restricted. I don’t understand why they think this is ok.

These 20% are willing to vote for a party that have a shaky understanding of Economics, whose budget lacks 30 billion Swedish crowns to cover all of their election promises and who have no policy for the environment – as it’s ‘not that important’. I don’t understand why they think this is an acceptable future for the country.

These 20% buy into the idea that this party is anti-establishment. The ‘gang of four’ men who run the party are former university students who earn salaries in the millions and furnish their homes with designer furniture. They may come from humble backgrounds, as do many Swedes, but today they are elites. I don’t understand why their supporters don’t see this.

These 20% are willing to vote for a party they do not know much about. Nobody knows what their actions will be. Many of their voters are dissatisfied with the current state of Sweden, and they want a change. This may well be justified. However, they are willing to throw everything out, and place their bets on a dark horse. They clearly don’t feel threatened. But they probably should.

Have these 20% always been there? Was the Sweden I moved to just a lie? Was the openness and tolerance just bullshit? Was it just a neat and well-orchestrated fantasy that in fact had fear of foreigners, sexism and homophobia lurking just beneath the surface? Lurking and waiting and ready to leap out. That is a frightening thought.

I don’t believe these 20% are all racists, I really don’t. But they are willing to allow nationalists to take power in Sweden. I don’t believe they’re all stupid. But they are willing to disregard glaring faults in SD’s policies. I do believe many are disenchanted. And they are willing to gamble the safety of their country and fellow citizens just to prove a point. They are willing to literally throw many people to the sharks.

After this article, I expect to be trolled. I often am. These trolls will abuse me, they will tell me to go home yet again and they will say I am a bleeding-heart liberal.

And they are so wrong.

I am already home. Sweden is my home. And my heart is not bleeding, it is breaking.

Please do not vote SD in the coming election.

5 thoughts on “The dark side of Sweden

  1. I would not like to live under a far right government but, the centralist parties have got to wake up and understand the self inflicted traumas that now infect the country.
    The problem with immigration is integration and that just does not seem to be understood. Sweden has become a segregated society and to integrate such a large influx of refugees is a problem that was ignored. The problem with integration is heritage. People moving here have their own heritage and culture and that is still passed down. Until this can be resolved there will be not real integration.
    Swedes are a very tolerant society but that society can only take so much abuse. The values that Swedes grew up with are being watered down or lost. When I first came to Sweden, 40 years ago, there was no litter, no graffiti and everyone from 5 year olds to 90 year olds had the same values. That is not the case anymore and ‘Swedes’ are resenting the perceived causes of this dilution of their values.
    Until the politicians,of any party, start to realise that PC is not the answer to everything and take their heads out of the PC sand and become realists to what is happening they give the SD the power to take more and more control.
    Does this situation have any similarities to Germany in the early 1930’s? I really hope not.
    Moderate politicians PLEASE WAKE UP TO THE REALITY of what is happening before it is to late.

  2. Dear Neil, so well written. I am Swedish but haven’t lived in Sweden since the early 90’s. I haven’t voted since 1988 as I at times have felt that I don’t have “the right” to have a say as I no longer live there. That changes now. I am voting to keep SD out.

    Thanks for your spot-on observations about our country (yours and mine). I really enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Thank you for writing this. It gave me goosebumps. Every word rings a chord with me. This is my home. My heart is breaking.

  4. Thank you Neil! Spot on! I feel exactly like you. I’ve taken the liberty to share your words on my page. Warm regards from Stockholm.

  5. You should have elaborated more on what makes you think SD leaders have a poor command of economics. It doesn’t seem to be the case, to me, after reading their programme. Additionally, several of my friends have a sound knowledge in this field, being their area of work, and they plan to vote for SD.
    Sweden is changing, but thanks to the utterly irresponsible way the current immigration of Non-Westerners into the country has been treated by the government. Sweden, as you know, is a rather old but small nation. I have loved it ever since I had a childish, romantic idea of it when I was in school, in another country, reading Swedish classics. Now what I see is that the land of Nils Holgersson has been deformed beyond recognition in many places. One can’t simply expect to fill the gaps left by older Swedes with hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East or Africa and assume that things would be alright because ” everybody is equal” . Socialism tends to work very well in small, homogeneous societies, by the way.
    For what is worth, there are many gays who actually like the SD, like me.

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