Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I did not anticipate the wrath of the Swedish people and media when I posted my comments on Maria Borelius and Cecilia Stegö-Chiló on 7 October.
Since then, Cecilia has revealed she did not pay her TV license (a direct fee that helps fund non-commercial TV) over a period of 16 years despite owning and operating a set.
Diligent journalists have also unearthed that Maria and her husband earned on average more than US$200 000 per annum (an outrageously high income in Sweden) during the nineties, the period during which she claimed employer tax was unaffordable for her.
Both are now under reasonably severe pressure to consider their options. My guess is that Cecilia Stegö Chilò is on particularly thin ice since she is Minister for cultural affairs which includes public TV. Furthermore, most Swedes seem to believe that paying your license is the honourable thing to do. That seems fair enough to me
Maria Borelius may survive the onslaught, mainly because so many Swedes have done what she did - avoided paying employer or similar taxes on household services.
The outcome may be a very democratic one - the People decides which sins are acceptable.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The news about North Korea's nuclear test has been downgraded somewhat on newssites during the day. It appears the blast was relatively unimpressive and some experts speculate the test partly failed or that it may even have been a conventional blast.
Many, including the Economist, reckon Kim got his tactics wrong this time.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Two of the ministers in the new Swedish government, Maria Borelius and Cecilia Stegö Chilò, have conceded that they employed nannies without paying employer tax. This is hardly shocking but still sensitive for a leading politician.
Prime minister Reinfeldt must have conducted thorough employment interviews and sensibly instructed Maria and Cecilia to volunteer the info rather than having "investigative" journalists unveil it later on.
Borelius also put a positive spin on the revelation: she was simply unable to afford the exorbitant oncosts imposed on domestic services (and pretty much everything else) by the social democrats. The centre-right alliance has promised to make domestic services more affordable.
Northern Lights Southern Cross

Just spoke to a colleague who has travelled across Australia for ten days to inspect sheep farming. According to him, the whole continent is extremly dry right now

Friday, October 06, 2006

This is the inaugural post on Northern Lights Southern Cross - a Swede in Sydney.

The new Swedish government ministers were presented today. Carl Bildt as foreign minister was the masterstroke, at least in terms of first impressions and media value. Prime Minister Reinfeldt topped Goran Persson's part-time international star, Jan Eliasson.

Solid team overall - relatively modest wingeing even on the left.