Monday, 29 August 2016

A queue for the exit? Denmark

Reported (so-to-speak) in the Express on 27Aug2016, a Danish politician declared that the European Union represents a greater threat to Denmark than does Russia.  The story appeared on Danish media on 22Aug2016, on thelocal.dk on 23Aug2016 and on a Ukrainian source on 25Aug2016.

Sweden and Denmark both suffer regular, deliberate invasions of their airspace from Russian military aircraft.  The politician’s comments thus matter, and are potentially incendiary.  It might cause Danes to ask the question themselves, i.e. who is the greater threat, and how.

Over the past month, the local.dk reported on the European Commission having a go at Denmark relating to air quality, a hearing at the Danish Supreme Court sought to review permission granted to an unnamed foreign police force to bug vehicles in Denmark, and a report from the European Commission (thelocal.dk) that announced Denmark at the 2nd “leader in innovation”, whatever that means/however it’s measured.

Google operates no news service in the Danish language.  The English-language Danish newspaper, the Copenhagen Post, doesn’t feature the European Union in its list of Danish-national headlines as at 28Aug2016.  The Danish-American newspaper The Danish Pioneer returns only six headlines from a search of the “European Union”, all of which are about film festivals (a slightly different subject to ceccasion).

The Jyllands-Posten covers Theresa May’s challenges about Brexit, and even Jeremy Corbyn’s botched PR stunt on Virgin Railways (!).  Nationally, Jyllands’ major headlines are on tax - principally a proposed reduction on a higher rate of direct tax - but there is one headline referring to VAT being the next big tax scandal in the EU.  The Danish PM is reported to seek solidarity with the EU when Brexit happens.

Jyllands has a specific section for the British referendum, most of which is Remainiac propaganda, but which occasionally contains a more sympathetic piece about how the Danes are the Brexited Brits’ best friends.  Here’s a sample:

  • The NHS may collapse after brexit: reports the lefty-think tank Institute of Public Policy Research’s publication forecasting Project Smear about NHS.
  • Thousands of Britons fleeing abroad after Brexit: re-heats a story in the Independent, whereby Britons are apparently fleeing the not-yet-Brexited Britain to… New Zealand.  Hmm.  Whoever these emigrating Britons are, they clearly love the EU so much that they want to move to the other side of the planet.
  • Britons pissed Olympic statistics from EU: this is a lovely propaganda piece whereby the Brits were supposed to be totally appalled at the inclusion of British Olympic 2016 medals into an EU total, resulting in the EU topping of the medal table of Olympics 2016.

Jyllands’ comment pages are bereft of any British-tabloid-style slagging off of Europe, but there is one article in favour of the status quo (effectively contradicting Gisela Stuart, who attributed her EU-scepticism to seeing the EU avoid any sort of reform whatsoever) and goes so far as to say that Danes are feeling like they are EU citizens.  One public comment to the article contradicts the article substantially, declaring that the EU’s popularity fades because the EU is a lobbyist’s EU, not a people’s EU, comparing the EU to the evil empire in Star Wars.

“Den folkelige opbakning svinder fordi det ikke er folkets EU, men beukraternes og føderalisternes EU.  Man kan sammenligner EU med det onde imperium i Star Wars og der er visse lighedspunkter.”

Another public comment reveals why the Danish press might be so quiet on the Danish exit question: state-sponsored pro-EU propaganda.

“Udviklingen i opinionsmålingerne efter Brexit er let forklarlige: Af skræk og rædsel har medierne - de statslige såvel som de kommercielle - sat en gigantisk offensiv i gang for at hjernevaske vælgerne: Professionelle EU-propagandister som f.eks direktøren for Propagandatanken Europa og såkaldte EU-eksperter har ubegrænset medieadgang, og alle statslige medier samt alle dagblade er som bekendt på ja-siden ved enhver EU-afstemning. Folkebevægelsen mod EU fryses ud, ligeledes EU-eksperterne fra nej-siden.”

So, if there is demand in Denmark for leaving the European Union, the mainstream Danish press are suppressing it reasonably well.  This is in spite of the Danes voting in favour of a Eurosceptic political party in 2014, a party whose policy choices appear to be more nuanced than the binary in-or-out choice that British Eurosceptics might appreciate.

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