The One On the Left Is On the Right


Less than a week after the assassination of Anna Lindh, the early results have Sweden voting against adopting the Euro. Two days before the referendum, The Guardian's James Meek filed a perceptive appraisal of the Swedish debate, in which two passages stand out:

…opponents are not divided, and allies not united, along traditional, right-left lines. Something remarkable emerged in Sweden's euro debate, the crystallisation of a new set of political dividing lines, in which right-wing and left-wing activists find themselves in alliance against powerful, cross-border, private-public bureaucracies. On one side, the small, the local, the personal, the individual, the accessible, the familiar, the inherited; on the other, the big, the transnational, the impersonal, the mass, the remote, the alien, the acquired.

And this, quoting the pro-Euro Social Democrat Anders Sundstr?m:

"It's interesting that in the UK and Sweden, where hostility to the euro is greatest, you have completely different situations. The UK has weak unions, low taxes, and a weak welfare system; Sweden has strong unions, high taxes and a strong welfare system. But I think both countries are looking back—the UK to its empire, and Sweden to its successful welfare system, to its history of being a small country standing apart from the big ones."