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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our friends in the North

"It's been tried in Canada and it works very well," said David Cameron on the Today programme just now. I don't know what he was talking about. It doesn't matter. What interests me is the reference to Canada. Whenever anyone in public life in the UK is proposing a radical solution to anything they always point to the fact that it's been tried in somewhere in the North: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and now Canada. They never say it's been tried in Spain or Brazil or Sri Lanka. It's always somewhere snowy. Is that because they have detected that we associate cold places with wisdom and rectitude?

10 comments:

  1. It is because we are fundamentally a snowy nation, just without the snow.

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  2. Perhaps the association of snowy places with wisdom less so after discovering what happens in Alaska.

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  3. I think it's simpler than that it's because we no nowt about these places, no one will be able to disprove the speaker and yet it doesn't sound totaly untested. Who knows what they do in sweden apart from write pop songs and pickle fish?

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  4. Yes. They're viewed as ordered, sensible, structured, clean, sober, dour even - the sort of place where the country doesn't grind to a halt when it snows.

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  5. "In Denmark they take twice as many children into care". Spokesman making a point just now on Newsnight.

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  6. Long Dark Nights DH, that's what it is.
    Gives them plenty of time to work stuff out instead of frolicking on sun kissed beaches (South), or milling herdlike round the shops (temperate).
    It is true that the high speed train networks, decent roads and a realistic public health system that have all been tried and tested in France and Germany for instance are not so often referenced...I wonder if mentioning them would be too close to home and make people ask 'why not here then?'.

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  7. They don't cite the "decent roads" in France because we know that you have to pay to use them. Maybe they cite the cold countries because we rarely go there.

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  8. It’s quite simple. They’re nice “lefty” countries, run on the lines of the “social democracy” that all three main parties in Britain now espouse, but aren’t as strait-jacketed by dogmatic certainties about how to run education, health etc. as the left in Britain is.

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  9. I believe it's because the countries you mention are always in the Top 10 list of "most democratic" and "most developed" in the world.

    The UK never quite manages to get that high - much to many people's surprise

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  10. We used to be a nice "lefty" country but that changed a few years ago when Stephen Harper's ultra right wing Conservatives gained power. They openly hate the Arts, gays and anything vaguely "left" and their financial policies make Thatcher look like a wimp. At the moment there is a monumental constitutional crisis going on. Harper tried to cut funding to the opposition parties. They tried to impose a non-Confidence motion and install themselves as the government. Parliament was dissolved until January. It's a complete mess. So much for the nice Lefty image. Helpless, helpless - heh-elp-less, as Neil Young once put it. But there's still lots of snow and it's bloody cold.

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