by Ivar Arpi
Thursday, 15
September 2022
Reaction
07:30

Swedish election: will immigration finally be addressed?

The success of the Sweden Democrats marks a sea change
by Ivar Arpi
Jimmie Akesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats, celebrates his party’s results. Credit: Getty

The results are in. With 176 seats the Right-wing coalition won out against the incumbent Social-democratic government, whose Left-wing conglomerate received 173 seats. The Moderate party became the third largest party, and will form the government around it, even though they actually lost voters since the last election. 

The real success story of this election was the Sweden Democrats, the national populist party that secured 20.6% of the vote, and an 11 seat gain from 2018. But the difference this year was that the traditional centre-Right parties — the Moderate party together with the Christian Democrats – agreed to form an alliance with SD, even if they maintain that SD will be kept out of the government. 


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It is notable how, after being shunned for the past four elections, the cordon sanitaire around the Sweden Democrats has finally been lifted. Once decried as racist and xenophobic for its hardline nationalist and anti-immigration platform, SD’s popularity has become too big to ignore (especially since almost all the other major parties have adopted similar stances on migration). 

But while Sweden’s Right-wing parties are now willing to form an alliance with SD, the issue on which Jimmie Åkesson’s party came to prominence is still considered too taboo to discuss. First, rival parties tried to frame this as the ‘energy election’ because of the soaring electricity prices and record high gas prices. The Left-wing government blamed Putin, which is partly right, since he restricted gas exports to Europe. The Right-bloc agreed, but pointed to the fact that four nuclear reactors had been closed prematurely for political decisions. With these still in effect, the price shock would’ve been much reduced. But did this issue really shift the vote? I don’t think so.

Then the Left tried to talk about education, but it was pretty clear what this issue was a proxy for. When the share of newly arrived immigrants or pupils from the near-ghettos that now exist (‘deprived areas’, as they are euphemistically referred to in Sweden) rises above a certain point, Swedish parents simply take their kids out of that school. White flight, which also includes earlier waves of immigrants, is happening all over society. And who can blame them? 

The issue of ‘law and order’ is another even less disguised euphemism for the same issue of immigration. Sweden is in the midst of a violent crime wave, most of which has been fuelled by immigrants. To date, there have been 47 fatal shootings — equal to last year’s record — and just a few weeks before this election, a 5-year-old and her mother were shot at a playground.

It’s not the first time that children have been collateral damage in criminal shoot-outs, and law enforcement is struggling to keep up. For decades, politicians have tried to sweep the issues surrounding immigration under the rug, but it is clear that it has become Sweden’s most important fault-line. Today it cuts into almost every other issue. Only the Sweden Democrats have shown a willingness to talk about it in the open — and for some time. That is why they are now Sweden’s second largest party.

Another overlooked feature of this election is that a new party has made a landslide in deprived areas. The party is called Nyans, which means nuance, even though the party is anything but. They portray Sweden as a Islamophobic, systemically racist society, including spreading a conspiracy theory that Swedish authorities are taking Muslim children into custody. This is a darker shade of the identity politics of the Left that’s been promulgated for a long time. 

Zoom out, and Sweden today looks more like the U.S, where the Democrats receive most of the minority votes, and a majority of white Americans vote for the Republicans. This is a dangerous cleavage for Sweden to find itself in. The immigrant population is growing at a rapid pace, and last year there were two million foreign-born residents in Sweden, with around a third of the population having at least one foreign-born parent. Indeed, if only votes from those with non-European ancestry were counted in this election, then the Left-wing alliance would have won 259 of the 349 mandates in parliament. 

But it is the Left-leaning Social Democrats who now face an uphill challenge. On the one hand it has to repair its leakage of votes to the Sweden Democrats by being tough on crime and immigration. But the party also has to keep its new, growing voter base which is non-European. This will be an almost impossible circle to square.

The success of the Sweden Democrats has been greeted by the usual rhetoric of a ‘threat to democracy’. But the opposite is true. Never has a government been more representative of the people when it comes to their views on law and order and immigration. It might be too late for a fresh start for Sweden, but there will be change. 

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Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 months ago

Good to see UnHerd using the “populist” label and avoiding the deeply inaccurate “far-right” tag used by the MSM.
Sweden is a fascinating microcosm for most European countries.
The blatant disregard of links between immigration and crime data in countries such as the U.K. can only backfire.

Last edited 2 months ago by Ian Barton
Vyomesh Thanki
Vyomesh Thanki
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Far-right label used to represent Sweden Democrats’ political beliefs. “The (SD) party has been variously characterised by academics, political commentators and the media as national-conservative, anti-immigration, anti-Islam, eurosceptic or far-right. The Sweden Democrats reject the far-right label, saying that it no longer represents the party’s political beliefs.”
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_Democrats

Last edited 2 months ago by Vyomesh Thanki
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The blatant disregard of links between immigration and crime data in countries such as the U.K. can only backfire.

In Sweden, it’s more than just disregard. Researchers publishing factual statistics on the correlation between immigrants and crime (such as rape) can face prosecution. If I recall correctly, several years ago someone actually received a criminal conviction for doing this.

