web analytics

Beware the Tory wolf in liberal clothing

Written By: - Date published: 4:28 pm, April 9th, 2008 - 23 comments
Categories: articles - Tags:

Polly Toynbee of The Guardian writes: “Beware the lesson of the Tory wolf in liberal clothing: Sweden’s great social democracy has been transformed for the worse – and Britain risks importing the nightmare”.

At the previous election [the moderates] had crashed at just 15%, so Reinfeldt, an appealing and eloquent 41-year-old, had a free hand to change everything. His tactic was to adopt virtually all social democrat policy so there was no observable difference – familiar?

… What has Reinfeldt done? A lot more than voters bargained for. Welfare reform has been radical: benefits are cut and so are taxes… National insurance contributions have been raised sharply, with the unplanned effect that nearly half a million of the lowest paid have walked away from the scheme, leaving them nothing if they lose their jobs. Since the scheme is administered via the unions, union membership has dropped by the same amount…

Meanwhile more of the health service is contracted out, with GPs free to charge for the first time, raising alarms that they are moving out of poor areas to richer places where they can earn more. The prime minister’s wife, in charge of the Stockholm region’s health service, has been particularly radical. State-owned Absolut vodka has been sold to the French, and state-owned liquor stores are about to be sold off too…

Read the full article here.


23 comments on “Beware the Tory wolf in liberal clothing ”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    Stephen Harper in Canada,
    Davd Cameron in the UK,
    Reinfeldt, Merkel, etc
    John Key

    they’re all cut from the same cloth. They campaign with three prongs:
    – the existing government is ‘tired’
    – ‘[country X] sucks’ – like National’s constant barge of attacks that try to convince people life in New Zealand is not as good as it is.
    – we won’t change much or do anything scary – release vague policy.

    Of course, once they’re in power every ‘solution’ just happens to be from the same old tory play book – sell off assets, cut services, cut wages, cut taxes for the rich, spend now and fuck the future.

    captcha: Orwell weather – sounds foreboding, better take a coat.

  2. Daveo 2

    But John Key’s a centrist. Tracy Watkins told me so.

  3. Sam Dixon 3

    Yeah, and John told her so himself

  4. r0b 4

    Re Steve’s first “-” point above, the attempted tory “meme” that Labour is tired and out of energy can itself I think be put out to pasture. Behind in the polls, yes. Stagnating, no!


  5. mike 5

    “benefits are cut and so are taxes ”
    Great – so we get to keep more of our hard earned money and living off the state is no longer a career option.

  6. Sam Dixon 6

    mike – if you think $200 a week on the dole is something any significant number of people choose, you’re living in a dream world.

  7. r0b 7

    Meanwhile mike, back in the real world, the number of working age people on benefits in NZ is significantly lower than it was under the last National government, and still falling. The benefit as a “career option” is another tory myth.

  8. Tane 8

    Yeah mike, because that’s been the trend over the last nine years…

    National’s hoax on unemployed workers

  9. rjs131 9

    Is that true that their were state owned liquor stores? And he is suggesting it is bad they are sold off? Would love to sell an argument in support of them being strategic assets!

  10. stevedore 10

    The last two paragraphs in that article are the most fascinating; where Toynbee wonders what the impact of a short burst of neo-liberalism can have on an entire culture and history of successful social democracy. The damage, as we know here, can last for generations. I’ll be interested to see how Sweden responds. Importantly the rest of the world needs Sweden to continue to act as an exemplar for the rest of us.

  11. Billy 11

    Yes rjs131. Liquor stores and airports are obvious strategic assets.

  12. Anyone who has had to live in Hamilton will tell you that yes indeed, liquor stores are strategically important…

  13. r0b 13

    ‘Sod – I’m so sorry – I had no idea…

  14. higherstandard 14


    ‘Importantly the rest of the world needs Sweden to continue to act as an exemplar for the rest of us.’

    An exemplar of what exactly ?

  15. Billy 15

    And please tell me there’s not really a person called Polly Toynbee. That’s so obviously made up.

