I don’t understand. I’ve had it explained to me two or three times, and I still don’t get it. Moreover, I rather suspect that those who have explained it to me don’t really get it either. Or is it just my deteriorating brain, in my old age?
The problem is this. Sweden is self-sufficient in energy, nearly all of it coming from renewable sources, situated in the country itself: wind, water, biofuels (those bumps on the tops of our buses), solar, plus some nuclear (not much). Sweden for long has been a world leader when it comes to ecologically-friendly sources of power. We don’t rely on Russian or any foreign sources at all. So we should be able to control our energy costs, surely, in a way that our neighbours apparently can’t. Yet our electricity bills are about to go soaring, too, albeit hopefully not quite as high as elsewhere. Why?
The answers I’ve had given to me include nuclear decommissioning (for environmental reasons), less wind blowing (!), profiteering, and a number of others; but mainly the fact that we are exporters of energy to countries like Germany and Poland, and so have to be bound by their pricing systems. That’s what I don’t understand. Why should we need to pay what they have to pay, when they have supply problems which we don’t?
The Vänster (Left) party is I think the only one in the forthcoming General Election (11 September) which has latched on to this, and is advocating pricing Sweden’s energy with reference to the Swedish supply-and-demand situation alone. That is being painted as over-nationalistic and uncommunitarian. Is this fair? Or have I misunderstood the whole thing? (Which is likely, I have to say.)
Lastly: isn’t the same true, although to a lesser extent, of the UK? How much gas does Britain get from Russia? Or electricity from France?
Incidentally, I’m following the election here – it will be the first one I can vote in as a citizen – and am impressed by how polite and civilised – boring, if you prefer – the debate is, compared with the British; and also by how competent and reasonable most of the candidates seem to be, again by comparison. (Kajsa thinks I’m flattering them; but then she hasn’t been enmired in British politics these past few years.) The main exception seems to be the Sverigedemokraterna (SD: very right-wing: think UKIP on akvavit), which has as nasty a line in political invective and lies on social media – not on national telly – as Britain’s wannabe fascists. They’re on 21% just now; Vänsterpartiet (V) is at about 8%; and the Social Democrats (S: equivalent to Labour) on 30%. I’ll be voting V, but hoping that S wins, and takes the Vs into coalition.