Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
BIG PICTURE: As the September 9th Swedish general election approaches, you’ll be hearing a great deal in the English-speaking press about the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration political party expected to do well.
It’s important to understand that the English language press takes it cue from Swedish media outlets – and that press freedom died in Sweden 25 years ago. Journalists who tell politically incorrect truths get fired. Ergo, the Swedish media isn’t reliable.
On top of that, we live in an era in which people are called racists merely for asking questions, for raising sensitive topics. The attitude that ‘anyone I don’t agree with is a Nazi’ is now widespread. Which makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Eight political parties currently sit in the Swedish Parliament. The smallest bloc of seats is 16, the largest is 113. Since the magic number is 175, Sweden is normally governed by coalitions. Back in March, I discussed Douglas Murray’s assessment of the Swedish situation:
Murray reports that in 2016, the party at the top of public opinion polls was the Sweden Democrats – which is sharply critical of current immigration policies. In 2014, it placed third in Parliament after winning 49 seats. But politicians from all the other parties refuse to have anything to do with it. Murray says it’s “reviled” by journalists who never miss an opportunity to smear it with labels such as neo-Nazi and xenophobic.
When it was founded in 1988, Murray says it was a racist organization that “never had any meaningful voice in politics.” But that was 30 years ago. The racists were dislodged in the 1990s. A struggle for the soul of the party took place and the good guys won. The current leaders of the Sweden Democrats weren’t responsible for the bad old days, they were children then.
But the party receives no credit for cleaning up its act. The double standard is breathtaking. The same media that declines to report on rapes [committed by immigrants] happening right now has only negative things to say about a political party because of attitudes it held decades ago. On the one hand: no harsh judgment is permitted. On the other hand: nothing but harsh judgment, forever amen.
The media doesn’t play fair. Every single time the Sweden Democrats get mentioned, the public is reminded of those decades-old sins. But journalists don’t find it necessary to remind us incessantly about the no-fooling, genuine ‘Nazi roots’ of the Green Party.
If the 1980s are relevant to present day discussions of the Sweden Democrats, surely no one should be allowed to forget that one of the first Green Party candidates elected to the German parliament in 1983, Werner Vorgel, was a former Nazi storm trooper (he later resigned).
If Nazi links are relevant, surely every news story about German politics should inform us that, as recently as this past February, the Jerusalem Post was reporting that a “co-founder of the Green Party branch in Bremen [Germany], delivered a talk at a neo-Nazi party event in Karlshöfe, Lower Saxony, on Saturday.”
A mere two years ago, a gent running for a seat on that party’s executive resigned after refusing, on religious grounds, to shake hands with a female journalist. The same week, the Green Party housing minister resigned due to controversial remarks about Israel, allegations of links to extremist groups, and television footage in which he appeared to express support for the hardline Muslim Brotherhood.
Also around that time Asa Romson, the co-leader of the Swedish Green Party who’d served as the country’s deputy Prime Minister for two years, raised eyebrows when she reportedly characterized the well orchestrated September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as “accidents.” She was replaced three weeks later. (In fairness, the Swedish media appears to have done a decent job in these instances.)
In other words, Sweden is a country in which politicians shun members of the Sweden Democrats because of long ago sins. Yet the Green Party is viewed as wholly legitimate despite it own odious historical baggage and more recent concerns.
The public has long had misgivings about immigration. Only one political party seems prepared to act on those misgivings.
TOP TAKEAWAY: If the Sweden Democrats do well on September 9th, ordinary people will finally have made themselves heard. But many journalists will report another story entirely. They’ll say Sweden has elected Nazis.
|The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam
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