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The Danes’ immigration lesson for May and Corbyn


Denmark is known for Lego, bacon and democratic socialism. During America’s 2016 election, Bernie Sanders frequently cited Denmark as a model for his vision of America’s future. Denmark, however, is less than happy with Bernie’s estimation of it as a socialist utopia and is kicking back against its Left-wing image.

This is more than a matter of perception. Denmark is pursuing a course of action on immigration which makes Trump’s border policies look moderate. The Global Detention Project, an NGO whose principal funder is the Soros-backed Open Society Foundation, has recently issued a report which is highly critical of Denmark’s immigration policies.

The report laments: ‘During the last two decades, Denmark has undergone a dramatic shift in its migration policies and attitudes. Once regarded as a welcoming country for refugees and migrant workers, Denmark is now characterised by its highly restrictive immigration regime, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and hostility toward refugees.’

That the report is funded by a billionaire globalist who desires open borders throughout Europe does not alter its accuracy. In the past three years Denmark has adopted nearly seventy legal amendments tightening immigration laws, and its first instance has plunged, from 85 per cent in 2015 to 36 per cent in 2017.

The Minister of Immigration and Integration, Inger Støjberg, argues: ‘I think we should deprive as many rejected asylum-seekers of their liberty as possible. What this is about is how far we can stretch it in relation to the international conventions.’

When the Danish parliament passed its fiftieth immigration amendment, the minister celebrated by posting a picture on social media of a birthday cake with the number ‘50’.

The remarkable change in attitude is the result of the traditional parties realising they had to compete for the votes of a previously largely homogeneous population increasingly disenchanted with the consequences of mass immigration. To win votes, the parties need to demonstrate they are firmer on border security than anyone else. No longer is border security a Left-wing vs Right-wing issue. Every party maintains the importance of border security.

When it comes to this fundamental issue, Denmark has turned its back on the EU’s globalist vision. A once-marginal political policy pursued by so-called ‘far Right’ fringe parties has not only entered mainstream politics but is generally accepted by all. The only question is which party can pursue the policy of a secure border more efficiently.

The Danish People’s Party, usually described as ‘nationalist and far-Right’, although founded only in 1995 is now Denmark’s second most popular. Ignored by mainstream media in the UK, the DPP is one of the most successful Right-wing parties in Europe. It is making the political weather. In Denmark the DPP is not considered so far to the Right any more, not because it has softened its stance on identity politics, but because the centrist parties have begun to copy it.

Until recently the Eurosceptic DPP has primarily drawn votes from less educated, older and lower-income groups, but its new supporters are younger, better educated, and firmly middle-class. The more traditional centrist parties of Left and Right are well aware of the threat.

Denmark’s largest single party, the traditional centre-Left Social Democrats, has declared it will not form a coalition with any other Left-wing party. The issue at contention is the Social Democrats’ need to assure the voters that it will remain firm on immigration. As a consequence of public pressure the SD has adopted a pro-border, anti-immigration security policy.

‘The world changes,’ said Mogens Lykketoft, a former SD leader who served as finance and foreign minister early on in the last decade. ‘The reason we’re doing better [is that] we’ve been better at understanding what people worry about.’ Among those worries he cited climate change, globalisation, social dumping and the impact of foreign workers on welfare.

There is even talk of an alliance between the Social Democrats and the Danish People’s Party ahead of next year’s general election. According to Lykketoft, the two parties may explore ‘opportunities for co-operation’ rather than forge a ruling coalition during the next administration.

Denmark reflects the growing need throughout Europe to get to grips with existential questions. No longer are the issues at stake where tax bands should be situated or how national resources should be allocated. These may be of consuming interest to policy wonks; ordinary citizens are increasingly concerned about the consequences of globalism and its threat to national and cultural identity.

Politics is increasingly centred around the three securities threatened by globalisation and open borders: border security, economic security and cultural security. If there is a growing trend to nationalist populist politics throughout Europe, it is a result of an enforced globalisation and multiculturalism for which the people never asked but which was forced on us anyway.

Kasper Moller Hansen, a professor of political science at the University of Copenhagen, says: ‘From a historic perspective, there’s no doubt the DPP would never have grown as big as it is today had the Social Democrats responded sooner to this challenge.’ Perhaps there is a lesson here for May, Corbyn et al.

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Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Campbell is a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Stirlingshire. He blogs at A Grain of Sand.

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