I’ve just sent this to the Guardian. They probably won’t print it.*
‘I was looking in today’s leading article for a mention of the Vänster (Left) party. It’s one of the minor parties in Sweden, granted, with only 28 seats in the new parliament, but that marked an increase of 7% in their vote. This contrasts with the fortunes of the conventional main parties: the Social Democrats (minus 12%) and the (Conservative) Moderaten (minus 14%); but mirrors the greater successes of the right-wing Centre Party (+9%), the Christian Democrats (+7) and, yes, the Sweden Democrats (+13%). All of which bears out Jon Henley’s argument in your same issue, that the major trend here is the squeezing of centre and ‘establishment’ parties all over Europe by so-called ‘extremes’.
‘It follows from this that the answer to right-wing extremism both in Britain and in Sweden may not necessarily be to try to bolster the ‘Centre’, but instead to persuade voters that the Corbynite programme for Labour is not really that ‘extreme’. It’s similar, in fact, to the Vänster’s, as Left Swedish friends have been pointing out to me. In neither case would it have been considered ‘extreme’ in the 1950s and ’60s. If it can be seen to answer the real problems which underlay the Brexit vote in 2016, it could pull the carpet from under our equivalent of the Sverigedemokraterna – the austerian, xenophobic ‘hard’ Brexiteers – far more effectively than trying to prod the Lib-Dems into life again.’
*PS. They did.