Two politicians – two worlds

Politics is not just a question of legislative proposals and government budgets. Politics is to a large degree also about lifestyle and attitudes to power. This may be difficult to discern today when the parties are to a great extent populated by a political class whose salaries are paid by the State. The situation was different in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, when the two dominant politicians in Sweden were Olof Palme and Thorbjörn Fälldin.

They personified different worlds – on the one hand, the academic, “modern” political and cultural establishment of the stress-filled Swedish capital, which had a blind faith in experts at government agencies and in political theories that aimed to create new humans, and on the other, the naturally conservative lifestyle of the countryside, which relied on traditions and people’s own ability to solve problems.

When, days after the historic electoral loss for the Social Democrats in 1976, Dieter St...

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