Sweden Democrats—moving forward
If an election had been held in Sweden in 2012, 41.8 percent would have voted for one of the parties in power. The red-green parties would have received 49.1 percent of the votes, according to Statistics Sweden’s November poll. The Sweden Democrats would have received 7.9 percent of the votes. In the May poll, the parties in power together received 42.5 percent of the votes, while the red-green parties alone got 51.2 percent. A little more than five percent said they’d vote for the Sweden Democrats. It’s now clear the Sweden Democrats have gained prospective voters from the Social Democrats. According to Statistics Sweden, the Sweden Democrats have received approximately 0.9 percent of the voters from the Social Democrats, 0.6 percent from the Moderates and from the group of voters who do not know what party they’d otherwise vote for, 0.8 percent.

EU wants to ban Swedish snus
According to Folkhälsoinstitutet, about one million Swedes use snus (snuff). And that may be a reason why Swedish men smoke less than men in other countries. However, this might come to an end, as the EU-commission is about to present new directives for what’s acceptable with tobacco. One proposal is that all tobacco products should contain at least 85 percent tobacco (Swedish snus contains around 50 percent) and that all flavorings be removed. “Then I will damn kill myself,” wrote snus-using blogger Alex Schulman to daily Aftonbladet when the proposal was first being discussed earlier this spring. “I won’t accept losing the happiest time during my day. I just won’t,” he wrote on his blog. But he may have to. The EU proposal is about to go through. Says Christofer Fjellner, Swedish politician and member of the European Parliament: “(The fact that they want to increase the tobacco content) shows that they are against the product itself, not really the potential harm it does.” The EU commission also wants snus to taste like snus, not like fruit or berries, as they want to rid it of all flavors. They want to tighten the rules since fruit flavors and such may make the product more accessible and alluring to young people. Many popular Swedish snus brands have flavors, such as Göteborgs Rapé, which tastes of juniper, and Catch, a snus that has flavors such as licorice and black currants. An earlier proposal that cigarettes should be sold in similarly designed packages without brand, has been deleted as the tobacco industry put up too much resistance. The EU commission now proposes increased warning labels and images about the risks of smoking on up to three-quarters of the cigarette packages. The new proposal regarding tobacco will be considered by the EU commission in mid-December, after that the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament will consider the directive. More about snus here: http://www.nordstjernan.com/news/briefs/2112/ and here http://www.smokersonly.org/others/Nordic%20Reach%20Snus%20Article%20Aug06.pdf The rise and fall of Gnosjö? Remember “Gnosjöandan” (the Gnosjö Spirit)? It used to be, and still probably is, an important element in Swedish culture, especially in and around the Gnosjö region (Gnosjö is located in Småland). The region has been successful in small business, and the expression “Gnosjöandan” is characterized by enterprise, informal networks and small businesses. Well, that’s more “was” than “is.” It doesn’t look too good for Gnosjö at the moment. Unemployment is hitting the municipality hard and taxes might have to be raised in order to help those in need. “It’s very worrisome,” says local commissioner Arne Ottosson. Municipal payments to the needy have more than doubled since 2008.