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Denmark is a Right-wing paradise Even centrists are terrified of immigration

An anti-Muslim demonstration in Copenhagen. (Ole Jensen/Corbis via Getty Images)

An anti-Muslim demonstration in Copenhagen. (Ole Jensen/Corbis via Getty Images)


October 28, 2022   5 mins

The Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier probes the darkest depths of modern society, often with a deranged, comical touch. When I moved to Denmark a year and a half ago, it was reassuring for me that Lars was there, lurking in the background, in this ostensibly ĂŒber-happy, self-satisfied country. At the beginning of his hilarious, low-budget 1994 TV series The Kingdom, about a haunted Copenhagen hospital where things go haywire, an ominous voice says: “Tiny signs of fatigue are appearing in the solid, modern edifice.”

Next week, Danes will go to the polls — and the country is showing tiny signs of fatigue. To the casual observer it’s not at all obvious. On an unseasonably warm October afternoon, Copenhagen is a picture of harmony: cyclists glide home along supersized bike paths after their short work days; jolly pensioners sip beer on the banks of one of the inner city lakes as fit millennials pass by on their after-work jog. A pint costs an arm and a leg, partially thanks to the country’s 25% VAT rate, the third highest in the world, but, according to the surveys at least, the Danes are happy to part with a significant portion of their income for comprehensive healthcare, low-cost daycare and world-beating welfare benefits. The caring state is largely responsible for their reputation as the “happiest people in the world”, even if the Finns pushed them down to second place in the World Happiness Report this year.

Thanks to those stellar rankings, Denmark has attracted the awe of progressives overseas, most notably during the 2016 US presidential campaign, when Bernie Sanders, to his own detriment, banged on about “democratic socialism” — you know, like in Denmark. What he meant was free healthcare and free university, traditional policies of European social democracy.

Denmark is not particularly socialist. Its economy is highly capitalist. In fact, it’s the easiest country in the world to do business. Taxes might be high, but capitalists also seem happy with the pragmatic “flexicurity model” pioneered by Social Democrats in the Nineties while the rest of the Western world was going all out neoliberal: Denmark weds a super-flexible (it’s easy to hire and fire) labour market with comprehensive retraining and generous financial support for the unemployed. The system works: in September, the unemployment rate was a minuscule 2.7%.

So where are the signs of fatigue? Quite simple: as in the rest of the world, Denmark’s resilience has been stretched by the after-effects of Covid and now the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis.

The Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, a Social Democrat, steered the country through the pandemic with a steady hand. Showing a decisiveness that was praised at the time, she sent Denmark into lockdown before other European countries, but then was one of the first leaders to lift Covid restrictions. Denmark’s vaccination programme was extremely well organised — something I can attest to, having moved here in the middle of the pandemic from Germany, where the response was muddled and inefficient. At the time I thought: this is the well-ordered country Germany wants to be.

But Frederiksen made one fatal mistake: a rushed decision in 2020 to slaughter 17 million farmed mink after 12 Covid infections in humans were traced to infected animals. Hundreds of mink farmers were stripped of their livelihoods. The affair took a macabre turn when “zombie minks” resurfaced from mass graves, pushed up by gases released by their decomposition.

The cull was illegal, it turned out. Sofie Carsten Nielsen, the leader of the Danish Social Liberal Party, one of the “red bloc” parties supporting Frederiksen’s minority government, threatened earlier this month to stage a no-confidence vote over the mink scandal, forcing the prime minister to announce an election on 1 November, seven months before the end of her term.

How will she fare at the polls? In the 2019 election, Frederiksen came up with a new winning formula to grab power from the conservatives: get harsh on immigration. This meant, to the horror of other European social democrats, ramping up anti-refugee rhetoric, supporting the former government’s strict cap on refugees and continuing the internationally condemned “ghetto deal” — repackaged as a programme to fight “parallel societies” — to prevent a concentration of “non-Western” people in certain neighbourhoods.

Many Danes liked the message. In the 2019 election, the Right-wing populist Danish People’s Party was decimated, its support falling from 21.1% in 2015 to 8.6% in 2019. After Frederiksen took power, her government kept up the pressure on refugees and immigrants. Hundreds of Syrians, even well-integrated young adults in employment or higher education, continue to face deportation. Meanwhile, Ukrainians have been exempted from the “ghetto” policy and have been allowed to move into social housing emptied of “non-Westerners”, prompting accusations of racism.

