Libralerna Answers

Liberalerna (L) or the Liberals in English, answer the 9 Political Questions asked to all major parties represented in Stora Torget, Uppsala.
Answering our questions is Liberalerna candidate for Uppsala municipality and region Anders A. Aronsson.

1.     What are the core values your party represents?
Liberalerna is the Swedish liberal party, as the name clearly shows. Our representatives have through the history put forward and worked actively for, as example, equality between men and women. It was a liberal prime minister in Sweden when the parliament decided that both men AND women should have the right to vote in the general elections.
Freedom to choose, market economy within frames decided by the parliament, equality, no discrimination of any kind….
Individual responsibility for the common good.

 

2.     Where would you place your party in the Left-Right political spectrum?
The Liberals in Sweden is in the middle of that spectrum.

3.     Which are the parties you feel closest to in the European Parliament?
The Swedish Liberal Members of the European Parliament are members in the ALDE group, where you also find the FDP from Germany, The Party for freedom and progress in Belgium and other like that.

4.     Why should people vote for your party?
You must live your life the way you want, make your own decisions, dream your own dreams and be able to work to make them come true. That’s freedom and that’s what liberalism is all about. However, freedom isn’t the same thing as everyone doing exactly what they want. If freedom is for everyone – not just the biggest and the strongest – we need common rules. That’s why we have such things as freedom of speech, compulsory education and the police and that’s why we work together to pay for our welfare. Typical liberal ideas!
When education doesn’t work and pupils don’t learn what they need to know – they have less freedom to live the way they want. And when integration is unsuccessful and the gaps become wider – people are prevented from supporting themselves. For that reason, education and integration are the most important issues for the Liberals in the 2018 election. We put education first because it provides choice and freedom. The classroom must be a place for knowledge, calm and peace and quiet so people can work. We want a Sweden that sticks together, in which new Swedes can support themselves and contribute. Language, work and equality are the way into society.

5.     What are the general priorities your party aims at achieving throughout Sweden?
Our top priority is reforms in order to get the Swedish schools to function better. Top priority is also to get the integration process for newcomers in Sweden to work better. We also emphasize that the cooperation within the European Union must be better and deeper.

6.     Why should people vote for your party on a Local level?
The Liberal Party in Uppsala has a comprehensive program with priorities and programs covering the responsibilities that our City Assembly has to deal with. The main priorities are: the school sector (as on national level), integration, planning of the city for sustainability, fulfilment of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and development of the cultural activities.

7.     If elected, what will you do for Uppsala? And for Uppland?
Of course use the long experience of political work and of responsibility in order to get our program from words into reality!

For Uppland, or more correct The Uppsala Region, we have a separate program dealing withthe main responsibilities, namely the health care and preventive measures. Top priority is better organisation and working conditions for the medical staff, like nurses, assistant nurses, doctors… An important proposal is to get more staff that can unburden the nurses etc administration and work where medical training is not needed.

8.     Do you have any links to further material on your party in English?

https://www.liberalerna.se/wp-content/uploads/liberalerna_en.pdf

9.  Any other closing comments or remarks?

Liberalerna stand in Stora Torget, Uppsala

Most important is to vote, to use your democratic rights, and to vote for one of the political parties that stands for individual rights and responsibilities, solidarity with all humans regardless of origin/race/age/sexual preference/religion, social care for the elderly and for people with special needs, for good conditions for small and big enterprises which means job and income for more and more people, for further cooperation within the European Union and with other countries. The Liberal party stands up for that and against both communist and conservative forces.

 


To read more about the Swedish 2018 Vote go to the homepage of the section.

Photos: Dante Löfstrand ©

Miljöpartiet Answers

Charles Pylad (left). 

Miljöpartiet (MP) or The Green Party in English, answer the 9 Political Questions asked to all major parties represented in Stora Torget, Uppsala.

Answering our questions is MP candidate for Uppsala Charles Pylad.

