No viking good

Locals dressed as Vikings pose in the streets of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, on 28 January.

According to the British media, Nordic = good, whether it’s life-style, politics or telly programmes. But one’s supicions are aroused when it is reported that the Scottish renegade tendency actually fancies joining the Viking club. There must be some facts about the Norsemen that would make for less positive press – which the Fat Controller doesn’t want us to find out.

Luckily the Grauniad hastens to our aid with a tasty piece of reportage about the real Scandinavia; written this time by a hack who just possibly understands something about the region, being married, like me, to a Dane.

Here it is: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/scandinavian-miracle-brutal-truth-denmark-norway-sweden

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  1. January 29, 2014 at 9:58 am

    That article got a savaging on the Grauniad. Scandinavia plays well to the left here.

  2. January 29, 2014 at 10:14 am

    GZ, and so it should. The highest taxation in the world, the most generous welfare. Ed Balls raised the idea only yesterday on behalf of Labour. But guess which will come first: the socialist system or the higher wages to pay for it.

    A point mentioned by the article is the state-controlled booze market á la Sweden. Can you see Scots buying into that?

  3. January 29, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I spent a fair bit of time in various Scandinavian countries when working. I quite liked Scandinavia and the people were nice but there was something vaguely depressing which I could never quite put my finger on. If I had to live in another european country it would be Germany, in fact I’d live there now but Mrs J wouldn’t move.

  4. January 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Why and how does the Swedish model work? As a part Scot any high prices on booze “nae guid”.

  5. January 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    One of my mates, a Dane born-and-bred, advised me that there are better places for me to live than his happy Viking kingdom. Although life is largely pleasant and prosperous there, there are also many unpleasant sides hidden beneath the veneer of success. Not to discourage me, of course, but simply to warn me that there is something rotten indeed in the State of Denmark. His best advice was to move to Germany as I am vastly more familiar with its faults and that life would not be unpleasant there, either.
    Taking his advice I’ve decided to move to Baden-Württemberg.

  6. January 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Actually the best thing to come out of Scandinavia is ABBA. I’m listening to an ABBA Cd now. Must be why I’m in a good mood.

  7. sheona
    January 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the link, Janus. A very interesting piece.

  8. January 30, 2014 at 12:15 am

    A Good New Year to you Janus.

    Ochone, ochone, It’s a sad day that’s in it.when you chose to drag innocent Vikings into your attack on Our Own Future Dear Leader, aka the Fat Controller.

    Most of the bearded loonies in your photo are probably of Nordic origin.; After all, us Jocks only got hold of the Shetland Isles and their hirsute inhabitants when King Christian I of Denmark and Norway pawned them in 1469 as part of the dowry when his daughter Margaret married James III of Scotland..

    I just hope that the aforementioned OOFDL(FC) lies awake of a night worrying that, even if he pulls it off and deludes us into marching off into the brave new dawn of Independence, said Nordics could still shove it right up him by insisting that ‘It’s Shetland’s oil’.

  9. January 30, 2014 at 7:30 am

    JM, reciprocated, I’m sure.

    I can reassure you. The Socialist finance ministers of the Northern Latitudes are licking their lips in anticipation of Scotland seeking an alliance. They will insist that the minimum income tax rate is 40%, VAT 25% and the trains run according to the Danish principle of unpredictability.

    As for Scotland’s oil-rich islands, please refer to the fate of Greenland which under Danish supervision has managed so far to take zero benefit from the reserves identified.

  10. January 30, 2014 at 9:07 am

    There is a movement for Shetlands and Orkneys to leave. When I was there in 1989 it seemed very Un Scots and a colony of Norway (the Shetland Bus 1941). The oil is of course running out. UK squandered it but look at Norway;)

  11. January 30, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Looks as if the Viking islanders have something up their sleeves:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/16093/Pie_Charts_Showing_Potential_for_UK_Reserves_Growth_2013.pdf

    And here are the reserves in the different countries:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_proven_oil_reserves

    I’m not convinced btw that Norway can fairly be compared with the UK. Its population is 5 million, a 13th of the UK’s; while it’s oil ‘share’ hs been similar. What couldn’t the UK have done with 12 times as much oil?

  12. christinaosborne
    January 30, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Very interesting article J. I more than understand the Swedish mentality, spousal unit is half Swedish, one quarter German and one quarter Yorkshire!!!
    For some obscure reason I have always found most Scandinavian things/people/media etc vaguely depressing. Don’t suppose the climate helps!
    If that is what the Scots want then good luck to them. Having lived in Aberdeen for two years in the 70s and found the alcoholic antics of the denizens there equally depressing maybe they have a fair bit in common.
    Just make sure they put in passport controls on Hadrian’s Wall.

