Happy New Year Borgen – Literally

150131 HAPPY NEW YEARThe Season To Be Jolly over, say hello to The Season To Be Happy. “Happy New Year!!!” We squeal dementedly at anyone, every day, all month. But, be honest, thinking back over the years, how often did it really turn out that way?

To Borgen, where it does turn out exactly that way. Every year. Or at least for as long as anyone’s been counting that sort of stuff. Linguistic quirk: The Danes don’t actually say ‘Happy New Year’, they say Godt Nytår – Good New-year, so a slightly less Jazz Hands augmented outpouring.

So what’s their secret? The magic ingredient? The weather is cold and wet, it’s dark for much of the year, there’s no great imperial past, little pomp – even less circumstance. Could it be the Lego?  Or a daily Danish ?(which they, by the way, call Vienna Bread)?

Just for a laugh, let’s spell our way through some likely determinants of Borgen’s happiness phenomenon: Continue reading

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

140627 MAGNA CARTAA 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.

 

 

140627CHARLIE BROOKERLearning, 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?

140521 EU DANISH ELECTION POSTERHow do you make a Dane vote?

Like this – 1,543,779 views

 

 

 

 

140521 EU ELECTION POSTERHow do you make a Brit vote?

Like this? – 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

Hug a Hoodie or Mug a Hoodie? – What would Borgen do?

It’s really rather a good feeling being a Danish Brit nowadays. Repeated requests for jumper-knitting instructions are admittedly a drawback, but one I can live with. More interesting are daily questions about policy matters as practised Borgen style. (For those who’ve been living under a stone for the past several months, “Borgen” is short for Christiansborg, the Danish Parliament building as well as the title of the appointment-to-view Danish version of the West Wing).

“How is it that the Skandis apparently get it so right?” Or “How can you be the happiest people on earth while, at the same time, paying the most tax?” The trickle of enquiries has now become a steady stream so, as I often frankly have no idea what the answer might be, I’ve decided to start an irregular blog, which looks at UK policy in the news and asks: “What Would Borgen Do?”

And what better place to launch this initiative than with Call-me-Dave’s new “tough but intelligent” Rehabilitation Revolution initiative? Continue reading