Pernickety Dicky | I have a Danish dream
So it’s June 2019 and Skat, the last of the government agencies, announces all their tax information is finally available in both Arabic and English. It’s been five years since Denmark faced the European Court for Human Rights over its unwelcoming attitude and discrimination towards foreigners and asylum seekers.
After the Danish state accepted negligence and the former prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, made a very public apology, foreign nationals are finally returning to live and work in Denmark. I at long last receive my letter of apology from Skat, with two free tickets for ‘Paradise Hotel – The Musical’, which go straight onto eBay.
The mass exodus of foreigners from Denmark and the worldwide attention given to the asylum seekers on hunger strike at Sandholm Refugee Camp had a profound impact on the psyche of the Danes. The new government announces that Denmark will now strive to become a trilingual state of Danish, English and Arabic by 2035. The asylum seekers who were caught up in their incarcerated nightmare are given the freedom of the city.
The new tone of internationalism is certainly paying off as Denmark is currently enjoying the fastest growing economy in Europe, while showcasing an alternative prescription for rampant globalisation. Prime Minister Joanna Schmidt-Nielsen even receives praise from the International Monetary Fund for being “more socialist than China”, yet still having a “world-class, dynamic, mixed-market economy”. Though the IMF do point out that Denmark’s ‘service without a smile’ attitude needs to change.
After the embarrassment of the 2012 Living Planet report, stating that Denmark had the fourth largest carbon footprint in the world, the Danes have finally sorted out their huge waste problem. The mass compulsory shock treatment of throwing all culprits into a trash dump and making them live there for a week seems to have done the trick. Next year Copenhagen will be on target to become the first truly sustainable city anywhere in the world, and electric cars are everywhere to be seen.
The World Health Organisation congratulates the Danes for pioneering fat and sugar taxes, which have now been adopted worldwide and have helped cut obesity by a third globally. Yet there is also sharp criticism from them, over the ridiculous decision back in 2012 to stop producing cigarette packs of ten, with new data showing the Danes are now the heaviest smokers in Europe.
The scandal over the Danes being the happiest people in the world seems to have finally died down, after revelations by Ekstra Bladet found that 70 percent of the population were using Prozac.
The biggest Danish film of the year, ‘Perker Posse’, a hilarious comedy about a dysfunctional Arabic household living in Nørrebro, wins the prestigious Berlin Golden Bear Prize. The film is now the top grossing Danish film of all time, and cinemas in Jutland are showing the film 24 hours a day.
Christiania is again voted the top tourist attraction in Copenhagen, while at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the forgotten pop star Medina returns to represent Denmark, though sadly gets voted out in the semi-final and returns to the cruise ships.
In June 2019, I will be 55 years old! On that horrible thought, my fantastic Danish dream comes to an abrupt and unhappy end. And as I awake, there are two unopened letters in front of me. The first is my latest tax demand from Skat, which funnily enough is still written in Danish. The other letter, written in English, is for a job interview back in Britain.