• Swedes are Brits with good branding

    Blonde woman with large daisy flowers in her hair standing with back to camera against a flowery bush
    The darling buds of May, June, July… (Photo by Christian Widell)

    The Swedes have branding sown up. It’s like they ingest it from birth. Sweden just rings so true as an idea for the rest of the world. Happy, blonde people living fairly with each other and in harmony with nature – and no matter what the weather, doing everything well. 

    What’s so Swedish about a maypole? 

    Think Sweden. Think fish as a national dish. Think dancing around a pole in Midsummer. Think lagom – not too little, not too much. It all seems so quintessentially Swedish. But hang on…

    A British national fish dish? Fish’n’chips, anyone? Dancing around a pole. That’ll be why we call it a maypole. Brits may not have done it since before the Industrial Revolution, but we still call it a maypole. Lagom – not too little, not too much? Pure Presbyterian self-moderation. 

    Not only that, but listen to a Swedish – or indeed Danish – voiceover on TV, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to a very drunk Geordie. We’re practically national siblings. But boy, oh boy, Swedes have sold themselves so much better. 

    Maybe it’s that Industrial Revolution? Maybe it’s the Imperial twitch? Maybe Britain’s problem is that there are just too many strands to pick? A good brand needs focus, a single narrative. Is it Cool Britannia? Is it Brexit Britain? Is it Global Britain? Form an orderly queue…