Thursday, August 24, 2006

Murder most horrid...

We have accepted that the European Union can be a good thing for trade, free movement of people, no long delays at borders and so on. The ability to uproot from your country and move to a new one is far easier than in the days when I arrived in the UK. Sweden had not joined the EU and I had to queue with the aliens when arriving at Heathrow. I also had to apply for a residence visa in order to stay in the country. Today this has been much easier, and a lot of good has been brought by it, but in an unsuspecting little corner of Sweden it has brought nothing but misery…

The EU politicians must have some form of system in place to track who is where and find them should they be needed in any form of questioning. This happened to me when I arrived here, I received a phone call at work being politely asked to come to the Swedish Embassy to meet with the Swedish Fraud Police…I became a bit nervous as I had NO idea what it was all about…had I not paid my phone bill in Sweden, did I owe the landlord rent? Would they send the Serious Fraud Squad to the UK to interview me for a £25.00 unpaid rent? As it turned out my previous boss in Sweden had used my name, when I moved over to the UK in order to embezzle money using a scheme of shell companies. This was all done together with the Bank Manager and whilst he, my ex boss, was lapping up the sunshine in the Cayman Islands, I was asked by some stern police officers what I had done with the £5M which was missing…It all came to an end when they noticed that the paperwork was not in order and even my name was misspelled on the directorships I had…whilst they suspected that I had no involvement they needed to have it confirmed by me and this was duly done…the point of this is that they were able to find me, get the paperwork in place and haul me into the embassy for questioning.

What has this to do with a murder most horrid?…Today we have tracking devices, computer systems, credit card controls, CCTV’s you mention it and we have it. You cannot move and inch without leaving a digital trace on a daily basis.

Our story starts in 1999 when a Mr Branimir, then serving a 20 prison sentence in Serbia, for murdering his mother in law, OK I know guys out there which would not see this as a crime, escaped and made his way to Sweden. Mr Branimir was duly put on Interpol’s most wanted list.

Even though being a wanted man he managed to get a Swedish driving licence, marry, get a job and pay taxes in Sweden completely openly. The Swedish Police had plenty of information about this man…not just what he looked like, but useful information such as, his home address, his work address and they had information that he regularly came to a post office to pick up his post…like clockwork…

The Serbian authorities were now “begging” the Swedish police to pick him up, they even provided them with Mr Branimir’s mobile phone number, so that they could track him through that. This would be a piece of cake, you think, that know where he is, where he lives and where he works, they could even have called him and told him he won a price, like a one way flight to Serbia…

The Swedish police failed and it would have dire consequences for a farmer, Mr Rolf Nilsson who together with his girlfriend ran a small holding in Esbjörnamåla, Tingsryd, Sweden.

A “friend” of Mr Branimir, also a Serbian, arrived from Italy where he has residence visa, to collect a debt from Mr Branimir, who at the time was a bit short on cash. So the guys went to Mr Rolf Nilsson, the farmer, whom Mr Branimir had rented a cottage from previously. They broke in to the farm house tied Mr Nilsson, the farmer, to chair and spent three hours torturing him. Mr Nilsson died age 52 that evening.

The pair then took his car some jewellery and proceeded to flee the country. They were duly caught by the police and were arrested, charged and after a two years trial sentenced to 9 years in prison, which they will now serve in Serbia.

An investigation into the Swedish police force conduct was launched, why they had not acted earlier when they had so much information about Mr Branimir’s whereabouts? All police involved were cleared of any wrongdoing…

So in today’s society with our digital prints being left all over the place, if you are a hardened criminal, it seems to me that the safest place to be is Sweden

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Unique feminine pirates join the hospitals to take power in Sweden...

It is election time in Sweden the parties are fighting it out to take control of the Swedish Parliament. This time around it is not just the Labour Party and the Conservatives (Moderaterna) which is looking to gain control, a new array of parties are getting in on the action and I have taken a look at some of those contenders for the leadership reporting into the head of state King Carl Gustav the XVI.