Some measures seem particularly absurd, even sadistic, such as the “Jewellery Law”, implemented by the conservatives in 2016, but unchanged by Frederiksen. It allows police to confiscate cash and valuables from refugees to pay for their stay in Denmark. Here, again, Ukrainians have been officially exempted. The thing is: since the law was enacted, very few confiscations have actually taken place. The real purpose was to scare refugees away, it seems, not unlike ads Denmark ran in Arab media during the Syrian refugee crisis with the message: “Don’t even think about coming here. You’re not welcome.” Psychological pressure is also put on non-Western immigrants who have lived in Denmark for years to “repatriate”, as shown in a documentary by exiled Zimbabwean writer Tendai Frank Tagarira.

For Frederiksen, all this is consistent with her idea of social democracy. Recently she said: “For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration, and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes.”

In spite of her hardline stance, three Right-wing populist parties are still vying for the anti-immigration vote: the Danish People’s Party, the New Bourgeois, and the wet-behind-the-ears Danish Democrats, led by former immigration minister Inger Stþjberg, who once gained notoriety by baking a cake to celebrate 50 ways she had made life tougher for immigrants. Even by Danish standards, Stþjberg’s fanatical style was seen as too radical when she ordered the separation of couples in asylum centres where one partner was under 18. Parliament stripped her of her job and she was sentenced to 60 days in prison. Now her face adorns lampposts across the country. Her messaging, which includes rants against liberal, out-of-touch Copenhagen urbanites — a classic from the populist playbook — is landing the Danish Democrats around 9% in surveys.

Immigration, however, probably won’t be the big vote-winner in this election. After all, the Social Democrats’ approach doesn’t differ substantially from the Right’s policies. So what issues are resonating with voters? The sense of urgency over climate change present in 2019 has made way for fears about rising energy costs and inflation. Frederiksen is promising new programmes to dampen the economic impact on ordinary people.

Another battlefield is the growing crisis in health and social services. Thanks to poor working conditions during and after the pandemic, around 2,400 nurses are lacking in public hospitals. In an open letter, Danish surgeons expressed their fears that they are unable to operate on patients fast enough. There is also a severe shortage of workers in daycare. And other dark clouds are gathering, too: Antidepressant use is sky-high; the cancer rate is the world’s highest; young Danes are unhappier than ever; life expectancy is lower than in Germany.

After this election, unlike any Danish social democrat before her, Mette Frederiksen hopes for an alliance with the centre-Right rather than with traditional Left-wing and green allies. She says this is the best way to tackle the country’s looming problems. At 27%, her party leads the polls, but the “blue bloc” leads by Venestre (literally “Left” but actually conservative) has a good chance of governing with its Right-wing allies.

In the final scene of Lars von Trier’s 2011 apocalyptic masterpiece Melancholia, sisters Claire and Justine sit with Claire’s son Leo in a “magic cave”, a transparent teepee made of branches. The three hold hands as a giant planet engulfs the Earth. A burst of flame, a roar and then nothing. When I rewatch this scene I can’t help but think of Denmark and its anxieties. Danes still believe in their protective magic cave — no matter what the contemporary world of pandemics, globalisation, and immigration may throw at them. But change is coming, whether they like it or not.


Maurice Frank co-founded the English magazine Exberliner and now co-writes the newsletter 20 Percent Berlin. 

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Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

If any UK party would copy the Danish PM (the way she’s described in the article anyway) they’d win in a landslide. Economically centre left and culturally conservative has been shown to be the sweet spot for some time, yet for some reason no party seems to want aim for it

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Economically centre left and culturally conservative has been shown to be the sweet spot for some time, yet for some reason no party seems to want aim for it.
Agreed. Why is that? I’d love to read an Unherd article (or two) on this subject. I guess the markets don’t want to fund center-left economic policies, such as more infrastructure spending or social benefits, unless they’re backed up by higher taxes. And culturally the markets seem to prefer multiculturalism and free migration as a tool toward opening all markets to trade. Conservatives care about preserving national culture. Ultimately, the markets rule us and politicians daren’t challenge them. I think that’s part of what John Gray argued in his recent Unherd interview.

Jane McCarthy
Jane McCarthy
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Mary Harrington’s recent Unherd article “Can Sunak end the new class war?” deals with this issue.

Vern Hughes
Vern Hughes
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

This is the key question now in all English-speaking countries, because it’s been established that this is where majority public opinion sits. But outside Scandinavia, the established party institutions can’t seem to make this transition – they seem to be too wedded to neo-liberalism (UK Conservatives, Australian Liberals) or too wedded to woke-liberalism (UK Labour, US Democrats, Australian Labor).The SDP in the UK and some Catholic distributist start-ups in the US can’t seem to break into the mainstream. So have a stalemate where the party institutional landscape no longer coincides with the spread of public opinion.
Eventually Red Tory and Blue Labour and civil society-based conservative projects will have to converge in a new electoral force, positioned in the mainstream centre of our societies (culturally conservative, anti neo-liberal, pro-community). And because this same process is underway in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, we might as well do it together.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

‘Conservatives care about preserving national culture.’
Well, conservatives do: but the UK Conservative & Unionist Party certainly does not.

