Our endorsement for the Swedish general election 2010
On Sunday, 19th September, Swedes will elect a new Parliament and with it a new governing coalition. As one of the world’s most developed countries (if not THE most developed), we have a special interest in endorsing the political party and the coalition that, we believe, will keep Sweden as an example of equitable economic and social progress.
During the last four years, the governing centre-right Alliance coalition –composed of the Moderate Party, the Centre Party, the Liberal People’s Party and the Christian Democrats–, has taken Sweden into a new era of responsible economic growth without forgetting the essential component that makes Sweden unique: an equitable distribution of the rewards of success.
At a time when most countries in Europe are still struggling to get the economy back on track after the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression, Sweden’s economic indicators are looking strong: GDP is growing robustly, unemployment is continuing to fall (the unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 per cent in August from 9.5 per cent in June), and the budget is heading into surplus in 2011. But that is not all. Sweden has become the fastest-growing economy in Western Europe. This remarkable economic success story has been possible thanks to the Alliance’s competent and responsible economic management, creating incentives for companies to hire, cutting red tape and unnecessary regulations, keeping markets open, making it easier for individuals to work than to collect welfare and reducing taxes on lower-income individuals.
But progress has not only been materialised on the economic front. During this Alliance government, Parliament approved marriage equality, with all the Alliance parties (with the exception of the Christian Democrats) voting in favour. Not only did the Moderates, the Centre Party and the Liberal People’s Party campaign for this legislation, but they also resisted any attempt by their junior coalition partner, the Christian Democrats, to make changes to the bill. On education, the Alliance has promoted the inclusion of more private providers to increase choice, competition and quality –a policy that has been adopted by Britain’s newly formed Liberal-Conservative coalition government.
On the other hand, Sweden’s Social Democrats –one of the most successful political parties in the history of western democracies–, seem to have lost their way. They have formed a centre-left coalition with the Greens and, to their leader’s discontent, with the former communist Left Party. This so-called “Red-Greens” coalition has been unstable from the beginning, mainly due to the extreme statist past of the ex-communists. The three parties seem unable to agree on a comprehensive program for government and the addition of the Left Party has tilted what would otherwise be a competent Social Democrat/Green alternative to the Alliance into an unstable left-leaning group of mutually suspicious partners.
This move by the Social Democrats has not been unnoticed by the electorate. The party is on course to get their lowest share of the vote in its history, losing also the title of most voted party to the Moderates for the first time.
In this scenario, we strongly believe the centre-right, liberal-conservative Alliance coalition and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt deserve four more years of government.
We want to see this liberal shift in Swedish politics continue for the next four years, and that is why RealLibs.com endorses the Alliance as our preferred coalition. Now, within the Alliance, we also want to endorse the political party we believe is the best exponent of a liberal vision of Sweden. There are two parties within the Alliance that could be described as liberal in philosophy (although, in our view, the Moderates are not far from qualifying for that title as well): The Centre Party (Centerpartiet) and the Liberal People’s Party (Folkpartiet Liberalerna). Both parties are members of the ELDR party (and the ALDE group) in the European Parliament and the Liberal International. Even when both parties support all the basic tenets of liberalism, we believe one of them represents the true, forward-looking spirit of liberalism: the Centre Party.
The Centre Party’s “green liberalism” is the type of liberalism we at RealLibs.com want in the 21st century. The Centre Party is one of the strongest advocates of entrepreneurialism and environmentalism in Sweden and, most importantly, unlike the left, the Centre Party understands these two topics are not mutually exclusive, but, on the contrary, need each other. The biggest challenge facing humanity in our age is climate change and environmental degradation. We will only be able to solve the climate and environmental challenge through human innovation and creativity. That’s the history of humankind. Solving climate change will demand the combined work of scientists and entrepreneurs, developing new ideas to reduce our destructive impact on this planet. That’s our vision of a green future. And that’s the Centre Party’s vision as well.
Are we saying that the state has no role in reducing carbon emissions and regulating businesses’ polluting activities? No. We do support responsible government regulations that help reduce our carbon footprint, making polluters pay their fair share. In fact, we have always advocated for carbon taxes, to help accelerate the transition to renewable sources of energy. What we are saying is that, unlike the left, we don’t think the state has all the answers. We believe in a combination of state and market action to speed up the transition towards a more sustainable future.
This belief is at the heart of the Centre Party. The party’s “green liberalism” is the type of liberalism we want to see spreading throughout the world. That’s why, as the Alliance's green choice, RealLibs.com proudly endorses the Centre Party for Sunday’s general election.
For more information on the Centre Party (Centerpartiet), visit www.centerpartiet.se
Tags: centerpartiet sweden "centre party" alliansen folkpartiet moderaterna liberalism "green liberalism" green
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