The Ulf Nilson column. July 2010
The question is (as almost always): Did he or didn’t he? "He" is the former Minister of Labor, Sven-Otto Littorin, one of the three most important men at the top of the ruling party Moderaterna. Littorin suddenly resigned among rumors that he had visited and, hmm, used a prostitute, one “Anna.”
To understand the seriousness of this, you dear American friends must know a little bit about Swedish law. To wit that it is a criminal offense to buy sex in Sweden. Apparently if you pay a lady to, well, you know, you can be given a term in prison (although in spite of thorough research, I don't know that this has ever happened). To sell sex, on the other hand, is quite OK.
I myself find the law absolutely incomprehensible, not to say hypocritical and idiotic, but the law is the law. The poor lady is used, a victim, probably from a poor family, undereducated, and so on and on. The perp is most likely rich, ruthless, a parasite and, well, I leave it to the reader, saying only that he might, just might, be a cabinet minister.
“Anna,” who as of this writing has not been identified, made her accusations in Aftonbladet. Littorin got a chance to deny the charge, but didn't. Aftonbladet chose not to publish denials made by Littorin's aides. As for Littorin's boss (and close friend), Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, he said only that, well, Littorin has resigned. He is now a private citizen, so there is nothing to say.
A little bit too cute, indeed, wrote (among others) the political editor of Dagens Nyheter, Peter Wolodarski. Dagens Nyheter is the country's leading newspaper, and others caught on. Who is “Anna”? Does she really exist or is she an invention of political enemies of Littorin? What says Mrs. Littorin, who is engulfed in a bitter divorce process. What says the ex-minister himself? And, yes, what says the Prime Minister? Does he, a consummate politican, really believe that the scandal will just go away?
And: When comes the next revelation? Or the next saucy rumor? Come September, we have an election in this country. Will Littorin's misdeeds (if there were any) drag his party to defeat?
Everybody asks questions and most seem to be in agreement that the affair has been very badly handled, to say the least. Does Reinfeldt think that he can just sneak out, claiming that his buddy is no longer a minister? Does Littorin think that talking wistfully about his children and their suffering from the publicity absolve him in any way?
Questions, questions. We now eagerly await the next act. Will “Anna” appear? Will other sex sellers? (They have, after all, not committed any crimes, only buyers of sex need fear consequences.) And, by the way, has there been any intressting affairs involving opposition politicians?
To which I comment: Fun summer, this one. The hottest in memory. In more ways than one.…