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Cameron's Swede Dreams

The Swedish model of welfare was once a left wing obsession. Now it is a Tory one too. Jo Fidgen investigates the truth about Sweden's welfare state and its lessons for Britain.

What's so great about Sweden? The British left has long been obsessed with Sweden. Now the Conservatives are too. Little wonder: the country always tops the global charts for happiness and social cohesion; its economy is dynamic and its deficit is low.

In this week's Analysis, Jo Fidgen investigates the "Swedish model" and the British obsession with it. She finds the country is more conservative than people think, with its centre-right government's generous welfare state depending on very traditional notions of trust and social cohesion. At the root of Swedish conservativism is what the experts call a "Swedish theory of love" - in which the state is seen as the defender of the individual. Could this idea ever work for Britain? Sweden has provided a blue-print for David Cameron's Conservatives and their "Big Society" reforms, but many in Sweden argue that they are being misunderstood by Britain's Tories. Jo also looks at how, as Sweden struggles to become more multicultural, the "Swedish model" itself may in fact be unravelling.

Interviewees include:
Anders Borg, Swedish finance minister
Samuel Englom, Chief Legal Adviser at the Swedish trade union federation (TCO)
Fraser Nelson, Editor of The Spectator magazine
Sofia Nerbrand, Swedish centre-right thinker
Nalin Pekgul, Swedish Social Democrat member of Parliament
Lars Tragardh, Professor of History at Ersta Sk├Ândal University College
Marcus Uvell, President of the free market think-tank Timbro

Producer: Mukul Devichand.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 24 Jun 2012 21:30


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