The Swedish no-go suburbs

There is a strange story being promoted, mainly by US racists but also reaching further, that there is a number of “no-go zones” in Sweden (another popular term is Muslim Ghetto). Since this comes up every now and then on Twitter I decided to share my experience with three of the places that often feature in the debate, Husby, Rinkeby and Tensta.

husby

 

My grandmother moved to Husby from central Stockholm in 1975. To this house. She often told me it was marvelous with all sorts of modern facilities and a balcony from which you could see deer.

 

 

 

 

spanga_kyrka

 

She died in 2007. She lies buried in this church, in nearby Tensta. I go there sometimes. I take the metro to Rinkeby, walk up to the church in Tensta and then walk across the fields to Husby from where I take the metro back.

 

 

 

My point with this is not to deny that there are social (and crime) problems in parts of Sweden, of course there are. Rather, I wanted to make three points. First, there are no “no-go” zones in Sweden. I know this since I actually go there. Second, it all looks reasonably nice, although obviously these are not rich areas.

husby_rinkeby

 

Third, if you’re in Stockholm and have some time, you could just go there! There’s nothing to it. Take the blue metro line from the Center to Rinkeby, it takes 18 minutes. Walk a while in the direction of the metro and then turn right. You will end up in the Igelbäcken nature reserve. There are cows. In there you can either aim for the high rises in the Kista tech area or veer a bit to the  left and end up in Husby. There are metro stops in both areas

Pseudonymous Twitter Trolls for remain

So far economists, historians, musicians, drunks, idiots and candlestickmakers have opined on Brexit, but  there has been nothing from Pseudonymous Twitter Trolls (kidding, of course there has, on Twitter). Anyway, inspired by @zatapatique I have decided to be spokestroll and go through some of the arguments from a PTT perspective.

Hitler The leave Hitler argument goes: “Do you know who else was a vegetarian (sorry, tried to unite Europe)?” The remain argument goes, “If UK leaves Heinz-Christian Strache will seize power in Germany and invade France”. The reasonable thing to do isleave Hitler out of it.

Economy There seems to be consensus on short term trouble, while long term effects are more uncertain. The effects will of course depend on which deal the UK gets with the EU, there will be an independence / economy trade off. Only thing I am going to say about this is: Even if you do assume that ten years down the road the UK will be fine outside EU, just disregarding a five year mess seems odd.

Regulation Not sure if anyone really cares about this. Most weird laws are UK made anyway and most of the rest will accompany trade agreements. Main benefit will be getting rid of the cookie directive.

Immigration I guess this is really what the referendum is about. Assuming the UK goes for a total break (so no measly Norway scenario), it will be able to reduce immigration from EU. If people think EU migrants are a bad thing and the price is worth paying voting leave might make sense. Am just going to address one strange leave argument: “If UK leaves it can let in more people from the rest of the world”. The UK could of course already do this, but chooses not to. The reply then is “We will be more restrictive to immigration from A but allow more from B”. This is not how it works. Ever. Anywhere. What always happens  is the exact opposite: A more restrictive attitude towards immigration from A leads to a more restrictive attitude towards immigration from B.

Exit path This should be a problem for Leave. There isn’t one. The Leave camp is like a troubled teenager who goes to a train station to buy a ticket to Out Of Here (someone phrased it better). All talk about how the EU will react is useless at this point, they have nothing to react to. There are two (blah blah, EFTA, Switzerland, not really) main options:

Norway (EEA) option: “All new relevant Community legislation is dynamically incorporated into the Agreement. The EEA Agreement is concerned principally with freedom of movement of goods, persons, services and capital. But also social policy, consumer protection, and environment policy may be covered. The EEA Agreement does not cover agriculture and fisheries.” Leave could have run a campaign like this: We will gain control of agricultural and fisheries policies and pay a reduced EU fee, but we will give up our influence in the EU. They didn’t.

WTO option: This is really what would have to happen if the purpose of this is to control immigration from the EU. The UK relies on its WTO membership to negotiate trade deals. While this will be messy it is of course perfectly possible and is in fact the option Leave is running on. They should admit this. They don’t. It’s a genuine puzzle to me why “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” is an accepted approach to a momentous decision.

