Mainstream parties shrink in Sweden election

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Rob “Zombie Bumblefuck” is doing political commentary in the UK now? That man has more lives than the cat from Pet Cemetary.


I did a double-take on the name, too.

that said, I desperately wish US electoral charts looked more like that. instead we get a giant block of solid red, a giant block of solid blue, and a tiny sliver of whatever Bernie Sanders’ favorite color is.


Great analysis, Rob! I skimmed the headlines over the weekend and came away with a very different and more simplistic impression. As with so many elections, I think this can be summarized as “establishment parties crumble as they continue to offer more of the same, insurgent parties on left and right surge, and what they have in common is the willingness to utter the obvious truth that neoliberalism has enriched the few at the expense of the rest.”


and some are now having trouble backing off that simple narratives now the reality is more complex.

Not surprising. The narrative is the story, the facts are just to help the narrative along. Facts by themselves are meaningless to 95% of us. We say we buy newspapers to be informed, but every newsman knows we buy for the narrative.

And in cases where there is no compelling narrative, there’s usually no story at all.

It reminded me of a story by Mark Herman, a game designer - he was being interviewed by the CBC about a game he designed that was a military simulation of the Gulf War as the war was gearing up. Mark was half way through the interview when he gave them a piece of information that forced the producer to halt the whole thing.

The producer was annoyed because Mark had broken the narrative of him being a villain for capitalizing on war and producing this game that might be used by the Iraqi military to turn a quick buck. It was only during the interview that the producer realized the game had been created several years earlier.

The producer asked for 5 minutes while they created a new narrative and started the interview fresh. This time, Mark was a visionary in which he successfully predicted how a Gulf War might shake out.

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Except for the explicitly-named “Centre Party” also growing by 50%. I have no idea what narrative(s) that implies, I just hope it’s not giving Chuka Umunna ideas.


You could flip that graph left for right, and the only clue I’d have that something was wrong would be the Left Party and Green Party on the right.

I wonder how many of the English-language political pundits discussing the great significance of events in Sweden would even catch that?

It seems likely that a large chunk of their surge comes from the fact that they were the one party in the center/centrist/traditional fold that never tried to triangulate away the fringe party ideas and visions.

Here’s my analysis (and I’m a Swede). Unfortunatly, the increase for the browns and the reds are not that much an effect of stating the obvious truths of the effects of neoliberalism. The “obvious truth” from the brown party has been the same as always: get rid of all the strange people and all will be well again. Just packaged in new words. And the red party has received an influx from the green and social democrats for them being too bland during the past mandate. Bland is my general, current, analysis of Sweden’s established parties. The left and far right on the other hand have rediscoverd rethoric as a means to get the party started. If the center parties and social democrats could learn that too it could get realy intersting and we might actualy get somewhere. The increase for the Center Party comes from (in my mind) a firm, and belivable, stance made this spring never to accept to govern with the far right.

Dealing with the prevailing neoliberal mantra from the left-center parties would make a nice change of tune for all of western society and have the ability, i think, to reduce the far-right’s talking point domain. That, and a firm grip on what democracy is and what pillars it stands on.


Two differences here:

  1. this Rob Ford is a Brit;
  2. he’s not dead.

@beschizza, that graphic is wrong. The red-green bloc (144) plus the center party (31) add up to 175 seats.


Wait. Rob Ford is dead? Should we start a thread?


Wow. So many parties represented in parliament. I feel deprived and impoverished with only two crappy ones.

Gee, it looks more and more like states serving capitalist interests doesn’t do much good for that democracy thing. Almost looks like that trickle down thing actually never works. (Indeed, nearly all our elected officials implicitly admit as much: Cut taxes in an elite-compliant way then say that everything outside the Pentagon has to be cut to pay for the tax cuts, notwithstanding that the cuts were supposed to create so much growth, that tax revenues would increase because of the cuts. So: trickle down, they implicitly admit, is a lie.)

I’d agree that people much prefer facts that have been safely emplotted; but I’d say that your example doesn’t really capture what people are looking for in the narrative here:

In the game designer case; it was a “why do I care?” question. A guy made a game about a war; OK, how did this rise to the level of attracting an interviewer? Was it a crass cash-in on our troops? Brilliant forecast?

In the Swedish election case(at least for outside observers) it’s more of a “what does it mean?” question: we know that it’s important because it’s a reaction to the past few years of Swedish policy and will dictate the next few; but, um, a bunch of political parties whose names(if those in other countries are anything to go by) might well be a very bad indicator of what they stand for have experienced a shift in voter support and I don’t really know what the upshot is. Is the moral of the story that nativist reactionaries are surging? ‘Centrist’ parties bleeding on both edges?

Both are examples of human enthusiasm for a plot; but “why does it matter/should I care?” and “what does it mean?” are rather different questions.

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Sad to see right-wing populism oozing from under the sewer covers in a place like Sweden.

Identifying and appealing to those left behind by unfettered neoliberal globalism makes a lot of sense for modern populist movements of any stripe. That’s just the starting point, though. What’s most enabled the resurgence of populism, especially the right-wing variety, is that a critical mass of those who lived through the 1930s and 40s have died off, and with them the living memory of the misery of those times.

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