Tag Archives: Denmark

The Promissory sections of the Danish Constitution is today’s failure

Yup, this one’s probably so niche that if it get’s anymore niche, I’d have to start a subreddit and sell tickets to my personal discord to freaky constitutional law fetishists. But enough about that, let’s party like it’s 1849.

Which, for those sadly unenlightened individual to the vast and utterly bonkers glory that is European history, in 1849 Europe was gripped by the “Spring of Nations“, a series of revolutions, revolts and general discord against the established monarchies and oligarchies of Europe.

It generally didn’t result in serious political change outside a few nations, it did however have other permanent effects: The end of serfdom in several countries, re-introduction of representative democracy in the Netherlands, Bismarck and the Danish Constitution of 1849.

So fancy.

Now, here’s the ting, that document was made by a Constitutional Assembly, and it had a strict deadline, a sensible thing to in any serious project, without deadlines things will rapidly get out of control.

Here’s the first failure, they ran out of time and whatever things they couldn’t agree on before the deadline, they simple basically add as “We’ll fix this in post” section of the constitution.

  • § 72. En Lov ordner nærmere Forfølgningsmaaden.
  • § 74. Den dømmende Magts Udøvelse kan kun ordnes ved Lov.
  • § 75. Den med visse Eiendomme forbundne dømmende Myndighed skal ophæves ved Lov. 
  • § 76. Retspleien bliver at adskille fra Forvaltningen efter de Regler, der fastsættes ved Lov. 
  • § 79. Offentlighed og Mundtlighed skal saa snart og saa vidt som muligt gjennemføres ved hele Retspleien. I Misgjerningssager og i Sager, der reise sig af politiske Lovovertrædelser, skulle Nævninger indføres. 
  • § 80. Folkekirkens Forfatning ordnes ved Lov. 
  • § 83. De fra Folkekirken afvigende Troessamfunds Forhold ordnes nærmere ved Lov. 
  • § 88. Alle Indskrænkninger i den frie og lige Adgang til Erhverv, som ikke ere begrundede i det almene Vel, skulle hæves ved Lov. 
  • § 96. Communernes Ret til, under Statens Tilsyn, selvstændig at styre deres Anliggender vil blive ordnet ved Lov.
  • § 98. Intet Lehn, Stamhuus eller Fideicommisgods kan for Fremtiden oprettes; det skal ved Lov nærmere ordnes, hvorledes de nu bestaaende kunne overgaae til fri Eiendom. 

Now, I have translated those into English, the translations range from pretty much spot on to rougher than hooligans after the World Cup:

  • §72 A law concerning the method of prosecuting minsters will be addressed later.
  • §74 The Judicial Power’s execution can only be handled by law.
  • §75: The Judicial authority commanded by certain properties must be disestablished by law.
  • §76 The Judicial System must be separated from the Executive, following those rules, as made by law.
  • §79: I’m not translating this mess, it’s basically stuff about getting Juries into the court system.
  • §80 The Constitution of the Danish State Church is to be arranged by law.
  • §83 Those religions organizations, that deviate from the State Church, are to have their conditions handled by law.
  • 88§ All limitations on the free and equal access to employments, which aren’t based on the common good, must be removed by law.
  • §96: The municipalities right to, under Central scrutiny, independently manage their affairs will be arranged by law.
  • §98 No noble estates or similar can be established in the future, those who presently exists are to be converted to free property, by later law.

Looks like fun right? Well, most of those were resolved, some fairly faster, other much less so.

72 was resolved in 1852, which is why Denmark has a Ministerial Court, that only handles cases against ministers of the Government, that is elected among the parties of the parliament. They rarely do anything, having only really handed out a single lone conditional prison sentence, ever.

74, 75,76 and 79, were a fair bit slower, as in over half a century, a law actually fixing this mess wasn’t passed until 1916 and didn’t come into force until 1919.

88 was fairly fast for the time, 1857, it basically abolished whatever was left of the old Guild Systems and gradually abolished the specially privileged cities around the country (1920 was the last gasp of that old system).

