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#MySweden: ‘Everything I want is at my fingertips here’

How old are you and what do you normally spend your days doing?

I am 33, and my weekdays are comm..

How old are you and what do you normally spend your days doing?

I am 33, and my weekdays are commuting to work, shopping, grabbing a late night movie, or an AW with friends! I work as the Brand Manager for Truecaller, which is a tech company located in the heart of Stockholm. My weekends are full of exploring and taking photos of the forest, managing my travel blog, playing video games, or doing some art project.

Where in Sweden do you live?

I live in Barkarby, a suburb in Järfälla in the outskirts of Stockholm.

Into the woods. That is what my life has been up to this point. The forest is dark, unpredictable and to some…frightening to go in without a flashlight. Life bursts on the ground you walk, the cool droplets of rain that fall from the leaves, the trees creak in the silence, and every now and then you see a deer or fox to give you comfort. ↟ When you make the choice to move somewhere far and foreign, like I did to Stockholm, it is like that forest without a flashlight. Its unknown what is around the trail bend and if you will survive it all or just run back to where you came from – afraid of whats ahead. But if you follow the trail, what will you learn about yourself? About life? ↟ For me, I chose to go into the dark of the forest, and to all those curious about moving abroad, are you coming in with me? 📸 @seattlelovely #MySweden #Stockholm #Sweden #travel #moveabroad #forestphotography #moodygrams #exploremore #womenwhowander

Ein Beitrag geteilt von The Local Sweden (@thelocalsweden) am

When and why did you move to your city/neighbourhood?

My sambo and I had lived in various places around the northern suburbs of Stockholm since moving to Sweden in 2012, and like any newcomer to Stockholm, we were only finding second-hand contracts that were six-months or one-year non-extendable. After a couple years of playing apartment roulette, we found ourselves at the top of a first-hand contract apartment queue for a new development in Barkarby. Getting a first-hand is so difficult, so we jumped at the chance no matter where it took us. There were barely any apartments built in the area, and ours wasn't even finished when we checked out the area! We moved to Barkarby in 2016 and have been there ever since.

What do you love the most about your city/neighbourhood?

I love that my apartment is in the middle of a concrete jungle meets forest. Meaning, I can walk a couple minutes west and visit the Stockholm Quality Outlet mall, Ica Maxi and Ikea, and if I walk east I will find myself in the middle of a vast forest, trails, lakes and animal pastures where I can spend hours getting lost in nature. I have the best of both worlds and it doesn't hurt they are building a tunnelbana (subway) in 2020 just outside my apartment building! Everything I want is at my fingertips here.

What annoys you the most about your city/neighbourhood?

Mostly transportation things! I am thankful that the pendeltåg (commuter train) is about a 10-minute walk (or four-minute bus ride) and a tunnelbana is coming in 2020, but since my apartment is surrounded by all the big outlet stores, sometimes when going to meet my friends in downtown Stockholm, the buses are packed tight on weekends which means I have to wait for the next bus if they are all full (or walk to Barkarby station, which isn't bad).

Another thing that is a bit harder is the fact that the pendeltåg stops around 11.40pm on weekdays, and 1.40am on weekends – which means late nights with friends or events can be cut short or you pay 500 kronor for a taxi ride.

How should I spend a day in your city/neighbourhood?

Obviously you have to visit the outlet mall for the deals! I would suggest taking a walk to Säbysjön and visit the horses and Highland Cow herds. You can get lost in the trails of the forests, discover small lakes and picnic benches nestled among the trees. The fields of purple and gold wildflowers lining typical Swedish red barns in the summer are endless and you can forget you're within walking distance to Ikea. There is a famous bird watching station through a trail in the woods and you can see different types of birds nesting during the spring. Sunsets are quite beautiful listening to the crickets chirp while the sun is going down.

What's a fun fact not everyone knows about your city/neighbourhood?

There are big herds of Highland Cows (and baby cows in the spring!) roaming around freely. It also is not that far away from t-central. Just a four-stop pendeltåg ride and you're here!

Why do you think people prefer to live in the city rather than suburbs?

I understand if some people just love being in the city with the views. But I think people believe that in order to be 'in the scene' means you need to live in the city centre. Coming from the US, being from the suburbs around a city is more ideal as people get older. I think that has always rubbed off on me being abroad even if the locals don't see it that way. I can tell you, in my seven years of living outside the city centre, I have never missed one night out with friends in the city, events, or work opportunities. I pay cheaper rent, have a bigger and newer apartment, and access to amazing air quality in the Swedish countryside. Plus, give me 40 minutes' notice, and I can be walking the streets of Stockholm alongside my city-dwelling buddies. The best of both worlds is ideal!

You can follow Lindsey LaMont on Instagram here. Do you want to be The Local's next #MySweden Instagram takeover host? Click HERE to apply.

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Why are Tory rebels pushing for a confidence vote they might not win?

What will happen if Conservative MPs manage to trigger a vote of no confidence in Theresa May? As th..

What will happen if Conservative MPs manage to trigger a vote of no confidence in Theresa May? As the letters to 1922 Committee chairman Graham Brady stack up, that is the question members of the European Research Group are considering this evening.

Until the contents of the prime ministers draft Brexit deal were revealed yesterday, the received wisdom and public preference of senior members of the ERG was that they had the numbers to force a change in policy, not personnel, and should work to that end. By the time Cabinet met yesterday, that logic had given way to resignation that it was no longer possible to prevail upon May to change course and that a confidence vote was the only way to go.

