Who could be more qualified to answer that question than prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt? But during this Tuesdays Studentafton, he tackled a question which isn’t as simple as we think.
The main chamber of the AF castle hosted the 64th ‘Prime – minster – evening’ an evening which carries traditional weight in the Lund student calendar.
Fredrik Reinfeldt was warmly received by the crowd and subsequently kicked of his hour on stage with remarks on the sunny Swedish weather and short shorts, a comment which lead to rapturous applause.
For little over 30 minutes Reinfeldt painted his picture of what Sweden is and how it figures into the larger perspective of the world. Not failing to recount the many problems which Sweden has come to avoid through its beneficial heritage.
“We’ve been at peace for neigh on 200 years now, something which makes us so very unique in contrast to the world. Remember that our basis for democracy were still something which took more than 50 years to grow and mature. So when we look out on the world and smirk at the backwardness of non democratic processes, we have to remember that democracy is something which takes time” said Reinfeldt.
Sweden for Reinfeldt is a land of opportunity and creative spirit, something which he sees in the people and the Swedish way of life which has been imbued through agricultural strength and the solidification of the growing welfare state.
Though the speech felt more as a formality, Reinfeldt riled of the positive features of the Swedish nation, people, history and agriculture, a selection of topics which we could quite easily dub the ‘usual suspects.’ But when the time came for questions from the public, Reinfeldt went on to elaborate his definitions with much more animation. There he was given the opportunity to showcase his rhetorical prowess in countering several student arguments such as improvements to education, tutor lead hours and gender equality.
However Reinfeldt sought to focus on questions which were alot bigger in scope, topics such as the onset of the welfare state and the reforms which are needed to solve the problems which Sweden faces today.
“Revolution is one of the worst ideas we’ve envisaged, its not something we need. Why destroy something which has been built so meticulously piece by piece over the centuries? What we do need is pragmatism to counter the ever changing roles and difficulties which we face as a nation” said Reinfeldt.
The evening was rounded off by his outlook on a factor which never really escapes the medias and society’s attention; Climate change, a factor in which Reinfeldt proudly recalled his meetings with Chinese and US counterparts at the UN Copenhagen climate summit 2009.
“Climate change is a central agenda but its something which we can’t tackle alone. For at the end of the day it’s China and the US who will lead, but that day is yet to come, for the UN has become synonymous with disagreement and petty infighting. Today China’s energy demands are met by using over 70 percent coal, China has become a coal fuelled rocket, something which can’t and won’t last,” said Reinfeldt.
So what did we learn?
The Success of Sweden is according to Reinfeldt a multi faceted answer, but is the answer clear for the given audience?
Leaving this 64th Prime ministerial evening, we’ve heard alot about Sweden and it values. But will it be remembered for more than just short shorts?
Only time will tell.