98 is special, very special, it to wasn’t passed until 1919, the reason being that the conservatives that had been in power for the decade prior, oddly didn’t seem to be in such a massive rush to get this dealt with. One wonders why a political movement that relied utterly on the nobles didn’t care to fix it. Hell, Jacob Brønnum Scavenius Estrup ruled as a dictator from 1885-1894, ignoring parliament utterly.

Here’s the best part, in the 1866 Constitution? We did it again, keep the above mentioned sections that hadn’t been dealt with in and adding TWO more.

One about what happened if the monarch is indisposed/sick or insane, which was made into a proper law in 1871, so not that bad.

The second one was about how the monarch wasn’t repsonsible for the action of the government, that responsibility lied in the hands of the ministers. This one took 98 year to actually get fixed.

And hey, in the 1953 Constitution? The latest one Denmark did? There’s just one, concerning the Ombudsman, and it was fulfilled the next year, with the first Ombudsman being elected in 1955. So that wasn’t that bad. There was an option for a diarchy here tough, which I think is a shame we didn’t go for.

Now comes to the true Failure:

  • §80 The Constitution of the Danish State Church is to be arranged by law.
  • §83 Those religions organizations, that deviate from the State Church, are to have their conditions handled by law.

Those two? Are still there. We never got any proper laws done about any of these things, everything is basically done based on customs and smaller laws. Nothing comprehensive, so they are still in the constitution and are still waiting laws.

Only 171 years delayed, nothing to worry about really.

The reason being that nobody really wants to mess around with the second on, the fact Denmark has a State Church is enough of a bother really.

This is Frederik VII, the Danish King who gave up on Absolutism.

I’m going to leave you with an anecdote: It was rainy evening in late 1848, a delegation of esteemed gentlemen was making their way to the Royal Palace, Amalienborg, this deputation carried a request for a Constitution to his Majesty the King, they were all granted access to the King’s office, his wife was sitting in the room too, these grand gentlemen politely presented their request to the King, expecting that they’d have to somehow either bargain or threaten him into giving up absolute power.

The king simply said: “Certainly, as long as all is done proper We have to Objections”.

The deputation profusely thanked his Majesty and bowed and scrapped and left. Just before the door closed, the legend goes that his Majesty turned to the queen and said: “Perhaps now I can sleep until noon every day”.

Some countries have constitutions born in blood, sweat and guillotines, some are born out of wars of freedom, some are negotiated into being by compromises and Denmark? They got one because the King was a big fat lazy son of a motherfucker.





The Russian Baltic Fleet’s journey to the Battle of Tsushima is Today’s Failure

This one’s a good one, there’s nothing like a failure on such a massive and frankly comical degree, that frankly it should not have been possible, incompetence of such a staggering degree, exist today only the last few absolute monarchies, kleptocratic states, Chris Grayling and the Trump Administration.

The journey was impressive in only one regards, that the Imperial Russian Baltic Fleet somehow managed to actually reach the straits of Tsushima, by all accounts, the journey ought to have ended in only sunken ships somewhere around Zanzibar or possible Dover, frankly either would have been favourable outcome for the Tsarist navy than actually reaching their destination.

The glorious and grand Baltic Fleet of 1904 set sail, the flagship proceeded to sail aground, a destroyer lost an anchor chain, then rammed another battleship, all this IN the Baltic Ocean, well done, well done indeed.

Then rumours arose of Japanese torpedo boats station in Denmark, the fuck? I’m an amateur historian and I don’t recall the Great Japan-Danish alliance of 1904 permitting Japanese naval elements in Danish harbours, do you?

Rumours continued, with the Japanese mining and having submarines active, in the North Sea and Kattegat, 30,000 kilometres away from the nearest Japanese naval base. They fired on fishermen bringing in dispatches from the Tsar, the repair ship “Kamchatka” reported that it was under attack by multiple torpedo boats, about eight, from all directions, better get used to the proud hulk “Kamchatka”, they’ll be back, again and again, dumber and dumber.

Now, having survived the depredations of the mighty “Danish” Squadron of the Imperial Navy of Japan, you’d think it’d be smooooth sailing all the way to the pacific theatre? That an imaginary flotilla would be the end of this farcical display of ineptitude? No, not just yet.