  13. christinaosborne
    January 30, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    As a matter of curiosity, have the Scots decided to have an in/out referendum re the Union?
    And if not, why not? They have been on about it for an unconscionable amount of time, needs to be settled one way or another.
    Just like the EU.

    It appalls me that none of the UK are allowed to self determine anything in decades, when Switzerland and the USA can rustle up a plebiscite in a matter of months on any subject. Just shows the prevaricating bloody politicians in the UK. bloody lot of them need hanging for treason.

  14. January 31, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Christina, yertiz:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_independence_referendum,_2014

    And btw I think that if the topic was independence from the Union, even an American plebiscite might take a while to organise! Maybe an armed shootout could settle it instead. ;-)

  15. January 31, 2014 at 9:19 am

    christinaosborne :
    Very interesting article J. I more than understand the Swedish mentality, spousal unit is half Swedish, one quarter German and one quarter Yorkshire!!!
    For some obscure reason I have always found most Scandinavian things/people/media etc vaguely depressing. Don’t suppose the climate helps!
    If that is what the Scots want then good luck to them. Having lived in Aberdeen for two years in the 70s and found the alcoholic antics of the denizens there equally depressing maybe they have a fair bit in common.
    Just make sure they put in passport controls on Hadrian’s Wall.

    Genetics does not work like that Chrissie baby. One must inherit 50% from each parent (slightly more for men from their Mums as the Y chromosome is small). As for Grandparents it is usually 25% but varies from as little as 1% to almost 40%. Recombinent DNA means all siblings are not identical.

  16. January 31, 2014 at 10:55 am

    goggzilla :

    christinaosborne :
    Very interesting article J. I more than understand the Swedish mentality, spousal unit is half Swedish, one quarter German and one quarter Yorkshire!!!
    For some obscure reason I have always found most Scandinavian things/people/media etc vaguely depressing. Don’t suppose the climate helps!
    If that is what the Scots want then good luck to them. Having lived in Aberdeen for two years in the 70s and found the alcoholic antics of the denizens there equally depressing maybe they have a fair bit in common.
    Just make sure they put in passport controls on Hadrian’s Wall.

    Genetics does not work like that Chrissie baby. One must inherit 50% from each parent (slightly more for men from their Mums as the Y chromosome is small). As for Grandparents it is usually 25% but varies from as little as 1% to almost 40%. Recombinent DNA means all siblings are not identical.

    I don’t see how your statement makes Christina’s observation invalid. Her husband can certainly be half Swedish, quarter, German and quarter Yorkshire. You seem to be implying that is not possible. Having predominantly Swedish ancestry makes it quite possible that he will have inherited certain Swedish characteristics, if there are such things.

  17. January 31, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Ah, Swedish characteristics……well, what about dark thoughts, neutral tendencies and northern lights? :-)

  18. Four-eyed English Genius
    January 31, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Don’t forget that all Brits are all of considerable Scandinavian heritage, even the Celtic nations. And the Normans, of course, were also of Viking descent, Norman meaning North Man.

  19. January 31, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Sipu, Sweden is an invented nation (most are). Statistically her spousal unit is probably 50/25/25 but in terms of hard genetics he would need a test to verify/disprove.

  20. January 31, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Goggzilla: new advances in DNA technology have complicated things greatly. People who thought that they were purely English are learning that their ancestry is actually Polish with a bit of Turk and Magyar, for example. Others are learning that their Portuguese ancestors were Conversos who intermarried with African slaves and First Peoples. My Han Chinese friends tend to have an excellent response to this: “I grew up Han Chinese, my parents grew up Han Chinese, my grand-parents grew up Han Chinese, my great-grandparents grew up Han Chinese — what else could I be but Han? No one in my family knows anything but that, so why should I care”?

  21. January 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Chris – a phenotype presents itself as (for instance) North West European. The person carrying it may be part African/Chinese/Whatever. My first autosomal test was mixed incl Native American. Wrong, I am 100% European and mostly Irish.

  22. January 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Goggzilla: usually the best way to get on my worst side is to call me “Chris”. The point is that DNA testing has shown that people tend to be far more mixed than they think because we tend now to know who our ancestors past 3 or 4 generations were.

  23. January 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Regardless of whether Sweden is a ‘made up country’ and regardless of their original ancestry, people who come from Sweden tend to be characterised, for example, as having blond hair and blue eyes. Of course there many exceptions, but those stereotypes exist for a reason.

    A pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is not renowned for herding sheep. But cross it with a Border Collie and its offspring may exhibit some of those characteristics. Cross the offspring with another pure bred Collie and the result will be a reasonable sheep dog. One more cross and one would hardly know the difference. It is precisely the same with humans. I may have Shona (indigenous Zimbabwe) blood in me, but it is so far back as to be irrelevant.