1. What are the core values your party represents?

In our party platform, we describe our ideology as being based on “a solidarity that can be expressed in three ways: solidarity with animals, nature, and the ecological system”, “solidarity with coming generations”, and “solidarity with all of the world’s people”. The platform then describes these solidarities being expressed in “several fundamental ideas”, these being participatory democracy, ecological wisdom, social justice, children’s rights, circular economy, global justice, nonviolence, equality and feminism, animal rights, self-reliance and self-administration, freedom, and long-sightedness.

 

2. Where would you place your party in the Left-Right political spectrum?

Most of the greens would say in the middle or a little bit to the left from the middle.  In 2009, Maria Wetterstrand, then party co-spokesperson, defined the party as a natural home also for green-minded social liberals and libertarian socialists, by referring to its liberal policy regarding immigration and its support of personal integrity, participation and entrepreneurship, among other issues. Myself, I have always seen myself as a social liberal.

 

3. Which are the parties you feel closest to in the European Parliament?

Probably EUL/NGL (Left), PES (Social democrats) and Alde (liberals)

 

4. Why should people vote for your party?

We want to build a sustainable society, that takes on climate change. Sweden should take the lead and be the most modern green country in the world. The Green party also have a positive message in our election campaigns combating segregation, the importance of giving everybody an equal chance in society, and that more money needs to go to education so that schools can be just as good in poorer areas. Many other parties tend to be more aggressive and have negative campaigning against different groups in society.

 

5. What are the general priorities your party aims at achieving throughout Sweden?

  • Invest in high-speed trains, expand and improve the railways throughout the country.
  • Promote climate-smart and organic food.
  • Schools and elderly care homes shall serve more organic and locally produced food. We want to tax imported meat where unnecessary antibiotics have been used in raising animals.
  • Stop the spread of plastics and poisons in oceans and waterways.
  • Give everybody more power over their time and their working lives.
  • We want to reduce working hours, and invest in gender-equal salaries and pensions.
  • Give timely support to youths who are unwell.
  • We want to reinforce pupil health services and gradually realise queue-free child and youth psychiatry services.
  • Make Sweden stand for peace, gender equality and a humane refugee policy. Sweden shall not export weapons to dictatorships and we are against Sweden joining NATO.
  • We want to protect the right to asylum, and give people fleeing the right to be reunited with their families. This is about being humanitarian.

6. Why should people vote for your party on a Local level?

The Green party want to invest in public transports, like trams. In the 1950s-1960s trams were removed in several cities in Sweden with more people buying cars.

The city of Uppsala had a tram network back in 1953. Now it’s time to reintroduce the transportation method into Uppsala which is a fast growing city. 

Better public transport between Uppsala and Stockholm. Nowhere else in Sweden are there as many commuters as between these two cities. Now only two railway tracks between the cities. The Green party have succeeded with a long time goal and now it’s finally decided by the government to build two more tracks. Very important.

Give support to youths who are unwell. The rising of youths having mental health issues are growing rapidly in Sweden, more than in other counries, even by comparing with the Nordic countries. No one knows for sure why but some experts believe the big focus on individuals and not the society can be part of the problem.

Defend the title of being Sweden’s best bicycle friendly city and compete of being one of the world’s best biclycle friendly cities.

Make Uppsala leading in energy switching. With green energy Uppsala shall contribute to reducing climate impact and leading the way in energy switching.

Employ more adults in schools so that pupils have more time with their teachers. The working environment needs to be improved and salaries increased.

7. If  elected, what will you do for Uppsala? And for Uppland?

Invest in public transports, especially trams. It’s time to reintroduce the transportation method into Uppsala which is a fast growing city. 

Give support to youths who are unwell. The rising of youths having mental health issues are growing rapidly in Sweden

Make Uppsala leading in energy switching. With green energy Uppsala shall contribute to reducing climate impact and leading the way in energy switching.

Employ more adults in schools so that pupils have more time with their teachers. The working environment needs to be improved and salaries increased.

Increase agricultural self-sufficiency and also promote more of organic farming.

Democracy – An effective, open organization in municipality / county council with great opportunities for the individual to have influence, for example, citizen proposals, consultation, opinions in urban planning issues, etc.

Business – Good business environment as well as a good and effective service.

Urban planning – tougher energy and environmental requirements for construction, accessibility and promoting varied architecture.


