Monday, 15 November 2010

The Spin - Fredrik Reinfeldt - AnOther Mag

The Spin | Fredrik Reinfeldt, The Swedish Prime Minister
— August 11, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Who is David Cameron’s political role model? Some might say Margaret Thatcher, or even Tony Blair. But the truth is that Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is the actual architect of the neo-conservative governmental system Britain has today. Not following? Well, think about it. After years on the opposition bench under the rule of old school Conservative leaders, a new, fresh, vigorous and forward thinking leader is elected. He spends years changing the image of the party: in with the new, out with the old.

The government has been in power for ten years and people are tired of the same old faces. All of a sudden the once-hated and moderate party has become a positive force to reckoned with. Less right, more centre; less selfish, more considerate. All of a sudden there’s an alternative. An election approaches and the old and boring party is ahead in the polls. But an absolute majority is not reached, and a centre-right coalition is formed. Britain in 2010? Yes, but the same happened in Sweden over four years ago.

Fredrik Reinfeldt is an exact political copy of Cameron. Or, rather, it’s the other way around! Young, “cool” and energetic, Reinfeldt has reinvigorated Swedish politics. The first thing he did was appoint a Chancellor of the Exchequer with a ponytail and earring. Sure, there were a few unavoidable setbacks and mistakes have been made, but with a new election looming in September, Reinfeldt’s Moderate party (and its fellow coalition bedfellows) is currently set for another victory.

Encroaching baldness has led to Reinfeldt shaving his head. His looks are quite far from your traditional politician, and that’s partly why he was so successful in re-branding his dying party. Like Cameron, Reinfeldt doesn’t miss an opportunity to take off his jacket, loosen the tie and roll up the shirtsleeves: “I’m a man of the people, I’m just like you. And you. And you!” Yeah, right. But the fact remains: Reinfeldt isn’t just popular for his policies. A recent “best dressed” poll by Swedish men’s lifestyle magazine King put him ahead with 56% of the votes. It’s clear that individuality is high up on Reinfeld’s agenda: in an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Reinfeldt claimed that the fashion trend that he never wanted to se again was “party uniforms,” and that the politician he admired most, sartorially speaking, was the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

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