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Tony Makara

Stephan Shakespeare, having lived in Copenhagen I understand what you mean about the 'hyggelig'(cosy) lifestyle. The standard of living in Denmark is very high and the is a cosmopolitan, even a bohemian atmosphere about the place. Denmark is very much a country where they expect you to conform, little things like lighting a candle before a meal, Sweden is similar, except that the Swedes exercize conformity by expecting everyone to take their shoes off before entering the apartment.

However these staid nations are only contented on the surface. There is an undercurrent of 'Edge' growing as they tackle the problems of immigration, particularly places like Malmo, which is struggling to cope with waves of immigrants. Sweden is beoming a less tolerant nation with each passing year and its political landscape will surely reflect that in the coming years.

The recent elections in Denmark, which I was able to follow closely on the internet having learnt the lingo, returned Anders Foge Rassmussen to office, yet he didn't deserve to be re-elected, but what appeared to be serious opposition from the Social Democrats and their highly photogenic leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt collapsed at the last minute as voters baulked at the idea of even more welfare and a more lax immgration policy. The fact is Anders Foge Rassmussen won because there was no serious opposition, but the day is surely coming when cosy Danish society will have to address its problems and that may open the door to a different type of politics. The era of cosy is coming to an end in Scandinavia.

Tony Makara

While we are on the subject of Danish politics, here is Gordon Brown's letter of support for Helle Thorning-Schmidt's rather left-leaning Social Democrats. I think this is interesting because Tony Blair always very much favoured Anders Foge Rassmussen, her centerist opponent. The two were very pally over the Iraq war. Does this shift in support show that Gordon Brown is considerably to the left of Tony Blair?

Gordon Brown
11. november 2007 - kl. 15:17

Dear Helle

I am writing as Leader of the British Labour Party to send you my good wishes on the eve of the parliamentary election.

We consider our friends in the Danish Social Democratic Party to be close allies, and the British Labour Party has learned much from you. It is through cooperation, particularly within our own political family, that we respond best to the many challenges that we face both on a domestic and international level. I hope very much that this cooperation between our two parties continues and strengthens in the coming months.

Best wishes for the 13 November.

Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP

Leader of the Labour Party

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