back in school

I’ve always had a complex relationship to schools. As a kid I studied a lot, got top degrees and for a confused moment I actually believed these degrees would open any doors in life until I learnt that – no, son – you’d better get some experience as well. Bummer. The strange thing is that I never enjoyed studying; it was sort of a duty.

As an adult I spent four years at the university, still with good degrees. This time obviously I had a target as I was aiming for a particular exam. But, amazingly, there was still no joy in studying. I was (and I am) interested in my profession but the minute I actually *have* to read a particular book and be done by a particular date it becomes an obligation and booring.

Fifteen years after my exam I sort of returned, this time for some odd courses to be completed while working in parallel. There is no pressure; I’m doing this because I want to. So let’s see. Maybe I’ll finally experience some joy in studying? I’ve always envied those who do.


time will tell

Our beloved media tend to paint the world in black and white. Unfortunately reality is not quite that simple. Here’s an exercise. I suggest we try to keep the following two thoughts in mind simultaneously.

It is perfectly natural and in fact necessary that ministers who lose their personal credibility resign to stop embarrassing the government and make way for someone who can get the job done.

It is entirely unreasonable after a couple of weeks with this government to draw any political conclusions about the ability of the Alliance. It has delivered beyond expectations ever since it was formed a couple of years ago and I think they’re capable of pursuing their agenda. Reinfeldt and his ministers are fully aware of their unique historic opportunity.

others on reinfeldt svartvitt media politik


bending the rules

I might be hopelessly naive but I’d like to think that most people are law-abiding citizens. We follow the rules as best we can and with limited resources we manage to administer our lives including paying TV licenses, parking fees, taxes or whatever. So why should we accept and respect leaders who fail to reach even this basic level of citizenship?
others on samhälle politik ledarskap förebild


the first mistake

The incoming coalition chose to follow tradition and have a new Speaker of the Riksdag elected from the majority. Perfectly legitimate and hardly surprising but still a mistake.

Leaving aside the fact that outgoing speaker Björn von Sydow was widely popular and did a good job as far as anyone can tell the fact remains that this position is really above party politics. The new government has made a point of changing routines for all sorts of appointments in the state. Merits and person should count, party book should not and the process should be open. So, what a great opportunity the Alliance missed here. By agreeing generously to keep a successful speaker from the Social Democrats they would have sent the signal that merits matter. More chances will come but they really blew this one.


Happy Earth Day, Ralph!

It’s hard to understand that composer Ralph Lundsten turns 70.

I suppose this is what he’d call a Happy Earth Day.

others on musik tidlöst lundsten


different corner, 23 years later

Sweden’s new foreign minister is Carl Bildt, presentation unnecessary. He is without any doubt the most qualified candidate imaginable. Bildt has had influential contacts in most corners of the world for decades. Such a foreign minister will strengthen Sweden’s voice and restore some of the credibility we’ve lost over the years. Beside star-quality and international fame he brings experience from a long political life and most importantly from three years leading a government during a difficult period.

The main argument against Bildt as foreign minister is that being former Prime Minister and party leader he is simply too strong for a ministerial position, particularly when the PM-elect is a relatively young and unproven man like Reinfeldt. I agree and this is precisely why I didn’t think Bildt would be chosen or – for that matter – that he would accept. Now he is and he has and we’ll have to trust the parties to manage their relations. Second-guessing without really knowing the inner circles won’t do any good.

One interesting observation about Bildt is that after a life in or near Swedish politics he has crossed the stage from one side to the other.

In the early eighties the young opposition politician Bildt infuriated Olof Palme by discussing foreign matters abroad, particularly Swedish-Soviet relations and suspicions of red submarines penetrating our defenses. Palme even took the unprecedented step to have his entire government formally condemn Bildt’s foreign activities. No ambitious politician was allowed to compete with Palme on the international scene and particularly not someone from the Moderate party. Bildt should stay away from foreign matters.

Almost a quarter of a century later Carl Bildt finds himself in a position where we hope that he will concentrate exclusively on foreign matters and stay away from domestic issues where he most likely doesn’t always agree with the new party course of Reinfeldt and where he might create confusion, undermining Reinfeldt’s leadership.


dancing into opposition

It’s beginning to sink in. Slowly. We’ll have a new government before the end of the week. There’s a lot to be accomplished before the election in 2010. The Alliance has to deliver on their promises. The Social Democrats have to restore their party after years of relying on one dominant person. And our green party Miljöpartiet will have to explain why they're so happy. Their informal coalition was defeated and with 19 seats the party remains the smallest inside the Riksdag. No one really understood what they were celebrating but they kept dancing on Election Night.


October at Sydkoster

Go West, they say. Well, so I did.
The western corner of Sweden is Kosteröarna in Bohuslän.
Fairly warm, another nice day.
I wonder what it's like here when the autumn storms come rolling in.