The Glorious and Mighty and not at all Imaginary Battle of Dogger Bank against the Japanese menace and definitely not just a bunch of British Trawlers.

Having escape from the Vodka-fuelled adventures of the Danish straits, the fleet entered the North Sea, heading south towards the channel, moving past the Dogger Bank, for those who don’t know, the bank is a massive fishing hot sport, even today the area has trawler prowling around.

This was a Japanese torpedo boat of the era, Hayabusa-class. Hell, these little fuckers actually fought the Russians, near Japan of course, not in Danish waters.
This one’s Danish from the Era. Can you tell the difference?

In 1904, the Russians spotted some British trawlers doing what you’d expect trawlers to do, which would be fishing, for those of you who are clueless glue-sniffers, the glorious Pacific Squadron, formerly Baltic, opened fire on the trawlers.

This is the trawler CORNELIAN, can you tell the difference? The RUSSIANS COULDN’T!

Let’s just take a short break here, Russian warships open fire on British fishing boats, in 1904, when the British Empire was the single most powerful empire on the planet, this story could have had a very different ending, something like “entire Russian fleet obliterated by the British Home fleet and Russia forced into humiliating peace agreement”.

Hmm, I guess the story wouldn’t have ended that differently, oh well, back to the comedy.

And comedy it is, several ships reported being hit by Japanese torpedoes, fired from UNARMED British trawlers, on the Borodino, the crew panicked so much, the either hugged the floor in their lifejackets or believed they were being attack by Jack Sparrow and armed themselves with fucking cutlasses.

You gotta admit, those old warships looked cool as fuck.

And here comes the smallest success ever in human history, the mighty Second Pacific Squadron managed to damage four trawlers and SINK ONE, unfortunately, because this story is ever so silly, they managed to shot their own cruisers, twice, which isn’t that impressive, when SEVEN battleships are firing at you.

A little side note, one of the ships are the cruiser Aurora, note “are”, you can actually go to Saint Petersburg and see the Aurora, it’s activities in the revolution that followed ensure that it was preserved by the Soviets.

Just to punch home how bad whatever lunatics teaching Russian sailors how to shut had fucked up the training, the battleship Oroyol fire five hundred shells, without hitting anything other than Poseidon’s imaginary palace.

Now, the fleet did sail on, which the Russian government was prostrating itself before the mighty British Empire apologizing, Admiral Rozhestvensky was instructed to leave the officers responsible for this whole mess behind as he reached Vigo, Spain, which he proceeded to use to get rid of some Captain he didn’t like.

So Captain Klado did the sensible thing and, wait, no, he didn’t, he was told to gather reinforcements for the squadron, and out of spite, he got his hands on the worst of the worst, old tubs, useless junk and ships that were, I know, worse than what the squadron already had.

Except Repair Ship Kamchatka, nothing could ever be worse than that insanity.

Behold! he might of Imperial Russia.

And now, back to the beginning, welcome to Africa!

Now, the Magnificently inept Russian fleet have finally reached Africa, without shooting anymore British ships, just a certain ship having been out of contact for a while, who happened to have shot some 300 hundred shells at respectively: a Swedish merchantman, a German trawler and a fucking French Schooner, now how a Schooner, a SAILING ship get’s mistaken for a Japanese anything, is a wonder that only the utterly degenerated Captain of the Repair Ship Kamchatka could answer.

That is a schooner by the way, just as example, sure looks dangerous, and the Swedish flag does NOT resemble the Japanese naval jack.

 Let’s just quickly go through the event as the fleet goes from Tangier, whereas they left, one of the Russian ships managed to snag and sever the underwater telegraph line, cutting the city off for four entire days, great start.

Now, these ships are old school coal powered vessels, none of this fancy new-fangled heavy fuel oil here, good old coal, which means they need to refuel at some point, coal doesn’t have the same amount of energy oil does, not even close.

Now, this wasn’t actually fucked up, Russian Naval Command had arranged for German coalers to resupply the fleet of Dakar, Today’s Senegal, however, this is stupid as fuck, so they went with double loads of coal. Which means that EVERYWHERE HAD COAL, everywhere, which means dust, in an ultra humid environment, filled with Russian conscripts from the interior of the country.