8. Do you have any links to further material on your party in English?

https://www.mp.se/languages

9.  Any other closing comments or remarks?

 

 


To read more about the Swedish 2018 Vote go to the homepage of the section.

 

Photos: Dante Löfstrand ©

Nya Moderaterna Answers

Nya Moderaterna (M) or the new Moderates in English, answer the 9 Political Questions asked to all major parties represented in Stora Torget, Uppsala.
Answering our questions is Moderaterna candidate for Uppsala Fredrik Hultman.

1. What are the core values your party represents?

 

The Moderate Party defines its ideology as liberal-conservative. According to the party platform, our core values are Liberty, Safety, Openness and Justice.

 

We believe in the potential of every human being to improve their own lives and the lives of others through entrepreneurship and innovation. Therefore, we want government to be limited, but the state to be strong when it is needed.

2. Where would you place your party in the Left-Right political spectrum?

The party is usually described as being centre-right.

 

3.Which are the parties you feel closest to in the European Parliament?

The Moderate Party is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) party group, and has traditionally been rather similar to the British Conservative Party (although, they left the EPP some years ago). The Moderate Party is by far more EU positive than the British Conservatives, but we still share some core ideological tenets with them.

We also have a lot of things in common with the Finnish Kokoomus, the German CDU and the Irish Fine Gael.

 

4. Why should people vote for your party?

We are a party for the hopeful, the ambitious and the hard working. We believe in the potential of every human being to achieve great things, and want politics to reflect that. Politicians should keep out of people lives, and encourage private initiatives and entrepreneurship. But we also need a strong state, that could provide a strong safety net for those who need support, such as the sick and the elderly.

If more people work and contribute to society, we have more tax money to spend on promoting the general welfare of all people, by investing in education, health care and care for the elderly. We are not the party that makes the most extravagant promises, but we never promise more than we can deliver. We always prioritises core welfare services, such as health care, care for the elderly and education. Those services are provided at municipal and a county level.

 

5. What are the general priorities your party aims at achieving throughout Sweden?

Our main priorities in this election are reforming the benefits system, cutting taxes for low-income workers and pensioners, investing heavily in cutting waiting times in the health care system, implementing effective environmental policies and ensuring that Sweden is safe by investing in the police force to ensure the rule of law.

For the past four years we have seen a rapid rise in violent crime and sex offences. The government has been unable to address this. The number of police has dwindled due to internal issues at the police authority and poor working conditions, while too few are accepted to the Police Academy to meet the need of the Swedish police force. This has also lead to many serious criminal offences not being investigated within a reasonable time. The Moderates want to raise police salaries significantly.

 

Since the refugee crisis in 2015 it has been made abundantly clear that Sweden cannot have migration policies that greatly diverges from neighbouring countries. Therefore, we want to keep some of the fundamental parts of the temporary legislation that was enacted in 2016, and which expires in 2019. For example, we want temporary residency permits to be the general rule and demand that immigrants who bring over family member show that they will be able to support them financially. We also want improve integration policies by demanding that immigrants learn basic Swedish as a condition to earn permanent residency and citizenship.

 

Today, taxes are high while it is still possible to earn more from government handouts than by working. We want to introduce a benefit cap, to incentivise work. For the same reasons, we also want to cut taxes for low income earners. As a matter of fairness, we also want to cut taxes for pensioners, so that people who have worked their whole lives can support themselves.

 

During the past four years waiting times have risen steadily in health care. We want to invest directly in decreasing waiting times. We also want to introduce more teaching hours in primary schools, to improve results and offer more support to students who lag behind.

 

We are the only party that has presented a plan to increase defence funding so that it will be 2 % of GDP, in line with the NATO requirement, and we also want Sweden to join Nato.

 

6. Why should people vote for your party on a Local level?

 

We are the party that prioritises safety, low taxes and core welfare services. We want local government to run more efficiently and cut municipal taxes so that working families and pensioners get to keep more of the money they’ve earnt. By committing to focussing on core welfare services, we can also afford to cut taxes. The Moderate Party is the best option for those who want sound economic policies.

