Sweden. Day 22. Politics, and a new walk.

I was planning to go to Stockholm this past weekend, but because of some other developments at the house, I had to postpone the plan to a later date. 

Perhaps it was just as well, because this weekend there were large protests in central Stockholm against “vaccine passes” and other restrictive measures, and it probably wouldn’t be the easiest time to stroll around. About 10,000 people showed up, which is a lot for that city. Bear in mind that the restrictive policies in Sweden are quite light compared to other European countries and only really started with the milder “Omicron”. 

While I have not been so far inconvenienced by any restriction up here in Börkö, which feels almost like a different planet in its tranquility, in any case I think it is good that people are protesting for their rights.  

Sweden is many times criticized because of its supposed social conformism and its supposed fanatical adherence to the “politically correct”, but in the case of Covid rules, they have been actually quite moderate. 

There is a book from the 1970s called “The New Totalitarians”, which is a criticism of Swedish society and its social democracy model. It argues that Swedish people lived in a soft totalitarian “Brave New World” type of society thanks to the 40-year socialist rule. I haven’t read it, but as it seems to come from an Anglo-American perspective of “England and America are the best and freest countries in the world”, and in the context of the height of the Cold War, I am very suspicious. 

For me everything seems very nice up here, but of course, exactly because things are so incredibly nice, I keep thinking that “it is a trap, there must be a trick somewhere”. 

However, I have to say that I know absolutely nothing about Swedish politics, I don’t even know who’s the current prime minister, and King and Queen, assuming they still have those. And I haven’t been here long enough to form any opinion about their social system, to be honest.

The only thing I can talk a little bit about, perhaps, is green politics and global warming. Greta Thunberg is of course one of the most famous Swedish personalities right now. I don’t really know her full story, but being the child of a couple of famous Swedish media celebrities, then having someone pay for her trip across the ocean in a sailing boat, then giving a speech at the UN… I don’t know, her rise to global fame just seems very contrived and not spontaneous at all. 

I consider myself an environmentalist, and I think that there are several concrete problems that people could do something about — pollution in air and the oceans, protection of local fauna and flora, deforestation, etc. But “climate change” is something so vague and general, and the solutions proposed, like a “global carbon tax”, so outlandish, that it just feels — like a lot of the pandemic restrictions, by the way — as some type of scam to benefit the very rich and fleece the middle class. I could be wrong, though.  

And speaking of climate change, today the day was warmer, and I am still amazed at how the landscape can change here so fast. Yesterday as I walked, I had to wade through deep snow; now a lot of the snow is gone again and you can see much more green and brown. 

There is still a bit of ice on some roads, though, but I feel that I am learning to fall. After the two first times that I fell on the ice, when I had just arrived, the pain on my bones lasted for days; but now I still slip and fall at least one or two times every day, but I recover almost immediately. However, I suppose it’s better to avoid risks at this age, so I plan to buy myself a pair of broddar for my shoes. 

Today’s walk was done in the company of Ösa, who is a singer and artist from Stockholm. It is nice to walk with someone who knows the region a bit more, and she showed me a new trail that I didn’t know about. This time we went down (or is it up?) to Kulla, where there is another lake and a nice forest path. On the way, we saw a lot of fallen trees from the previous windy days.  

As we returned, there was sudden a power shortage at the house. It’s strange, because we were expecting one during those windy days, and nothing happened; now we have one when it’s warmer and sunnier and quieter, and it seems to be affecting the whole neighbourhood. It is still going on, and therefore I will be able to publish this only when power comes back… Hopefully, still today. 

P. S. Power just came back, in the end the shortage lasted only 45 minutes. And now I am going to Älmsta again, so I might still update the site with new adventures… Hang on. I’m sure you’re impatient and have nothing better to do than read about Sweden…