Miscellaneous: March 31st, 2008 by JS
Sweden, which has long prided itself on a liberal immigration policy, is now putting on the brakes. This change of direction has not gone unnoticed outside the country, as this article in the Guardian shows.
Madeleine Seidlitz, a lawyer and refugee co-ordinator for Amnesty International Sweden, gives her view on how the courts treat asylum seekers:
‘We rarely see the courts giving the benefit of the doubt. We see judgments that are simply incorrect under international law. And there seems to be no interest in the courts in understanding the nature of the situation in the countries of the refugees they are dealing with.’ Not least, she means, Iraq and Somalia.
Not everyone would agree with her next bit of analysis:
While Seidlitz believes that Sweden has become ‘a harder place’, she is puzzled over where the pressure for change is coming from, believing that it is the politicians who are pushing the process rather than necessarily reflecting changing public attitudes.
N.B. Tobias Billström, named in the article simply as being ‘of the Moderate Party’, is also Sweden’s migration minister – perhaps a relevant fact here.
Miscellaneous: March 20th, 2008 by JS
As we report today, Swedish politicians who defend the country’s ban on paying for sex are now encouraging New Yorkers to adopt a similar stance, in an article in the International Herald Tribune. The article comes after Governor Eliot Spitzer’s resignation over his use of a prostitute, and follows a piece in The Local a few months ago outlining the pros and cons of Sweden’s current ban on ‘Johns’.
Miscellaneous: March 16th, 2008 by PO
A reader brought to our attention this ad for an apartment for sale on Rörstrandsgatan in Stockholm.
For anyone interested in history, this is a very exciting area. Several hundred years ago this street was a refuge for the royal family, who had a castle here. More recently, it was home to both a lamp factory and a porcelain factory. What’s more, celebrities such as Lenin and our great national poet Nils Ferlin have both lived on Rörstrandsgatan. Welcome to a place you’ll find hard to leave!
This last line is perhaps an unintentional but fitting way to remember the stay in Sweden of the first leader of the Soviet Union.
Education: March 11th, 2008 by PO
Britain is currently looking to Sweden for ideas at all levels of the educational system. Here, The Guardian compares and contrasts the daycare systems in the two countries:
Swedish children do not start school until they are seven, with a voluntary reception class at the age of six, while British children are up at dawn with full days in class at the age of five. Two separate countries with similar childcare strategy, but very different values.
Miscellaneous: March 6th, 2008 by JS
Green parties across Europe have traditionally been seen as belonging on the left of politics. But as centre-right parties become more environmentally aware, it is not always clear that Greens should still be allying themselves with their traditional social democratic partners. In Sweden, the Greens, while closer in many respects to the Social Democrats, have views on company taxation and the position of trade unions that are closer to centre-right thinking. Now, German Greens are allying with Christian Democrats in Hamburg. This might be more out of expediency than a feeling of common cause, but with centre-right parties pushing green agendas, could it be a sign of things to come?
Music: March 6th, 2008 by PO
Here’s her recent hit single, Little Bit:
Miscellaneous: March 4th, 2008 by JS
We’re all used to centre-left politicians traipsing over to Stockholm from countries like Britain, hoping to learn from Sweden’s welfare system. The sight of centre-right politicians making the same journey is less familiar, but the British Conservatives are taking a close look at the Swedish system of ‘free schools’, government-funded independent schools.
Particularly arresting is the idea that Swedish education policy might be too right-wing for British – or even American – tastes:
And then he says something one would be surprised to hear in the White House, let alone the Rosenbad in Stockholm. ‘The question for me is whether we should abolish non-profit-making schools,’ Sandström says. I am not at all sure he was joking.
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