Sweden.se’s job is to promote Sweden. This is a fun job, a job I’m normally proud of. I usually consider it a privilege to share my country with the rest of the world and boast about what an open, caring society Sweden is. Sure, we have problems as well — with schools, healthcare, immigration — but we’re a reasonably healthy country and we’re still a role model for many other countries.
Today my job somehow became more difficult. The result of yesterday’s Swedish general election means that a new party takes place in parliament, the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD). SD wants to make Sweden a much more closed country. They want to cut down immigration of refugees and immigration on the grounds of family ties by 90 percent.
One of the problems with SD’s rhetoric is that they only talk about what immigrants cost, not what we as a country gain from them. I’m not just referring to immigrants bringing their different cultures here, making Sweden a richer country in that sense. They also contribute to Swedish society by bringing much needed competence, working hard and paying taxes.
Personally, I now feel slightly ashamed of where the country is headed. But, at the same time, I try to remind myself that more than 94 percent of the Swedish voters chose another party than SD. And I firmly believe in democracy, in everyone’s right to have their say — and this is what may happen in a democratic society. Everyone has their say, and I personally don’t agree with the result. Tough.
The political problem now is that neither the center-right, nor the left-of-center coalition won an outright majority, as it seems. (The final count won’t be finished until Wednesday.) And a minority center-right government gives SD the potential to influence the decisions taken in the Swedish parliament.
I’m no political expert, but it seems like we have a difficult time ahead of us. Let’s just hope that this election result will serve as a lesson to the other, anti-racist parties in Sweden and that it will lead to increased democratic anti-racist efforts. So that the next election result will be different. So that Sweden will still be a country that I want to promote in the future.