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With Sweden poised for a massive swing to a party with neo-Nazi roots tomorrow... why is the most liberal country in Europe lurching to the Far Right? 

10 740 1275

You would never find a scene like this during a British general election. Outside a railway station in the Stockholm suburbs, all the main parties have little cabins neatly lined up like exhibitors at a trade show.

Each offers coffee, literature and a chair for those who might want a longer chat. Superficially, it is all very polite, very democratic — very Swedish, in fact.

Today, though, all the attention is focused on one stand. And there is a tense atmosphere. A young crowd, mainly students, have surrounded the stall of the nationalist Sweden Democrats.

‘Will you deport all people like me — who don’t look white?’ asks Joel Svensson, 26, pointing his finger at a middle-aged man.

Half-Colombian, half-Gambian, Joel has lived in Sweden for 15 years, works at Foot Locker, speaks Swedish, pays his (hefty) taxes and is increasingly agitated.

‘Will you deport all Muslims?’ he shouts.

‘Only those who don’t have citizenship and don’t obey the law,’ says the party worker. Two policemen turn up in case things escalate but they do not. Eventually, Joel and his group walk off but he is still angry. Sweden, he tells me, has become much more racist in recent years.

‘Things are changing here and they want to blame someone. People just don’t understand that they need immigrants like me,’ he says.

However, there is a similar sense of frustration back at the Sweden Democrats’ hut. ‘People tear up our leaflets and tell us to **** off,’ says retired accountant Dan Strom, 69, a member of the party for three years. ‘I get used to it. But what really upsets people these days is all the crime.’

Crime and immigration are dominating an election which has become so un-Swedish that many people talk openly about a national identity crisis.

Gangland shootings are so commonplace they barely make the news. A new fad for synchronised car-burnings has been making the headlines instead.

All of it is blamed — however unfairly — on immigrants in a country where 20 per cent of the population were born elsewhere. Now comes fresh data (unearthed last month by state TV) that rape is on the increase, that nearly 60 per cent of all convicted rapists since 2015 have been foreign-born and that 40 per cent had been in Sweden for less than a year.

It helps explain why the Sweden Democrats have gone so swiftly from the fringes to the political mainstream. Just three years ago, they were social outcasts. Now, they could be........

© Mail Online