If we just had some of those guys here in the UK it would make the election a bit more fun…

Unique Party, headed up by a Ms Linda Rosing (left), silicon implanted former Big Brother contestant also claims to be a model and singer launched the Unique Party in August 2006. Whilst election fever is gripping the country the Unique party is trying to be unique by not launching their election manifesto yet, apart from that they want all magazines and newspapers which publish pictures that have been retouched, to have the words fake embossed at the bottom of them…This is apparently to stop women thinking that models look like they do in the pictures in magazines…right…why don’t you stay with reality television shows since they have nothing with reality to do…

The Pirate Party, launched when the site Pirate Bay was raided by police in Stockholm summer 2006. Pirate bay was a file sharing site, sharing everything from computer software, games, music and movies. In direct contravention of the copyright law they insisted that it was their right to share these and that it was the copyright law which was wrong. So here we are now a strong contender for the 4% it needs to get a seat in the parliament.

What do they want? They want to abandon all forms of patents and copyright in Sweden including but not limited to medicine, software and music. All music in Sweden is copyrighted for the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years. The party wants this to be reduced to 5 years from first release. They also wish to make it law that no internet or Telco operator can keep records of IP addresses sites visited and telephone calls made. From their manifesto they have only three points, One – Protect personal integrity, Two – Release culture, Three – Patent and monopoly is bad for society…Not once did they mention that they want lower taxes…

Unity Party the less that it said about this party the better it is, but here is a statement from their website. “Unity Party is a movement working to introduce loving visions into the politics in order to create a more human society. Our visions come from ideas about believing how most people wish the society to be. One of Unity's primary tasks is working to meet people's spiritual needs. Unity emphasises the individual's basic security, existential longing and human relations…hey lets join them for a bit of love…

The Hospital Party, this is not a joke a party has been launched called the Hospital Party. They are looking to put hospital care at the forefront of politic and the want VAT to be taken away from petrol…yes you read it here…they want to cancel VAT on petrol… this is of course not just going for the popular vote at all…do they want this so people can afford to drive to hospitals?

Swedish Democracy Party, these guys are looking to get the nationalistic vote so they are keeping it simple, probably because their voters are quite simple. No to the European Union. Swedes to be responsible for Sweden. High moral standards. Tough on crime and get rid of all drugs. Lower taxes and more jobs, no to immigration…right there we are simple and short…how they are going to pay for all of this is beyond me, after reading the manifesto, but lets give them a chance…What damage could they do to a very stabile economy in four years?

The Junelist...don’t ask me I did not invented this stupid name…Here we have some real crackpots…Yes to the European Union but not to be run by Brussels or any other central place…right guys so we are all going to sit in our cottages and say we want this, and Pedro in Spain is going to agree? Get real. Real jobs for everyone…What, like electing you into government? They are not going to put anything forward unless they have consulted, consultants and researchers to find out what the Swedish people want…Great idea so free ice cream to kids could be on the list of we all said so…Also just to ensure that they get some votes they want lower taxes…

Feminine Politics…The name would tell you a bit what you can expect here, but instead of me telling you what they are all about read their goals and see how long you can stay awake…

The goal for feminine politics is a society where people can develop their full potential, on an even playing field with others – irrelevant of sex, age, handicap, sexuality, colour or ethnic background. The work against discrimination due to sex is in the centre of our focus for such an analysis. Sweden is today at the forefront, even though formal equality between women and men have been reached, a society which systematically prejudice women. The feminine initiative will change this. Feminine Politics is much about revaluing the views on many of those daily activities and makings that is in our life. It’s a big and extensive work which demands regular negotiations in “lives arena” even in the parliament. Our starting point is that we are all different. Indifferences within groups can be the same as differences within groups. In the society we want to create, to be different is not to be bad…still awake? I can’t go on any longer as I feel my eyes closing and I have still to find out if they want to go for lower taxes like the rest of them?