Hello lung diseases, how are you? Fucking up Russian sailors? How delightful.

At this point, Kamchatka decides that sailing along the Angolese coast during a storm needs a bit of drama and send “Do you see torpedo boats?” instead of “We are all right now”.

At Cape Town, the Admiral was informed about the reinforcements that the enraged and spiteful Captain Klado had arranged were on the way, I don’t think any fleet in history have ever actively tried to avoid their own reinforcements.

Now, you can imagine that there were certain issues with morale on board at this point, as in their morale were fucking gone. To try and keep themselves amused and moderately happy, the sailors started bringing exotic pets onboard, mostly birds, which is pretty harmless, the crocodile and the poisonous snake, that bit a captain, less so. And then the refiguration systems onboard the “Esperance” broke down, meaning a lot of rotten meat had to be thrown overboard.

Now, sharks can detect a drop of blood in water with a frankly amazing range, how easy do you think it was for them to detect tons of rotting meat being dumped off a supply ship?

So this is the image as the Russian Squadron rounds the Horn of Africa, a sailing Zoo, filled with despondent sailors, the Kamchatka causing mischief every few days and they are followed by a trail of rampaging sharks.

Circus of nightmares at this point.

From the Cape of Good Hope to the inevitable.

The fleet had reached Madagascar, when Admiral Rozhestvensky fell ill for two weeks, his Chief of Staff? Brain haemorrhage and partial paralysation, what does this mean? Nobody’s in fucking command, apparently having a chain of command was to much work for the Russian Imperial Navy, shit, no fucking wonder Lenin won.

Now the crew just go and do R&R on their own, diseases start just killing crew on a daily basis and of course Kamchatka during a funerary salute, fires a LIVE round hitting the Cruiser Aurora, but it’s fine, they were getting used to it at this point.

She’s still around today.

Now, let’s talk about some of the supply ships, the “Malay” was sent back with a whole bunch of revolutionaries, mutineers and general fuck ups, oh yeah, did I mention the fleet had actual revolutionaries on board? Yeah, being in command of Russian ships of this era was basically hard mode, some crazy office had bought cigarettes filled opium, TWO THOUSAND OF THEM.

Then came the supply ship “Irtysh”, it was supposed to bring fresh ammo loads, having spent so many shells in the Glorious Battle of the Dogger Bank, however, in the finest tradition of utter incompetence, it brought twelve thousand fur-lined boots with lovely matching winter coast, perfect for the Indian Ocean.

They meet the Transport Ship “Gortchakoff”, hoping to get that most precious thing for any military service personal, letters from home, instead it carried the letters they had themselves send from Madagascar.

Now, to try and restore some degree of order and morale, the Admiral orders gunner drills, let me recap:

The destroyer couldn’t hit the side of barn even if it hit them in the face.

The Battleships managed to hit the ship towing the target, well, one of them did, fortunately, it was the flagship.

One of the destroyer squadrons, ordered to sail line abreast, scattered instead, someone forgot to get them their new codebooks.

Seven torpedoes were in fact fired, which seems miraculous, one jammed, two where so slow they missed, three just weren’t aimed properly and swung wide and the last one went in a circle causing panic amongst the ships.

The last thing may sound funny, but that happened way to often in the World Wars, torpedoes are actually pretty hard to get to work properly.

Oh yeah, and the Kamchatka signalled that they were sinking, because of course they did, turns out if was just some steam leak in the engine room.

While this mess is happening, the reinforcements, now named “The Third Pacific Squadron” had left Tallinn with some old fossil Admiral Nebogatoff as commander, the Russian Admiralty issued him the following orders: “You are to join up with Rozhestvensky, whose route is unknown to us”, the comedy continues. And Rozhestvensky then read in a newspaper, that when he’d beaten the Japanese and made it to Vladivostok, he’d have to surrender command to someone else arriving by train.

Zinovi Petrovich Rozhestvenski, Vice-Admiral. 1848-1909.

