Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Denmark goes Nuclear

Okay, so it's something that has been bothering me for some time. In response to my last post some readers, on various sites, have said things along the lines of 'Denmark is a great place to be because everyone pulls together and is environmentally-minded, and it would be a big mistake to leave and go back to decrepit Britain.'

Well, bull and red flag. That got my brain boiling and I have three things to say on the subject of Denmark before I never mention the subject again. EVER!

If you're only interested in what's mentioned in the title of this post, skip straight to point three and ignore the rest.

Some explanation is needed.

One. Denmark does not 'pull together'. The people of Denmark do as they are told to do, think what they are told to think, and never question authority. Minds are controlled by state propaganda, and the janteloven, which I mentioned in the previous post, keeps people servile and compliant. One cannot expect any help if something bad happens to you, as I was reminded a couple of months ago when an American student was attacked on a bus here in broad daylight and beaten up for being a 'Chinese boy' while every single passenger turned a blind eye.

This is not an uncommon occurrence. I myself had a bike accident once and lay bleeding on the road for several hours, unconscious. When I came to, people were sat at the nearby bus stop listening to their iPods as if I didn't exist. Nobody offered to help me, even though I had a huge gash on my head and was liberally covered in blood. Thanks for the help guys.

A close-knit community. Did I mention that after five years of living in this block of flats I've only spoken to one neighbour out of eight? I mean, I've said 'Hello' and got either a grunt in return, or more likely, some passive-aggressive silence. I'm not counting the old woman next door, who rang the doorbell to call me something horrible based on my non-Danishness. Or the person who reported me for 'introducing a bio hazard' with my worm compost bin, leading to me having to get rid of it and euthanize my beloved team of red-wrigglers.

Two. Denmark is not the best country in the world, as if there could ever be such a thing. Almost every week there is a report saying so in the media. Danes believe their flag is descended from Heaven and that they are the chosen ones. The country supposedly has the best restaurant and food, the happiest people, the smartest society, the most environmentally friendly civilization on the face of the planet, the best city in the world to live in. I could go on.

They have been talking about this for a long time, as the narrator of this video clearly states:

The reality is that a majority of people in the world have never heard of this pipsqueak country. Please, Danes, stop it. You are embarrassing yourselves and will only regret it later!

(Is it impolite to mention also that it's also the cancer capital of the world, has a huge problem with alcoholism and suicide, is Europe's second most wasteful nation and is addicted to coal and has the fourth largest environmental footprint of any country in the world?) Is it a case of 'we think OSDS'?

Three. Relating to two. This week - and I just have to share this with someone because nobody really in the international press outside of specialist international policy websites has reported it - Denmark flunked out of pretending to be green! Yes, you read it here first. Extra, extra! Greenland, which ahem, is kind of independent and allowed to do what it wants as long as Copenhagen agrees to it, is being sold to the Chinese! Well, not all of it, just the bits that contain uranium. This, apparently, would make supposedly anti-nuclear Denmark one of the biggest exporters of uranium on the planet.

They don't want it in their back yard - they want it in yours!

But it's not just uranium. Eco-friendly Denmark wants a slice of the oil pie too. Denmark's version of the-historical-German-party-whose-name-cannot-be-mentioned-in-polite-company- said that 'Future generations will not forgive us,' if Denmark does not go for the massive oil and uranium grab on turf that it controls. And the main parties all seemed to agree.

Greenland's deputy prime minister, the eminent statesman Jens Frederiksen, gave the matter some deep thought and after a profound philosophical enquiry stated: "If everybody else can sell uranium, then we might as well. There's a lot of money in it."


Denmark's avowed social-liberal prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is known more for her Gucci handbags than her policies, has become tight-lipped and is refusing to answer any parliamentary questions that contain the word 'Greenland'. Apparently she says it is 'not appropriate' to talk about Greenland's 'private affairs'.

This is Denmark's prime minister showing off her hoard of designer swag. No, honestly - I'm not joking.

So there you have it. When Denmark put out all those press releases about it being the greenest, most sustainable country on God's fair earth - it didn't really mean it. Apparently it's okay to tell big fat pork pies if that's what everyone else is doing. Especially if it keeps the money taps open and the investment cash rolling in. You can't expect having one of the highest standards of living in the world to just pay for itself, you know.

Now where was that writer from who wrote the story 'The emperor's new clothes'?