Clara B
Clara B
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The SDP’s position is exactly that – leftish economically, rightish culturally.

Mr Veen
Mr Veen
1 year ago
Reply to  Clara B

Yes, but they also want to abolish the House of Lords and implement proportional representation. I could support their other policies, but not that sort of constitutional vandalism.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed this is odd. I’m surprised that the SDP hasn’t had more traction and I don’t see that the Labour Party offers much for many people.
Likewise, the absence of the other side, or at least it’s brutal extinction by the Tories this month. A party committed to reducing government – the failure of big government seems very apparent and, yet, at the first attempt to introduce such policies (whether cack-handed or not) was drowned at birth.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

It’s a lack of exposure. Many people probably don’t even know the SDP exist, and if they did the FPTP voting system often discourages people voting for smaller parties as it’s seen as a wasted vote if they have no chance of winning

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s a lack of exposure.

I don’t think it’s just that. I joined the SDP a year or so ago, having been impressed by the policies and William Clouston’s manner in interviews: he comes across as calm, intelligent, knowledgeable, reasonable, likeable and good-humoured.
However, I recently watched his speech to the party conference on YouTube and was somewhat dismayed by his lack of skill as an orator: the content was fine, but his delivery and timing (plus an obvious ‘frog in the throat’ issue) made it uncomfortable viewing.
It’s unfortunate, but a significant section of the electorate are looking for that indefinable quality, charisma. As a result, untrustworthy windbags like Blair and Johnson win landslides.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

hear hear!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well said.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

John Gray interview yesterday deals with this question. He says he now supports PR

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Jeez a U.K. politician just couldn’t get away with some of the stuff mentioned here by Danish politicians – the U.K. politicians were castigated for even putting up ads I think I recall in London about making illegal immigrants ‘uncomfortable’; and then Braverman was pummelled for merely saying she dreamed about her Rwanda deportation policy actually working.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Then the politicians need to have more conviction in their decisions. People have a right to criticise those decisions if they disapprove of them, it’s up to the politicians to stand firm in the face of that criticism

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Braverman is the current target of the current UK establishment consisting of BBC, civil service, the majority of journalists and academics. They’ll harp on about her with ‘leaks’, briefing and misleading claims at every opportunity until Sunak does what politicians like him usually do; they’ll get rid of her somehow, hoping to end that running sore. They haven’t yet understood that they’ll then pick someone else, which could be him. They’re already warming up some of the themes, judging by the number of articles mentioning his properties lately.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Elliott
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

I used to run a unit monitoring security clearances and compliance with the rules. Braverman’s security errors don’t even register on the Richter scale – they’re clearly targeting her.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Today was ‘ let’s get Braverman’ day in the MSM. Apparently all the overcrowding in the Manston holding camp is down to her and nowt to do with the people traffickers, our porous borders and general effing uselessness of all concerned in the past few years.

Last edited 1 year ago by Benjamin Jones
Morten Jacobsen
Morten Jacobsen
1 year ago

As a Dane I can assure you that we are not ‘terrified of immigration’ – most Danes I know welcome immigrants and the company I work for employs people from more than 20 countries – but we do have a realistic view of unregulated immigration from particularly the Middle East and North Africa by primarily young men. One reason is that we have the perfect horror example of an ‘open door’ policy right next door in Sweden. Thanks to the restrictive immigration policy Denmark has a relatively high employment rate among non-Western immigrants and is able to assimilate most of them succesfully. No political party in Denmark apart from the far left and the Social Liberal Party have failed to notice this which is why support for the strict immigration policies is high. If that makes us a ‘right-wing paradise’ thank god for that!

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

Isn’t there an area of Copenhagen which was an old army camp but was occupied by immigrants and had problems? Is that still there?
I should say I like Denmark and the Danes.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

You are confusing things. Christiania (which is presumably your old army camp) was occupied by hippies way back in the seventies and is still left as a sort of self-governing hippie place, but the original occupiers were ethnic Danish, and (AFAIK) the majority still are. The place did cause some problems – Christiania is the main hash market for Copenhagen and attracts some unsavoury characters. Once they were biker gangs, now they may be immigrant gangs, for all I know. But Christiania is not an immigrant problem, it is an ethnic Danish one. And (again AFAIK) it is fairly peaceful, compared to many other neighbourhoods of Copenhagen.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Thanks for your clarification Rasmus. Sorry I misremembered it.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Maybe you mean Christiania?

