The ballot is stronger than the bullet
These famous words were once upon a time expressed by Abraham Lincoln. However, by no means, does that imply that they are less important now than they used to be. Rather the opposite. 2018 means election year in Sweden. And for us as students, it means building up a broader understanding of what the political parties stand for to make sure we make the right decision on the 9th of September. However, this might not be the easiest, since far from everyone associates the political field with being amusing. So one day I thought to myself: How do we spread the message of how important it actually is to vote in a creative way? Therefore, I chatted with Philip Botström, the spokesperson of SSU (The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League) and Benjamin Dousa, the spokesperson for MUF (The Moderate Youth League) about their expectations of the upcoming election.
In what ways will everyday-life for students improve by voting for your parties?
Philip: In this question, it comes down to making students feel safe from an economic aspect. The Social Democratic Party has therefore implemented a 300 crown raise of the funded part of the public study assistance starting July 1st. Not only is it a fundamental step for those who are currently enrolled at University, but also for those that will be in the future. Another issue connected to University life is mental illness, and we believe it is necessary to be serious with this matter. Therefore, we have allocated 600 million crowns in our latest budget that will go both regionally and locally to essentially help spread awareness, and give young people the support they need.
Benjamin: What I want to highlight is one word: Independence. The Swedish society must give young people the incentives to make the right decisions for themselves. From a moderate perspective, this amongst many things means to highlight growth and entrepreneurship. Lund is a great city, where many, above all students, have fantastic ideas. Therefore, it is up to us to make sure that we have a lucrative business climate, where the private sector is given more attention. You should be able to feel like you have the tools to turn your idea into reality. In other words, a vote for the Moderate party is equal to a vote for a Sweden where we focus on creating more jobs.
What seperates a Social Democratic budget from a Moderate one, and vice versa?
Philip: Voting for the Social Democrats means voting for a future where society helps you out when you are struggling. The centre right parties wants to lower the taxes, why do that when you can re-invest those money to create a more equal and safe Sweden? Today, Sweden’s economic growth is the strongest it has been in 30 years, and that is not achieved through lowering taxes. It is achieved through concrete reforms that make everyday-life better for as many people as possible.
Benjamin: The main difference as I see it is that we want all citizens to get value for the tax money they pay. If one third of your paycheck goes to the state every month, you should be confident with the fact that those money are put to good use. Let me give you an example. If the Swedish health care system is as good as the Social Democrats claim, why do we then have patients dying when waiting for surgeries? Is this the kind of society we want? It is at least not the kind of society I want.
Has the voices of youth organizations been raised or lowered? Why is influence from the youth important?
Philip: For one simple reason: Because the youth are the future of this country! Speaking on the basis of my youth organization SSU, it has most definitely been raised, which shows that we actually have an impact on the questions that are important today! The 90 day guarantee suggestion, that guarantees a job or a practical placement to young job-seekers came from SSU, and is now an implemented measure on a national level. This shows the appreciation of our mother party towards suggestions coming from us and the younger generation!
Benjamin: We have always had a strong bond to our mother party, and will continue to have that. Fredrik Reinfeldt and Ulf Kristersson were both chairmen for MUF during the 90s, and have been vital for the development for the Moderate Party. And that is exactly how it should be! Young people should feel like they can make a difference!
What will be the most important question for you this election year?
Philip: Social Security. The fact that more people, above all young girls, are feeling unsafe is a major problem for Sweden. And it is an issue we want to tackle. The first step is to make conditions better for the police, as well as take political measurements to make it a more attractive profession.
Benjamin: Today, Sweden is doing well in a lot of areas. However, the most important question for us will be the jobs, because that is how we boost our economic growth. On that note, we need to integrate immigrants and make sure they are acquainted with Swedish language and culture.