Håkan Juholt – A Stalin with a smile for the Swedish Social Democrats?

Swedish papers size up Håkan Juholt

Håkan Juholt. photo Bertil Ericsson / Scanpix

The Social Democratic party in Sweden have been choosing a new leader to replace Mona Sahlin who resigned after the party’s debacle in the last general elections. To the surprise of many the Nomination Committee has proposed Håkan Juholt, a member of Parliament for 15 years and chairman of the parliament’s defence committee but a relative unknown.

Though I am no expert, I find the Social Democrat’s selection process for a new leader a remarkable example of old-fashioned politburo machinations masquerading as a democratic and open process. A secretive nomination cloaked by an apparently open vote of approval at a party convention — but where the the Nomination Committee’s proposals are always adopted. The Nomination Committee itself works in some unknown fashion where “consultation” with all the party districts is carried out through some mysterious and  secret channels. The surprise expressed by so many Social Democrats at the committees  final choice of Håkan Juholt also demonstrates that there was no obvious choice by a majority. Traditionalism and back-room deals by a small cabal still controls the Social Democrats. Their so-called “democratic selection” is just a sham.

The nomination of Juholt is considered a coup for the left wing of the party. The Local:

According to a poll published on Friday in the Metro newspaper, nearly two thirds of Swedes surveyed said they had no idea who Juholt was, while an additional 22 percent said they only knew his name.

Metro went on to compare Juholt to Super Mario of the eponymous video game. Both have mustaches and both are heroes, although Super Mario fights “flame-throwing turtles” while Juholt’s main enemy is a “centre-right Alliance that stole his voters”.

The Social Democrat-supporting Aftonbladet praised Juholt’s folksy appeal and the fact that he had “visited every Social Democratic association between Ystad and Haparanda”, two cities in the far south and far north, respectively.

While concluding that the choice of Juholt “could very well work”, Aftonbladet cautioned that “despite Julholt’s many years in national politics, one can’t find a single political idea that he’s promoted”.

The independently liberal Expressen labeled Juholt “a compromiser’s compromise”, adding that the choice of Juholt, along with Carin Jämtin as party secretary, was a “major victory for the party’s left”. ..

The independently liberal-conservative Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) lamented that those who hoped for a “dynamic and future-oriented fountain of ideas behind the mustache” will likely be disappointed.

The paper points out that Juholt is no fan of “renewal”, but that he was approved because he has a “sufficiently weak profile so he can’t challenge the traditionalists”.

Interestingly the previous party secretary resigned his post one day before the nominations were announced and while he gave family reasons it was obvious that he had to do so only because he was male. The balance of the sexes had to be maintained with a female party secretary, Carin Jämtin, having to be nominated to balance the nomination of Juholt as party leader.

Political correctness in the shape of maintaining an equality of the sexes in Sweden sometimes goes to extraordinary lengths and often leads to the downgrading of talent and competence as selection parameters.

In any event the leftward lurch of the Social Democrats is a knee-jerk manifestation of the longing for the “good old times” of a party which has lost its way. It is hardly likely to lead to a rejuvenation of the party which is badly needed.

And Juholt is not , in my opinion, going to be a Super Mario. He is likely to prove to be a smiling Stalin.

I now expect a purge of right-wing and centrist members from the Social Democrats.

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7 Responses to “Håkan Juholt – A Stalin with a smile for the Swedish Social Democrats?”

  1. Political Lookalikes – Juholt [Part 3] « Lunki and Sika – The Animated Adventures! Says:

    […] Håkan Juholt – A Stalin with a smile for the Swedish Social Democrats? (ktwop.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Juholt, the smiling Stalin, begins the purge as the Social Democrats try to relive the past « The k2p blog Says:

    […] While Juholt’s physical resemblance to a smiling Stalin is meant partly in jest, the coup by the left wing of the party and the subsequent purge of the more moderate and “right-wing” leaders is anything but a jest. There may not be much real blood spilled in these days but the elimination of the “opposition” is as ruthless as anything Stalin perpetrated. In an organisational sense the Social Democrats are the true inheritors of the power broking style of the communist parties of the Soviet bloc. The smoke-filled rooms are gone (since this is Sweden and smoking is almost as sinful as any hint of male chauvinism and certainly more sinful than paedophilia) but the back-rooms are still around and the influence of the power brokers still reigns supreme. […]

  3. Dr. Kevin Says:

    Stalin? Dude you need to chill, or read a history book.

  4. My Hometown Khadaffi « Lunki and Sika – The Animated Adventures! Says:

    […] Håkan Juholt – A Stalin with a smile for the Swedish Social Democrats? (ktwop.wordpress.com) […]

  5. Swedish Social Democrats commit suicide as they destroy their own leader « The k2p blog Says:

    […] was not much impressed by the “back-room” election of Håkan Juholt as the leader of the Swedish Social Democrats and nor have I been very impressed […]

  6. Swedish Social Democrats implode as Juholt resigns « The k2p blog Says:

    […] the Swedish Social Democrats. But what was most disturbing  – in this time of transparency – was the opaque manner of his being “appointed and anointed” as leader of the party some 10 months […]

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