Thursday, July 13, 2006

Swengland...A State of Affairs


Having just visited my native Sweden I am starting to get mixed feelings about my old and my new country…So much have changed in the 20 years I have been living in the UK, some of it for the better and of course some of it for the worse. Looking at the current state of affairs here in the UK, there are some things which cannot be left unsaid…

Did you know that most items are half price in Sweden compared to the UK? Food stuff, cars and even alcohol, which was always so expensive over there is now much cheaper there.

When you sit at a bright and sparkling Swedish seaside café, air is fresh, sky is blue, where people look happy, suntanned, pretty, blond smiling with perfect teeth and blue eyes…well I must admit she was pretty… and with no rubbish anywhere. You order a beer and fall off the chair when you find out that a pint costs you £2.00…but, but back home I will have to pay almost £3.00 and I will have to sit next to an anaemic looking bulldog with tattoo’s who’s vocabulary consists of F**K, S**T W****R, T****R and my feet would be covered in cigarette butts, yesterdays Sun Newspaper and other rubbish…

Another thing is that Sweden produce 0% of their annual fossil fuel usage, but still owners of new shiny Volvo’s, Saab’s and Chelsea Tractors (should that be Gothenburg Tractors) pay less for petrol than we do…how is that possible…
Their National Health Service is spot on, almost like if not better than our private healthcare, their taxes are now lower than ours, they have more immigration per capita than us...two licence fee paid TV channels without advertising…less unemployment and a huge amount of people that work for government and local government….Why are things cheaper in Sweden?????

Everything is not that rosy though…Saab was sold to GM, so every Saab now looks like a Vauxhall/Opel. Volvo collaborates with French Renault, Ericsson mobiles are now SonyEricsson, a Swede in the final of Wimbledon is no longer a foregone conclusion, Mamma Mia the ABBA musical at Prince Charles Theatre was devised by an English woman, The Swedish Krona will at one point become a Euro and IKEA the worlds largest furnishing store, produce most of their products in The People Republic of China rather than by Mr. Olsson and his crew in Smaland…and now Mr Persson, Prime Minister of The Kingdom of Sweden and his cronies have scored an own goal…

They came up with a clever idea in how to get money without upsetting the fragile taxed Swede (I know that I said that taxes are lower in Sweden than here but the average Swede does not know that) so they decided to introduce an air passenger tax. £6.50 for each person that arrived and each that left the country making it £13.00 on every return flight…Who could argue with that…anyone who is poor and does not fly anywhere could not give a monkeys, and if you only headed off to Tenerife once a year £13 would hardly break the bank.
Well it turns out that Mr Persson and his greasy little sidekicks did not count on the might of Ryan Air, the low cost budget airline, which flies you, on time, cattle class, to almost every country in Europe for a few pounds (or Kronas). They have 4 destinations in Sweden, Malmo, Gothenburg, and two near Stockholm (this is a Ryan Air definition of Stockholm, to you and me it is a couple of hours in a car or by bus). On Tuesday Ryan Air announced that it will stop most services to Sweden running only a few from Malmo and one airport will be shut down completely…excellent move by Ryan Air, take the bull by the horn and let them know what you think…

Sweden were stunned by the announcement as they have now been used to paying less to get to London, for a long weekend, browsing our shops and pay £3.50 for a beer in central London…It looks like the move by the Swedish government might be illegal by European standards and those greasy little Brussels politicians who pay winemakers £335 million annually (see http://www.ericsons.co.uk/2006/06/mr-muscle-grand-cru-2006.html ) will have to sort it out and if Sweden comes begging for forgiveness Ryan Air might just start flying again, unless of course it is all a ploy by Stelios, to get a new Easyjet route. How does it impact us…To most of you very little, my trips back to Sweden will be more expensive, less tourist kronas will be spent in London (Gordon will seize this and find a reason to introduce an Ikea Tax) and sitting at a café in Central London will be a bit duller as there will be less "Swedish Totty" to look at…

SAAB Picture © Richard Baker, www.bakerpictures.com

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