Elections in Sweden

In General
In last day's elections, the Swedish government lost their majority of seats (down to 172 from 178 (175 needed for a majority)) in the parliament. Though their proportion of votes rose from 48.24 % to 49.3 %. In general then, I would say that the Alliance government did a better election than the last one, but other factors conspired against them.

The main reason to that the proportion of votes went up, and the seats went down is of course that the Sweden Democrats passed the 4 % hurdle for getting parliamentary seats. With their votes now being included in the full results, the Alliance was able to raise their number of votes and lose seats.

I have some hypotheses that I would like to play around with, these are in no way based on any real data, so I have to admit that I am speculating about this, but in any case:

The red-green opposition, decided to join together to meet the alliance. This meant that the Left Party (formerly the Communist party), was guaranteed seats in the government in the case of a red-green victory. Many Social Democrats who, would refuse to vote at the Alliance therefor jumped ship and voted on the Sweden Democrats, anything to prevent Lars Ohly, the leader of the Left party from becoming a minister.

Since I am a scientist, I need to be honest and stress once again this is speculation and not based on any real "voter flow" data, but I think it is an entertaining thought anyway.

For those who wonder, the SD-party is a party who have a rather inflamed rhetoric about immigration. They are against Union membership for Sweden, and do in general have a leftish social model. Some call them the extreme right, but not so much for them actually being to the right, but rather them having their roots in an organisation nicely named Bevara Sverige Svenskt or Keep Sweden Swedish. These are as could perhaps be guessed from their name in general seen as neo-nazis (and the organisation certainly had connection to various national socialist people and movements) and thus the extreme right (not that the nazis where particularly right-oriented in their politics, but anyway...).

The party claims to have washed themselves clean from their past (I suppose in a similar way that the Left party washed their communist past clean (their party leader is has literally admitted to being a communist)).

In Täby

In the municipality of Täby, just north of Stockholm (a place I have a special connection to, even though I live in the Netherlands), the Moderat majority was lost. Overall the Moderates lost 11.2 % while the Liberal People Party, gained the same share. The main reason for this being local politics, and most likely being rooted with the fact that the Moderates sold of a public school (no problem with that) for virtually nothing (9.2 MSEK or roughly 1 M€) (big problem with that), the Täby council ended up in court and was found to have broken the law (sv) when selling of the public property. Despite the verdict, the council refused to do anything about it.

Obviously, people are not happy if you hand over tax-payer property without just compensation. Thus, we can see the voters verdict of this in the local elections of Täby today.


WTF: Screw the Swedish Embassy

Great service for Swedes, not living in Sweden! Applying for a new passport or identity card has the trivial cost of 150 €, compared to doing it in Sweden for 50 €.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I would also say a hinder for the free movement of people in Europe!


Stupid decisions from the EP

Renate Sommer and Peter Liese, MEPs, has just introduced new regulation (see here for a summary in swedish), which strangely passed, where food package markings in joule will be removed, the only marking left will be the kcal (a completely arbitrary unit).

The definition of calories also varies between:

  • Kilogram calorie, also written Calorie or Cal (with a capital C). The energy needed to warm up one kg of water by one degree C.
  • Gram calorie, cal with small c. The energy needed to warm up one gram of water by one degree C. One thousand of these are written as kcal.
  • Pound calorie, which is the energy to warm up one pound of water by one degree C.

So, by forcing away the joule, they are adding confusion to the food labelling (which calorie are they referring to?) and they are assuming that the Unions citizens are stupid and do not understand what a joule is.

Further, why is it difficult to know that a man needs 10 MJ of energy and a woman 8 MJ (as compared to 2500/2000 kcal (or should we say Cal to add to the confusion?))?

What is next? Will Renate Sommer want to dismantle the metre and revert to national foot and inches?

It would be better if they just decided to ban the use of kcal, Cal and cal on the packaging completely. People are not stupid and will adapt, especially if you consider that most people managed to switch to the Euro without to many problems.

Peter Liese also writes [en] that the regulation will not patronise the citizens, but that is exactly what they do when they remove the branding in joules. I and the rest of the citizens are apparently to stupid to understand what a joule is according to Peter. Thank you for not patronising us!