 

Today, the tax rate in Uppsala municipality is higher than in comparable municipalities, but the welfare services are not by any comparison better in Uppsala than in other municipalities. Out of 290 municipalities, Uppsala schools now rank in 146th place. When the Moderate Party gained power in 2006, schools ranked in 214th place. In 2014 when we lost power, Uppsala ranked in 54th place. We have improved school results before, and with our policies we will be able to do so again.

 

7. If elected, what will you do for Uppsala? And for Uppland?

 

In Uppsala we want to implement our seven-point programme for schools, by introducing qualified teacher assistants to minimise teachers’ workload, and allow them to focus more on teaching. We also want to introduce centralised corrections of test, and implement a model for developing better teaching through teacher conferences lead by qualified researchers, or teachers with an equivalent level of academic education.

We want to focus on making Uppsala safer, by introducing more camera surveillance in public places and having more security guards in public areas. It is unacceptable that many citizens are afraid to go out because of the rise in violent crime.

We want benefits for the unemployed to be tied to demands for work applications. There must always be incentives to find work. In Uppsala, everyone who is able to work, should be expected to.

We promise to immediately add funding to schools that need extra funding for children with special needs. We believe that the cuts to that funding has been irresponsible and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. We also want to improve the traffic situation, by creating more parking spaces and get rid of the bottle necks that create traffic jams.

At a regional level, we want to address the staffing needs at the Akademiska Hospital. Nurses have been resigning at a discouraging rate, to the extent that certain wards cannot remain open. We want to introduce a career system, which rewards loyalty and experience, and also conduct necessary re-organisations to improve working hours for hospital employees.

We also want to make investments collective traffic, and are open to creating a tram system, provided that it is the most feasible and economically sound alternative.

 

8. Do you have any links to further material on your party in English?

This is a brief guide to some of our main policies in this election: https://moderaterna.se/sites/default/files/page_attachments/2018-06/folder_A5_vårkampanj_2018_uppslag_ENG.pdf

 

9. Any other closing comments or remarks?

It is important to note that the Moderate Party is cooperating closely with the Alliance (Alliansen), which also consists of “Centerpartiet”, Kristdemokraterna and Liberalerna.

Therefore, we have agreed on certain sets of policies that we would like to implement together with those parties if we are able to rule as a coalition on national, regional and/or municipal level. A vote for the Moderate Party is therefore also a vote for the Alliance. We have no intention of collaborating with other political parties, especially not the Sweden Democrats. However, we have reached agreements with the Social Democrats and the Green Party on important issues in the past, such as the Energy agreement two years ago that was agreed in parliament, and we are open to more of those agreements in the future.

We governed as the Alliance on a national level, in Uppsala municipality and in the Uppsala region between 2006 and 2014. Since 2014 we have been in opposition, and are now looking forward to get back into power.

 


To read more about the Swedish 2018 Vote go to the homepage of the section.

Photos: Dante Löfstrand ©

Centerpartiet Answers

Centerpartiet (CP) or Centre Party in English, answer the 9 Political Questions asked to allmajor parties represented in Stora Torget, Uppsala.
Answering our questions is CP candidate for Uppsala John Hultengård.

1. What are the core values your party represents?

Centerpartiet’s core values are equality, tolerance, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, openness, embracing multiculturalism and respecting and guarding freedoms of individuals of the society.

 

2. Where would you place your party in the Left-Right political spectrum?

We would place ourselves in the centre – hence, our name. Historically, we’ve been leaning somewhat to the left, but during the last 20 years, we’ve moved slightly to leaning more to the right.

 

3. Which are the parties you feel closest to in the European Parliament?

In the EP, we are part of the ALDE group, hence parties

such as D66, VVD, FDP etc are close to us. We also have ties to LREM and Ciudadanos (Spain).

 

4. Why should people vote for your party?

The election this fall mainly revolves around values. Some parties would prefer to have Sweden shut off from the rest of the world and spread hatred and racism,

whereas we argue that Sweden needs to be an open-minded country, embracing globalisation as well as seeing our differences as something positive, not negative (ergo, respecting LGBT rights, minorities, helping asylum seekers etc).

