Political talk from outside of the UK
By Timbo
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With all the recent bally-hoo, tomfoolery and so on, I figured our friends in Sverige needed their own thread.

First up, the country's biggest free school chain has gone 'pop', because of lack of demand.

Major Swedish free school firm to shut down
http://www.thelocal.se/48248/20130531/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"When we discovered the applicant figures for the next academic year looked as they did, I realized that the scenario we'd been working toward wasn't sustainable. That changed the game plan," he told TT.

"One the one hand, I'm devastated that the company I've managed for a short time won't survive. It's extremely regrettable that it will affect the students. On the other hand, I'm relieved that so many upper secondary schools will get a new start with new owners who can continue to develop them."
By new puritan
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Posted the link to this in the Europe thread but it's well worth reading - provides some useful background to the recent riots in Stockholm and the general long-term degeneration of Swedish social democracy.

http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php ... _democracy" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By Squeaker
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Thanks for both of those links.
I wonder if Gove will stop banging on about the Swedish free school model in future, if not we may have this sort of carry on to look forward to ...
Sweden may be liberalizing in a faster pace than any other country in the Western world right now. In March 2012 Svenska Dagbladet published an article titled, “The liberal revolution”. Based on an investigation by the Heritage Foundation (a right-wing American think tank) commissioned by the newspaper, the article boasts of Sweden's membership in the “world elite” of privatization and deregulation. It proudly recalls 16 January 2012 when a “free school” license was advertised on the Swedish eBay, an event that has been celebrated as a liberal triumph.

This bit sounds familiar too...
We see a school system being 'reformed' over and over again, where we, our friends, and our brothers and sisters struggle to cope in schools that lack resources. We see that they can send their children to other schools.
By Timbo
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It now seems the company didn't even make it through it's winding-down:

Bankruptcy hits major Swedish free school firm
http://www.thelocal.se/48452/20130612/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A the end of May, JB Education sent shockwaves through Sweden's free school establishment when it announced it would be quitting its primary and secondary school operations in Sweden due to a drop in the number of students.

On Tuesday night, the institution took things a step further, announcing in a statement that it would declare bankruptcy on Wednesday.

The firm, which had been a pioneer in Sweden's free school movement, added that it would sell its adult education operations to Academedia, Sweden's largest education company. Staff members within JB Education's administrative roles have already been let go.

"We were hit by a drop in the number of upper-secondary school students over recent years; the numbers in our school almost halved," CEO Ander Hultin told the TT news agency.
Thankfully we never have generational population bubbles in the UK, so we'll never have this problem :roll:
By Timbo
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Top story on the Mail:

The Instagram 'slut shaming' which sparked a riot: Teenage girls who set-up account are jailed and fined £55,000 after hundreds took to streets of Gothenburg in violent protest
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... 5-000.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The comments are all desperate for such judgements to be introduced in the UK. I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with fining a child 15 grand, even symbolically. And a custodial sentence for being a gobshite on the internet is ridiculous, and totally counter-productive.
By Timbo
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First country in the EU to offer permanent residency to Syrian refugees:

Sweden offers residency to all Syrian refugees
http://www.thelocal.se/50030/20130903/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The decision covers all asylum seekers from Syria who have been granted temporary residency in Sweden for humanitarian protection. They will now receive permanent residence permits, the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) announced on Tuesday.

Previously, around half of Syrian asylum seekers had been granted permanent residency, with the remaining half receiving three-year residence permits.

The assessment is based on whether a person has an individual or general need for protection. As the situation in Syria has deteriorated and is now "extreme and marked by general violence" with no solution in sight, the agency has judged the poor security situation in Syria to be permanent.

The decision means that the roughly 8,000 Syrians who have temporary residency in Sweden will now be able to stay in the country permanently.

They will also have the right to bring their families to Sweden.
By new puritan
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Good article here on the forthcoming election and the current state of Swedish social democracy.
With the blocs so close in the polls there are two probable outcomes, both of them unpalatable. One is a minority red-green coalition unable to govern because the Sweden Democrats will always vote against them in the Riksdag. The other is a minority right-wing coalition that governs with the passive support of a racist, xenophobic party able to punch well above its electoral weight.

