Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Have you met the rest of us?

According to the bike tour guide in Copenhagen (though I can’t find a trace of this “research” anywhere on the internet) a survey carried out for one of Denmark’s main newspapers asked the Danes what nationality they would like to be if they weren’t Danish. Over 70% emphatically came down on one nationality.


Why?, have they seen England, more importantly have they seen the English?

Perhaps the 30% that didn’t say English all lived in Copenhagen where they experience the “full English” in all it’s Stag and Hen do glory on a regular occurrence.

Perhaps for those Danes who live a long way from the Capital, don’t venture there very often and the only English tourists they see are the ones who have hunted out their city or town for the art, music or museum, then yes the English might appear to still be a nation of genial bumbling idiots (although that does now conjure up an image of an army of thousands of Boris Johnson’s spreading out across the globe!)

Part of the reason for this liking of the English (and for this I can only assume the usual mistake of lumping all “British” as English, ignoring that the Welsh and Scottish (and Cornish, and Northern Irish, and Manx and Yorkshire and Essex and...) are separate nationalities) is the fact that it was “English” troops that liberated Denmark at the end of World War II and this really came home today when I visited the Occupation Museum (Besættelsesmuseeti) and saw the display on the outpouring of emotion that was shown when in May 1945 after five years of occupation, the English rolled into Denmark and asked the Nazi’s to leave (“I say old Hun you wouldn’t mind tottering back off to Germany would you, there’s a good chap”)

I don’t want to break the spell that the Danish have, but isn’t it about time that we told them the country has changed a bit since then. Perhaps it’s time we let Sky TV export some of their “factual programming” to Denmark, then let’s rerun the survey and see how many still want to be English.

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