I AM a representative of the former British Empire and the current Commonwealth of Nations; I am the descendant of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the son of an RAF pilot. I did
not graduate with First Class honours from Cambridge University and since then have not entered the Foreign Office’s prestigious diplomatic corps.
‘The Northern Plights’ documents my assessment of Sweden for the possibility of any future conquests which the British Government’s War Cabinet is
DISPATCH 16: Television.
My unrelenting summer soiree season is over, the natives are starting to retreat from their obscure crayfish-chomping dog day festivities; everyone is preparing to bed down for the ensuing winter months. Yesterday evening I sat down, cranked up my television and wondered if I could decipher Sweden’s broadcasting output.
By Jove, it was a lot easier than anticipated.
The first channel I found at random was airing BBC’s loathsome attempt to mock the upper middle classes ‘Keeping Up Appearances‘, another click and now I am watching English-spoken ‘Friends‘ – a show so bland I am surprised the DVD box sets are not kept with the muesli in supermarket aisles. Speaking of ‘supermarkets’, here is Jamie Oliver on Swedish TV – speaking his own peculiar version of English – advertising the equivalent of Sainsbury’s:
I was starting to wonder if Sweden had any broadcasting output of its own, indeed many of its channels are actually broadcast from the UK. The reasons why are neither here nor there but take the Swedish version of lower-class entertainment tripe factory ITV, it is called TV3 and is beamed into 80% of Swedish homes. But try and send it a telegram and you discover it is actually based and broadcast from, of all places, Chiswick High Road, London.
I loathe to say I ‘channel surf’, that is so crass and antipodean – I channel sauntered and finally came to rest upon interior design makeover show Sveriges fulaste hem. I tried to compute what co-presenter Tomas Cederlund was rabbiting on about but before I had a chance to look up ljuskrona in my trusty Hurdy gurdy to English dictionary a sound came from my television – a sound which brought back images of the rolling green fields of England, a sound as rich and as inspiring as the opening strains of Sir Hubert Parry’s hymn Jerusalem.
While I hastily scribble these Dispatches and while the Foreign Office’s War Cabinet
don’t pour over military strategies, Mr S Davies esq, the unknown shining beacon of Empire Building has without hesitation rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Mr S Davies esq, we salute you.
Lesser ex-pats have succumbed to ‘blending in’, but the audacious Mr Davies has waded into a prime time TV show studio where he tells a country, which prides itself on interior design, how they should furnish their homes..IN ENGLISH! While his Swedish counterpart mutters on incomprehensively, the bold bellowing English patter dictates The Way It Should Be. He peppers his script with the occasional Swedism, but this is done for comic effect, almost as if he was mocking.
We have a Mole in place, how long will it be before the average Swedish home starts to look radically different?
In Simon Davies’ hands we trust.
Could this be a casualty-free campaign? Could this war be won by propoganda alone? In previous battles we have needed to rule the air, perhaps Sweden could be defeated by the airwaves?
I am off to re-write ‘‘Allo ‘Allo!‘ for a Swedish audience, keep an eye out for ‘Hej Hej!‘.
ATTENTION BOTH THE FOREIGN OFFICE AND EMPIREES: You don’t need to perform a miracle to help the Empire, just subscribe to these Dispatches and I will do the rest.