Gott nytt år! – Or maybe not if you’re a Remainer. And perhaps if your eye caught this report in some of the British papers this morning:
‘Swexit’ would be a tragedy, I believe, for Sweden, Europe and the world. And it would be more than slightly annoying for me personally, having gone to all the trouble of acquiring Swedish citizenship in order (in part) to retain my wider European identity and privileges. I was keen to become Swedish; but not narrowly Swedish, in the same way that Farage, Johnson and Co. have forced me to be narrowly British since midnight (CET) last night. If that’s the way Sweden goes, where is there left for a friendly European to take refuge?
Most of the evidence presented in these reports for Sweden’s – and in particular the right-wing populist Sverigedemokraterna’s – anti-Europeanism is old hat; and indeed was picked up more than four years ago in a piece I wrote for the LRB blog, and republished here: https://bernardjporter.com/2016/04/22/brexit-swexit/. I thought then that Britain’s subsequent struggle to achieve her ‘independence’ from the EU would act as a warning rather than an encouragement for my Swedish compatriots; and the treatment that Johnson, Farage, Gove and the rest have received in the Swedish press over the past twelve months has rather confirmed that hope. (Remember that Swedes were brought up on Monty Python, so they’ve seen it before.) Brexit appears to have made us a laughing stock on the Continent. I still hope that this might hold Sweden back from the cliff edge.
But until we’ve seen much more recent opinion polls we can’t know for sure. I’ll be looking out for them, and will report back. In the meantime, again, gott nytt år!