A man poses with a Swedish flag before the preliminary round of the men’s hockey game between Sweden and Finland at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018InternationalIndiaAfricaOver the decades, the national-conservative Sweden Democrats have risen from being a fringe party to the largest on the country’s right, gaining influence in the government and a say on key issues.High-profile Sweden Democrat Bjorn Soder has sparked a firestorm by promising a “culture war against what he dubbed “the decadent left’s cultural policy,” which, according to him, will soon be relegated to the past.”The culture war has begun. And conservatism will win. The decadent left’s cultural policy will soon be a thing of the past. For far too long it has prevailed as a result of unrestrained socialist influence and a neutered bourgeoisie. But now it’s over,” Soder tweeted.The post has received over a million views in a country of over 10 million and has sparked furious reactions from left-wing profiles and even government allies.Among others, Liberals party secretary Gulan Avci said she expected the Sweden Democrat leadership to “have a talk” with Soder over his “absurd” writings. She stressed that the Tido agreement, which allowed the incumbent prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, to take his post, stipulated that cultural issues would be kept “at arm’s length.”Culture Minister Parisa Liljestrand of the Moderates Party suggested that culture must be “free from political control from both left and right.”
“It is good that culture is discussed and put on the agenda, but what we need is cultural engagement, not a culture war,” she said.In a follow-up post, however, Soder, who previously led the Sweden Democrats in parliament and served as second deputy speaker, decided to stand his ground. He wrote that the left disliked when their “sacred cow,” that is, control of culture issues, is questioned.”When you are forcefully attacked by the entire left-liberal establishment with leaders and cultural editors at the forefront, you know you are in the right place. The day they criticize your actions, you have done your part in politics,” Soder maintained.WorldTop Sweden Democrat Calls EU ‘Straightjacket’, Urges Swedes to Rethink Membership3 May, 05:43 GMT
Earlier this month, Sweden Democrats perennial leader Jimmie Akesson also ruffled feathers of the left with his jabs over culture issues. Among other things, Akesson addressed the phenomenon of Drag Story Hour, when transvestites read stories to young children in libraries and schools, calling it "completely insane" of them to receive tax money to do so.
The national-conservative Sweden Democrats have always championed traditionalism, to the point of being labeled “racists” and “bigots” by their left-wing critics. In recent years, however, they have somewhat softened their stance on issues ranging from abortion to immigration and culture policies. This led to their newfound liberal-conservative allies finally dropping the “sanitary cordon” around the party and embracing it after a record showing in last year’s general election, in which the Sweden Democrats finished as the largest right-wing party with 20.5 percent of the vote.The strong electoral gains cemented their position as the pillar of the minority government led by the liberal-conservative Moderates. However, while the Sweden Democrats render key parliamentary support, they are still to receive any ministerial portfolios, which irks many voters.