Socialdemokraterna: Från klar vaghet till vag klarhet
The Social Democrats: From Clear Vagueness to Vague Clarity Why did the Social Democrats achieve so poorly in the 2014 general election in spite of the fact that a majority of voters regarded the party as strong on important issues? This article suggests that a key reason was an increasingly opaque strategy affecting the electoral as well as the parliamentary arena. The difficul- ties became acute when the party leadership chose to accept the Alliance government’s recently implemented tax cut (Dec 2013). As a consequence, the party’s credibility concerning equality and fairness was drastically damaged and the bud- getary means available for welfare reform tightened. Moreover, the party leader- ship suddenly became hesitant regarding previous sick leave and unemployment benefit commitments. Very late in the day did the benefits pledges reemerge. In the parliamentary arena, the party’s strategy was equally vague. On the one hand, the party leadership tried to keep all doors open to cooperation with any other party except the Sweden Democrats, and the leadership rejected ‘bloc politics’ as ‘obsolete’. However, the rhetoric against the Alliance became very harsh with accu- sations that the government contributed to ‘tear Sweden asunder’. As a conse- quence, the party’s line seemed to suggest cooperation with the very parties which were accused of destroying the Swedish model. To sum up, the key to the Social Democrats’ plight has increasingly been the lack of clear policy delivery – especially regarding the important welfare and employment areas. The party’s ideological vision has become vague and opaque.