Where is all of this going to end? Well according to the Swedish You Gov site the situation is as follows;

Left 33.1%
Right 39.6%
Our friends above a total of 27.3%

Now who said that politics couldn’t be fun? I’ll keep you posted on the developments…

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Not in my backyard...

Dog owners must be one of the strangest people around. Why on earth would you want to own a dog? Shall we take a look at some of the facts about dogs?

Dogs smell; it is a known fact that dogs smell and they do not smell nice. It doesn’t matter how many times you shampoo your mutt, it will smell foul a mixture of wet blanket or like the wet woolly jumper you forgot to dry.

Dogs dribble; I have seen some mongrels which can dissolve more mucus that you and me together even if we have hay fever, sinus infection and a cold, joined together with that “40 a day Marlboro red morning after cough”. They seem to get rid of their mucus by shaking their head violently back and forth creating a mucus projectile which will fly at any direction faster than a Roger Federer serve. Forget about using a cloth to wipe it off you will need a hammer and chisel.

Dogs are ugly; ok that the first couple of weeks might be fun and your little crossbreed is quite cute but then reality sets in and you find yourself standing next to a plug ugly creation which could be designed by a blind Dr Frankenstein. It is so darn ugly that you are now embarrassed to take it outside just in case you run into some friends.

Dogs need you all the time; a dog will need your attention all the time from the moment it wakes up in the morning until it falls a sleep at night. It is dependant on you for its survival incapable of performing small tasks like shopping or turning the television on or off.

Walkies; this is the big one, unless you want your backyard turned into a massive turd, this is not as uncommon as you might think, you will need to take the little blighter for at least three walks a day. The walkies will have to be made whether it is raining, snowing, flooding, typhoons or tsunamis because a dog doesn’t care about you and the weather conditions when it needs to go it needs to go so unless your want your shag pile decorated with a different pile you better switch that telly of get your coat on grab the poo bag, shovel and off you go.

Names; if you make the mistake in letting your kids name the dog you will look like an idiot running around in the local park shouting “Sparky” “Winston” or God forbid “Duke” and do not for a second think that your kids are going to do the walkies, the first week maybe but then their iPod and Xbox is more interesting and you are stuck with the bloody dog for the rest of its miserable life.

When we moved into The Barn which backs onto a field that has no public right of way, the only ones with a right to be in the field are the farmer and his cows. The field is situated next to the public park which houses a halfpipe (that is a skateboard ramp to you and me), swings and a football pitch. This is where the dog walkers start to irritate me. They bring their smelly little rats in their cars because they are unable to walk the short distance to the park, then they proceed to walk them over the football field, turning a blind eye to their little “Pixie” when it deposits a mountain on the football pitch. Do you think they would pick it up? Never…They happily leave it there for the Sunday League youngster to pick it up with their football shoes.

With no dog warden around they have resorted to climb the fence, which they first broke and kicked down so they can access the farmers field, walking along and allowing the dogs crapping wherever it feels like and if you do approach them you a met with a tirade of abuse.

Why do these people think that they are not doing anything wrong? Do we have to have dog shit everywhere?

When we contacted the councillor Bill Whelan about the problem asking the council to put up a notice their side in the park, advising the dog walkers that there is no public right of way in the field, it would probably be have to be done as a sign as most of them are too stupid to read, he answered that it was not his problem, “Why should he tell people were they can or cannot walk?” of course it is not his bloody problem… they do not shit in his backyard do they?
Anyway we are now going to collect as much shit as possible and drive it around to his place and dump it there, see how long it will take before he shares our views...if that doesn’t work I will start to go around to the dog walkers houses having a dump at their lawn, so if you read in the papers Swedish man arrested for taking a crap on local councillors hydrangeas, then you know who it was and why…

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Talent? What talent?