In the twentieth century, Sweden undertook perhaps the most successful experiment in capitalism with a human face. Its welfare state has not yet been destroyed, but the foundations of the folkhemmet are increasingly shaky. Regardless of who receives the most votes, a centrist workfare regime will likely be the real winner. It may have a pinch of social democracy or neoliberalism sprinkled on top according to partisan taste, but it will taste pretty stale either way.
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/09/swed ... illusions/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By Timbo
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It's a rather alarmist interpretation of what can really go in hundreds of different directions. There are eight major parties in Sweden, and despite the closeness of the polls, the overwhelming likelihood appears to be that Stefan Löfven will be the next PM, leading a coalition of some form or another. The ability of the right to torpedo them is overstated, as much of the disappearing centreist vote has gravitated back to Socialdemokraterna.

He's a former union rep from the high coast (where I have a house), and has an excellent local reputation as a consensus-builder and master negotiator.
By new puritan
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Looks like that article actually wasn't that far wide of the mark - the red-green bloc has fallen short of an overall majority (with the Social Democrats barely registering any improvement on the last election) and the Swedish Democrats did remarkably well. The Feminist Initiative, meanwhile - which would have backed a red-green government - failed to get into parliament.
In total, the centre-left alliance won 43.7 per cent of the vote to the centre-right's 39.1 per cent. Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven will now seek to form a coalition with the Greens and the Left Party, but the worryingly high level of support for the Swedish Democrats, who only entered parliament at the last election in 2010, presents the grim prospect of the anti-immigration party holding the balance of power.

Having fallen short of an overall majority (by 15 seats), while refusing to work with the far-right, the centre-left is danger of legislative gridlock. As outgoing finance minister Anders Borg said: "It is clear that from a broader perspective that this is difficult for Sweden. We go from having one of Europe's strongest governments to having a weak government power with considerable uncertainty about economic policy." The Feminist Initiative Party split the left-wing vote by winning 3 per cent (up from just 0.4 per cent in 2010), but fell short of the 4 per cent required for parliamentary representation. Their rise in support, combined with the far-right insurgency, means that despite finishing first, the Social Democrats only increased their vote share by 0.4 per cent.
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/20 ... ight-surge" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
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Just seen it mentioned that apparently Lofven has indicated he won't go into government with the Left. Looks like he might be doing the groundwork for a grand coalition...
By new puritan
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Election winner Stefan Löfven announced on Monday that he would not form a government with the Left Party, a move that party's leader called a "huge mistake".

The day after the Social Democrats won Sweden's national election, party leader Stefan Löfven agreed to form a government with the Green Party (Miljöpartiet).

But the government won't extend any further on the left side of the political spectrum, as Löfven ruled out forming a coalition with the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) shortly after.
http://www.thelocal.se/20140916/lfven-r ... -with-left" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Can't really make sense of that. Lofven surely isn't in a strong enough position to start casting potential coalition partners out of the fold in such a belligerent manner. If anything he may have done the Left Party a favour by allowing it to differentiate itself from what's already looking like another conservative government. European social democrats just keep making the same mistakes again and again - every bad election result just leads them to become even more conformist and timid, which in turn loses them more votes. And the far right capitalises.
By Timbo
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An 11yr old boy has just been found liable for a £50k legal bill, which will follow him for life until it is cleared. Some goalposts fell on him when he was six, injuring him to the point where he lost his spleen, two-thirds of his pancreas, and has mental health problems. The parents sued the municipality in his name, ultimately lost, and the court found the boy liable for half the legal fees. The municipality have appealed to get the entire amount, potentially doubling his liability.

The Swedish approach to debt is extremely strict, there isn't really a system of bankruptcy akin to what we have in the UK. Fucked up doesn't even begin to describe it:

English link: http://www.thelocal.se/20141202/swedish ... legal-fees" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Original (sv): http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/kommun- ... miljon-kr/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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