Yesterday the moderate coalition won the Swedish national elections. So after over 10 years we will have a new Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt and a more conservative government (thank goodness). But one thing that disturbed me last night was how the loser and outgoing Prime Minister Persson handled it. This may point to one difference between the US and Sweden or at least between the Social Democratics and most civilized parties.
What I mean is that in 2008 the US will have a presidential election. We have no idea who the candidates will be, but we do know that the campaign will be hard fought, very hard fought. Whoever loses will make a private phone call to the victor and wish him or her well for the good of the country. Then the defeated candidate will publicly concede the election.
Shortly thereafter the President-elect will take the stage and thank his supporters and the defeated candidate and his or her supporters. The idea is that while you may not agree with some, most or virtually any policy, he or she will be the President of the United States, all the United States and all of the citizens.
Last night Persson took the stage and did not congratulate the newly elected Reinfeldt. In fact, he began his attack right there, right then. He further tried to rally the defeated Social Democratic against the new government. In that moment was perfectly clear for me – Persson cares more about his party than he does about Sweden. Then is all made sense. It is now clear why he and the Social Democrats have been so bad for Sweden. They don’t care about Sweden and the Swedish people. They never did. They proved that last night.