The UN has run the regular “Stoicism Survey”, where they ask people in different countries “Is your life basically ok?” and people in war-torn famine-ridden failed states answer “What drugs are you smoking currently? No, really!” while people from developed countries say “Well, I’d be more ok if I replaced my 30″ tv with a 32″ tv, why do you ask?” and people from Scandinavian socialist paradises answer “Mustn’t grumble. Things are alright I suppose. I’m more satisfied than Jens next door, whatever he says. What did he say?”
In response, the Guardian has published yet another puff piece praising Denmark as a place you should definitely move to immediately. Bless the author. Denmark really suits her and it will definitely suit YOU too. *
Her Top Five Things about Denmark:-
- Childcare: Subsidised heavily.
- Health service: She really likes same-day doctor appointments. (I had those in London and Cardiff too, so wtf?)
- A compact capital: Copenhagen is small, so you can cycle around it.
- Architecture and design: Fair enough.
- Public spaces: Clean beaches and parks.
My Danish Boyfriend’s Top Five Things about Denmark:
(He rebelled at first and said “Low corruption” and “Good weather” and then laughed)
- Free education from primary to university: there is a way for really poor people to get a university degree
- Health care coverage and quality: he acknowledges I might have a different view because I use it a lot more than he does. He would improve it by giving more comprehensive dental coverage.
- Not as many homeless people/destitute people as in other countries: the way the State will help you out if you are in the shit.
- And then he dried up and said he’d need to see how other countries were run in order to compare.
My Top Five Things about Denmark
- The people I have met here. Sure, not many of them are Danish but it is quality not quantity right?
- The libraries. OMG, I love my library, it’s so awesome. And you can get any book from any library in Denmark. ANY BOOK! (I have heard a story about a British guy getting refused a card because “Foreigners steal books” but my experiences have always been tip-top.)
- The work-life balance (even as a teacher). Sure, it’s changing now but my guess is it’ll take a few decades before it is anywhere near as fucked as back home.
- The way that even children from shitty backgrounds have an ambition to better themselves (and are able to): Their counterparts in the UK dream of being “famous”, Danish children with shocking backgrounds have ambitions like “become a politician”, “get a respected qualification and have a profession” and they take steps to make it happen. CAVEAT: the Muslim children I know have the same dreams but they say they will have to move countries to make it happen because “No one in a hijab goes to university!” “What about in Indonesia? Isn’t it wall-to-wall hijab there!” “In Indonesia(!) Not here.”
- The innocence: They trust the authorities. They trust people around them. They trust everyone to have good intentions. They have not realised that approximately 10% of people are most likely psychopaths (there are no figures on how many of the population are fuckwits). They dismiss as anomaly: corruption, favouritism, poor decision making and brutality. This means that when something is good, you do not have a group of Danes trying to find the downside, they just appreciate it. It’s cute, (most of the time).