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Well said Morten!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

The phrase a “right wing paradise” summons up the idea of black-shirted thugs engaging in lots of nationalistic parades with attacks on unpopular minorities and political opponents imprisoned or sent into internal exile, together with Unions being repurposed to supporting the government’s industrial policy. This is, of course, the image leftist commentators wish to summon up without having to deal with the actual policies espoused by the alleged right wingers.

In contrast none of these seem to be a feature of Denmark rather the application of sensible immigration policies designed to integrate a manageable number of immigrants so that immigration does not damage the social structure. I wish the UK could become such a “right wing paradise”.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Indeed, just having an opinion that diverges from the narrative of established media is enough to label one ‘far-right’.

Bob Sleigh
Bob Sleigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Nowadays, black-shirted thugs mainly seem to be from the “antifa”

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Sleigh

Indeed. We live in upside down world.. the anti fascists are fascists and the anti racists are racists.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

Speaking for myself; as a British citizen, I welcome foreigners and the culture they bring, but believe, first, that a responsible government must ensure that anyone entering the country will not cause harm to us, whether criminal or ideological/religious.
It also has a responsibility to ensure that the nation’s resources aren’t diverted from the needs of taxpayers to immigrants whose own countries often have ample resources of their own, albeit possibly mismanaged. In particular, we are already too crowded. During my lifetime, and even at this very moment near me, I see more and more countryside carpeted in housing, while simultaneously told we aren’t building nearly enough. Yet no one publicly does the simple arithmetic of calculating what is needed to house (or educate etc.) the annual number of immigrants.

Nicola Zahorak
Nicola Zahorak
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Completely agree.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

It is amusing to watch Scandanavia go anti immigration. It seems that one by one progressives are realizing that their virtuous views are total bullshit in practice. They will probably be burning coal this winter alongside Germany. Maybe some politician will actually have the guts to say that Ukrainian immigrants will probably fit in better because they ‘are more like us.’ Gasp – the horror – diversity is our strength.

Colin K
Colin K
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Diversity is our strength

The idea that we have less in common the more harmoniously we will live together is really nonsense when you give it two seconds worth of thought.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin K

Quite so — just like War is Peace.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Especially immigrants that want to eliminate you and your kind from the earth.

Vern Hughes
Vern Hughes
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

It’s no surprise that the Scandinavians have rebelled against high immigration before the Anglosphere. The Scandinavians have historically had a stronger emphasis on social cohesion – it’s a core part of their ethos. The Anglosphere hasn’t – we had Thatcherism instead. And its interesting that Thatcherites are not anti-immigration – Liz Truss wanted to ramp up mass immigration to the UK which has to be the least rational policy any UK politician could adopt. Rishi Sunak holds the same opinion – which means, following John Gray, that the Tory Brexit project is split down the middle and will collapse. The UK Tories never realised that Brexit for most ordinary people was more about immigration than Brussels.

Phil Mack
Phil Mack
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yeah. As cynical anti-truth propaganda goes, that sinister slogan is up there with “Gott mit uns” and “Arbeit macht frei”. And deserves to be consigned to the shithouse of history along with them.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

There is growing opposition to an open borders policy masquarading as a policy of generosity to those in genuine need of asylum. Perhaps the author of this piece should stop pretending than every person who turns up on the doorstop has a legitimate claim to asylum. It is not right-wing to discriminate between women and children fleeing the Russian invasion of The Ukraine, and young men marching across Europe to seek the life-style that thir own culture denies them. I can tell the difference between them. I wonder why Maurice Frank refuses to do so.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Does anyone know what became of the proposal in Canada in 2015 to turn away unaccompanied adult males who turned up as refugees?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

There are two problems with the elite narrative on immigration.

First is their pernicious and deliberate obfuscation of the distinction between refugees and economic migrants.

The second is their refusal to recognise that those who profit from the rising asset prices and squeezed wages are not bearing a proportionate share of the cost.

