Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Coup d’État in Sweden?

Steen has posted a Danish translation from the Swedish of an editorial in the Swedish daily Världen idag [The World Today]. He wrote me and said that he thought a translation into English was warranted, and the doughty Kepiblanc was drafted for the task. Here’s the result:

EU-Constitution adopted in Sweden without Swedes taking part
by Björn von der Esch, Monday September 17

The new EU Constitution was debated in Stockholm with participation of Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and foreign EU experts. Everything was conducted in English and, in the absence of expertise in English EU-legalese, one shouldn’t have attended. No written translation, and no translators were present. Could one possibly display greater arrogance towards the citizens?

The audience repeatedly raised the same question: “Why not ask the Swedish people about their opinion concerning the EU Constitution by holding a referendum? “ After all, it’s all about a constitution overriding the Swedish one. Apart from the usual reply — namely that the populace doesn’t fathom such matters and accordingly tend to cast their ballots erroneously — the Swedish minister’s motivation was even more scary, especially since she holds a university degree in political science.

In fact, her motivation against a referendum was given as follows: referenda are not a Swedish tradition. And she gave an example: The current Swedish constitution was adopted in 1974 without a referendum.

Well, that may be right, but the adoption nevertheless took place while observing the conditions stated in the constitution, namely that changing the constitution must be preceded by two successive ballots in two different parliamentary sessions separated by a general election.

What the government and the parliament now are about to do is to not give a damn about Swedish constitutional law. They argue that the Law Council finds such a referendum superfluous. But they don’t mention this council’s reason for doing so: there is a precedent. On several occasions the parliament ignored the constitution when transferring executive power to EU, which means that the Swedish Constitution is already de facto invalid in EU matters.
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When some political entity doesn’t obey its own constitution but ignores it without asking or informing the electorate it’s usually called a coup d’état. In Swedish EU politics there is a cordial alliance between the parties presently in power and the Social Democrats. Together they have the absolute majority in parliament and want to avoid a referendum at any cost , nor do they even want the constitutional proceeding take place. This agreement has facilitated an EU policy akin to a one-party state! Rigged elections without EU-critical candidates and a muted EU debate are some examples.

This October the government intends to ratify the final EU Constitution arguing that the common flag and a common EU anthem has been dropped from the otherwise unchanged constitution. Instead Sweden will be blessed with a sovereign “EU President” and an “EU Minister for Foreign Affairs” and no longer be able to reject laws unpopular with the Swedish electorate.

The irony of this is that Sweden was actually one of of the oldest democracies in the World and now — over a very short span of time — has evolved into a state where fundamental, democratic rights have disappeared, because nobody in his wildest dreams imagined the possibility!

— Björn von der Esch, former MP and Constitutional Councillor


X said...

You'll see similar events in quite a few different countries over the next few months. They're trying to talk the same sort of thing in to existence here in the UK, but the scandal over it has managed to survive the silly-season that normally qipes out anything remotely political whilst parliament is in recess, and actually have a quite large impact on political life. It'll nark off a lot of people in a lot of countries. It's a sign of desperation on the part of the "colleagues" when they have to sneak things through like this, though they're hoping that people won't take much notice because all these EU texts are so boring. They haven't counted on the fact that even the most tolerant people will eventually say "enough!" to this sort of thing. Soon, I think, we'll see the backlash.

Sagredo said...

I keep reading about these amazing events in this and other blogs and yet I have no real idea as to why they are happening. Why this uniform collusion amongst political parties? Why this lack of outcry in Sweden itself by an opposition? Is there much opposition or is there general agreement? If the latter, it is not a coup detat.

Most of all I would like to have some understanding of the real forces behind such change. It is not that merely that some 'know it all' intellectuals, neoi-liberals, or whatever you wish to call them think they know best and impose changes of this magnitude---out of what seems to be little more than caprice, or self-induglence. The owlrd does not work this way.

My guess is that business leaders demand this to ensure that they do not lose trade and the political system in Sweden ensures that nothing gets in their way if they are so determined.

ziontruth said...


The cause may be a very prosaic one: the coalescence of agents who have learned to exploit the soft underbelly of democracy as it currently stands.

What is today's democracy but a periodical shuffling of the electorate by majority vote, with no provision for defense from anti-democratic forces, and with less and less expression of the people's will between each such shuffling? Greek democracy (sans the elitistic restrictions, e.g. no suffrage for women) would be a step up, just as the reintroduction of Roman Law in place of the upside-down legal systems ruling today. Or an updating of those old systems for today's conditions. Or some new kind of covenant growing out of people's needs and desires. Anything but the status quo!

Fortunate is the state that has a fairly far-seeing Constitution, or an alternative to the existing one (the USA and Israel, respectively). Any citizen who cares about his freedom should assemble with all like-minded fellow countrymen and draft an alternative Constitution, to be first implemented locally as far as possible. Boycott the State when you realize it does not answer to its citizens' interests.

Ibn Karandash said...

Drat! And here I was a thunking that some hairy-balled military-types overthrew the CandyAssed Whimps of Stockholm and made Sweden once more a haven for manly men and bombshell babes. It was too good to be true.

Unknown said...

Also in Holland the cabinet decided yesterday to ignore the wish of three political parties to hold a new referendum; the State Council advised that a second referendum was unnecessary, since the new constitution was no 'constitution' anyway, because referenda are unusual in the Netherlands, and furthermore the people's objections were taken care of in the new text..

Indigo Red said...

This one of those conditions Thomas Jefferson might have labled as self-eveident. Any government that ignors the will of the people is inherently neither democratic nor republican - it is tyranny.

Panday said...

When I read the title of this, I was hopeful. I had visions of Swedes, finally acting like their Viking ancestors, storming the Swedish parliament, hanging most of the current government for treason, and halting the immigration problem once and for all.

Oh, well.

Evanston2 said...

Segrido and Stephen Renico, this is what happens when the citizens do not have firearms. Elites can either do productive things or simply sacrifice "the little people." It's harder to be productive so they'll normally choose to sell out their citizens. If Europeans had weapons the politicians would be more circumspect about this betrayal.

The beautiful thing about the U.S. constitution is that the state does not have a virtual monopoly on power. Politicians know that some crackpot could shoot them so they at least need to be slow and subtle in their deceit. In Europe they can betray their citizens openly and make them apologize for questioning the wisdom of the elite.

If you're a European, apply for a Green Card before the lines get even longer.