northnow we know why Donald Trump wanted to buy Greenland. In the Netflix premiere of Danish political drama Borgen, which returns for a fourth series after almost a decade, oil was found on the world’s largest island. Fingers crossed, Denmark’s ambassador to the Arctic told a Foreign Ministry briefing, the field will be as big and lucrative as Ekofisk. You remember Ekofisk: the oil field financed by Norway to secure the economic future of its citizens for generations while we Brits, with sad faces, did nothing so sensible with our income from the North Sea.
Just a second, you might as well jump in. Could you tell us about the political status of Greenland? Of course. Greenland was a Danish colony from 1814 to 1953, when it became part of Denmark. Home rule was established in 1979 and voted for more self-governing powers in 2008. That said, not a few of Greenland’s 56,000 people are yearning for independence and using the oil to fund that project. Aren’t you glad you asked?
Borgen can be almost a boring namesake, and even I know that the episode dealing with the political machinations of who should become Denmark’s next EU commissioner is an hour better spent bathing in donkey milk with slices of Cucumber over the eyes, but this opening episode whistles along.
It weaves fast and furious between cabinet crises, ratings problems on the TV1 news channel, and the personal and political problems of our heroine, Birgitte Nyborg, while reacquainting us with my pale, masculine, if not still stale, models. to follow, Søren Malling. grumpy news editor Torben Friis; and Lars Mikkelsen’s bad boy economic sage Søren Ravn.
Back to the plot. A government bean counter calculates that if the Greenland oil field produces 100 million barrels over a 30-year period, that would produce a revenue stream of $285 billion. That money would pay many teachers, Finance Minister Helle Holst told a cabinet meeting. But she waits: Denmark cannot be part of the oil extraction, replies our heroine, who is the foreign minister and thus Copenhagen’s answer to Liz Truss. Despite all the other things that happen in her life (hot flashes, a son dedicated to freeing pigs, the pregnancy of her ex’s new partner), she is the most farsighted cabinet member. Copenhagen, she points her, she signed the paris agreement and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050.
True, says the pragmatic Helle, but that gives Denmark 28 years to exploit the new source of oil without breaking that promise. It is a comment that would make Greta Thunberg and Jorge MonbiotThe veins in our foreheads throb so much that if those green energy sources could be plugged into the National Grid, we might not need oil to boil our kettles.
To what extent, asks this new Borgen series, should politicians defend their ideals? Should we sacrifice our principles on the altar of economic stability?
The questions become more disturbing when we discover that the Russians have bought the Canadian stake in the company that is drilling for oil. Worse still, the head of that company is a friend of Putin. Can the Danish government really support such a project at the same time Western sanctions are being imposed on the Kremlin for invading Ukraine? If he answered yes, he is probably sergei lavrov.
Much has changed since we last visited Borgen, in 2014. Britain’s Scandinavian love story is over. No one complements wellies with Faroese sweaters anymore. I have stopped answering my phone with a cheerful: “Saga Norén, Malmö CID”. Denmark has elected a second prime minister, Mette Fredriksen. He hadn’t chosen any when the show began, about Nyborg’s rise to the top job.
However, as discussed, Nyborg’s career has taken a downward turn, but she still wields power as part of a coalition led by Signe Kragh. Indeed, she is Nick Clegg to David Cameron, if Clegg and Cameron had been women and inspirational.
But if the future is female (title of the first episode), there is no brotherly solidarity. Kragh discovers that Nyborg has gone all Dominic Cummings, reporting against his boss due to the Prime Minister’s outsized pro-oil stance. “You’re alone on an ice floe,” Kragh growls when he discovers what Nyborg has been up to behind his back. “Let’s hope it doesn’t melt under your feet.” Now that, boys and girls, is how to make a threat.
If, like me, you yearn for democratic politics to be conducted with Machiavellian sophistication and attention to the principles and details of politics, in other words, in a manner contrary to Westminster practices, you will agree that it is wonderful to have to Borgen back. As a 2022 version of the west wingit is a fictitious antidote to the unbearable reality.