Back to Sweden. Hello, border police…?

After a short 3-week break for Christmas, which primarily consisted of listening to the Ricky Gervais XFM show from the early 2000s and meeting up with friends, it was time to fly back for another semester of being at university to delay going into the real world studying hard. I am studying hard so that I can obtain a sheet of paper saying ‘Andrew Knowles, Master of Science’which I will hang in a prominent place in a future flat that I won’t be able to afford, to impress a Tinder date who won’t be sitting there (but I will make sure there’s plenty of milk in case she says she needs some (10 points for those who get the reference)).

The flight was enjoyable in a sort of adrenaline-driven way, as-per-usual. I’m always impressed at the calm façade passengers always display a flight. Personally, I don’t think they’re really calm; they might look like they’re casually browsing a gossip magazine, but underneath I reckon everyone is trying their best to hold back feelings of terror and the urge to jump out of the plane before it starts accelerating on the runway shouting “This is definitely not natural!”. Or maybe that’s just me.

Zoidberg
How I think everyone feels when flying, deep down

 

Thanks a lot Merkel?

When I first arrived in Lund, it was a very straightforward journey from Copenhagen Airport across to Sweden on the Oresund bridge. There were no passport checks, there was no police presence.

But recently, due to an unprecedented influx of immigrants into Sweden, border checks have been imposed. It’s the first time in half a century that the journey between Denmark and Sweden has been impeded in this way. With this in mind, plus the fact that the border checks came into force less than a week before I arrived into Copenhagen, it felt like quite a ever so slightly momentous moment; being among the first people to experience armed police coming onto the train in Sweden asking for identification- at the now extensively fenced station in Hyllie. It is, after-all, a tangible glimpse into a European Union in full crisis-mode as the continent is unable to cope with the number of migrants coming in (or at least: unable to calm peoples’ fears about the ramifications of the large influx).

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the Schengen area, or indeed the EU altogether. After all, the anti-immigrant and multiculturalism Swedish Democrats are experiencing ever-greater popularity in the country, just like similar parties across Europe. I remember that just a few weeks after I arrived to Lund in the summer, there was a sizeable ‘Welcome Refugees’ rally in the town centre. Now, it appears that the generous hospitality of the Swedes has dwindled into anxiety.

For the European Union as a whole it seems that Angela Merkel’s now infamous open invitation for immigrants to come to Europe has massively backfired. Now, the future of the union looks increasingly uncertain. As the continent’s migrant processing and integration infrastructure groans under the pressure of the new inhabitants, the far-right is experiencing a surge in popularity as populist rhetoric against refugees becomes increasingly normalised.

 

Can you tell the difference between Daily Mail and Guardian readers? Take this quiz and find out!

I’ve been following the Guardian and the Daily Mail online for a few years now and I’ve always been fascinated with the substantial differences in the grammatical accuracy, general knowledge and basic logic in the comment sections between the two websites (The Daily Mail wins hands down for the highest number of Trump-esque comments…). I consider myself a socialist and so it’s perhaps unsurprising that I’ve always preferred the Guardian’s lefty keyboard-warriors. But still, I would argue that objectively there has been far less irrational hatred and unsupported arguments on the comment sections of the Guardian.

However, I’ve noticed that over the last few months, it has become increasingly difficult to discern users’ comments about the migration crisis between the two online websites. Increasingly, ignorance and hate have come to dominate the public discourse on the issue- on both the left and the right.

So here is a selection of comments that were highly rated from both the Daily Mail and the Guardian, try and work out which comments came from which publication! Answers below. Have fun!

(For the sake of brevity, I have cut down most of the comments)

  1. “Islamofascism will destroy the secular liberal western democracies if it gets a chance. It IS worth defending. Until Islam is reformed, then these medieval attitudes towards women and homosexuals will just continue. It could destroy the EU.”
  2. “The Arabs coming over are in now way interested in becoming good Germans. They want to continue with their present cultural identity, just set within the material comfort and security of a western state. Like water and oil, these two cultures will not mix.”
  3. “The problem is obvious and the weakness in the response is pathetic. Parts of Europe have been turned into the dark ages in thought and deed.”
  4. “…You may characterise Victor Orban as one of your demons but, on the issue of immigration, I agree 100% with him – if he stood for election in my country I’d vote for him in the blink of eye.”
  5. “It is good to see thousands upon thousands of ordinary peace loving Germans with their splendid flags come to the defence of their beleaguered women whose safety and dignity has been defiled in acts of unspeakable horror and outrage.”
  6. “Mass deportation is the only answer. Europe does not want them.”
  7. “We need the European military to take a more active role in defending our borders. Open door policy is unsustainable, we need Fortress Europe now,”
  8. “Send them to Russia they at least would know how to tackle these hooligans.”
  9. “The European project now involves the left and liberals colluding in attempting to cover up the mass sexual assault of young women. Their opinion is now worthless on EVERY issue.”
  10. “It’s not a refugee crisis it’s a migrant crisis. Europe is being subjected to a demographic/cultural invasion which will damage our society beyond repair if we do not act to prevent it.”

 

 

 

ANSWERS:

  1. The Guardian
  2. The Guardian
  3. Daily Mail
  4. The Guardian
  5. Daily Mail
  6. Daily Mail
  7. The Guardian
  8. Daily Mail
  9. The Guardian
  10. The Guardian

*All comments correct as of 10/01/2016