 

5. What are the general priorities your party aims at achieving throughout Sweden?

1. To prevent the cleavage that is taking place in Sweden as we speak – between urban and countryside areas, between those who have a job and those who do not (through major reforms of the labor market) as well as fixing the issues with the queues to the public healthcare through major reforms, bringing it closer to citizens.

 

6. Why should people vote for your party on a Local level?

Because we ensure that Uppsala remains a safe city, with more local guards patroling the city and more cameras put up, as well as not wanting to build a tram railway (which would put the municipality in huge debt), but also to expand the construction of housing on the countryside, since one of our fundamental policies of the party is that you should be able to live wherever you want in the entire country.

 

7. If elected, what will you do for Uppsala? And for Uppland?

See above. We also want to expand public transport in the entire region so that one can live wherever one prefers in the region, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions by creating incentives not to drive cars and instead taking the bus.

 

8. Do you have any links to further material on your party in English?

You can find information in several languages on our website: https://www.centerpartiet.se/val-2018/other-languages

9. Any other closing comments or remarks?

We really do appreciate that you are taking your time to understand Swedish politics. I myself have been an international student and always loved to discuss politics with international students. If you are ever interested in joining or discussing politics, don’t hesitate to contact us!

 


To read more about the Swedish 2018 Vote go to the homepage of the section.

Photos: Dante Löfstrand ©

Social Demokraterna Answers

Social Demokraterna (SAP) or Social Democrats in English, answer the 9 Political Questions asked to all major parties represented in Stora Torget, Uppsala.
Answering our questions is SAP candidate for Uppsala municipality Hilde Klasson.

1. What are the core values your party represents?

For us Social Democrats there are some things that are more important than others; We are strongly against benefit in welfare service . Equality between men and women is another issue that is significant for us. The pension for the people who has the lowest incomes is a third question that we aim for. The climatechange  is a topic and the education for children and students as well.

2. Where would you place your party in the Left-Right political spectrum?

The Social Democrats in Sweden are to be placed in the middle or a little bit to the left in the political spectrum.

3. Which are the parties you feel closest to in the European Parliament?

The socialdemocratic parties in Europe.

 

4.  Why should people vote for your party?

Because we don’t want the taxes go to profits for the shareholders who own the wellfare companies. Because we care for a politic that will try to make Sweden  CO2neutral in a couple of decades. Because we work for equality between men and women. And we have a feminist foreign policy. Because we want retired people have good conditions and we will have a healthcare that doesn’t care if you are rich or pore. We are now building a huges amount of apartments, that we are in lack of. And we will give more resorses to the police.

5.   What are the general priorities your party aims at achieving throughout Sweden?

We would like to see a healthcare, school and care that reach everybody. We want to have good alternativs for everyone for the car( get ride of  the fossil fuels) we want more solar energy .We want the banking system to pay some of their profits to the state in order to get more welfare.

6. Why should people vote for your party on a Local level?

We have a good program for to create more jobs. We will see to that the wages are justice between men and women. We will work hard for to get areas that are called “nogozones” to be safe, and nice to live in. We will build apartments for young people to rent.

7. If elected, what will you do for Uppsala? And for Uppland?

If I am elected I will continue to work for a sustainable urban development. And if possible I would work for to get more support to sexually abused women and se to that their rights are taken care of

8. Do you have any links to further material on your party in English?

Here you can find Social Democrats campaign in English and several other languages https://www.socialdemokraterna.se/other-languages/

9. Any other closing comments or remarks?

I think this election is very scary because the Xenophobic forces are growing stronger and stronger and many people doesn’t reflect over what the limits for the politicians are and which  parties who are responsible for different issues. The real main issue for us is like a kinder egg; fight for democracy and social sustainable society!

 

 


To read more about the Swedish 2018 Vote go to the homepage of the section.

Photos: Dante Löfstrand ©

KristDemokraterna Answers

KristDemokraterna (KD) or Christian Democrats in English, answer the 9 Political Questions asked to all major parties represented in Stora Torget, Uppsala.
Answering our questions is KD candidate for Uppsala municipality Mimmi Westerlund.

