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 →
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 →
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.
As furious frustration with the Israel-Palestine massacre engulfs us all, it is too easy to feel helpless and hopeless. But every single one of us can change the picture in the conflict by refusing to tacitly take part in it. BDS finally ended Apartheid in South Africa and it will ultimately end Apartheid in Israel-Palestine. This post was originally published in August 2013. Tragically, it is still all too relevant.
The European Union has finally voted to apply Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions to any trade with Israel’s illegal settlements, thus joining the growing number of countries who have already taken action.
In fact, aside from the parallel with the South African Apartheid era, those attacking the boycott in the name of “Palestinian workers” also echo those companies that defend sweatshop labour on the grounds of “Well at least they have a job!” – a justification rightly rejected by campaigners and rights groups.
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 →
These thoughts were created with the best intentions. Their purpose was often misconstrued and their teachings used incorrectly. The thoughts lived a short existence as thoughts, burning brightly and quickly. Now they exist only in the world of blog.