    It really amazes me and annoys me that people cannot see the parallels between animal breeds and human breeds. It is not evolution per se, but selective breeding. In the case of humans it is natural selection (slave owners and Nazi Germany aside) while for dogs it tends to be artificial selection. But the results are the same.

    CO’s husband is descended from people who came from Sweden and probably did for several generations which means that they will have exhibited those characteristics peculiar to people who have lived in Sweden for several generations. It really is not that difficult.

  24. christinaosborne
    January 31, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Interestingly spousal unit is the most un American I have ever met. He admits he has always felt odd man out all his life here. Not surprising since his attitudes are quintessentially Northern European! (And looks, Scandinavian white blond, blue eyes, long face)
    He is quiet, withdrawn, pessimistic, thoughtful,somewhat emotionally frigid type of chap, the very antithesis of most Americans.
    He was born here,as were his parents, but the bloodlines have apparently survived all attempts at americanising by environment. I can quite understand that he couldn’t find anyone to marry in the USA, he looked for 5 years unsuccessfully.
    I suspect that you could find carbon copies of him in every nook and cranny of Scandinavia.

    He looked for a diametric opposite, me- I have a vesuvial temper/blood lust from Viking ancestry with a goodly dollop of gallic dramatics from some frog thrown in. He freely admits it amuses him vastly that I will read anyone their fortune and say things that he only thinks, but never voices. We keep each other amused!

    I agree with sipu that there are strong national and regional characteristics that comprise stereotypes for good reason, they exist. I have had the fortune/misfortune to live in many places and always study the local population. It amazes me how often they conform to stereotypes. Try the Louisiana bayou country people for starters! (And upland Carmarthenshire for that matter!) People get all mixed up in cities, but when you get jnto rural homogenous societies, group characteristics are all too obvious to see and woe betide the outsider that takes a poke at the local shibboleths.

  25. January 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    christophertrier :
    Goggzilla: usually the best way to get on my worst side is to call me “Chris”. The point is that DNA testing has shown that people tend to be far more mixed than they think because we tend now to know who our ancestors past 3 or 4 generations were.

    Thank you C dawg. Gogs.

  26. January 31, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    christinaosborne :
    Interestingly spousal unit is the most un American I have ever met. He admits he has always felt odd man out all his life here. Not surprising since his attitudes are quintessentially Northern European! (And looks, Scandinavian white blond, blue eyes, long face)
    He is quiet, withdrawn, pessimistic, thoughtful,somewhat emotionally frigid type of chap, the very antithesis of most Americans.
    He was born here,as were his parents, but the bloodlines have apparently survived all attempts at americanising by environment. I can quite understand that he couldn’t find anyone to marry in the USA, he looked for 5 years unsuccessfully.
    I suspect that you could find carbon copies of him in every nook and cranny of Scandinavia.
    He looked for a diametric opposite, me- I have a vesuvial temper/blood lust from Viking ancestry with a goodly dollop of gallic dramatics from some frog thrown in. He freely admits it amuses him vastly that I will read anyone their fortune and say things that he only thinks, but never voices. We keep each other amused!
    I agree with sipu that there are strong national and regional characteristics that comprise stereotypes for good reason, they exist. I have had the fortune/misfortune to live in many places and always study the local population. It amazes me how often they conform to stereotypes. Try the Louisiana bayou country people for starters! (And upland Carmarthenshire for that matter!) People get all mixed up in cities, but when you get jnto rural homogenous societies, group characteristics are all too obvious to see and woe betide the outsider that takes a poke at the local shibboleths.

    I am guessing he is from Minnesota?

  27. christinaosborne
    January 31, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    No, New Yorker, born and bred in Manhattan. NY State till 30 and then went to Dallas for 30 years.
    Didn’t reckon he fitted in either locations!
    I made him leave Texas, rat hole of the western world, we moved up to WA to get to the only decent rainy, wet cold climate akin to Wales in the contiguous US! He hates heat too, typical Scandinavian skin, gets skin cancer every time he emerges into the sun. Spent 30 years cowering in the air conditioning with every allergy known to mankind!
    He was very glad to leave when he had retired and no son of a bitch was paying him handsomely to endure the wretched place any longer!
    We never visit although all his relatives are there!

  28. christinaosborne
    January 31, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    PS everyone assumes he is British too. My very received pronunciation has rubbed off on him after ten years. I never notice it but so may strangers treat him as a foreigner it is beyond funny. People are absolutely Gobsmacked when they find he is one of ‘theirs’.

  29. February 1, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I’m part Scots, Huguenot and Anglo Saxon. Let me tell you it’s not easy.

  30. February 2, 2014 at 7:54 am

    :-) :-)

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