Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The right wins in Sweden

The alliance between right-wing parties won the elections in Sweden. Göran Persson will leave his post as "statsminister".
The result of the vote is somewhat strange, in the sense that the country does well economically speaking. So why change a winning team?

I wonder if this is the curse of left wing parties: When the economy goes well, the middle class gets better, and sees no need for heavy, costly state wellfare. The middle class is usually the deciding segment of the population. If the left wants to remain in power, it must prevent the economical situation from improving too much, which of course is unacceptable.

I was told the Swedish approach to economy and wellfare was to have high taxes when the economy does well, to have enough funding for difficult times, during which taxes are lowered to favour a rebound of the economy.

Is the new idea short-sightedness, "party when it's time, we'll call in the socialists for help when things get tough"?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

To vote and not to vote...

My position as a frenchman living in Sweden gives me the right to vote to local elections. That's interesting, there is a vote on the 17th next week. Swedes will vote for the parliament, the county and the town, but I get to vote "only" on the last two. That's more than I'm asking for, frankly. Ah, and since I live in the capital, there's also a referendum on whether we want to reinstate definitely the fee for driving cars into Stockholm's center. Now, I got all necessary papers to proceed to these votes, without having lifted the finger.

On the other hand, as a frenchman, I get to vote on the presidential elections next year. Except I don't have my voting card, and I have to register this year, even if elections take place next year. I did make an attempt to register, sent all papers to the consulate here, but I haven't heard a peep since then. I've been too lasy to do anything about it yet.

I would love to pretend I am well integrated into the swedish life, but the fact is I'm not. I have no clue who I'm going to vote for. Although I follow what happens on the national level, I ignore pretty much what happens at the local level. Too bad it's on the local level I get to decide.
I think I'll vote yes in favour of the "trängselskatt", the fee for driving on the streets of central Stockholm. I remember than in Marseille, where I lived earlier, you get to pay to use the tunnel to cross the town quickly. Getting stuck in the day-long traffic jam on the surface is free. It would seem to me that the reverse policy, which may be installed in Stockholm, makes a lot more sense.

I do follow however what happens in France, and sure want to do all the little I can to keep Sarkozy away from the throne. The sad thing is, the surest way to do this would be to vote for Segolene Royal, but her program is more or less identical to Sarkozy's.

During the previous presidential elections, I threw an idealist vote for the green party. Big mistake, that vote should have gone to Jospin and the socialists. Because of that (and of millions of other young nuts like me), the left's part got fragmented, which lead to the horrific 2nd place of Le Pen (and no possibility to vote for anyone on the left on the second round).

I'm considering if I should reiterate my mistake. Should I vote for Royal, who's tough stance against "la racaille" is too similar to Sarkozy's, whose policies are inspired my Le Pen's? Or should I go for the Greens, knowing there is no chance they will continue to the second round?