1. What are the core values your party represents? 
Unlike liberals and socialists, we Christian Democrats do not harbour any utopian notions of what society may become. There is no single answer to aim for. Instead, we act based on good values. There are no perfect people and there are no perfect societies. In our pursuit of a good society, we do not ignore the individual and collective, but focus more on the interrelationships that exist in between: a life partner, family, colleagues, friends, neighbours, churches, companies, associations and charities. We are community builders.

 

2. Where would you place your party in the Left-Right political spectrum?
Right. We are a freedom and market-friendly based party that emphasises responsibility for our fellow human beings. We aim for reasonable taxation and want to prevent the wastage of taxpayers’ money, and we draw a line between what is and isn’t the duty of politics. 

 

3. Which are the parties you feel closest to in the European Parliament?
We are a part of EPP, European People’s Party along with the Swedish Nya Moderaterna (The Moderates).

 

4. Why should people vote for your party? 
We have attempted to dissolve the weak leftist government throughout the mandate period, we were a driving force behind the exposure of # transportgate which deposed two Ministers. We tore down the ‘opinion corridor’ when our grassroots movement nullified the December Agreement (Decemberöverenskommelsen). We have been a stable part of all centre- right governments since we entered the Riksdag in 1991. On top of that, you get a party that has the courage to place soft values first – safety, healthcare, and welfare.

 

5.What are the general priorities your party aims at achieving throughout Sweden?
1. Build more homes for the elderly 
Current government policy will result in housing shortages for 20,000 elderly by 2030. This means that we will not be able to offer everyone good elderly care. The way to prevent this shortfall is to build more residences.

 

2. Strengthen the elderly’s  personal finance 
Abolish pension tax and  lower the tax for elderly  who want to work.  Increase housing grants  and rent cap levels.

 

3. Remove county council responsibility for hospitals 
The distribution of healthcare across 21 different county councils is inefficient and unequal. We can shorten healthcare waiting times and give everyone qualitative care if the state assumes the primary responsibility for healthcare.

 

4. Employ an additional 10,000 police officers
We want to resolve the police crisis of the last few years with better working conditions, higher salaries and increased  police recruitment. Sweden needs an additional 10,000 police officers.

 

5. ‘No’ to parental leave quotas 
Families know best what solution is appropriate for them. That’s why we say ‘No’ to parental leave quotas and ‘Yes’ to unreserved parental leave. We also want to lower taxes for families with children. 

 

6. Stop wasting tax payer’s money
Money that could be used for welfare is being wasted on costly and misguided subsidies and municipal white elephant building projects. We intend to stop this.

 

6. Why should people vote for your party on a Local level? 
We have plan for a more secure Uppsala for you and your family.

 

In Uppsala, security should not only be a political slogan – it should be a keyword in all of the municipality’s activities and works:

 

Residents should be guaranteed safe streets and squares; 
Children should be guaranteed a safe upbringing, and 
Elderly should be guaranteed a safe elderly care.

 

You should simply be able to trust that basic welfare works.

 

Our main suggestions for safer streets and squares:
1.      Values and norms should be given a greater part in integration work.
2.      The municipality’s rules should be reviewed to regulate where begging should not occur 
3.      The security perspective should be an integral part of urban construction work to avoid creating environments that are perceived as insecure.

 

Our main suggestions for safer families:
1.      The size of the children’s groups in kindergarden should be reduced to up to 12 children in the toddler groups and 15 in other groups.
2.      Build 1,000 new smaller houses with 2-4 stories yearly, instead of tower blocks.
3.      Children in need of help and support from e.g. social services should never have to wait, especially the children who grow up in families with substance abuse problems.

 

Our main suggestions for safer care for the elderly
1.      Every person over 85 years of age should to be guaranteed a place in adapted accommodation (elderly care, nursing home etc)
2.      Home service needs to be reviewed with new site sharing and improved quality, e.g. by reducing the number of home care staff.
3.      Open more meeting points for older people, who offer exercise and senior restaurants, including in rural areas.

 

7. If elected, what will you do for Uppsala? And for Uppland? 
Except for the above we’ll take responsibility for Uppsalas economy – stop wasting the tax payer’s money and start building our welfare strong again! 