  16. Dan 16

    I watched Bill English on TV tonight. The prospect of the duplicitous right following the prescription from conservatives overseas, and led by the depressive and uninspirational English appalls me. Key is history. I have been talking to various right-leaning friends who are really depressed at Key’s profile and performance.
    “Dan,” they say, “Key is up against Clark who is a modern day Muldoon. He is keeping his powder dry for the election!”
    What powder, I ask. You need policies to have powder, and if the above article is any indication of the policies proposed, then the Nats are looking at 30%.

  17. r0b 17

    And please tell me there’s not really a person called Polly Toynbee. That’s so obviously made up.

    You are joking, right?

  18. Billy 18

    Yes R0b. I am. In future, I’ll try to work out a little signal for you.

  19. r0b 19

    That would be great Billy. I hear tell some people use this here smiley thing 🙂

  20. Billy 20

    Never been a fan, actually. It seems to me like the blog equivalent of using a little love heart to dot your i’s.

  21. r0b 21

    I don’t use them myself, but emoticons do have a long and honourable history! It wouldn’t be so bad if so many recent applications didn’t turn them into cute little graphics. Mutter, mumble, offa my lawn.

  22. DS 22

    Regarding the Swedish government owning liquor stores, the reason is simple: most of the Scandinavian countries have a very long tradition of temperance and regulation of alcohol consumption. Sweden, unlike Norway, Finland, and Iceland, never actually adopted formal prohibition, but it did ration alcohol until the 1950s. To this day, stronger alcohol can only be bought in Scandinavia (Denmark is the exception) if you buy it from the government monopoly.

  23. randal 23

    so the right in sweden is prepared to fracture social cohesion so some of there mates can purchase a revenue producing asset…hmm where have I seen all this before…

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • How we’re preparing for Omicron
    As countries around the world experience Omicron outbreaks, we’re taking steps now to ensure we’re as prepared as possible and our communities are protected. ...
    2 days ago
  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    1 week ago

  • New Zealand to provide further help for Tonga
    Aotearoa New Zealand is giving an additional $2 million in humanitarian funding for Tonga as the country recovers from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. This brings Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution to $3 million. “This support will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Quarterly benefit numbers show highest number of exits into work
    The Government’s strong focus on supporting more people into work is reflected in benefit figures released today which show a year-on-year fall of around 21,300 people receiving a main benefit in the December 2021 quarter, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said. “Our response to COVID has helped ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Northland to move to Orange, NZ prepared for Omicron 
    Northland to move to Orange Rest of New Zealand stays at Orange in preparedness for Omicron All of New Zealand to move into Red in the event of Omicron community outbreak – no use of lockdowns Govt planning well advanced – new case management, close contact definition and testing rules ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • RNZAF C-130 Hercules flight departs for Tonga as Navy vessels draw nearer to Tongatapu
    A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules has departed Base Auckland Whenuapai for Tonga carrying aid supplies, as the New Zealand aid effort ramps up, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “The aircraft is carrying humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies, including water ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand prepared to send support to Tonga
    New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Planting the seeds for rewarding careers
    A boost in funding for a number of Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury will provide sustainable employment opportunities for more than 70 people, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The six projects are diverse, ranging from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand congratulates Tonga's new Prime Minister on appointment
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Hon Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni on being appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga have an enduring bond and the Kingdom is one of our closest neighbours in the Pacific. We look forward to working with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High-tech investment extends drought forecasting for farmers and growers
    The Government is investing in the development of a new forecasting tool that makes full use of innovative climate modelling to help farmers and growers prepare for dry conditions, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.  The new approach, which will cost $200,000 and is being jointly funded through the Ministry for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for fire-hit Waiharara community
    The government will contribute $20,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support those most affected by the fires in Waiharara in the Far North, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “I have spoken to Far North Mayor John Carter about the effect the fires continue to have, on residents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Manawatū’s ‘oases of nature’ receive conservation boost
    The Government is throwing its support behind projects aimed at restoring a cluster of eco-islands and habitats in the Manawatū which were once home to kiwi and whio. “The projects, which stretch from the Ruahine Ranges to the Horowhenua coastline, will build on conservation efforts already underway and contribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to continue Solomon Islands support
    A New Zealand Defence Force and Police deployment to help restore peace and stability to Solomon Islands is being scaled down and extended. The initial deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots and looting in capital Honiara late last month. They joined personnel from Australia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago