Week 5: Villain – Denmark

by George_East on February 4, 2016

Danish_VillainThis Week’s Villain of the Week award goes to Denmark for its new migrant laws

Scandinavia’s reputation as the closest the planet has to the ideal society seems increasingly a distant memory. You know the image of a social democratic welfare state with great public services and a focus on equality.

Only a few years back the psychologist Oliver James published his book Affluenza which analysed why society has generally become unhappier as it has become wealthier, and concluded that Denmark was the happiest country on the planet, precisely because it is the most equal in terms of wealth distribution.   Add in a few cool scandi-tv series over the last decade like The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen and with the horror show of the Cameron administrations here, Copenhagen felt like a tempting city to move to.

Yet at the beginning of last week the Danish parliament (yes located in the Borgen) passed a law allowing the authorities to seize the assets of refugees and migrants in order ‘to cover food and shelter costs’.  Seizing the property of some of the most desperate people is of course nothing to do with the costs of providing them with basics.  This isn’t a budget measure but a piece of nastiness pandering to the growing populist right in Denmark. You shouldn’t often invoke the Nazis (Godwin’s law and all that) but this really does have the smack of fascism about it.

Shame on Denmark.  What on earth would Birgitte Nyborg make of it.

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