The culture war over Sweden

But if fear is the driver of too many on the right, the supposedly leftish, liberal side in the Culture War is propelled by something worse: ignorance; a self-imposed, borderline Orwellian ignorance of reality and of the difficulties Western society now faces.

Their response to the #SwedenIncident controversy was in effect to say, ‘Sweden is fine’. In response to the right’s narrow and ill-backed-up focus on crime, they could whip out official crime stats and say: ‘Actually, it isn’t a rape capital, or a murder capital, so stop lying.’ Let’s all go on holiday to Malmo, commentators chirped. That their ridicule and snark was interrupted by a migrant riot in Stockholm, on Monday, was darkly ironic, and very telling about the chattering class’s unwillingness to address cultural tensions.

There are problems in Sweden. Some very serious problems. Unemployment among Swedes is four per cent, but among migrants in Sweden it is 22 per cent – ‘no developed country has a higher differential’, as Fraser Nelson points out. This creates tension, and crime, and even riots, as we saw this week.

And the problems aren’t only economic; they’re cultural, too. Take Malmo, defended to the hilt by commentators this week. ‘I love Malmo’, said New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny. She might, but many Jews do not. Anti-Semitic incidents have trebled in Malmo in recent years. A chapel that serves Jews has been repeatedly desecrated. A local rabbi says he is regularly spat on and abused. The Jewish community centre was bombed. A few years ago, the Telegraph reported that more than 30 Jewish families had left the city; more have fled since then. Some of this is down to far-right elements, but much of it is a result of the intolerance towards Jews of the vast numbers of new Muslim migrants in Malmo. Should we not talk about this? Perhaps it is Islamophobic to talk about anti-Semitism? When Western observers and politicians say everything in Sweden is cool, do they know what this sounds like to Jews in Malmo or working-class Stockholmers who see riots outside their windows?