 

8. Do you have any links to further material on your party in English?

 

9. Any other closing comments or remarks? 

 

Uppsala’s residents should be guaranteed more secure streets; the children should beguaranteed a safe upbringing and kinder-garden, and the elderly should be guaranteed a safe elderly care. You should simply be able to trust that basic welfare works. Up until then – we have to cut spending on things that isn’t basic welfare such as the couch on Forum torget that cost 12 million SEK (http://www.unt.se/nyheter/uppsala/forumsoffans-prislapp-12-miljoner-kronor-5030420.aspx). 

To read more about the Swedish 2018 Vote go to the homepage of the section.

Photos: Dante Löfstrand ©

9 Questions to Swedish Poltical Parties

The debates are ongoing in Sweden and to get a better understanding of the situation I asked the same standard questions to all major Swedish political parties by approaching their wooden huts in Uppsala’s Stora Torget. This is one of the many sites across the country in which representatives of the different poltical parties hand out flyers, talk to citizens and answer questions.

 

I asked some questions in English for the benefit of those who are not fluent enough in Swedish to engage in the political debate that surrounds them and for those who are interested in the topic from overseas.

 

Here are the list of Questions asked:


  1.  What are the core values your party represents?
  2. Where would you place your party in the Left-Right political spectrum?
  3.  Which are the parties you feel closest to in the European Parliament?
  4. Why should people vote for your party?
  5. What are the general priorities your party aims at achieving throughout Sweden?
  6. Why should people vote for your party on a Local level?
  7. If elected, what will you do for Uppsala? And for Uppland?
  8. Do you have any links to further material on your party in English?
  9. Any other closing comments or remarks?

 


 

Find the answers given by the Uppsala-based political representatives of the different parties.

These are the ones which have answered so far:

 

These are the ones which we are still waiting on answers from:

  • Sveriges Demokraterna
  • Vänsterpartiet

A Gloomy Day

Contribution as part of the #BackStories campaign. This story is a first hand account of a person struggling with depression.

***

Image courtesy of Pxhere

I wake up. It’s 1 PM. Damn, did I really sleep for 12 hours? Whatever, it’s not that I have anything to do. It takes two hours before I finally get out of bed. Two hours of scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Look at all these successful people with their happy life. I feel nothing.

3 PM, I drag myself to the shower. Standing motionless in the shower for a while. Am I standing here for 5 minutes? 10 minutes? I don’t know and I don’t care. Not that there is anything waiting for me today.

3:15 PM I try to make breakfast. After a couple of bites I put my breakfast away. I don’t have any appetite lately. Not that that would matter.

4:20 PM I roll a joint. Finally some enlightenment in my day. Sitting there on my couch and smoking, I think about my life. What a sad life, sitting here in the middle of the week, smoking weed in the middle of the day. Why not looking for a job? Or study. Maybe working on your hobbies. I have a coloring book waiting for me, a yoga mat behind my TV or I could try to learn some new DJ moves. But I have no energy for that. It’s not that these things are somehow satisfying me.

My phone buzzes. It’s a message from my friend. “Hey how you’re doing? Are you going to the club on saturday?“ I stare at my phone but I don’t answer. Why bothering people with my depression?

Time feels differently when smoking weed.

Suddenly it’s 11 PM. I’m getting a headache of smoking too much. Alright, rolling the last one before going to bed.

I stare out of the window while sitting on my bed.

What did I achieve today? Nothing. Maybe breaking a new high score of doing nothing. I close my eyes.

What a gloomy day.

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Sankta Lucia

Sankta Lucia in Sweden is one of the most iconic festivity which mixes the ancient marking of the longest night with the celebration of a christian saint who brought light and hope.

