People power

Just watched a recent episode of Uppdrag Granskning – a popular Swedish investigative journalism programme – on the brilliant SVT Play.

This particular episode was about how Swedish state-owned financial institutions have decided to – in the middle of the finance crisis – increase the bonuses given to directors. This because of the Swedish right-wing government having changed the rules governing bonuses in state-owned companies last summer.

To add to this, the Swedish Finance Minister, Anders Borg, has spent the autumn being very outspoken against the bonus culture in the private banking sector, introducing caps on bonuses and attempting to influence other European leaders to do the same.

During the course of the programme Borg, along with several other politicians and finance directors are seen sweating in front of the cameras as they are forced to eat their own words from last summer.

However, the most interesting thing is not the programme itself. It’s a 3-minute add on, recorded one week later, showing what happened next.

Within, 24 hours, and as a result of the public outcry that ensued, the government had met and decided to change the rules regarding bonuses in state-owned companies.

Time and time again, Uppdrag Granskning manages to change things for the better. In the last couple of months it’s managed to ban cod fishing in Öresund, stopped McDonalds from paying cleaners below the minimum wage and made Sweden’s largest supermarket introduce stringent rules on the sustainability of the Norwegian salmon farms it buys from.

Basically, if a consumer problem is brought up on the programme, it’s almost guaranteed to be set right immediately.

Why does this not happen in Britain?

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