By Steve Kelman

Blog archive

The Lectern: Swedish politics -- sound familiar?

I'm in Sweden for a few days on an unusual gig. One of my stranger skills is that I speak Swedish, having studied and done research here many years ago. (Even more bizarre, my predecessor as Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, my friend Al Burman, is of Swedish descent and also speaks Swedish! How many people know that two successive OFPP Administrators had this unusual skill??) For the last few US presidential elections, I have done election-night commentary for a Swedish TV network, and starting in 2004 I developed a more-regular relationship with this network, doing occasional commentaries from Boston and coming once a year to appear "live" on their morning news program, in Swedish. So I'm here because it's one year before the US elections.
 
What Sweden has been talking about the last week is a strange affair involving the chief political advisor of Sweden's conservative prime minister, who came to power last year. The advisor (a woman) and a male political TV reporter -- actually for the network where I do commentaries -- had a long dinner together at a nice restaurant, at the end of which a photographer took a picture of them kissing each other, which got published in a newspaper a day later. Responding to suggestions that the advisor was drunk, the prime minister stated that to his knowledge the two had not been drinking. The media was first filled with discussions about proper relations between reporters and sources. Then the TV network revealed the restaurant bill for the evening, which showed that between them, the two had drunk 3 bottles of wine. Then it came out that the advisor was "on call" that evening as the person in the Office of the Prime Minister to be contacted first in the event of a national crisis (responsibilities that apparently rotate among top advisors). After all this, the advisor resigned.
 
Sound like this could take place in the U.S., or not?


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Posted by Steve Kelman on Nov 06, 2007 at 12:08 PM


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