Return of the Jihadi. What Does Borgen Do?

Europe – we have a problem. 2,000 of our young men and women, radicalised by atrocities further south, are travelling to join the shockingness in pursuit of victory of some sort. Oh wait, that’s old news. Eighty year old news, to be exact, and the conflict was the Spanish Civil War. Back then, we bestowed our young idealists with a heady endowment of such romance that forty years on, ABBA would feel compelled to write a song about them.

What a difference a century makes. Ok, nearly a century. Fast forward to 2014 and various informed sources suggest that 2000 Britons have again travelled south, this time to join the conflict in Syria and Iraq. But that’s where the similarities end. No romance attached to this lot and no one should hold their breath for a new Swedish song on the subject.

Nevertheless, the Scandis are hitting the Jihadi headlines, albeit for an entirely different reason. While a shrill, increasingly hysterical British debate centres on banning the travellers from ever again setting foot on British soil, whipping away passports from those who do turn up at home or, failing that, locking them up and throwing away the key, Borgen sends in a bunch of mentors for a chat and moral support. Continue reading

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84.5% Scottish Miracle Vote is Scandi-Normal. How does Borgen do it?

On 18 September 2014 Scotland proudly roared into the political record books. The referendum for Scottish independence, the #indyref, exploded in an unprecedented voter turnout of 84.5%. Unprecedented for the Great British electorate, that is. Over in Denmark, Borgen’s alarm bells would have been deafening at anything less than 85%. But why?

Such an event had not occurred in Blighty for over half a century. It was 1951 when 8 out of 10 cats exercised their vote – thus booking an 81.59% attendance at Polling Stations across the Kingdom. So what is it that creates voter apathy on one side of the North Sea and voter appetite on the other?

Since 1951 UK voter turnout has tumbled to such an extent that the 2010 General Election saw one in every three voters ignoring it altogether. The 61.6%, who did cash in their hard won democratic privilege, woke to a shambolic show of headless chickens, darting hither and dither across the Westminster Village, pretending to know what to do with “No Overall Majority”. Continue reading

Scotland is a country… Isn’t it? What Does Borgen Think?

Last week I took some time out from the Scottish referendum campaign and spent a week – eating too much – in Denmark, the country where even the Conservatives are Social Democrats. Or they might as well be.

Easyjetting in from Blighty where, these days, even Labour is Conservative – or might as well be, the culture shock is palpable.

And hanging out for a while in Scandi-land, it soon becomes clear just how bemused Borgen is by Scotland’s 50/50 independence dilemma. Not that the Danes are ill informed, Danish newspapers and TV news bulletins are endlessly rolling with curious coverage of the Scottish referendum story 24/7. Continue reading

Loadsamoney: Top Lawyers and Accountants Rule OK! So what is Borgen’s view?

A.P. Herbert once said: “Laws are made to be broken so that lawyers may drive Daimlers and drink Mumm’s.”

Milton Berle once said: “The company accountant is shy and retiring. He’s shy a quarter of a million dollars. That’s why he’s retiring.”

My dad once said, “If you want to get really rich while having lunch, study law or calculators”. He did neither, although he did keep a small army of lawyers and accountants in good lunches.

Through the ensuing years, my overdraft has reminded me with monotonous regularity just how right they all were, so I headed off to a recent discussion event ‘Cheques and the City’ (see what they did there?), arranged by The High Pay Centre. Continue reading

Seven British Values or Borgen’s Jante Law? You decide

A bunch of schools in Birmingham and Bradford have been accused of failing to teach students ‘British values’. The upshot has been every Tom, Dick and Harry (definitely British) loftily expounding what exactly they each perceive as passing muster as a “British value”.

As the rhetoric rolls out, it has become clear that what constitutes such a value depends entirely on who’s talking.

Learning, for example, that Call-me-Dave favours celebrating the Magna Carta, Charlie Brooker sets the tone of contention: No wonder Cameron wants to celebrate the Magna Carta – back then plebs had the same human rights as a parsnip. According to Brooker, Dave has responded to this crisis by declaring that we need to celebrate “Britishness” with more enthusiasm. “More enthusiasm? More?“, demands Charlie, “We’ve been celebrating Britishness with the strained determination of a man desperately trying to shit a cricket ball for the past five years.” Half a decade of drenched Diamond Jubilee flotillas, Olympic/Paralympic flag waving and First World War/D-Day commemorations have clearly taken their toll on poor Charlie.

And so we shift seamlessly into the shouty cut and thrust of the tub-thumping, mouth-frothing, lip-snarling style of pugilistic debate so beloved of Prime Minister’s Question Time (definitely British). Continue reading

European elections – you hadn’t heard? Why does Borgen vote?

How do you make a Dane vote?

Like this – VIDEO 1,543,779 views

How do you make a Brit vote?

Like this? – VIDEO 12,915 views

Some people complained about the Danish video, so Borgen took it off t’Internet again. Of course, the glory of the World Wide Web is that, once the cat’s out of the bag, packing it up again is not really an option. Often considered a negative, like when you’ve drunkenly posted last night’s pub highlights, Borgen effectively turned it to its brilliant advantage. Continue reading

Borgen is Killing Cameron – Is Nordic democracy a Bridge too far?

UK news agency The Press Association reports that “British PM David Cameron has urged the BBC to produce more home-grown dramas and comedies instead of relying on Danish imports such as the international hit series ‘Borgen‘, ‘Broen‘ (The Bridge) and Forbrydelsen (The Killing)”.

Apparently our Dave doesn’t cope well with reading subtitles and taking in the action all at once. Whether he also has problems patting his head while rubbing his tummy remains unknown.

Thankfully, new BBC million pound costume drama Jamaica Inn should play better at Cameron Towers – you only need to watch the pictures, you can’t hear what anyone’s saying anyway…without subtitles. Oh. Continue reading