torsdag, maj 24, 2007

Labour can learn from Swedish mistakes

In tomorrow's issue of LO-Tidningen, the trade union movement's weekly newspaper, I have an article on Labour and Gordon Brown. It's in Swedish, but I'll summarize it for my English-speaking readers:

- The Conservatives had a rough time on both Sweden and the UK after the ERM crisis in 1992.
- The support for both the Swedish Social Democrats and Labour dropped in 2003-04, in Sweden because of a failed economic policy and in the UK because of the war in Iraq. Labour won despite of that in 2005 as the Tories didn't succeed to exploit the disappointment the war created.
- We both face new and dynamic Conservative leaders. We lost in 2006, Labour still has a chance if Brown can distance himself enough from Blair and open up the party for its "loving critics".
- The deputy leader race is important, Jon Cruddas is the dynamic candidate that can rebuild the connection between grass root members and the leadership.

4 kommentarer:

umu sa...

“a failed economic policy”? Are you for real??? The Swedish economy is bloody brilliant! Whatever the roots of the problems for the Social Democrats it sure as heck has nothing to do with a failed economic policy.

“new and dynamic Conservative leaders”? Would that be Mr Reinfeldt? Or Mr Borg? Again: are you for real???

“The deputy leader race is important”… No, it’s really of no importance whatsoever. You can elect Mr Brown’s dog deputy leader. The electorate couldn’t care less.

Peter Gustavsson sa...

The economic policy of 2003-2004 failed, as unemployment was rising dramatically. Learning from that, the government changed towards a more expansionary policy that we now can enjoy the fruits of. But it was to late for the electorate to notice this before the election in 2006.

Well, the electorate thought that Reinfeldt and Borg were dynamic in 2006...

The deputy race is very important as it shows where the party stands. It will be a team - Brown and the deputy - and the political and organizational position of the deputy will certainly affect party policy. Don't know if you follow the debate in the UK right now but it's very exciting.

umu sa...

"The economic policy of 2003-2004 failed, as unemployment was rising dramatically."

Dear Peter, you really don’t seem to know your own game, do you? Unemployment in Sweden, by any standard, is fairly low as was unemployment in the year 2003 and the year 2004.

"Well, the electorate thought that Reinfeldt and Borg were dynamic in 2006..."

Really? The Swedish electorate? Now, where have you got hold of these rather interesting bits of fact? By all means, do tell us.

I can conceive of Ms Sahlin as “dynamic", but Mr Reinfeldt!? Or Mr Persson ftw!?

"The deputy race is very important as it shows where the party stands."

You obviously don’t have much experience with our fellow Brits, now do you? You won’t find that many deputy leaders of any political party in the history books. As for this Cruddas guy, no one in the UK will hear much of him or about him of course, but I’m sure you’ll keep us posted on your terrific web blog.

Peter Gustavsson sa...

umu: I agree that Swedish unemployment is low by international standards, but the issue is not that. I don't know if you're familiar with the expression "the discontent of rising expectations" (de växande förväntningarnas missnöje) but that's an important part of any social democrat analysis. Swedes expect full or at least growing employment - not rising unemployment figures.

When it comes to Reinfeldt's popularity, my strongest source is the election result...

I have a lot of experience with Labour in the UK and the deputy race has really made an impact on internal party life. So sure, I will keep you posted.