Tag Archives: denmark

It must be possible to be 100% pro-EU, but still question how things are run


I’m half Danish and consider myself to be a European. I have never really felt particularly English or British at all and if Denmark is playing England at football it’s a tough call, even though I’ve lived in the UK almost all my life and spent a total of only two years in Denmark.

I have always been pro-EU. I believe in political co-operation and the European ideal – and have often considered other European countries to be more enlightened when it comes to matters such as social justice and environmental protection. Without the EU, I am sure we wouldn’t have had Blue Flag beaches or the equivalent, tighter car emission regulations (although they’ve been flouted badly in recent years) and proper food labelling. Whereas, in my experience, Danish Governments of whatever shade tend to want to ensure the quality of life and wellbeing of their populations, that enlightened approach sadly hasn’t been a particularly strong feature of British life – although it does appear to be something Scotland wants to follow (hence no tuition fees and prescription charges).

Whilst agreeing with the provisions of the Single Market in terms of the free movement of goods, service and people, this doesn’t stop me asking certain questions about the efficacy of the EU and what we might be able to do better. All institutions need to adapt and evolve to changing circumstances and the EU cannot be an exception to that.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

What can we learn from the Danish referendum?

Lying Eurosceptics and grey drizzle; close polls and an air of dread amongst Liberals fearing a No vote; and political elites pitted against voters who don’t trust them. Sound like a British Euro Referendum campaign? Well no, that was Denmark last week.

Now that we know that there was a narrow victory for the No side, let’s look at why and what it might mean for the forthcoming UK Euro referendum. And what we can learn from it as Liberal Democrats.

I’ll start with the differences. First, the proposition was unclear to many in Denmark. A November 3rd poll indicated that almost two-thirds of the population didn’t really understand what they were voting about. This absence of clarity has allowed the No campaign to reframe the debate as an airing of grievances against the EU in general.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Ironically, the rise of UKIP makes Britain a more European place

UKIP logoUKIP’s relative success in the English local elections and South Shields by-election this week has met with predictable reactions across the political spectrum: from copycat politics and jealousy on the Tory right, to handwringing and downright despair on the centre left.

But while UKIP has succeeded in hoovering up disenchanted Tories by the thousand, its appeal is clearly much broader. In fact, the rise of UKIP’s populist anti-politics replicates a pattern played out across Europe since the crisis hit, from the Danish People’s Party to Italy’s Beppe Grillo. Ironically, with …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 25 Comments

The Fourth Estate needs a makeover – what would Borgen do?

Who said: “In the old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism”.

No, not Hugh Grant. Oscar …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Votes for Prisoners? Cameron says no! What would Borgen do?

David Cameron reputedly vowed that prisoners “will be allowed to vote over my dead body”. Don’t give us any ideas Dave… We know that the current blanket ban has been judged unlawful by The European Court of Human Rights, and we presumably don’t want to break the law. I mean, that could land us all in the collective slammer, without the right to vote. Not a clever idea, given that the current UK voter turnout is already among the lowest in Western Europe.

So what would Borgen do? Well, nothing actually, as Danish prisoners have enjoyed the unfettered right to vote since the 1930s. And that’s despite the fact that our Danish cousins

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Opinion: 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).

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Danish economy shows now is not the time for Plan B

Critics of the coalition’s economic policy come from many and diverse perspectives, from those such as John Redwood who advocate the traditional Tory neo-classical approach of cutting taxes and spending until growth is achieved to those who advocate forgetting the deficit and spending until growth occurs.

The traditional Tory arguments were largely demolished by the great Liberal economist JM Keynes in the 1930s, and their reheated version disproved by JK Galbraith in the 1980s.

The arguments of those who wish to see stimulus spending are more cogent but the latest data concerning the Danish economy should provide them with food for thought.

In …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 48 Comments

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