No wonder that Allen had to leave ITV the flagship terrestrial and commercial channel in the UK. Had he not gone by his own accord I am sure that we would have seen people setting up camp outside their offices demanding his resignation. Who would those people be, you might ask? Well I’ll tell you…men in their 30s – 50s who has been so fed up with the programming that he puts on his rubbish channel which hogs the television for two hours every night. Well if it hogs the television every night then it must be successful…sorry NO. Successful television is a combination of wit, clever programming, increased viewers and then advertisers which will follow and provide the revenues that is why it is called commercial television.

So what is then going on and why did he have to go?

For starters he lost some of the most clever programmers when he decided that talent on television consisted of people like Sophie Anderton, Lee “something soap actor”, a winner of Big Brother and so on…

These brain numbing wannabe’s have not enough talent between them to string a sentence together and we are now force-fed this so called “reality” television each night. Then there are the other programmes, kids which drive mum and dad mad…what about driving the poor viewer mad? This sickly insight into peoples lives is nothing more than what the Sun and News of the World do and to say that people like it would be to say, ITV is now a commercial success and viewers are not abandon it in droves…

Digital television allows you to provide the viewer choice, tapping into the various aspects of society and letting everyone decide what they want to watch…unfortunately in order to do that you will need to build the brand first and provide it with a cash flow, normally generated from the prime channel you own, in this case ITV1. When you start playing with this channel you loose viewers, loose advertising revenues and if you loose advertising revenues you loose the ability to compete with the likes of BBC and Sky and in some cases Channel 4.

So we have ITV Play, ITV 2 which is more of the same

There are celebrities in he UK, which are celebrities because they have worked hard, they are talented and they are being snapped up by the competition, this leaves ITV having to call around and see who is available, what do they do at ITV, turn up at a Loaded launch party see who is there and sign them in droves…When did Loaded become a benchmark for talent in this country?

So at the moment all multi channels, whether supplied via satellite or cable are gleaming with joy…more cash for them until a new direction is sorted out for ITV…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mr Bush, Mr Blair, Mr Mitterand and Mr Persson…Mr Persson who is Mr Persson?

It is so depressing that we have now reached a stage in politics where the people who decide to run for office do not come from a “normal” environment where they have been through real life issues, such as mortgage, jobs, falling over and breaking a leg at a ski slope or just having a tough time…We need people in government with a not just political clout but also with human clout…

Look at the political leaders around the world, Clinton was probably the first, Blair is one and so is Bush. These guys are professional politicians without any credentials or work experience.

Their CV only says;

Employment history
Birth – Present Politician…

They have been groomed to take public office since their days ended in school. A person who comes from a normal background, with great credentials in the business world would not stand a chance, because they would have a past, something which politicians don’t have.

This is a dangerous trend which is creating a segregated society...those who live in the political world and those who live in the real world. Unfortunately for us, the politicians dream up solutions to problems which does not exist and this makes it difficult for us pure mortals to deal with.

One of those politicians, is the “World Famous” Göran Persson…well if you are from Vingåker, in Sweden he is…Currently he is the sitting Swedish Prime Minster and who cares...

Here is a guy, who studied, then directly after the studies finished, he ended up as Leader of Labour Party’s youth organisation in Sweden, then 10 years ago he became the Swedish Prime Minster. Not a day’s honest work since his birth in 1949.

The guy believes in commitments... he has been married three times. The latest Mrs Persson is the head of the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly, Systembolaget (see systembolaget article) who incidentally he got to know closely because she was accused, together with the rest of the politicians who run Systembolaget for taking bribes…cosy, don’t you think?

So is this guy a good guy? Well he is just like anyone else in the same position, he is there because it is is the only thing he can do and there are so many perks that go with the job. How can it be possible that someone like him can stay in power for so long and still be it because the other parties cannot throw a candidate in the ring?

This is a guy who has said the following, and I quote:

"I studied chemistry and technology at high school, so I understand what nuclear power's about."

"It is very striking what political stability can do for economic development when you look at China".

