Do not act like I do

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 3:22 | Posted in ethics, Politics, Sweden | Leave a comment
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Ever so proper and ethical Swedes are shocked to learn what the ever so watchful and ethical press has digged out about their fresh Minister of Culture. It turns out that the conservative minister Cecilia Stegö Chilò has failed to pay for her TV license for at least 16 years. Her husband registered for the fee only five days before Ms. Chilò was to become the minister responsible for public broadcasting in Sweden.

TV license fees make out the basic financing of public television and radio in Sweden. 90 % of the population pays their fee and most of them do not even complain about it. Broadcasting financed by license fees has an exceptionally broad support among Swedes compared to other European nations.

The rightwing government that the Swedes voted for in September has pledged to maintain what is known as “the Swedish model”. While many Swedes would not consider a small scale tax cheat to be a serious matter even for a politician, they are less likely to approve a minister who has actively nibbled the foundations of the very area of government that they are supposed to be responsible for.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was not available for comment on Tuesday. He could hardly have gotten a worse start for his cabinet. Having to fire a minister a week after taking over the government does not look good.

I take it he has to do that unless he wants his government to be remebered as the cabinet who said: “Do not act like I do but like I tell you to.”

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