Tom Goodenough Tom Goodenough

The Spectator podcast: The Swedish model. How not to welcome refugees | 3 September 2016

For a certain type of social democrat, no country gets them quite as hot and bothered as Sweden. As Toby Livendell writes in this week’s Spectator cover story, Sweden has long regarded itself as a humanitarian superpower, taking in 650,000 asylum seekers in the last 15 years. But by far the biggest issue is integration. And this was brought to stark British attention last week when a Birmingham schoolboy was murdered with a grenade in Gothenburg. So, what has gone wrong in Sweden? To answer that question, Lara Prendergast is joined on the Spectator podcast by Fraser Nelson and Ivar Arpi. Ivar says:

‘Basically the Swedish idealism ran into a big wall called reality in the autumn of 2015. The big problem was that we did not have a frank discussion about migration before that and it is because of the sheer number of refugees who came to Sweden that we started to have the debate, after the fact, so to speak. The capacity to integrate children who had come as unaccompanied migrants was already stretched, so there wasn’t any place left for them. And then the crisis hit with 35,000 unaccompanied migrants.’

So does this tension show that there is trouble in paradise? Fraser says:

‘There is so much to admire in Sweden. Sweden’s open-heartedness is one of its characteristics. And I think this Swedish compassion just happened to run into a period of unprecedented migration. And to ask questions like ‘Can we really cope?’, is very difficult for Swedes to do. This, of course, has led to problems.’

Also on the podcast: next week will see the broadcast of a new film, ‘The Bleeding Edge’, which looks into the murky world of organ harvesting in China. The film stars Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015, who Lara Prendergast profiles in this week’s magazine.

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