So where did politics disappear to?

My first experience of attempting to influence politics is easy to date. It took place during the autumn, in the election campaign of 1973. I was twelve years old at the time, and the then Minister of Finance, Gunnar Sträng, was to speak in Umeå. As taxation policy was a hot electoral potato close to the hearts of us middle school boys, a friend and I decided to stage a demonstration. No sooner said than done. We both made placards out of cardboard on which we wrote in felt-tipped pen “Lower Taxes!” And then we went in to Town Hall Square in Umeå and stood restively with our placards right at the front during Sträng’s speech.

After this attempt at psyching out our opponent, it was time for stage two of our plan: we went up to the Minister of Finance and tugged gently at his coat tails, whereupon my mate asked the first of our meticulously prepared artillery of questions: “How can it possibly be worth while working in Sweden? With...

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