So, the results are in (the Swedish election), and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Sverigedemokraterna are up on last time, but not by as much as widely predicted a couple of months ago; and so are the Vänster (Left). The SDs are the third largest party, not the first or second, as was also predicted. The centre ‘Establishment’ parties have suffered the most. This repeats a pattern seen all over the ‘Western’ world, which means that it’s part of a global, not a narrowly Swedish trend. (You’ll know what I attribute it to: late-stage capitalism. Not immigration. That’s just a scapegoat.) So the Swedes shouldn’t blame (or congratulate) themselves. After all, 83% of voters rejected the SDs. For the moment, the last domino (see my previous post) still stands.
Which is not to say that we Lefties can relax. The ‘global trend’ is producing a European and USA-wide politics which is rejecting the old conventional Middle, and resorting to more radical ways. One of the proffered solutions to this, certainly in Britain, is to seek to revive the Middle, by ‘detoxifying’ both the Left and the Right (Corbyn and Johnson) so that they can come together; re-inventing the centrist Liberal Democrats, or even forming a brand-new party – headed by a non-politician, perhaps. There’s much Westminster chatter along these lines. A more likely alternative is that one of the ‘extremist’ parties, through popular persuasion, garners enough supporters and voters to see the other extreme, and the Centre, off. In that event they might come to be seen as not so extreme. (Corbyn, after all, is only trying to revive the British national post-war consensus. He wouldn’t have been seen as ‘extreme’ then. Could the same be said of Bernie – simply going back to the ‘New Deal’?) That’s what one really excellent piece by Professor Chantal Mouffe in today’s Guardian seems to be suggesting: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/10/populists-rise-progressives-radical-right. The Labour Party under Corbyn has begun this process, though it still has a battle on its hands against unregenerate Blairites, the billionaire-owned Press, and the subvert efforts of the Israeli state.
In Sweden the next stage is the formation of a working government, out of five or six parties none of which can form a natural coalition to make a majority. But Sweden has worked through this sort of problem before. Its present government, after all, is a minority coalition, which has worked pretty well. I’m sure it can do it again. I hope Löfven stays on as PM. He seems a good bloke, and is still head of the largest party. We’ll see in the next few weeks.