Government sources are struck by their change in tune – and by the very public way in which Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker announced it earlier. It was only a month ago that Baker, who is essentially the ERGs chief whip, said the numbers to force a change in leader simply did not exist. The reasonable suspicion on the part of those still loyal to the prime minister is that he would not have licensed the attack were he not sure that the rebels could not at least hit the 48 needed to trigger a confidence vote.

Will they? The first thing to note is that the ERG is not as coherent a group as it is often portrayed as, and not all of its members believe that a vote of no confidence is necessarily the right gambit. Members of its WhatsApp group note that some of its veterans are urging caution – Bernard Jenkin, for instance, has told colleagues to be “lucid and calm”, while Edward Leigh has refused to submit a letter and says Mays deal should be defeated in parliament.

One cool-headed member, however, says proponents of that strand of opinion are very much in the minority. They reckon conciliatory voices are outnumbered “ten to one” by those congratulating those who have quit government posts and calling for the submission of letters to Brady. It remains to be seen whether that means the rebels will actually end up hitting the threshold. But what today has made clear is that we are much closer to it happening than at any point in recent months. If it doesnt, then Mays position will look much stronger, even if her majority remains non-existent and the chances of no deal remain non-trivial and rising.

Separate to all of that is the more pressing question of whether May would win a confidence vote. A simple majority is all that would be needed for her to do so, and most Tory MPs still think she could clear that bar, even if, as some loyalists predict, a not insignificant number of the payroll votes against the prime minister along with the rebels. Asked whether the numbers exist to win the confidence vote, a source close to Baker says: “I cannot be sure.”

For the ERG leadership, though, the real victory would be demonstrating conclusively that Mays Withdrawal Agreement did not have a chance of passing parliament. Arguably, hitting 48 would do that, as there is no way that 58 Labour MPs will vote for Mays deal and cancel out those votes and the 10 of the DUP.

The prime minister has insisted that she will fight on should she win the ensuing ballot. But one ally of David Davis says its result, even if it fell short of 50 per cent, would serve to illustrate the number of MPs willing to go “on strike” should she do so. Many are convinced that her position would be just as untenable, especially if the number of votes against her hit treble figures (the gamble, of course, is that May would decline the opportunity to take advantage of her years immunity by returning to Brussels after a first defeat and seeking a deal that Labour could vote for). They could well be right. But first, they will need to trigger a vote.

Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman's political correspondent.

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In one letter, Esther McVey misleads us seven times over the DWPs impact on minorities

Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary who resigned over the Brexit deal this morning, depart..

Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary who resigned over the Brexit deal this morning, departed in true DWP style: disingenuously.

After her argument against Theresa Mays draft withdrawal agreement, the departing cabinet minister listed her “achievements” at the Department towards the end of her letter:

Earlier this morning I informed the Prime Minister I was resigning from her Cabinet pic.twitter.com/ZeBkL5n2xH

— Esther McVey (@EstherMcVey1) November 15, 2018

​“It has been a huge honour to serve as Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, and I am immensely proud of the part I have played in the record levels of employment we have seen in all parts of the UK.

“Youth unemployment has halved since 2010, and we now have record number of women and BAME in work and since 2013, 973,000 more disabled people in work.

“With employment over 3.3million more than in 2010 we have helped 1,000 more people into work each and every day since we took office.”

Lets take a closer look at these boasts, shall we?

1. “Record levels of employment”

Well, employment did reach a record high this year. The unemployment rate is at its lowest since the Seventies. Sound good?

These figures disguise the increasingly precarious nature of work for British people. Last November, the number of people who did not have enough work, who were on temporary or zero-hours contracts, or who were classed as “self-employed” but actually only working for one employer still remained higher than before the 2008 crash. (more…)

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Theresa May prolongs her Brexit crisis as she insists nothing has changed

Nothing has changed. That, in short, is Theresa Mays holding line. Despite a string of ministerial r..

Nothing has changed. That, in short, is Theresa Mays holding line. Despite a string of ministerial resignations and an imminent confidence vote in her leadership, the Prime Minister has signalled her intention to fight on.

Addressing reporters at Downing Street, May – who appears to be occupying a different plane of reality to the rest of Westminster – insisted that her deal was in the national interest and still represented “a Brexit that delivers on the priorities of the British people”.

She might think so, but as far as its chances of passing parliament are concerned, that is irrelevant: what matters is that the DUP, several dozen of her Tory colleagues and the vast majority of the Labour Party disagree with her.

Mays wilful refusal to engage with that fundamental truth stood out. She repeatedly insisted that she was in the business of taking the right decisions, rather than the easy ones, and again attempted to frame her deal as the only one that could possibly meet her own red lines, and protect jobs and the Union. This Brexit, or no Brexit. Her survival is its survival.

Despite an overwhelming body of evidence to the contrary, she has staked everything on convincing people who have hitherto shown absolutely no side of wanting – or, as far as their political self-interest goes, needing – to be convinced. The fundamental irony of this approach is that it is likely to only strengthen the resolve of her internal critics, hasten a leadership challenge, and see the time and energy of parliament wasted on voting on a deal that will inevitably be rejected. And all that will do is prolong a crisis that, far from protecting the national interest, looks increasingly likely to end in Britain crashing out without a deal.

Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman's political correspondent.

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