Dispatch #37 – Philanthropy

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 not considering.

My weekends arrive with a hollow thud, the vacuums between the Friday clock off and the Monday clock on resonate with my reluctant sighs and are filled with the echoes of my relentless finger drumming – I am not the kind of chap who finds idling idyllic.

blog_tweedOn the Saturdays I afford myself the luxury of slipping into something a little less comfortable before a Tweed-clad saunter into town to fill my bicycle basket with the forthcoming week’s rations. Saturday after Saturday and saunter after saunter, the humdrum ration routine went unchanged, until…

It was upon my approach to a central plaza that I first noticed something awry; among the pastel-coloured, tight-fitting jeans and assorted H&M androgynous leisure wear tops there was a fleck, just a fleck, but a fleck all the same…a fleck of hope, a fleck of Tweed.

Curiosity well and truly spiked I cycled closer; the fleck became a flood and the flood became a sea, all of a sudden I was surrounded by waves of people who looked like…looked like me. Looked like me but did not sound like me, I hasten to add. It turned out that I had chanced upon an event where Swedes Tweeded-up and went for a bit of a jolly on their bicycles. The Tweed Ride, as it was referred to, was to help raise money for those in less fortunate countries. Before I knew it I was considered part of the throng and, what with the novelty of my plummy English accent, asked to lead the charge.

CYCLE2How very philanthropic of them, I pondered to myself while cycling and nodding and greeting every bamboozled bystander, these fuddily dressed fund-raisers were, after all, coming to the aid of poorer countries, many of which are poor as the result of other countries past-colonial ambitions. And, as a modicum of investigation was to later inform me, it was not just individual Tweeded twits like myself who pitch in, the Swedish nation as a whole seems to be quite the charitable collective.

In fact in recent history, Sweden has (proportionately) topped the charity charts when it comes to giving overseas aid – not a bad claim when you consider that unlike the United Kingdom and the United States, Sweden has not actually caused fair swathes of global strife.

For three years in a row Sweden was considered the country which dug the deepest in its Tweed (or otherwise) pockets. From 2012-2013 it donated 0.99 per cent of its Gross National Income, shunted to No.2 donor only by Luxembourg, which donated 1.0 per cent of its GNI. Countries which perhaps should have felt slightly more guilt-tripped into helping others like the US and the UK gave 0.19 per cent and 0.56 per cent respectively.

breaking-newsBut the Swedes not only give in abundance, they also receive in abundance. Now, you must excuse my sudden outburst of newsbreakery, but you are catching Sweden at possibly its altruistic apex.The current Syrian crisis has created the biggest refugee crisis since World War II and among the EU countries it is ONLY Sweden which is offering permanent residency for those fleeing the conflict.

During the last eight weeks 4,500 Syrians have sought residency here, with a further 7,500 already here on a temporary permit now being allowed to stay  permanently with the additional promise of an opportunity to save family members from their shelled homeland. For the Swedes, charity really does begin at home.

TWEEDWORLDSo, while that fleck of Tweed may have given me hope in a country so normally bereft of weekend whimsy, it may have also given an awful lot more hope to countries bereft of any whimsy and water.

~The Dippylomat, Esq.

For more DippyloInsights may I humbly invite you to my Facebook page.

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About The Dippylomat, Esq.

A connoisseur, a charmer and a bit of a cad.
This entry was posted in Culture, Cycling, Economics, Fashion, Gothenburg, Hodge Podge, immigration, India, migration, Minnesota, Sweden and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Dispatch #37 – Philanthropy

  1. Susan Winter says:

    This is delightful! I’m smiling as I read the use of language and perspective. Thank you for starting off me week with a chuckle. Wonderful writing! Your fan, Susan

  2. ladyfi says:

    How wonderful that you could help sprinkle tweed, whimsy and compassion around the globe!

  3. Adrienne says:

    I love Tweed the World. Make it happen.

  4. One is doing one’s best, my dear.
    ~The Dippylomat, Esq.

  5. simon7banks says:

    Not global strife, but the Swedes did once have a reputation for making war with enthusiasm.

  6. Gristybeasty says:

    Let us get a few facts straight. Britain may only contribute 019% of its total GDP but don’t forget it has welcomed most of the Worlds Riff Raff to its shores which in reality, costs the country just about 25% of its GDP. Housing them, curing them of AIDS, Tuberculous ,sexually transmitted diseases etc and gives the immigrants loads of succor and loads of money.
    Is Sweden really welcoming all those Syrians? How naive! The government must be nuts. Perhaps it should look across the North Sea and see what Britain has become by adopting such left wing woolie sock ,Guardian reading lefties policies. A country that has lost its national identity, is rapidly being swamped by high breeding immigrants to such an extent that sooner than most people would have thought, the Brit will become a rare species only to be found in such places as Sweden and South Africa!
    Seriously, does Sweden really want to go down that Route?

  7. Eleen says:

    “A fleck of hope, a fleck of Tweed” – this made me chuckle. That Sweden’s the only country offering permanent residency is news to me. Fair play to ya, Sweden!

  8. Delightful and a pleasurable read, as always.

    *curtsies*

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