How long will Sweden’s nationalists be excluded from power?

TWO YOUNG men, Andreas Palmlov and Julian Kroon, sit in a bar swapping anecdotes about their native Sweden. The welfare system is so lax that an immigrant drew benefits while serving as the defence minister of Iraq. A lecturer was suspended because students complained that a lesson about fatherhood was heteronormative. And 1m kroner ($116,000) of taxpayers’ cash was lavished on art intended not for human eyes but those of birds and beetles.

Some of the details are disputed. The Iraqi politician, Najah al-Shammari, a Swedish citizen, denies committing benefit fraud. But stories like these help explain why Mr Palmlov and Mr Kroon are members of the Sweden Democrats, a nationalist party. They believe that Sweden is under threat: from immigrants who drain the welfare state, from radicals who undermine traditional values and from an establishment that stigmatises voices of common sense like their own.

Storytelling matters in politics. Voters remember a good yarn more easily than any statistic. And the Sweden Democrats tell a simple, emotive one: that non-European immigrants are ruining Sweden, and a left-wing government is letting them.

In 1988, when it was founded, the party was dismissed as a rabble of neo-Nazis. But since the 1990s it has purged overt racists and cleaned up its image. It gained momentum in 2015…

Link to article: www.economist.com/node/21795737?fsrc=rss%7Ceur

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