This already gave DÖ an aura of manipulation and politics as grandstanding with its associated damage to confidence. DÖ also stimulated the polarisation in a situation where there was good reason to find broad agreement. As the economy would never be a sharply contentious issue, the parties got to argue more about everything else.
Above all, DÖ was unsustainable because party leaders in one block gave their colleagues in the other block carte blanche to all taxes and spending, right over their own party comrades’ heads. It was an insult both to elected representatives and the voters from whom they get their legitimacy. Make sure this type of trickery never happens again.
Keep to the limit! I read in a local paper in southern Sweden that Customs regularly lets through weapons- and drug smugglers. For safety reasons, there is a policy not to stop vehicles containing more people than there are customs officers on duty. The more gangsters there are in a car, the more chance they have to come through. It is somewhat remarkable that the state’s most basic functions – defence, police, border control – are the most unfairly treated.
Keep the fighting spirit alive! For a short while in spring, it seemed as if some sort of correction had taken place on defence. But since the parties agreed on a defence deal that only gives a measly amount of extra money – although not as a proportion of GDP – and since there were no longer any party political points to score, the interest disappeared. Now they’re quarrelling about NATO instead and don’t pretend that membership requires new resources of a completely different type than those that were just coughed up.
The light in the darkness exists among the public. Because when Gallup asked the question, ”would you go to war for your country?” Swedes were the second highest in Europe, with 55 per cent answering yes. We can, of course, not compete with Finland at 74 per cent, but we are sky-high over a range of EU friends like Holland (15), Germany (18) and Italy (20). But have the politicians and the defence forces got the strategies to continue to keep the desire for defence alive? If not, be sure to get some right away. The idea that gallant neighbours will come to our aid if we run into difficulties does not seem completely obvious.
Keep silence sacred! Spring offered some light moments in the Tokyo subway, where mobile phone usage is prohibited and friendly signs urge music listeners to think about the risk of ”sound leakage” – a wonderful contrast to all the exhibitionist mobile phone ghouls on trains and buses here at home. Stillness is one of our rarest resources, even if ‘the quiet norm’ at libraries has proved to have far more followers than the consultants and cultural politicians believed. If there must now be established yet more delegations from this country, create a silence delegation and put it on a plane for the east.
Keep the pop-educators under control! In this issue’s theme section, Gabriel Heller Sahlgren and Daisy Christodoulou show that a contempt for knowledge and a love of young students’ ‘free research’ are the main reasons for schools’ deteriorating academic achievement. Politicians and educators who warn of outdated facts and a passion for “the knowledge of the 2000s” will face a wall of desks and a palisade of well-sharpened pointers.
Keep public service and public service companies separate! SVT, SR and UR can make good television and radio. But nonsense and silliness will hardly become silver or gold just because they are financed by licence fees. We are now in the prelude to a new debate about radio and TV, and it must be marked by a concern about content and quality, instead of a concern for the interests of certain selected companies.
Keep a minute’s silence for Neo! It is incredibly sad to note that my colleagues in the magazine Neo have been forced to take the decision to liquidate their magazine. Indeed, there is no surplus of forums where writers outside of the Left’s mainstream media can come together and discuss things from different starting points. Neo changed its designation to “bourgeois” a few years ago and has repeatedly shown how many traditions and bodies of thought and speech can be accommodated under such a banner.
Keep going! Sure, it feels like you are living in a fool’s paradise sometimes, but the mind can trick you where you least expect it. There is yet goodness and beauty in the world and eventually it becomes spring.
VD och chefredaktör i Axess.