European: Vignettes Autumn 2014.

AuthorMilner, Henry

I was in Glasgow in early September for a conference and was able to stay in Europe to observe two campaigns: the first leading up to the election in Sweden on September 14, and the second to the Scottish referendum on independence four days later. I brought along my camera, and in this section I present my impressions in words and pictures. In the case of Scotland, it will be mainly pictures since Canadians were kept relatively well informed about the campaign and its result. Ideally, it would have been the other way round, since the Swedish campaign was perfect for picture taking, highly public and visible, which was not at all the case in Scotland.

The narrow victory for the "Red-Green coalition" led by the Social Democrats in the Swedish election was also fairly widely reported. What is less known, and what I stress here, is how different a campaign in Sweden is from what we experience in Canada. Not only do Swedes turn out to vote far more (83 per cent this time, compared to 61 per cent in Canada in 2011), but in making their choice they are far more informed about what the parties--all nine of them--stand for.

In Glasgow and Edinburgh, a key question in the discussions was the impact the referendum would have on...

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