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Skeletons falling out of the closet

The new Swedish government may have presented its first budget yesterday, but it is goverment members dodging the TV-licence and using black market services that is attracting the biggest media headlines.

Three Swedish government ministers have been hauled over the coals for not paying their TV-licences. Cecila Stegö Chiló, the culture minister, was forced to resign over this yesterday. Maria Borelius, the trade minister who resigned on Saturday, failed to pay her licence for a short span of time, but was largely brought down by revelations about her personal economy, such as paying a nanny cash-in-hand. Tobias Billström, the integration minister, who is on sick leave, has cited ideological reasons for not paying his TV-licence and said that he "dislikes the programs".

Today Anders Borg, the finance minister, admitted to paying his cleaner cash-in-hand as well, which led a commentator in Svenska Dagbladet to chant "It's raining ministers" (in Swedish) and Dagbladet (link via Vampus) to write "Government massacre continues" (in Norwegian).

However, in Dagens Industri today Johan Norberg points out that: "in a government that represents the people, at least 8 of the 22 ministers should buy services informally. Because almost 4 out of 10 Swedes say that it´s ok - when they are interviewed over the phone by a stranger from a polling firm. So if the two resigning ministers are the only ones who did it, this government has distanced itself from normal people - but for the opposite reason than the one the commentators talk about."


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