Douglas Murray

The real lesson of a Swedish deportation protest

Text settings

A few weeks ago I wrote in this space about the case of Elin Ersson. She is the young Swedish woman who caused adulatory headlines around the world when she stood up on an airplane and refused to sit down until an Afghan man was taken off the flight. Not that Ersson is some awful racist. Far from it, in her own eyes. Ms Ersson refused to be on the same place as the Afghan man because the Afghan man was being deported from Sweden and Ms Ersson wanted to stop this from happening. In her own words (filmed on her own phone, natch) the man was being sent to his ‘death’ because his country of origin is ‘hell’.

Anybody who has followed the extraordinary case of Swedish migration in recent years will know that you have to have done something very serious indeed to earn actual deportation from Sweden. So it was worth sitting through the period of adulation of Ms Ersson – from the likes of Caroline Lucas, Diane Abbott and the rest of the sisterhood – and seeing what her Afghan had actually done.

Now we know. Thanks to some digging by Swedish journalists it turns out – completely unsurprisingly – that Ms Ersson’s Afghan was not being deported because he was a nice and decent man. Indeed it turns out that he had already been in prison in Sweden. This was because he beat his wife and two daughters – aged 13 and 14 years old – with an electrical cord. Apparently he used this device as a whip on the women in his household. On one occasion it appears that the children fled the house to a neighbour and explained that their father was in the process of killing their mother. Indeed, when he was found he was kicking and beating his wife, apparently particularly smashing her head against the floor.

Ordinarily people like Diane Abbott and Caroline Lucas are against men murdering, or attempting to murder, their wives or children. Ordinarily they look on domestic violence with a special and deserved type of horror. As I am sure Ms Ersson would claim to do.

And yet so long as the wife-beater and would-be murderer is an illegal immigrant it appears that he is someone worth standing up for. Or more pertinently, his being an illegal Afghan migrant trumps any details about electrical cords, whips, heads against floorboards and the like.

I return to the point I made the other week. There is presently no downside to standing up on a plane as Ms Ersson did, nor anywhere else, and presenting yourself as the saviour and friend of all migrants – legal or otherwise. There is every imaginable downside to presenting yourself even as merely someone who believes that the law needs defending (‘bigot’, ‘racist’ etc.).

So perhaps now that we know the facts in the Ersson case there could be some verbal challenges to the culprit and her voluble defenders. Perhaps next time the grinning Ms Lucas or Abbott appear on television someone might bother to ask them why they defend the rights of abusive husbands over their abused wives, and the rights of citizens living illegally in a country over everyone who believes in the rule of law?

Written byDouglas Murray

Douglas Murray is Associate Editor of The Spectator. His most recent book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity is out now.

Topics in this articleSociety