Friday, April 22, 2005

Margot, Margot, Margot

A political scandal is engulfing the Social Democrat Party in Sweden. Hitherto it had only affected small fry, but this week it has washed up to the doors of the two possible successors to the job of PM Goran Persson. Pär Nuder and our own self styled Commissioner for Public Relations, the blessed Margot.
The bottom line is that in Sweden private donations are frowned upon, and parties are funded by the state. Each party gets money per paid up member. Over the past couple of weeks it has become apparent that members of the SDP were engaged in a vast enterprise of looting of the public coffers. An enterprise which is somewhat looked down on in prudish Sweden.
Below is my poor translation of a piece in today’s Expressem which fair fingers the Commissioner for corruption. Did she tell Mr Barroso about this blemish in her past, as he asked all members of the Commission to do after the embarrassment of Jacques Barrot – I guess even if she did, he couldn’t hear as he was probably on a yacht in the Aegean at the time.

She cheated in SSU
The fake contribution applications scandal has now reached EU Commissioner Margot Wallström, 50. Expressen express can today disclose that she cheated during her time as district chairman of the SSU (Swedish Democratic Youth League) in Värmland.
The fiddle might have been worth hundreds of thousands of Kronor (tens of thousands of pounds).

The Swedish people’s favourite to succeed Göran Persson's (as Prime Minister), Margot Wallström, has now been drawn into the SSU-scandal.
Exclusive research by Expressen can show that SSU branch in Värmland received over one million kronor in contributions from the county council during while Wallström was chairman there. However nearly half of the members had failed to pay membership fees. Hundreds of thousands of kronor could therefore have been paid out in contributions, according to the Expressen’s calculations.

Was employed 1974
The 20 year old Margot Wallström was employed in 1974 as the SSU ombudsman in Karlstad. Three years latter became she district Chairman in Värmland.
Expressen can today publish documents that show that she signed for the contribution applications to Värmlands county councils.
The dodgy figures are confirmed by some of Wallström’s friends from that time.
“The average a little up and down. Sometimes members didn’t pay one year, but did the next instead”, says Stellan Lindskog, then SSU-ombudsman.

Permits cheats
Göran Larsson, active in the SSU during Wallström’s chairmanship, agrees that cheating occurred. “Some local organisations had money, others didn’t. But it was vitally important for all to have as many members as possible”, he recalled.
Nobody can say the exact figures for properly paid membership in the SSU during Wallström’s chairmanship, but “generous estimates” are, according to a scource about 1 500.

Over 500 000 kronor
In two of Wallström’s contribution applications - for 1979 and 1981 – she states that the number of paid members were 2 708 and 2 703.
For those years the years Värmland county council paid out over 500 000 kronor to SSU (approx 35 - 40,000 pounds).

Margot Wallström’s pressure contact in Brussels, Lena Ag said:
“Margot is out travelling at present, and therefore cannot be contacted. She cannot therefore comment on SSU issue”.

A couple of points
On Margot’s Commission CV she mentions that she was Ombudsman of the SSU between 74 and 77, but she fails to mention that she was Chairman duringthe years that she has now been shown to be ahem, corrupt.
Funny that, Non?

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