At the very least businesses that import labour should be required to pay a levy specifically to cover the additional housing, healthcare and educational costs they are thereby imposing on the rest of us – and particularly on poorer communities.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

As usual you provide a useful suggestion rather than a mere complaint. It is usual for environmental degradation to involve polluter pays solutions so it is entirely reasonable that those who benefit from the availability and lower cost of imported labour to have to pay for the the extra environmental and community load imposed by the immigrants presence. Low paid employees don’t pay enough tax to pay for the costs they impose on society themselves. In contrast non-doms that the left obsess over tend to pay off the load they impose. If this was done the enthusiasm of many business sectors for immigration might be mitigated and greater enthusiasm shown for motivating and skilling our existing population. The Danish seem to have the right idea on this front.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

This is a great post. To me the big problem with today’s immigration narrative is how it understates the problems experienced by poorer layers of the populations, denies the link how globalisation in fact caused this, and aggressively suppresses any legitimate complaint about the above as racist, far-right etc. It’s greed and vanity masquerading as charity and risks delegitimising the system risking far bigger problems going into the future.

Last edited 1 year ago by Emre S
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

This is a good point. Canada brings in 400,000 immigrants a year – which is about twice per capita the rate of other western countries. The problem is that we don’t have enough housing and so they are a big driver of the serious housing cost escalation in Canada. However the media and politicians never talk about this for fear of being labelled racist. I am not against a robust immigration policy – but it has to be balanced against the interests of people who already live here.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Johnson
Phil Mack
Phil Mack
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

And to cover the costs of compensation/therapy for the inevitable rapees…

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

Denmark truly is a model country on so many levels. Their approach to immigration sounds very sensible to me.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I am in a nostalgic mood… When I left home at about 18 from London I did not actually hold any Nations Citizenship fully, just as a minor on a parents nation’s Passport privilege (but not a full citizen) – I had the rights to 4, one being Denmark, another being USA, and I thought I would get both. But a catch 22… To become Danish (I had the right to through a unusual circumstance) I would have to do my National Service there as required – and USA said if I did that before becoming American (which I also could do for circumstances) I would have sworn my allegiance to their Flag by being in their Military, and so USA would not let me have American citizenship then because I had chosen another. But…to get the American I had to reside in USA 5 years before I turned 25, and what with one thing and another – things came up, and so I never got the Danish citizenship. I have always regretted that. Life… it is a trip….

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Thankfully, that must have been after April of 1940.

Phil Mack
Phil Mack
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

So what did you eventually end up “being”, Aaron?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Let’s get real here. The entire country of Denmark has a population of 5.8 million of mostly Danes. Many Western countries have individual cities that are more populous than the whole of Denmark. Impossible to compare.
The U.S. alone has over 5.8 million illegals living here.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It is estimated that the USA has as many as 20 million illegal aliens; in each of the oast 5 years, the country has been absorbing 2 to 3 million legal and illegal migrants – most of which are ‘economic migrants’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

The author describes Denmark as only “ostensibly” ĂŒber-happy. Apparently he thinks that they cannot possibly be just plain ĂŒber-happy because their politicians are taking practical steps to control migration. That tells us more about the liberal mindset of the author than it does about Denmark.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Francis
Glyn R
Glyn R
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Indoctrinated mindset more like.

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

‘But change is coming, whether they like it or not.’ Well, at least the Danes may decide what type of change comes.
‘After Frederiksen took power, her government kept up the pressure on refugees and immigrants. Hundreds of Syrians, even well-integrated young adults in employment or higher education, continue to face deportation. Meanwhile, Ukrainians have been exempted from the “ghetto” policy and have been allowed to move into social housing emptied of “non-Westerners”, prompting accusations of racism.’
What would be wrong with deporting those who have been imported on an unsolicited basis? Should sovereignty be with the people or with elites who see nation states as their playthings? And it is perfectly normal for Danes to favour Ukrainians over third world migrants. Why should they not feel solidarity with Western Christians and prefer them over Muslims from the third world? Many in the latter group do not look too kindly on Western kind, as recent history and current events attest to.
I’m willing to guess that Ukrainian refugees will be less represented in perpetrating sexual crimes in countries they have been admitted to than non-European “refugees” and other entrants.
The Heritage Site | Adam McDermont | Substack

Nicola Zahorak
Nicola Zahorak
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

And yet the BBC did the usual gaslighting: ‘France’s far right adopts murdered schoolgirl Lola’ – and ‘She became the property of France’s anti-immigrant crusaders’ as if concern over the illegal status of the murderer makes you far right!

Phil Mack
Phil Mack
1 year ago
Reply to  Nicola Zahorak

Insofar as the bbc even deigned to cover the story.

