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
I was always a finicky little scamp as a child; I was fussy, picky and choosey and it is these traits I proudly dragged into my adulthood – it is those very qualities which distinguish me from The Underlings I was warned about during my formative years.
And, if there was one thing which blighted my tender years more than any other it was, of all things, Lego. Through my eyes Lego was just a ghastly collection of gaudy-coloured bricks and peculiar-shaped building blocks; they came with minimal assembly instructions and anything constructed fell apart the minute you sat/rode a horse on/over it.
I hated Lego.
And now I hate IKEA – for EXACTLY the same reasons.
Try as I might however, it is nigh impossible to remain blissfully ignorant of the goliath of Swedish furniture chains; drive five minutes out of any city and you will soon glimpse the familiar blue and yellow hue appearing on the horizon. I normally pay it no regard or attention, but just the other day a most fantastically peculiar fact came to light:
ONE IN TEN EUROPEANS WERE CONCEIVED IN/ON/UNDER AN IKEA BED.
That is a somewhat stunning and petrifying fact, are so many Europeans living below the poverty line that they are forced to shop at a furniture store which basically hacks down a pine tree, saws it into unfathomable chunks and leaves the rest to the consumer? Whatever, it certainly made me prick up my ears and take note of the IKEA phenomenon. Firstly I had to investigate who was behind it; actually I say ‘firstly’ but once you understand Mr I. Kea the key to its stronghold quickly unravels.
IKEA, you see, IS, like the British once was, a global Empire. Established in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad it now has stores in 25 countries and in 2010 had 590 million customers
stealing pencils traipsing like herds of cattle, following the arrows through the relentless IKEA maze.
Hold the phone! Did I just write ‘established in 1943’? Who starts trading in bargain lampshades and sofa beds in the middle of World War Two and at the height of the Nazi regime? Sweden might have maintained a suspicious hush during those dark hours while the rest of us fought ivory-tooth and manicured-nail, but even for a ‘neutral’ country it seems a bit of a daft time to set up shop.
Of course, Adolf-bloody-Hitler, a man equally obsessed with living spaces, or lebensraum as he presumably shouted it as his troops trundled into Poland to make room for Germany’s back garden annex.
Both Adolf and Ingvar established themselves as empire builders, both were obsessed with living space and both did their darndest to do so as the WWII bombs fell. This is surely more than just a coincidence?
My darkest fears were soon realised. Now, this is not news to The Average Swede, but it may well shock my fellow Empirees to the very core. Mr Kamprad is so tainted with a Nazi past I’d be surprised if Hitler’s Nuremberg Rally podium was not the first bit of flat pack furniture sold under the fledgling IKEA name.
In a 2010 interview he described the leader of the fascist movement Per Engdahl as a ‘great man’ adding “I will maintain that as long as I live”. Per was invited to Kamprad’s wedding as part of his closest circle of friends.
So just remember, my dear Empirees, the next time you take that long journey out of town, the next time you are met by an army of uniformed ‘workers’ and join the depressed looking masses as they shuffle down the corridors of the vast warehouse…just remember one thing:
I bet the British War ‘Cabinet’ is solid oak and Chippendale crafted!
ATTENTION BOTH THE FOREIGN OFFICE AND EMPIREES: It’s a lot easier to subscribe to the Dippylomat’s Dispatches than it is to build an IKEA chair.