This particular blogger is tired of stating the bleeding obvious and will welcome spending his time doing something more positive than thinking about these matters from now on. 'Nuff said.


By the way, a big thanks to everyone who is continuing to read this discursive, peculiar, iconoclastic, mildly subversive blog of mine. This month, for the first time, I've hit the 10,000 page view mark - and it's going up by 10% a month - which is leading me to think that I might actually put some more effort into writing these posts.

As it is, I hammer them out whenever I have a spare moment at the kitchen table. Over the next couple of months I'll be 'in transit' back to England, so will be posting a bit infrequently, but when I get settled I'm planning to start writing in a more structured way.

That's what you can do when a full-time job isn't getting in the way.


  1. You forgot to mention how much the economy of Denmark depends on death.

    BTW - 10,000? I've never had more that 3500, in three years. Congrats!

    1. Yeah ... I didn't want to get into that. It's too depressing.

  2. "That's what you can do when a full-time job isn't getting in the way."


    Given what you've set for yourself once you get back to England, you'll have a full-time job-plus. I just hope you do find the time to keep this blog going - even minimally.

    1. Martin - of, course, you are dead right! Still, at least I will have flexibility as to when I can work - plus - physical work gives you plenty of time to think about things when you are on the job.

      The blog will keep going ... I have plenty of new ideas.

    2. And you are also dead right - on all counts - just didn't know whether you grokked that. I've found that building - and then later - turning two or three compost piles provides much thought/meditation-time, as does washing the dishes, for example.
      Looking forward to your future postings.

  3. Ah yes, Denmark. I have an on-going debate with a commenter on another site that is always extolling the greatness of a country that is mostly under water, or will be in the coming decades. He is always bragging about how great it is and how wonderful it's renewable energy system is. Their arrogance is even higher than that of my native country, the US, and that is saying something. The higher they are, the harder they fall. I live in the Philippines and I would bet that the GDH here is higher than that of Denmark anytime.

    1. Too true. I am reading Theodore Roszak's 'Where the wasteland ends' at the moment (which I would highly recommend, btw) and the depressing conclusion that this book has led me to is that human aspirations have shrunk so much in just a few generations that it is entirely possible to convince entire countries that their particular brand of middle class materialism IS the epitome of human happiness and potential.

  4. A very different view than your last post, i can see why you've chosen to move. The last post seemed to show the UK and Denmark as about equal, this is a much clearer picture.

    1. Well ... they complement one another. If Denmark was Norway, I'd stay. But it isn't.

    2. To bad you can't move there then. Norway sounds like a great place to live as Overshoot appears. Hope the part of Uk your going to is nice and stable.

  5. "Economy based on death"? Is this a reference to meat?

    And what's so great about Norway?

    1. Partly. Like I said, I don't really want to go into it here. I'll get in too much trouble.

      Norway is a great country. Mountains. Space. Good governance. A favourable outlook with a changed climate. Secure. What's not to like?

  6. If I absolutely had to pare my "favorites" list down to just you and Mr. JMG, it would be all right. Literally can't wait to hear about your cross-Channel adventure.

    1. Thanks TripleG - that's probably the nicest comment anyone has ever paid me!

  7. I agree with Triple G..almost. I'd have to throw Orlov and JHK into the mix. But I'd stop reading Clusterfucknation before I'd stop reading your blog and that's the truth.

    I started Epiphany Now three years ago and I'm just over 10,000 hits for the history of my blog. I'd bet that you could make some descent money just self publishing your books and selling them to your followership. You should consider it. I know it's sort of chic to act like it would be egotistical to self publish, but I think that's bullshit. You gotta put bread on the table and you're an excellent writer.

    1. Stop it, you're embarrassing me! No, really, there are some excellent blogs out there. I'd recommend following up to about 10. Those ones that focus exclusively on market data and economics can get a bit tiresome though ... that's why I wanted to make mine a 'big picture' one.

      It's funny you should mention a book. I've thinking along those lines too ... I regard the US as being ahead of the UK and Europe in terms of thinking about peak oil and my guess is that there might be a few people over here willing to hear more about it. At present nearly everyone seems fixated on blaming their governments and banks for all the problems, and not looking at the wider issues, so I'm not sure how well my message would go down.

      I'll probably give it a shot this summer ... after all wood coppicing only takes place during the winter months!