Saying something factually true, but contrary to the official narrative, can literally make you a criminal. How can any society prosper under such conditions?

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 months ago

I am really relieved to hear some sanity is beginning to prevail in Sweden.
When I visited Sweden I was struck by how Swedes were so humble, kind, quiet and dignified in how they conducted themselves. Stockholm was very clean in comparison to any city in the UK.
Seeing migrants, therefore, behave completely opposite to their local counterparts was very unsettling: they stood in groups, making a noise, behaving haughtily and disrespectfully to fellow passers by and leaving litter that demarcated their area like a national border, as though they had nothing but contempt for the country that they had chosen to move to.
And yet, among the Swedes, it was as though they saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil. They walked by these vulgar people as if they were going out of their way not to notice them, as if they exerted special effort to avoid the conclusions that I myself drew as a passive onlooker.
If this election is a sign that Swedes are starting to see, hear and speak, then that can only be a good thing.

Last edited 2 months ago by hayden eastwood
Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 months ago

In Stockholm a few years back, a young man speaking Arabic on his phone while not looking where he was going, crashed into me. He hurled abuse at me for being in his way. Immediately I saw the paradox which you noticed – a dignified, respectful people seemingly totally unprepared to deal with hostile, aggrieved and surly newcomers in their midst.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago

And yet we are called racist for not allowing our polite societies to crumble.

Kat L
Kat L
2 months ago

according to the demographics listed in the article i don’t know if it’s already too late.

Max Price
Max Price
2 months ago

This is what happens when you let the barbarians in the gate. Let’s speak plainly.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

How on earth could it be otherwise?
If you flood the country with immigrants from Mauretania Tingitana etc, there is only one possible outcome. Besotted by the sight of buxom, blonde, Swedish ‘bombshells’, these immigrants will misbehave,if not go berserk.
And so it has proved, much to the astonishment of the Swedish self styled intelligentsia .

Last edited 2 months ago by stanhopecharles344
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago

Or indeed, naive English schoolgirls here in the UK.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Plus the behaviour of the former head of M16, the late (Sir) Peter Hayman and others unknown.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago

…beats being blown all the way to Heaven for 60 virgins who cannot even be sussed out on soshul meeja?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago

It reminds me of that famous Arab song that starts “there is a boy across the river with a bottom like a peach, but alas I cannot swim….”

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago

Reply censored I’m afraid!

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
2 months ago

However it is also fair to point out that many of these buxom blond babes wear skintight leggings, with no coverup, in public. That is, if Swedish women are anything like their American counterparts.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Why is it that only white, European cultures are not allowed to be celebrated and uplifted? To do so is racist. Every other culture and shade of skin is to be uplifted and promoted, despite their immense lack of peace and success over the centuries.

Antonio Alexandru
Antonio Alexandru
2 months ago

It is interesting to see how the “black sheep” of Europe, Victor Orban, Hungarian PM, was right from the beginning opposing EU migrant quotas. The lost of trust in european values begins with how progressives completely ignore the issues arised from applying their idealistic norms, even though they are obvious to a 5 year old.

Hugh R
Hugh R
2 months ago

Am I the only one who retches at the word ‘progressive”?

Last edited 2 months ago by Hugh R
Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh R

It certainly needs scare quotes around it.

David Kavanagh
David Kavanagh
2 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

and gets you reaching forthe stab vest.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 months ago

The elephant in the room is still hidden somewhat by the long grass of the Swedish Blob.
An overheated metaphor perhaps, but the risk is that ignored issues will usually be revealed when they are much starker and more difficult to resolve.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
2 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It’s called “kick the can down the road.”

Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago

How long can Sweden and Denmark remain in the EU and ECHR?

Every arrival by boat on Lampedusa, on foot over the Turkish border or just overstaying after landing at Frankfurt airport will eventually become an EU citizen and make their way to their family members in beautiful Scandinavia.

Every attempt to eject new arrivals – maybe deporting them to Rwanda as the Danes plan – will be stopped by the ECHR.

If Britain can stop their boats – a big if – then I suspect either the EU/ECHR will become much more anti-immigration or the non-Euro countries will leave.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

The ECHR is a suicide pact.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

NOOOO… Send them all to Scandi… pay them to go!

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
2 months ago

Very interesting write up, thanks.
Let’s hope this government won’t end up like the outgoing in Italy with so much promise at the outset, but nothing of note actually done.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Rather like the late Boris Johnson in fact.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
2 months ago

Yes, quite.

Ray Adnrews
Ray Adnrews
2 months ago

Given the higher birthrate of the Muslims it might already be too late for Sweden, they are closing the barn door after the horse has already entered.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Ray Adnrews

Shouldn’t that be “Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”?

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
2 months ago

No, I think Ray Andrews is creatively adapting the standard proverb!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Tonkyn

Fair enough.