The Saint’s Bio

Lucia is a Christian saint from Syracuse, Sicily and lived between 283–304. The story goes that her father died when she was 5 and she looked after her sick mother who she convinced to go on pilgrimage to Catania where Saint Agatha, around 50 years earlier, was martyred. Saint Agatha spoke to Lucia in her dream telling her that this miracle was granted to her mother as gratitude for her devotion. To thank God and Saint Agatha for the miracle, Lucia chose to continue her veneration and help fellow Christians. She did so by going into the Catacombs where christians hid from persecution to bring them food. In order to maximise the amount of food she could carry she wore candles on her head which connects to the current representations of Lucia in the Nordic tradition. This devote behaviour together with her vow of virginity to thank God angered her wealthy and most of all, pagan husband. Needless to say she did not marry him out of choice instead she did it because of marriage that Lucia’s mother had arranged as before she was miracled she feared her illness was not going to allow her to live much longer and thought her daughter needed someone to protect her when she could not. Her husband however reported Lucia to the Roman authorities and as Christianity was illegal at the time, she was convicted and several attempts were made to execute her. They only succeeded in killing her when they finally allowed her to get given the Christian rights.

The Nordic Tradition

Today across the nordic countries she is celebrated as the young woman with a crown of candles on her head and the reason she has these candles was that she used them to light her way as she went into the Catacombs where christians hid to bring them food and in order to maximise the amount of food she could carry she wore candles on her head.

The Scandinavian Lucia, traditionally used to carry saffron buns (Luciabulle) and other seasonal biscuits recalling the story of the saint who would bring food to her fellow Christians who, unlike her, where poor and hiding in the Catacombs not to be persecuted by the romans. Today Lucia in Sweden is tendentially a very nordic looking girl with long blond hair which would carry a candles on her head and who most likely looks nothing like the original Sicilian martyr.

This festivity, as many others in Christian Scandinavia, is highly important because it dates back to pre-Christian times when there were important rituals marking the longest night of the year. When the Christian cult came to Sweden the Julian calendar was still in use and the 14th of December would be the shortest day so it was easy for the multinational christianity to integrate ancient nordic rituals within the faith by re-branding it as a festivity in honour of a Christian saint.

The song sung by the choir ‘Sankta Lucia’ is a Swedish rendition of the original song in Neapolitan then translated into Italian and although the lyrics differ quite a lot the message of light and hope remains.

It is fascinating to watch this ancient ritual that has been kept alive by Christianity and even in one of the parts of the world with the highest percentage of atheists Lucia brings back a certain sense of spirituality and religiousness that is not really well understood or conceptualised rather it is done, for traditions sake and lived collectively appreciating the beauty and the magical contrast of the cold and darkness outside to the warm glow of the candles and heartwarming singing of traditional songs.

Aegean, the Modern Day ‘Hermes’

The mythological Greek god has changed name and as opposed to flying via divine power it uses jet engines

I deliberately chose to fly to Athens with the Greek airline Aegean to have a taste of Greece from the moment I stepped on to the plane in Stockholm and I was not disappointed.

Privetly owned company they sell tickets at comparable rates to their competitors who operate the same route, but they offer you a top quality service that was standard throughout the aviation sector up until the beginning of the 2000’s.

Pre-departure sweet for your ears not to pop, full hot meal included, TV with subtitled documentary, free drinks (including beer and wine) and an overall very good service. It is not surprising that they won the prize ‘best regional airline of 2017’.

Amongst other things they also do recycling and have a policy that all food that has been left unopened would be given to a charity to feed the homeless!

How is it possible? They must be loosing loads of money or getting big state subsidies? Well, no.

They are not even a ‘flag baring company’, which would entitle it to special privileges as it would be representing the country and get special deals but they still manage to fly and make a good turnover too.

This paradigm goes to show that there clearly can be a way of maintaining good quality service without compromising the price. Undoubtedly it is more expensive than Ryanair but if you choose to not fly with a low cost airline you also are prepared to pay a bit more in exchange for a better service.

All other big European companies have cut down on what they serve, last of these was British airways who stopped handing out free sandwiches and started to selling them.

Long live the godly service of the Greek airline and may this be an inspirational message for the other carriers that if they want to give a good service, they can!

This strong message which flies around Europe with blue and white colours is paradoxically important. The thing I struggle to understand is how such a beautiful country with so much history, natural beauty, tasty food and great produce can be in such an economically unstable situation?

Greece seek from the plane seams to be truly a living paradox.