David Monteith
David Monteith
1 year ago

It’s curious that the immigration policies described have been implemented from within the European Convention on Human Rights; it would be interesting to learn more about how the Danish Government dealt with any ECHR challenges.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
1 year ago
Reply to  David Monteith

Interesting comment. To what degree, really, are EU countries allowed to control their borders and set immigration policy? This is not a rhetorical question. I have the impression (perhaps wrongly), that they are hampered and that in Britain debate on these questions may border on prohibited speech.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

I was at a wedding recently in Copenhagen and the reason for sky-high cancer rates mentioned at the end of the article is almost certainly due to the fact that everyone smokes. I was talking to someone when suddenly I realised that of the 40 or so young people we were the only two left at the table. The rest had gone for a cigarette and did this in between speeches and courses over the space of a few hours. Again at the after party the smoking balcony was busier than the dancefloor most of the time. Denmark did seem a wonderfully free and easygoing place. Can’t wait to go back.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Yes, I’m a Brit but I worked for a few weeks in Copenhagen back in 1989. Copenhagen had an office of the Swiss company I worked for. On the first Friday I was there at 2pm I was called to a common room at the end of the corridor and someone brought in a couple of crates of Carlsberg and we sat around drinking and chatting all afternoon. I asked “Is this a special occasion?”. No, I was told, we do this every Friday. Very nice people the Danes.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

It’s amazing what can be done when you only have 5.8 million people in your country.

Mogens HĂžgh
Mogens HĂžgh
1 year ago

Thanks for this account of Denmark, it’s certainly a good read, however somewhat one-sided. For instance, the high cancer rates in Denmark might be attributable to the prevalence of smoking, but certainly also to the health system’s ability to detect cancer early. Regarding the Danish immigration policy: yes, restrictions for immigration have been implemented, but at the same time integration of immigrants in general into the Danish society is quite successful.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Denmark and its immigration policy is an interesting example of proportional representation working well. And the contrast to Sweden is instructive.

Way back in the early eighties (when people still talked about ‘guest workers’), both countries had a shared pride in their own openness and tolerance, and it was officially unacceptable to say anything againts immigration or different races. When a TV program allowed young ethnic Danes from some of the housing estates on TV to talk about their negative feelings about immigrants, there was a storm, that ‘such things’ could be said. At that point Denmark already had a right-wing populist party, formed in opposition to high taxes and the ‘paper-shufflers’ in administration. And, with PR, they were in parliament.
With more immigration, people found out that it was a lot easier to be tolerant when the people you had tolerate lived somewhere else. And the populist party (Fremskridtspartiet) took up the anti-immigration cause, giving it a voice. Fremskridtspartiet was obviously shunned by all the other right-thinking parties. But after some years in parliament they had got rid of the kooks and developed some good politicians, and eventually their votes were needed in some of the multi-party deals you get with PR. The first effect of this was that opposition to immigration could not continue to be be suppressed as unsayable – when a fairly large, serious party was saying it. The next was that this party kept getting more votes from people who cared about immigration, including a lot of working-class votes, and other parties moved to avoid losing their voters. The (equivalents of) Labour and Lib-Dem proudly held the line that they would have no truck with racism, but Labour kept losing votes because of it. In the end, even Labour decided that they had to change, or stay in opposition. And they changed. Arguably being tough on immigration is a consensus in Denmark now, and politics reflect it. You can argue whether this is good or bad – Danish immigartion policies are not only tough, but draconian. But it is an example of the political system adapting to the desires of the electorate, as in a democratic society.