A statement about one-party state North Korea: "We have to accept the constitution that they have agreed on."

Only one thing he has said I would agree on and that was:

"I don't lead the world's most brilliant government. The cabinet ministers are not the cream of the intellectual elite, and we're not particularly pretty either."

In another statement this week from his holiday residence, he told the press that he had nightmares and was worried about being assassinated. I am not so sure that he should worry that much, even though there has been two political murders in Sweden, by cranks, in the last 30 years.

Firstly, in order for you to be in danger of assassination you will need to be famous, so Mr Persson would not be in that category as no one knows who the hell he is.

Secondly, you will need to do something really bad, like launching a war based on unfounded evidence, and Mr Persson has not done that, in fact he has done nothing for that matter.

Thirdly, you will need to mix with people from the real world, not just the political world, which he doesn’t so in light of this it would be safe to say that he is going to be fine.

When a Prime Minster from some tin pot country comes to visit Mr Blair at 10 Downing Street, we normally hear or read about it in the British press apart from when Mr Persson comes to visit…then we hear nothing…not a pipsqueak…it is like the guy does not exist.

Is this why Sweden only exports 6.6% of their total export to the UK, with the US, Denmark, Germany and Norway being ahead of the UK?

So where do we go from here, well since there is no opposition we will have to endure, people like him. He is not there because he is smart, because he has worked hard or because he is excellent in world affairs, he is there because no one else is...that is the sad thing....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A joke?...Booze price dropped in Sweden…

Here is something which is quite extraordinary. Imagine that all off-licence/liquor stores would be licensed by the government? It would work like this, all stores would be look the same, same name and the same price through out the country…pretty weird…not that weird if you live in Sweden that is exactly what they do.

No alcohol, apart from lower alcoholic beer with less that 4% volume alcohol, can be sold in supermarkets or mini markets…the government control all sale via the shops called Systembolaget.

The reason for this system? Well they are here to look after the wellbeing of the Swedish citizens…they claim the following:

Systembolaget, the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly, exists for one reason only: To minimise alcohol-related problems by selling alcohol in a responsible way, without profit motive.
This has worked well: Alcohol-related problems are smaller in Sweden than in comparable countries where alcohol is sold freely. The Swedish model isn't always convenient for the consumer - the stores aren't open all night, and you won't find one on every corner. But a majority of the Swedes are supportive. Partly because they appreciate our significance for the public health. And partly because they like our stores. (We offer one of the world's biggest selections of alcoholic beverages, and our employees really know their Chardonnays from their Sauvignon Blanc’s.)

Does the system work? Sweden has the same amount of alcohol related illnesses as its European cousins, the Swedes drink more that the Italians on average…so I am not sure. Well what about pricing, they would be able to charge anything they want???

I looked at three items comparing it to what we pay here in the UK and came up with the following;

Carlsberg Export Lager 440ml can Sweden £.089 UK £0.95
Smirnoff Red Label Vodka 70cl bottle Sweden £16.17 UK £11.29
Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 75cl bottle Sweden £5.19 UK £6.59

So whilst beer and wine is cheaper, spirits are more expensive. Here is the incredible thing…Systembolaget made some £50 million profit last year, so what are doing this year…Well they are lowering their prices!!!

Yep, you eyes did not deceive you; they are lowering the prices of alcohol…could you imagine something like that would happen in the UK???

Here is the part I do not get, Sweden spend an awful lot of money on research and prevention of alcohol sale, by “responsible selling”. You have to be 20 years of age to buy alcohol in Sweden. Advertising alcohol or alcohol related products are banned by law, so no Budweiser sponsored ad breaks during the world cup.

Still they manage to have lower prices on average than what we have here in the UK, it does not make sense…There are only some 9 million Swedes, still they pay less than what we do…

Is this just another case of rip off Britain again…I have been brought up by believing free market trade and no monopoly would mean cheaper prices and a wider assortment…now it seems the opposite…what is that all about?

Picture Per G. Norén