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If KD leader Ebba Busch gets what he wants, Sweden will join NATO this spring – and will be in government with the Moderates this fall.
But despite the friendly lunches between the KD leader and Jimmie Åkesson, SD is not welcome in a bourgeois government this fall – SD officials in the government office, Ebba Busch can guess.
– I think it is good to see a downsizing and adaptation of reality by the Swedish Democrats in terms of defense and security policy, says Ebba Busch.
The atmosphere is at its best in Sälenstugan après-ski, when Ebba Busch takes the stage in the noisy log cabin.
– What are you sick that you go to a political meeting on vacation? I wouldn’t go to an après ski with a politician either, says Ebba Busch and throws down a few roars of laughter and applause.
full screen “For me it is a warm and loving way to describe the rest of Sweden which is not the big cities,” says Ebba Busch of the “Heartland” concept. Photo: MAGNUS WENNMAN
Speaking of fuel prices
Then the KD leader begins to tell about the “Sverigesnack” tour for Western Swedes intoxicated with 1950s sports holidays who had no idea Ebba Busch was on the way. It’s about unemployment, help lines, and parents not letting their kids go home after football due to rampant crime.
– That it goes to get a different development if you are willing to put something else aside, collaborate and talk to everyone and give priority, concludes Ebba Busch.
Then the KD leader exclaims:
– Anyone think it’s expensive to refuel?
“Yup!” shout the skiers in chorus.
It was in mid-February – before the Russian invasion of Ukraine – that the KD leader headed to Sälen and Vemdalen for an early election tour in what she describes as “Heartland”.
The term has received some praise for being an allusion to US President Donald Trump’s “Heartland”, but the KD leader still likes to talk about “Heartland” and describes the mythical concept as the core and pulse of Sweden that wants to protect, regardless of where it is geographically.
– For me it is a warm and loving way to describe the rest of Sweden which are not the big cities. Often you only talk about city and countryside and I think it becomes a bit of a poor concept, says Ebba Busch.
full screen “What are you sick that you go on vacation to a political meeting,” Ebba Busch tells sports holidaymakers in Sälenstugan, Lindvallen. Photo: MAGNUS WENNMAN full screen Over and over, Busch talks about how nuclear power sets high electricity prices. Photo: MAGNUS WENNMAN
“Elite people and ordinary people”
He opposes what he describes as an “elite” who has views on Sweden’s party description beyond the big cities.
– Those who can afford to sit with a pseudo-discussion of whether the land of the heart is the right concept or not, is the very proof that there is an elite and ordinary people.
Do you see any risk of arousing contradictions that do not exist when speaking of the people versus the elite?
– I mean that problems exist and if something is not done about them, we will have really acute contradictions. If you want to counter these contradictions then you have to listen and then you have to have concrete policies that can do something about it.
During the election tour, Ebba Busch grilled sausages with sports vacationers, visited a cured meat company in Lima, and a CEO of a transportation company. And the KD policy he adopted when he met the voters in western Dalarna has mostly applied to energy policy.
full screen “It is possible to achieve high climate goals without whipping your population.” Photo: MAGNUS WENNMAN
“Lots of nuclear energy”
Over and over again, Ebba Busch talks about how it is nuclear power that will solve high electricity prices and reduced reduction obligation (the amount of expensive but relatively green biofuel that the state forces oil companies to mix) that will solve the high fuel prices.
– If we want to achieve our high climate targets, without eliminating jobs in Sweden, have reasonable house prices and not compete with our own companies, then nuclear power is needed. So we need a lot of nuclear power in the future.
How important do you think it is to reach the agreed climate targets, given that you want to reduce the reduction obligation?
– Very important. And then they try on the other side to say that now (KD, ed) they want to lower the climate targets. No, it is possible to achieve high climate goals without whipping one’s population.
How do you think the government acted after the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
– My big criticism is that you keep making the same mistake every time a major crisis occurs. Wait for it to explode before getting ready. To me it is incomprehensible. It has nothing to do with the color of the party, it has to do with a type of leadership that I strongly disassociate myself from. To me, it is incomprehensible that as early as January they did not choose to update the security analysis and get different alternatives on how much more the defense would have to increase in order to increase, says Ebba Busch.
When do you think Sweden should join NATO?
– It would have been much better to be part of NATO already now. This also shows all the security risks that rightfully exist with NATO membership now, it shows why we need to have a political leadership that makes decisions before the danger is here, that would be ready to make decisions about NATO when the situation had been calmer. It’s not risk-free to join NATO now, I think it may not be something you should be doing this week, but you could do it later in the spring, says Ebba Busch.
full screen Ebba Busch at the Mikael Smitz transport company in Särna. Photo: MAGNUS WENNMANhelskärmÅker CEO Mikael Smitz complains about fuel prices, which are demanding more and more, “but it’s just a matter of biting each other,” he says. Photo: MAGNUS WENNMAN
I don’t want SD in the government
The Christian Democrats went to the polls to sit in a government led by M’s leader Ulf Kristersson. But such a government will depend on the support of the Swedish Democrats.
Can you imagine sitting in the same cabinet as Jimmie Åkesson?
– No, we want to form a government with the moderates. I think it would be better for Sweden. We both have government experience, we have a similar community of values on many issues. I think we could do a lot. The Swedish Democrats are a great party and I have great respect for the Swedish Democrats voters. But you have no government experience.
Exclude SD officials in government offices?
– No, but I don’t see there is a need for it at the moment.
He says that contacts with the Swedish Democrats are quite close and take place at different political levels, even directly between the two party leaders. These are digital lunches or meetings.
– We have a good dialogue going on, I would say. It’s fascinating, I was the first to meet Jimmie and I think it’s crucial. If you want to be able to do something, you have to understand that you have to understand yourself. What I appreciate is that they are so focused on certain issues, that it should be better here to live and work in Sweden, and that this is what we can meet. Then we know that there are a number of issues where we don’t think alike.
full screen ”The Swedish Democrats are a great party and I have great respect for the Swedish Democrats voters. But you have no government experience. “Photo: MAGNUS WENNMAN
“You see a sobering”
One such issue was the NATO issue that the Swedish Democrats are likely to address. Ebba Busch was also not happy with the deleted Swedish Democrats writing on her website that “the balance between the great powers” should be respected.
How mature do you think the Swedish Democrats are in security policy in light of this attitude?
– It is a thought that many have carried forward, that that balance should not be disturbed and we think it is wrong. And what I think is positive is that we are seeing a downsizing and an adjustment of reality by the Swedish Democrats in terms of defense and security policy, which I welcome.
Published: March 20, 2022 at 14.29