In Sweden there was no populist party in parliament until quite recently, and the establishment managed to hold the line and exclude anti-immigration sentiment from polite discourse (as Denmark had tried to do, but failed). It is interesting to wonder why. The Swedes seem to think the it is because Swedes are better people than the bloody racists in Denmark. An alternative view is that public opinion and elite attitudes hold more sway in a country with more ingrained respect for (moral) authority, so that popular feeling was still present but easier to suppress in Sweden. It may have made a difference that frank N**ism was more openly present on the right-wing fringe in Sweden (forming stronger antibodies, as it were), whereas in Denmark N**ism was ruined even as a fringe ideology after the German occupation in WWII.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“The Swedes seem to think the it is because Swedes are better people than the bloody racists in Denmark” — Not any more. Not even among the elites. Magdalena Andersson recently gave an interview in Expressen — which is worth reading if you read Swedish. English summary here: https://www.thelocal.se/20221026/social-democrat-leader-backs-swedens-harsh-new-immigration-policies/
At any rate, in the most astonishing attempt to rewrite history that it has been mine to witness, she says that the right wing immigration policies which the world is criticising were really Social Democrat policies started in 2015. And all that ‘if you are opposed to unlimited immigration you are a racist islamaphobe’ … never happened.
Indeed, the right wing is not hard _enough_ on curtailing unwanted immigration. This is the ‘Anything They Can Do, We Can Do Better’ pitch.
It looks as if Andersson who would really like to form a joint government with Moderaterna, leaving the Sweden Democrats on the outside, and offered to do this just a week before the election still thinks this is a good pitch. It is clear that ‘suffer some more, they will eventually integrate and it will all work out in the end’ is absolutely not going to fly politically here.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Amazing. “If you cannot beat them, join them“? Or is it “You can bamboozle all people some of the time and you can bamboozle some people all the time, but you cannot bamboozle all the people all the time“?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Annie Lööf is the leader of the Center Party, which used to represent the farmers — who are now voting for anybody else — and now only represent government workers and Urban Professionals whom David Goodhart would call Anywheres.
This was the party to vote last month if you wanted Sweden to keep on doing what it had been doing (i.e. very little or nothing). They only got 6.7% of the vote (i.e. less than the Communist Left Party 6.8%) and lost 1.9% (7 seats) compared to last time. So — not a popular position this time at the polls.
She says that for 10 years the Social Democrats have been running on the Center Party’s policies because the Social Democrats couldn’t come up with an original idea to save their lives or their power. I think she is correct about this. The Party policies of the Social Democrats are — remarkable for Sweden — extremely lacking in transparency. Nobody knows how the leadership decides who the next leaders or potential leaders are chosen, but party loyalty means a lot.
Many people who joined the Social Democrats (who have always had the most power) because they actually had political policy ideas they wanted to make happen end up quitting the party or being forced out because (according to them) they showed some unacceptable quantity of independent thought and imagination. Only so much of this can be sour grapes.
Other parties often collect these thinkers. Right now the rumour is that it is the Christian Democrats who are doing the bulk of the heavy thinking in the new government — or at least punching way above what you would expect based on their vote share. Their numbers are small, but apparently they have been thinking about things a lot for the past decade. So conservative intellectualism wasn’t dead — just very, very quiet.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Creighton
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Interesting. Would Centerpartiet be the Swedish equivalent of the Danish ‘Radikale Venstre’ – economically soft-right, non-socialist, culturally on the left, started out in the 1800’s as a small farmers party with (for then) radical city backing, historically sitting in the middle and deciding who governs by allying either right or left? Or would Centerpartiet be more like the Danish ‘Venstre’ (historically the main farmers party, and one of the main centre-right governing parties) with the ‘Radikale Vemstre’ matching Liberalerna?

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Historically more like Danish ‘Venstre’, I think. But the unique position, also historically, of the farmers as a separate political force (with its own house in parliament) in traditional Swedish politics makes the comparison rough around the edges. The important thing is that the Social Democrats are not really a political party — they are the political arm of the trade union movement. Which may change now that many prominent union leaders say that they have lost control of the party, and are all voting Sverige Democraterna instead. I think that the Centre Party would dearly love to be the party that decides who governs, but that’s not likely to happen. Especially now, when nearly everybody hates them.
Annie Lööf makes a point of saying that she would like to rise above party politics. There should be no coalitions, no agreements between party members of the government to support each other, and no block voting. Everybody just vote their conscience and all will be well. Besides, we should all dearly love to be governed by a technocratic elite, and the Centre Party is the party of the technocratic elite. You should do what we say, because we know best. We’ve got the best credentials, at any rate.
Funny, voters weren’t buying this one last month.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Creighton
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Again interesting. The roles are very different from the Danish equivalents.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Frankly, if a policy is a good I don’t care who takes credit for it.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago

But would you trust them any farther than you can throw them?

Colin K
Colin K
1 year ago

The title of this article seems incredibly contradictory.
Centrists are “terrified” of immigration, so somehow that makes a centrist view a right-wing paradise.
I consider myself more or less a centrist (my politics are quite a mixed bag), but it’s clear to see that mass immigration particularly from outside the EU isn’t building a harmonious society.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin K

Yes indeed! Immigration would not be an issue the world over if the immigrants acted like immigrants vs. invaders!

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

The question though is – have any of the Danes policies actually stopped illegal immigration? I know they have discussed the same Rwanda plan as we have but as far as I know they haven’t started implementation. I presume they will run into the same ECHR objections that we did.
Time for a UK/Denmark compact on border control?

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

> It allows police to confiscate cash and valuables from refugees to pay for their stay in Denmark.
Shocking! Asking refugees to help pay for their own upkeep! Taxpayers can always dig deeper in the name of globalism.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

If Denmark were ‘a Right-wing paradise’, there would be almost no Africans, Arabs, Afghans or Albanians in it. The only such ‘paradises’ remaining in Europe are Poland and Hungary (and perhaps the Baltic States and Iceland). The ever-mounting nasty experiences (i.e. crime, bloody terrorist outrages, poverty, no-go bainlieus, rioting, misery and cultural and social degeneration and stagnation) of France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, Sweden, Norway and, er, Denmark are not exactly a great advertisement for the neoliberal approach.