M. M.
M. M.
2 months ago

Last edited 2 months ago by Matthew M.
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

As someone distant and uninvolved but curious – just how irremediably ‘non-western’ are those Hispanics? Once upon a time, I seem to remember, the Irish, the Italians, Catholics, Jews, were all seen as dangerous alien cultures that could destroy the culture of the United States. These days they seem to have been pretty much absorbed – and all count as white. Why could the same not happen with Hispanics, or indeed various Asian groups?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

absorbed? Where would American IT/ media and finance be without Indian Hindu and Jewish peoples? The Italians to be fair, exploited the cretinous Prohibition laws and created organised crime, and substantial wealth. The Irish became the backbone of the police services, and as an Irish Italian Catholic myself, all I can say is no church can be worse than Pastor Lynch Bygotte and the Church of St Mason Dixon!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well ultimately they did

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The big difference was all those groups came here to be Americans during that huge wave of immigration, which was well before any welfare benefits were available. You either made it somehow or you went hungry. Opportunities were boundless. Many of today’s “immigrants” don’t intend to become assimilated into the host culture, only leeach off of it. Huge difference.

mac baker
mac baker
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

They were Christians which makes a huge difference to attitudes, customs and behaviour. Following the teachings of Moses and Jesus is a far cry from the raping warlord who claims to be the Profit of the Religion of Peace.

Kat L
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

they always counted as white, just a lower class version and they paid their dues and assimilated. hispanics however are much slower to integrate because they are much closer to their homeland and frankly we don’t require anything of them; we publish govt documents in their language and they have their own language specific channels.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

I’m not sure this is necessarily the case with hispanics.
My impression of speaking to them when I visited California was that they valued Western cultural ideals more than most Americans did, and certainly more than any leftwing Americans (who, to a man, appeared to hate their country much more than any immigrant could possibly achieve).
Most hispanics I spoke to were categorically against illegal migration, unlike the SJW intellectuals I met. In fact, isn’t this one of the issues democrats face? They expect hispanics to vote democrat because they’re “brown” and then get very upset when they turn out not to.

Last edited 2 months ago by hayden eastwood
mike otter
mike otter
2 months ago

Anyone demonstrating knowledge of the paradoxes of freedom and equality is deemed far right. The MSM & their pseudo social democrats, socialist and eco-loons allies see to that. Yet its not sticking. Its good to see the Sewdish Democrats moving from far right street politics to accepting the basic rules of an open society. (only taken 20+ years) If only their opponents to their left could do the same…it really is the 1970s in mirror image. Today Baader Meinhoff or Red Brigade would be attacking a leftist politico-economic kabal.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 months ago

It could have been an article about the political polarisation currently in the US:. Refusal by the current government to discuss openly problems that it’s citizens confront daily, collaboration of the media in concealment, demonisation of the opposition party that does address problems, and worsening them by promoting ever more immigration in order to prop up its power base. The only element missing in the report is the weaponising of the justice system to attack the opposition and keep the “progressive” party in power.

Kat L
Kat L
2 months ago

they’ve started down that path since biden took office.

M. M.
M. M.
2 months ago

Last edited 2 months ago by Matthew M.
Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

We need to keep pointing out that Hispanic culture is part of Western culture.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
2 months ago

Swedish election: will immigration finally be addressed?
I very much doubt it, as they will find out, just as we have here, that they can’t stop the migrants, either physically, or legally.
Now, if they just had the guts to outlaw a selected religion or two… THEN we might see something interesting.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago

What happened to my “bottom like a peach comment “?

Aaron James
Aaron James
2 months ago

Isn’t that the title of the new school book out for third grade reading?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Is it? I hadn’t heard that, and I thank you.

M. M.
M. M.
2 months ago

Ivar Arpi wrote, “Zoom out, and Sweden today looks more like the U.S, where the Democrats receive most of the minority votes, and a majority of white Americans vote for the Republicans.”

The demographic situation in the United States is a dire warning to the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the rest of Western civilization.

By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture will dominate. In California, 40% of the residents are currently Hispanic. Most residents of the state already reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture dominates.

Also, Sweden has approximately 10.35 million residents.

Arpi further wrote, “The immigrant population is growing at a rapid pace, and last year there were two million foreign-born residents in Sweden, with around a third of the population having at least one foreign-born parent.”

The Swedes may not be able to close their borders. Once anti-Western groups reach 20% of the population, they will have sufficient political power to keep the borders permanently open.

That is the outcome in the United States. Indeed, Hispanic political might has established California as a “sanctuary state”, in which Hispanic illegal aliens can freely come and go.

Get more info about this issue.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago

One visit to Norway made me never ever want to darken the frozen doorsteps of Sweden and or Denmark…. so I won’t bother reading this!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago

Well, we have more winter light and less snow further south – and the booze is a bit cheaper too 😉

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Particular cheap aboard a former 19th century English ‘clipper’ still moored in Stockholm harbour.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago

Driving teams of semi ferocious Huskies, at speed, across northern Finland is almost as exciting and dangerous as Hunting.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 months ago

Did you go with Sven Engholme? One of my best ever experiences.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
2 months ago

Did you go in the summer or winter? The difference is literally like night and day.

Last edited 2 months ago by betsyarehart