  8. I happen to live in Scandinavia too, some 600 kms to the north of Copenhagen in a different country named Sweden and a different capital named Stockholm.

    Sweden is of course a large country compared to small Denmark, but then Sweden did conquer provinces that used to belong to Denmark/Norway and also encouraged settlers to inhabit the wilderness to the north so I'd say that the "core" Sweden is just as large as Denmark is (many Swedes won't recognize Scania, a province conquered in 17th century from Denmark and the land you must've gazed upon across Ă–resund so many times, as a part of "real Sweden" for instance but as a sort of creol). But some other political-geographical differences aside, what you've written about Denmark here is true for all Scandinavian countries in a larger context.

    I recognize all this talk about "eco friendly" "modern" "progressive society" Scandinavia as well as a tendency towards believing that English is The One And Only Language for conducting buisness and be "accepted" by everyone else "because English is the Only Language in International-Land" ("for whom?" you may ask. Beat's me. I'm not that surprised many Londoners regard the ex-pat Swedish colony as some of the most rude, unhumorous and dull people they've ever encountered, given that these people have been brought up to master grammar and speech in school as well as on their free time but don't know anything about the finer sublteties of culture. Instead of acknowledging these weaknesses, I assume that Swedish companies in total lose contracts worth billions of SEK every year because Swedish business men are by the prestige the English language holds over them inclined to believe they can make a deal in English with British/American people. Also keep in mind that Scandinavians in general only master English plus their mother tongue).

    The talk about progressive Scandinavia should be taken for what it is, commercial geared towards those who won't be visiting Scandinavia at any time longer than a tourists' stay. If you're there on vacation then it is a lot easier to project that this must be a fantastic society. All you have a talk with are service people paid to cater for you in either way. What you don't know or what you won't experience by interacting with the natives you can always project onto imagination what it must be like. Of course as you've stated so many times standards of living are among the highest in the world but in unsustainable ways when looking from all aspects.

    I've lived in Norway as well and there the government equals oil industry (even though Norway peaked in oil extraction around 10 yrs ago and that new fields doesn't replace the production value the old ones have/had, Oil Ministry always claims that future 5-10 years on looks promising in their forecasts even if they've been wrong for the last five years with a large margin for every year once it came). By the way, their "Leftist" and therefore supposedly peaceful government in place now decided to send troops in the Libyan war in 2011 (which a country like Germany didn't) based on an unconstitutional decision, but leading ministers don't care because "it was worth it". Good governance? (Sry the article is in Norwegian only, but this isn't exactly on nine o'clock news either.)

    Anyways, I've followed and found your writings interesting and I wish you well in Cornwall.

    1. I work with several Swedes and have yet more as friends and I'm not sure they are cut from the same cloth as the Danes. In my experience of Swedes and Norwegians they are more 'on the same wavelength' as other foreigners I know.

      Thanks for the link (Norwegian is very similar to Danish, so I can understand most of it) - I know Norway is all about oil at the moment, but that's gonna change. It has to.

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    3. Got a couple friends in Sweden too, and you know, in spite of a touch of insanity (the dull, quiet kind) and our typical Nordic depressionism and perfectionism, they're actually straightforward and sober people. Mostly. Not sure they'd leave you alone, bleeding after a bike accident. As a matter of fact, "janteloven" was something a Swedish friend first told about, but in his typical depressive fashion, about Swedish society. It might apply less though, on the other hand all former vikings are alike (and to be honest it's Russians who can be like the Danes in their pursuit of dumb propaganda-induced happiness, crowd behaviour, and indifference, though leaving a bleeding man after an accident unconscious is a bit weird for, say, St. Petersburg also, although I've seen a drunken man lying unconscious with nobody caring there too).

      As for Norway... Well the only acquaintance was a Norwegian diplomat woman, and she was quite cold and dull and rather dumb (but then career politics do that to anyone to some extent). It might not be such a bad place, especially if farming is possible and there's good land to be had not so far away from a city.

    4. The point is, Sweden and Swedish people are somehow warmest of the three. Norway and Norwegians have a bit of a cold, rough edge, though all northern people tend to be cold externally and warm personally once you get to know them. And Finns, well, being sort of related to them through a common ancestor people, they're even closer to me in a way. Still, there's much to be said for common sense and straightforward ways of a Scandinavian society, as long as said common sense isn't cruel or ignorant, of course...

