Thursday, September 16, 2010

The strange death of social-democratic Sweden

September 16, 2010

Outside Scandinavia, Sweden is generally known for two things: social democracy, and the books of Stieg Larsson. That may change, for if the polls in the run-up to the election on September 19th are correct, the first may end up looking like one of the corpses so often found in the second.

The election is expected to return the centre-right government voted in four years ago. Indeed, the main centre-right party, the Moderates, could oust the Social Democrats as Sweden’s biggest single party—for the first time since the 1930s. The centre-right’s success has not only undermined the view, widely held outside Sweden, that the place is a social-democratic paradise; it has also chipped away at a social model that foreigners find enviable but Swedes find expensive.