And you know what? The Third Squadron actually managed to join them, one of the signs of divinity I’ve heard of, on the 11th of May 1905, the second and third squadron actually merged and proudly head towards Vladivostok.

The end of this comedy of failures

On the 27th of May, the Russian Imperial Fleet engaged the Japanese Imperial Navy, the Russians lost, badly: 126.792 Tons of shipping versus 450 tons of Torpedo boats.

The Kamchatka did not survive the battle, sinking with her captain and most of her crew.

The Aurora actually did survive, together with three other cruisers they made it to Manilla, at this point in time an American protectorate, and were thus interned for the rest of the war.

“Dmitrii Donskoi” managed to survive an engagement six against one, but was to badly damaged in the engagement.

She fought and died well, at least.

Only ONE lonely ship actually made it to Vladivostok: Almaz, which was barely a cruiser, being more appropriately an armed yacht.

She actually made it.

Russia lost the war, Japan won, Revolution came in Russia a short while later.

Not only is the Aurora a survivor from this battle, that you can see today, the flagship of the Japanese? The Mikasa is moored in Yokosuka as a museum ship too, making the pair the only survivors from the same battle on opposing sides.

The lesson? Don’t let Captains drink Vodka.







The many kinds of Healthcare


So yeah, there are more than one alternative to handle Healthcare in a country, and most of them have a bunch of hybrid solution that blends elements of them all.

So let’s run through the three “pure” ways of handling healthcare in a nation:

Universal government owned healthcare:

This is the one the American Republicans would call “Socialist”, it’s fairly straightforward, the state has every citizen in a giant database, you show up at your local hospital through either a doctor, an accident or the emergency room.

You get treated, it costs you absolutely nothing, it’s paid collectively through the taxes everyone pays. Fairly straightforward, this is the basic model used in the Scandinavian countries and to a degree Great Britain through the NHS.

It does carry a fairly large bill and depending on the nature of the system, a potential waiting list and inefficiency.

But people don’t die in the streets, or at home, generally.

Government owned, mandated or heavily legislated Healthcare insurance.

This is the method used in German and Japan, among others, it’s also fairly simple. It’s a system based on private or public hospitals, who get paid through either government run health insurance companies or private companies that often operate in a sort of cooperative method, i.e. mostly non-profit or mandated not to produce larger profits than some legislative limit.

It generally works, in Germany your job actually pays to private non-profit companies, and if you lose your job? Off to the government subsidy, so people, you know, don’t die in the gutter and other such uncivilized stuff.

I gave an example on the Japanese system in yesterdays update, it does seem to have some problems actually paying enough to the healthcare companies and doctors.

The anarchy model, no control, limited or no government intervention.

Note, that I refrain from using laissez faire, because this model sucks. This is the model most commonly used in dirt poor African and Asian nations, it’s absolutely horrible and mandates that the poor have to make use of local clinics, often funded by who knows what, and old traditional methods.

It’s also the American model, just with an actual healthcare system present, completely run through the medium of private for-profit virtually unregulated healthcare insurance companies, which is why the most common reason for bankruptcy in America, is medical bills.

It, as we have seen in the US, doesn’t work at all, even with the American patchwork programs of Medicare and Medicaid, who are only directed towards those below or just above some Federal Poverty limit, which is a problem when lots of people lose their jobs, and thus their healthcare insurance, and for when the profiteering companies decided to go “Ha ha, fuck you” and dump you for the old insurance “Act of God” bullshit.


Shit, there’s tons of hybrid solutions, the Universal Government Healthcare often has possibilities for the rich and resource wealthy to simply skip the entire public waiting list and emergency room and just check into one of the many private hospitals and recently, in Denmark at least, some companies hand out private insurance as a little additional to their crucial employees, insures that they get them back to work faster and more efficiently, it’s also often used to just everyone, to draw people to the company.

Not in these days with crisis of course.

The second option is really a hybrid already.

Now for the American/Dirt poor country method? Perhaps some sort of Government Non-profit Health Insurance company to provide some proper competition to large Insurance companies who really only benefit people with a job or their shareholders or their CEOs.

Or perhaps a shift into the second model, and regulated the shit out of an area that always should have been heavily legislated.