The Norway film tells the story of Scotland’s twin nation. We have the same population, share the oil, gas and fishing resources of the North Sea and have similar geography. But over the last 200 years Norway has withdrawn from a Union with first Denmark and then Sweden and has invested its oil wealth wisely while Margaret Thatcher squandered ours. This much we already know.
But did you know Norwegians have chosen to continue paying some of the highest personal taxes in the world to stabilise their oil-based economy – using the oil fund only to top up budgets not underpin them? Did you know hydro was the first big energy revolution, possible because Norway had no feudal landowners blocking the development of free energy for all? And – perhaps most importantly – did you know the widespread ownership of land in the 19th century meant Norway created one of the world’s widest electorates and therefore one of its most egalitarian parliaments?
These democratic achievements underpin Norway’s success every bit as much as independence and raise hopes and tough questions about Scotland’s future. Can we hope to use renewables to match the incredible achievements of our twin nation?