    5. Well, I don't really want to get into a discussion of national stereotypes, the real point of this post was to point out the stunning hypocrisy of a nation that is regarded by many as somehow possessing the 'solutions' to our collective predicaments.

      I think it's very sad that people then try to emulate what is effectively a nation-level PR stunt designed to attract international investment so that a high consumption lifestyle can be maintained.

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  10. Today's headline: Denmark praised by The Economist as a glowing example of perfection that everyone else should emulate (kind of)

    Here's a link that's been Gargoyle translated

  11. I am absolutely gobsmacked. Americans may be idiots in many ways, but no way would they fail to help someone lying bleeding in the road. I could give example after example. Five minutes would be the max.

  12. Well, something has gone wrong with my feeders again, for I had not seen this and the other posts until now. Strange.
    Still, I hope you will read this eventually.
    Like Leo said earlier, in this post you seem to come up with your real arguments for choosing the UK instead of Denmark. You express disgust for hypocrisy, and I feel you, for similar experiences.
    At one point in our life, my husband was offered a job in Stockholm. The new company organized an apartment for us. We left our own country (Netherlands), sold our house, took all the furniture with us, and started our new adventure with high expectations. But from day one, life seemed to have turned itself against us, and I hated just about everything in Sweden, except the one thing that had scared me in advance, the new school of my eldest daughter. That, and the beautiful coastline, were the only good elements. The rest was a nightmare. The job was a nightmare, my husband's boss was a jealous creature, the apartment, the neighbourhood, with rivaling gangs of Middle-Eastern and South-American youths around us, the supermarkets, the parking regulations, the city roads (totally seventies with new millennium traffic on them), the woods (creepy troll country), the people, the waiting list for forskola for our youngest (bye bye, Swedish child care reputation), the bureaucracy, the inertia, the frozen emotions, I can go on and on.
    At one point, our new car got vandalized (and another car in the same parking). The police refused to come and when I started shouting through the phone, the guy simply hung up. Then, we called the firefighters, for the situation was dangerous. After waiting for more than two hours in that parking lot, unable to move because of the risk of a major explosion that would have destroyed all the parked cars, the firefighters came. They did not do much, only took away the open fuel tanks and powdered the remaining fuel on the ground. And we had to call a garage to have our car towed away. Again, we waited for hours in the Scandinavian cold before a guy with a truck came. The first thing he asked for, was to be paid. We were not near our home, did not have that amount of cash on us, but he did not care. I had to call the International Road Assistance from our Dutch insurance to get this guy to do what he had to do.
    After our car was taken to a nearby garage, and we had recovered a bit, we went to the garage ourselves. Again, they immediately asked for money. Well, to make a long story short, I finally called Toyota Main Imports to get things going. And thank heaven: this man was not a Swede, but an Englishman! And he fully understood the problem, and felt for us, and immediately started pushing the right buttons, so that in the end, the car was fixed, the insurance paid, Toyota Europe was on our side, and the Swedes were left grumbling to themselves.
    When I read your post, these memories came back to me: that nice Englishman on the phone, those frozen Swedes who only thought of getting their money and showed no empathy at all, my horror of the Swedish behaviour.
    Instead of staying three years, which was originally the plan, we stayed three months. When we left, I felt like escaping from prison. For years, I refused to buy anything Swedish, and walked out of Swedish people when I met them. Now, I am over that, but the memories are still there.
    It has been nearly six years now that we live in the States, and like Onething said, it would be unthinkable to leave someone bleeding on American ground. Yes, Americans are idiots in many ways, but at least they are friendly idiots. And a time will come when the people of the world will come to understand what it means to have friendly idiots as the imperial power. The next ones may be more like the Swedes were for me, or the Danes were for you.

    1. Jeanette - what you have written resonates 100%. When I think about it, spending the last 12 years here (with 3 years 'break' in Spain) makes me very sad and depressed. It's not culture shock or lack of assimilation, it's something far more profound than that. I have to tell myself that the experience has taught me a lot - which it has.

      I could go on for 100,000 words but I'd only make myself suicidally depressed, and I'm trying to focus on more positive things.

      As for the feed not working - argh! I have had endless problems with the feed, but I thought it was now fixed. I'll have another look.


I'll try to reply to comments as time permits.