Steven C.
Steven C.
1 year ago

Protecting one’s country from invasion, and population replacement, didn’t used to be a “right/left” disagreement. And standing up for the rights and protection of the working class used to be considered more “leftist”, whilst zealously working for the privileges and prosperity of the elites used to be considered more “rightist”.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago

I’d vote for them here. SDP or Reform Party would do too.

SĂžren Ferling
SĂžren Ferling
1 year ago

The article here is an expression of the recent decades’ alliance between the nominal left wing and the big banks and industries.
Restrictive immigration policy is leftist and open immigration policy is rightist in the sense, capitalist.
It is one of the most basic economic and political conditions and even referred to by Marx, who spoke of the ‘reserve army of capitalism’ in connection with immigration.
That is why we also, at the initiative of the trade union movement, introduced a freeze on immigration in 1974 and later immigration has taken place through abuse of various conventions and the asylum system.
Here in Denmark, the extreme left is firmly attached to this unholy and unnatural alliance, but the Danish social democrats have deviated from the suicidal course of the other European social democrats in their service of finance capital.
So, MAURICE FRANK, who is right-wing?
Those who look after the interests of finance and big industry or those who look after the general population?

Last edited 1 year ago by SĂžren Ferling
SĂžren Ferling
SĂžren Ferling
1 year ago

Some measures seem particularly absurd, even sadistic, such as the “Jewellery Law”, implemented by the conservatives in 2016, but unchanged by Frederiksen. It allows police to confiscate cash and valuables from refugees to pay for their stay in Denmark.
It is exactly the same rules that apply to the Danes themselves, if they have to be supported by the state. Max. DKK 10,000 in assets, including marketable assets. You are welcome to support yourself and keep your wealth.
Here, again, Ukrainians have been officially exempted.
Because they are expected to return home, which some have already done – in contrast to the transcontinentals who predominantly use the asylum system to obtain immigration and who largely do not return home voluntarily.
Some measures seem particularly absurd, even sadistic,…
Now you talk about ‘sadistic’:
Danes still believe in their protective magic cave — no matter what the contemporary world of pandemics, globalisation, and immigration may throw at them. But change is coming, whether they like it or not.

Nicola Zahorak
Nicola Zahorak
1 year ago

Brilliant comment! It was actually the last paragraph at the end of the article ‘Danes still believe in their protective cave….’ which bothered me the most.

Vern Hughes
Vern Hughes
1 year ago

The big question is: why don’t we yet have a party that is “economically left and culturally conservative”? It’s the key question now in all English-speaking countries, because it’s been established beyond doubt that this is where majority public opinion sits. But outside Scandinavia, the established party institutions can’t seem to make this transition – they seem to be too wedded to neo-liberalism (UK Conservatives, Australian Liberals) or too wedded to woke-liberalism (UK Labour, US Democrats, Australian Labor).The SDP in the UK and some Catholic distributist start-ups in the US can’t seem to break into the mainstream. So have a stalemate where the party institutional landscape no longer coincides with the spread of public opinion.
Eventually Red Tory and Blue Labour and civil society-based conservative projects will have to converge in a new electoral force, positioned in the mainstream centre of our societies (culturally conservative, anti neo-liberal, pro-community). And because this same process is underway in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, we might as well do it together.

Last edited 1 year ago by Vern Hughes
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Vern Hughes

You might be interested in reading Roger Martin’s *Fixing the Game*. Roger is a capitalist, and a Forbes Influencial Thinker — i.e. very much in and of the establishment. According to him, the United States has 2 capitalist classes, not one. The old capitalists compete in the ‘economy of the real’, by producing goods and services that delight their customers. The new customers compete in the ‘economy of expectations’ by manipulating the truth so that it impresses the financial press and effects the stock price.
These two capitalist classes hate each other, in a way that other classes never did, and peaceful co-existence is out of the question. The economy of expectations crowd want to destroy the old capitalist elite class, not join them. So they took over the Democratic Party.
This is not a political book — it is a book about changing economic regulation and tax policies to give the economy of expectations crowd a good beating. Because Roger Martin is all for the economy of the real.
It is not a difficult read, but I found it most eye-opening. I don’t think that his recommendations will be enough to dethrone the left, but it would be a good idea to include them in your reform package.

John Pade
John Pade
1 year ago

It’s socialism, but not the international variety. It’s nationalistic in appeal and direction.