Refugees You could of course say the EU has made a mess of this. But what would 28 completely independent countries do? They would have to construct a cooperation mechanism from scratch doing something similar. It would be worse.

Vladimir Here there is already an organization, NATO. But this is for dealing with tank battalions (or something). There are many areas where NATO isn’t the right organization for security. One obvious example is energy where connecting energy markets makes everyone less vulnerable. It’s no coincidence the Baltic countries were so keen on joining both EU and NATO. Again, if the EU didn’t exist, dealing with Vladimir would mean you had to construct something similar.

I didn’t really know how to finish this until I came across this very sweet love letter to the British people. It has a picture of a unicorn. I can only agree. I hope the Brits vote remain.

What’s it like to ski in various places

Inspired by this BI article.

Aspen, Colorado I know I’ve been there but I honestly can’t remember much. There were a lot of Americans. They made me ski on a snowboard which is awful because you fall down a lot. I think I had a purple ski suit.

Vemdalen, Sweden Cold. As hell. Also slopes bit dull. No avalanches though so you can go everywhere. Also nice cross country tracks. You can see reindeer if you’re lucky.

Chamonix, France Really high mountain (Mt Blanc?) which is nice. Avalanches though. You can stay in a French grey concrete tower block which is a bit of a turn on really. I think they even had bars and restaurants in the grey concrete tower blocks so you can spend a lot of time there. Assuming that’s your thing.

Badgastein, Austria Mountain similar to Chamonix although not as high. They do the jolly Tirolian thing which may be annoying or nice depending on your mood. Also people speak German which makes a lot more sense than French.

Top 34 Twitter accounts for random weird stuff

Methodology: I took all accounts that I follow that also follow me and saw if I could either remember a weird tweet or find one in less than two minutes. While this method certainly has flaws it’s really not much worse than any other for making lists. The order is just the order in my follows list.

Peter Spence @Pete_Spence
Tweets about weightlifting and brags about how fast he can brush his teeth. Don’t @ him.

The Thalesians  @thalesians
Burgers and deliberately? awful puns.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya  @IpekOzkardeskay
Opinions on the Davutoğlu dating service and her Draghi crush.

Merry Cynic  @MayfairCynic
Tweets about what’s on TV and the L’Oreal app.

Punter   @chigrl
Surprisingly passionate about rigcounts. Also owls and goblin’s blood.

rigcounts

CarstensPremium 2016   @adamcarstens
Twitter’s top source for Portland demographics.

carstens

Salim  @HighlySalassee
Tweeted this and stayed off Twitter four months. Am still impressed.

salim

Natalia Holman  @Not_nutty
Rants and sex. Sometimes combined.

louise dickson  @louisecdickson
Actually 100% serious account but reports on country governed by random weird stuff.

Volatility Smile  @volatilitysmile
Randomly starts talking about sex regardless of subject.

Shane  @shaneferro
Steampunk. Bone broth. Has raced a helicopter on her bike.

Burnett Tabrum  @BTabrum
Ancient relic. Disney princesses. The chocholate fountains at the extravagant birthday parties of the 1%.

George Pearkes  @georgepearkes
Tweets about the importance of hydration. Impossible to annoy.

Colin Fitzgerald  @colin93f
Random Irish kid. Tweets about liquid breakfasts and plans to become ECB president.

Brenda Kelly  @Brenda_Kelly
Live tweets Christmas parties. Also about avoiding Holborn station and London tube gin drinking, not sure if related. Has strange Garth Brooks obsession.

Ken Veksler   @KenVeksler
Tweets about Crapenhagen and Norwegian Airlines.

kenveksler

Lady FOHF  @LadyFOHF
Prepper. Tweets about how tall she is. Also woodland creatures and size of people’s feet. Livetweets baking and packing.

Joseph Weisenthal  @TheStalwart
Once double-ordered breakfast AND WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

Anna H.  @drlangtry_girl
Book recommendations. wolf repellant bells. Plans to be supreme ruler of the UK.

RT   @RT_com
Previously Russian propaganda account. Recently it seems they have realized the ship is sinking and just sit around drinking and troll everyone including Putin.

