Sunday’s election in Sweden and the immigration debate

Sunday’s election in Sweden and the immigration debate


Jonathan Power 

September 4, 2018

The arrival in Sweden of 163,000 refugees, mainly Syrians, in 2015 – making for a higher proportion of Sweden’s population than almost any other European country – has been used by the far right to drum up broader fears about immigration. A recent spate of shootings, grenade attacks and burnt-out cars has made many Swedes feel afraid of what is going on.

This is despite international surveys showing it’s the best nation at everything from economic competitiveness to doing good for humanity to achieving happiness.

Sweden, a country of 10m people, rebounded stronger from the financial crisis than any other big western country, faster even than the US, and its economy has been solid ever since, benefiting from historically strong public finances and low government debt. The economy ploughs ahead, unemployment is low, having escaped relatively unscathed from the Great Recession.

One would assume, since in democracies economic wellbeing is usually the top political issue, that in Sunday’s general election the incumbent party, the Social Democrats, the socialists, would win. Not so. They are polling poorly. So too is the Moderate Party, the leading (conservative) party of the opposition.

The only big party on the upswing is the Swedish Democrats, an anti-EU, anti-immigrant, party, that has its roots in a Nazi past. No matter that its main voting constituency – the countryside and small towns – house very few immigrants, their racism and parochialism could well upset Sweden’s long-time political balance and reasonableness.

All sorts of wild ideas are now floating around about murder and rape. One is that because of immigrants the murder rate has gone up over the last two years.

But a senior policeman said on television last week that in Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, where drug gangs shoot each other but almost never ordinary people, the murder rate has gone up by two the last year. According to the official Swedish Crime Survey the number of “confirmed cases of lethal violence” has fluctuated between 68 and 112 in the period of 2006–2015, with a decrease from 111 in 2007 to 68 in 2012, followed by an increase to 112 in 2015 and a decrease to 106 in 2016.

Yet when I asked a range of people in Malmo about the issue they only talk about the recent, highly unusual, drive-by killings near the town centre, of three men, involved, say the police, in drug trafficking. The press in Europe and the US also gave the impression that this was a regular happening.

The number of convictions for rape has remained relatively unchanged since 2005, with approximately 190 convictions on average each year. But the Swedish press, in particular the tabloid press, which usually is by no means as sensationalist as its British and American counterparts, has inflamed the worry by reporting that most rapes are carried out by immigrants, but this is in cases when the woman doesn’t know the attacker.

But that way of measuring it inflates the apparent percentage of immigrants. The new law that tightens up the definition of rape – now probably the strictest in the world – also has had the effect of raising the total number of reported rapes.

What immigrant crime there is done by a very small minority. The vast majority of them are second generation immigrants, like the three young Somalis who after giving me a lift when the trains had broken down robbed me last Friday. (I had time to chat with them before they threatened to smash my face in if I didn’t hand over my money.)

The immigrant “problem” highlights the errors made by the Swedish authorities when a wave of immigrants arrived a generation ago. They had the mistaken idea of multiculturalism – just as in the UK, Germany and Denmark, but not in neighboring Finland. It hasn’t worked.

It allowed immigrants to crowd together in neighborhoods of their own kind. A young boy born into the “ghetto” is inevitably alienated from Swedish society. His contact with normal, average, Sweden is minimal. Good teachers – there are exceptions – prefer not to teach in ghettos schools. Standards are low. When he grows up he will find that Swedish employers are prejudiced. Applicants for jobs with foreign names are often shunted aside.

These issues combined have produced the problems of the second generation.

Integration – now belatedly recognized as necessary – in which new immigrants are dispersed right around the country, avoids the formation of ghettos. The Syrian immigrants are being housed far and wide. They are also, unlike previous immigrants, being given an immediate right to residency so that they can look for jobs and not just be dependent on Sweden’s generous welfare system.

Over the years the mainstream politicians have not done a good job of educating the voters on all this, and their policies have often been the wrong ones.

A good debate at election time should have been able to do something to enlighten people. I don’t see it has been done, at least not enough.

Copyright: Jonathan Power


See my website: I have written a book published by Pergamon, “Immigrants in Western Europe and the USA”. I wrote a long article for Prospect magazine in 2009, “In Search of the Swedish Soul”.)

6 Responses to "Sunday’s election in Sweden and the immigration debate"

  1. Jörgen Hassler   September 5, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    People whit a muslim background make up about 8 percent of the population. About half of them are practicing.

    It’s your paranoia, stupid!

    • JO   September 5, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      Paranoia? Read again and try to understand before you write again. Thanks! – Jan Oberg

    • Erik Dahl   September 5, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Jo are you going mad ?
      Just check WHO has been doing the following- Grooming Rape Gangs ,Acid Attacks, Knife Crime , Killing and Injuring innocent Ordinary people even using vehicles ,No Go areas for White people ,Street Theft , Benefit fraud on a huge scale , growing power in local politics, Conforming to their OWN separate Laws and disregarding National WesternLaws Please tell me about that small percentage again !……I think you should do a bit of studying as soon as possible , for all the under duress indigenous People of Europe . PEACE !

  2. Erik Dahl   September 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Did the Government ever ask the Swedes (and all the other EU countries) if they wanted Mass Immigration ….?
    The “throw away” ‘Terms’ Far-Right and Neo-Nazi are well past their ‘Sell by Date’ , all over Europe the Ordinary Indigenous Peoples (not Nazi’s , just Patriots ) have had a enough , So it is that the National Patriotic Parties are growing . The Forthcoming Elections in different countries will probably show this trend and the breakup of the EU is also on the cards in near future ,as their ‘Open Door Policy’ and drive for Multi- Culturism has been a disaster for many ordinary people . ….Just stating the obvious !

  3. Pingback: Background to elections in Sweden – The Transnational

  4. Alfred vierling   September 4, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    this is the firsr time ‘ The Transnational’ is addressing the black side of immigratiion and taking distance from the utipian idea of mukticulturalism. The spreading over the country will boomerang: Dillution is no solution to pollution. This article still conveys the ultimate denial of recognizing the incompatibility of mohamnadan rule with our state of law and the danger of effemination of our socuety in the face of virile cultures like that of the Dar-el-Islam and the afrucan invasion. T all blinded keft wing gooddies flabbergasted by the polls: it is the clash of civilisations, stupid!


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