2007 - 2022

Lessons from Norway on Power and Democracy

The third in the Nation series looking at Scotland’s northern neighbours, from Lesley Riddoch and Phantom Power, is in my opinion the best so far. It raises important questions about land ownership and democracy, about how structural engineering has a long-term impact on a country’s deeper sustainability, and crucially it also asks some difficult questions about energy and public ownership.

The simple takeaway is you can’t make big long-term strategic decisions and investments unless two conditions are met: you are an independent country and you have publicly owned and controlled utilities and energy companies.

While, for me, the film is too uncritical of Norway’s oil reliance in the context of our climate breakdown, it is a thought-provoking and beautifully produced documentary. People from all sides of the constitutional debate should watch it …


Comments (8)

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  1. Wul says:

    I found this film interesting and also very frustrating.

    To see a country, so similar to ours, doing a much better job of looking after its citizens is inspirational but also maddening. They run their country for citizens rather than a few landed elites and create so much more opportunity.

    I could weep when I see their beautiful, wild landscape, so similar to ours, teeming with thriving people and industry. The gulf between what Scotland is, and what it could be, laid bare. Why can’t we see that we already have everything we need to make a happier country?

    I so badly want out of the UK and back into the world.

  2. Alf Baird says:

    “The world’s best democracy”?

    And yet, in Norway those qualified to vote at parliamentary elections and referendums is restricted only to Norwegian nationals over the age of 18 by the end of the year of election, and who have at some time been registered at the Population Registry as resident in Norway. So only Norwegians (living in Norway or overseas) get to vote in national elections or in referendums in Norway. A Scot would not get a vote there, neither would a Dane, nor a German or an Englishman, nor anybody from any other country. And that is the global norm.

    Only in Scotland it seems do we give the vote, and not just in national elections, but also on Scotland’s very existence as a nation and on the self-determination of the Scottish people to virtually anybody who happens to have an address here. Call it ‘civic nationalism’ if you want, but no other country does it, and especially not the Norwegians.

    Brilliant film by Lesley though.

    1. It is civic nationalism and it is opposed to ethnic nationalism

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Ed, does that mean Norway or any other likeminded independent state that restricts their voting only to ‘nationals’ is not after all “The world’s best democracy”, but Scotland is? Because of our ‘civic nationalism’ we are therefore “The world’s best democracy”? Might it not rather be the case that Scotland is not yet independent primarily because of its so-called ‘civic nationalism’? Or as John McGrath might have said, our altruism? ‘Here is our oil & gas and other resources, come and take it.’ ‘Here is our land and our seas, come and take it.’ ‘Here is our culture and language, come and take it.’ ‘Here is our nation, come and take it.’ For we are ‘civic nationalists’.

        1. I never claimed Norway was anything at all but I have noted your pro Trump pro Bannon ethnic nationalism over and over.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            Gie’s a brek Ed. You run an article/video which suggests Norway is “The world’s best democracy” and yet you clearly fundamentally disagree with their voting regulations being restricted only to ‘nationals’, as is the case in most ‘normal’ (i.e. independent) countries. And the latter approach (i.e. voting restricted to Scottish ‘nationals’) if adopted in the Scottish context you suggest would be ‘racist’ and ‘ethnic’ and all sorts of other negative and unsavoury words? Which implies that you do consider most other normal independent nations as ethnic and racist, no? Yet the reality is that if voting in Scottish national elections and referenda were similarly ‘restricted’ to Scottish ‘nationals’ Scotland would arguably now be independent. ‘So called ‘civic nationalism’ is for the birds.

          2. I admire the way you shoehorn your single political insight into every single post Alf but to be honest its getting tedious.

            You should have the courage of your convictions Alf and go along to wave a banner at Steven Bannon’s event – you White Nationalists should stick together.

            I’m proud that the independence referendum was run on an open inclusive basis, your racism isn’t wanted here

          3. Alf Baird says:

            I’m giving you concrete evidenced examples of the norms of voting right restrictions in other countries, Ed. If you don’t want to address that, fine.

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