Katie Martin  @katie_martin_fx
Invented the vomiting camel. Tweets advice on when to buy gold.

Duncan Weldon  @DuncanWeldon
Famous for binning an UNDERCOOKED turkey. Also remote controlled Star Wars toys.

Ken Tindell  @kentindell
Heroically fights the establishment by drinking alcohol in a small town in England.

Neville Hill  @NevilleHill
Fashion

Duckrabbit   @Zettel314
Tweets about how many people have applied to follow his locked account. Also libel, Lewisham and croissants.

duckrabbit

Frederik Ducrozet  @fwred
Saxony inflation

Karthik Sankaran  @RajaKorman
Explains current events by making analogies to the Habsburg empire.

Megan Murphy  @meganmurp
Tweets about Travel Marmite. Also Star Wars. Claims to have lived in a fish bowl when she worked at fast FT.

guan  @guan
Prominent member of “You know who else” Twitter. Wedding vows Twitter.

Kate Mackenzie   @kmac
Asks the tough questions about Australians that no one else dares ask.

Geneva Girl @SardonicaX
Hedgestock, Moomins, fashion and her adventures in the local coffee shop. Also frog skeletons.

Sander Wagner  @sanderwagner
Origin of the term “Sanderwagner” for deleting a tweet. For some reason picked a photo of a young Stalin as avi. Whatever you do, don’t ask him if one can assign a probability to a singular event.

sanderwagner

Lorcan Roche Kelly  @LorcanRK
Volcanoes cows, tractors and trolling.

zatapatique  @zatapatique
Princess Bride. Speculates about what jet fuel can and cannot melt. #Volettwitter.

Things to know before moving to Sweden

1 There are no flats A policy of rent controls means your options in getting somewhere to live are:

  • Live in the forest
  • Illegally buy a rental contract on the black market
  • Buy an (expensive) flat / house
  • Get around on 3-6 month temporary second hand rental contracts
  • Have your employer fix it

2 There are no jobs Unemployment is currently 7.6%. If you don’t already have a job you will need to be a qualified nurse or construction engineer AND speak Swedish if you want to find a job easily

3 There are no people Doesn’t matter where you live. The Stockholm regions has a population density of 340/km2. England and The Netherlands both have 407.

4 There are no “no-go areas” Some ridiculous stories about how some areas are too dangerous to enter have been circulating. This is complete and utter nonsense and based on a report naming areas where “criminal gangs have a negative effect on the local community”.

5 There are no Swedish international furniture companies IKEA is a Dutch/Luxembourgian company. It is NOT Swedish

6 There are approximately as many privileged people whining, complaining and moaning as in other countries

 

Grodaeu summit statement on Germany

The Grodaeu Summit stresses the crucial need to rebuild trust with the German authorities. In this context, ownership by German authorities is key. A euro area Member State is expected to comply with The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP). The MIP is already showing considerable lenience towards Germany by asymetrically setting the upper limit for Current Account Balance at 6% of GDP, while the lower limit is -4%. In the long run this should be set symetrically at +/-4%. In spite of this Germany has failed to comply 2012, 2013 and 2014 and it seems very unlikely it will manage to comply in 2015. The Grodaeu Summit welcomes the commitments of the Greek authorities to legislate without delay a first set of measures. These measures, taken in full prior agreement with the Institutions, will include:

by 15 August
• Unfinanced increases of government spending and lowering of taxes amounting to 2% of GDP of €56bn annually;
• Introducing quasi-automatic spending increases in case of deviations from ambitious deficit targets;

by 22 August
• on labour markets, undertake modernisation of collective bargaining and industrial action in order to strengthen the unions and drive up labor costs;
• adopt the necessary steps to strengthen household demand, including action to redistribute wealth from richer households to poorer. This can be via increased progressivity in the tax system, increased benefits or introduction of a wealth tax;
• in line with the German government ambitions, to modernise the administration. Seriously, faxes, it’s ridiculous;
• raise corporate taxes;

The above-listed commitments are minimum requirements to avoid annual fines of €14bn for violating the MIP.