By Bruce Bawer, HRS
Well, the Swedish election is over, and the Sweden Democrats (SvD) have made it into the Riksdag. The party received 5.7% of the votes, and will occupy 20 of 349 seats.
The turnout for the Social Democrats was worse than it has been in generations. Neither the ruling center-right coalition nor the socialist opposition attained a majority, yet both sides have reaffirmed their determination not to work with SvD. If the Moderates wish to form a government that does not include SvD, they may have to work out an alliance with the Green Party, which until now has been part of the opposition.
For the Swedish establishment, all this is nothing less than an earthquake. As the Danish commentator Ralf Pittelkow wrote, “After Sunday’s election, nothing is the way it was before in Swedish politics.” At this writing, the website of Aftonbladet is a riot of headlines about “election chaos,” about the red-green alliance’s forthcoming “split-up,” and about how Sweden “voted for hatred.” Aftonbladet’s editor-in-chief reacted to the election results with a column stating that “people are different” and that he “likes difference” and inviting readers to join him in publicly declaring that they like difference, too.
Translation: we love fascism in Sweden, as long as it’s Islamofascism and not white Swedish fascism.
Many foreign observers, certain that SvD is a pack of Nazis in sheep’s clothing, are also upset about the results of the Swedish vote. “Nightmare in Sweden,” read the headline in Norway’s Nettavisen. The Associated Press described SvD as an “Islam-bashing” party – an interesting choice of terminology, given that one reason why SvD won so many votes is that Swedish voters are tired of steadily rising rates of gay-bashing, Jew-bashing, and other kinds of bashing by Muslim youths.
Plenty of people whom I respect, and who share my own concerns about Islam, are nonetheless very uneasy about SvD having won all those seats. They’re sure that SvD politicians are racists. They may be right. But I also respect Rita Karlsen, who wrote here yesterday, “I have no idea if SvD is racist. But there’s only one way to find out – talk to them. To start with a strategy of isolating SvD politically from a ‘united’ left and right is a no-starter. The left will exploit it for all it’s worth and SvD will achieve (deserved?) sympathy – and the voters will never become acquainted with SvD and its politics….The only way to find out what SvD is made of is to deal with them. If they show racist tendencies, the people will see it and turn their backs on them.”
After all, the vote for SvD was not a vote for racism or Nazism. It was an expression of rage and frustration over the mainstream parties’ refusal to change the country’s disastrous immigration and integration policies; it was a thumbs-down to mindless, self-destructive multiculturalism; it was a demand that politicians pay attention to the citizens to whom they are accountable.
My own feeling is that even if these people in SvD are racists – even if they are Nazis – it may be a good thing for Sweden that they’ve gotten a foot in the door of the Swedish Parliament. Why? Because the Swedish establishment has needed a wake-up call for years. So far nothing has been loud enough to wake them up. Maybe this will do it. It’s a shame that it has to come to this, but maybe the presence of twenty SvD members in the Swedish Parliament is what it will take to get the Swedish establishment to listen seriously to – and act responsibly upon – the Swedish public’s concerns about immigration and integration. Twenty seats, indeed, may be just about the right number: it’s hardly enough to enable SvD to take over the country, but one can hope it will be enough to make mainstream Swedish politicians wake up and smell the coffee.
Then again, those politicians may well take the advice tendered to them by Anna-Lena Lodenius and Mats Wingborg. In a breathtakingly idiotic post-election op-ed for Svenska Dagbladet, Lodenius and Wingborg, who are apparently “experts” on right-wing extremism and the like, warned mainstream parties not to make what they called the “Danish mistake” of moving closer to SvD’s positions on immigration and integration. In other words, don’t imitate the Danish policies that have, among other things, successfully brought down immigration through “family reunification” – and, in doing so, have also brought down the number of forced marriages in Danish Muslim families. Given the sorry record of the Swedish establishment, there is good reason to fear that the mainstream parties will eagerly follow Lodenius and Wingborg’s inane counsel – in which case, they should not be surprised if, next time around, the voting tally for SvD is even higher than it was on Sunday.
One fact they should take very seriously is the following. Swedish adults weren’t the only ones to cast their votes in the last few days. Swedish high-school students – over 300,000 of them – also cast ballots, in the so-called “school election.” In that tally, SvD received no fewer than 12.8 percent of the students’ votes; at some schools, as many as three out of five students voted for SvD.
The writing, then, is on the wall. In the next election, those students will be real voters. The point is clear: if the politicians in Sweden’s major parties don’t take meaningful action now on immigration and integration, they won’t be the major parties for long.