Norway-bashing Brit was 'deliberately provocative'

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 30 Jan, 2014 Updated Thu 30 Jan 2014 12:20 CEST
Norway-bashing Brit was 'deliberately provocative'

The British writer who this week savaged Norway as "the most insular and xenophobic" of the Scandinavian nations has described his article as "deliberately provocative".


Michael Booth, whose wife in Danish and who has lived on-and-off in Denmark for a decade, working as a correspondent for Monocle Magazine, stressed that the article was not writte "specifically to upset Norwegians".
"The piece was a deliberately provocative opinion piece designed to wake Guardian readers from their Scandinavian trance," he said. "The Brits have been fed a diet of 100% positive stories about the North for the last few years. I felt it was time to add some balance to the reporting, and to do that I definitely employed some exaggeration - and humour." 
Nonetheless he refused to back down on his claim that, according to the Danes at any rate, "Norwegians are the most insular and xenophobic of all the Scandinavians." 
"The Danes know you guys quite well, I think," he said. "But as I say, I have not taken my lead from what the Danes think about their neighbours. If I did that, Sweden wouldn't stand a chance!" 
He did however concede that Norway's generous international aid and focus on peace diplomacy could hardly be described as "insular". 
"Norway is very, very generous when it comes to giving aid to people who live a long way away from them," he said, adding that the country is "not so generous when it comes to accepting asylum seekers on its own land". 
He refused to back down from his description of the Progress Party as right-wing, and anti-immigration, however. 
"Over the years, members of the Progress Party have used some quite shocking language to describe Muslims and Islam, so in terms of their approach to immigration and integration, I think there is little doubt that they are right wing" he said. 
Booth's book, The Almost Nearly Perfect People – The Truth About the Nordic Miracle, is published on 6 February. 


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