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
Know Your Enemy; it is one of the maxims I have lived my life by, or rather it is a maxim that I have got the staff to live my life by – I try not to get my hands grubby. Everyone knows who the Swedes are; they are the fair – both by nature and appearance – quiet ones who are geographically shunted to the outer reaches of The
Empire Globe – out of sight, out of mind.
No surprises. At least not until, as I did, you open your Swedish window and gaze down upon the minions below – not all of them are blond/e, many of them are not white; some, I suspect, were not born here – their darker complexions wasted on the paltry summer sun which fleetingly graces this hinterland.
Who are these non-native folk and why on earth would they go to, of all places, this godforsaken, partially-Arctic utmost limit of the European mainland?
Take the city of Malmö for example, some 30 per cent of its inhabitants were not born in Sweden, add to that the second, third and fourth generation of immigrants who chose to embrace these bracing climes and you will soon understand why it is a bit of a cultural smörgåsbord.
Of course many come from neighbouring countries with only a vigorous hike or a train ticket required to get them Swedeside. In fact it is hard to tell whether these non-Swedes are immigrants or just, well, just lost. In the Scandinavian vodka belt one might very well meander off the chosen path or fumble and lose a return train ticket.
But not all these immigrant can come from Norway, Finland or Denmark; the exotic dress codes, the sobriety and the slightly more palatable food aromas wafting upon the icy breeze defy that rationale. Indeed, there are 171 different nationalities represented in this city alone.
Let us reflect on our own fair isle for a moment, the list of immigrant groups to the United Kingdom does read somewhat like a guilty conscience: ‘sorry about your country, old boy, here’s a London city slum and a dank bit of the north you can reside in as way of an apology…sorry about the weather, that was partly why we colonised you in the first place’. However, the demographics of Sweden read like everyone else’s guilty conscience; it has not declared war since 1814, it has not colonised anywhere since 1721. Empathy just rouses suspicion in a British born and bred brain, even now the UK offer overseas aid with a cowering ‘please don’t bomb us’ whimper.
As of 2010, 14.3 per cent of the inhabitants in Sweden were foreign-born. Of these, 9.2 per cent were sober and fully intended to be here (born outside the European Union) and 5.1 per cent were drunk/lost (born not that far away.)
I had a peruse through the list of Swedish demographic groups, it reads more like a roll call for a UN delegate brunch for the least fortunate nations of modern history. Bosnians, Croats and Serbs came as their country cracked; Iraqis shot here as fast as allied forces shot their countrymen; Somalians swarmed from their brutalised-by-the-British homeland; Chileans choked by England-endorsed despotism left in droves Sweden-bound. It seems that Sweden is one of the very few nations not culpable for these disgraced Empires’ hangovers and misguided witch-hunt fallouts.
It is humbling to hear of these immigrants’ plights and the Swedes ability to overlook the world’s warmongering and dictatorial indiscretions, instead offering refuge to the victims. But, still, it does beg the obvious question, where will all the Swedes run to if the colonial cannons’ crosshairs are fixed upon them?
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