However I noticed this morning that a contributor called 'Mafia', otherwise known as Stuart Black, had written a post with some of his own experiences of Norway. When I thanked him for his piece, he added a few other reminiscences, and with his permission I now reproduce them here.
Tris, wee anecdote, a few years back I was in Norway at a factory acceptance test, and on completion I had to get the bus from Arendal to Kristiansand for my flight. It happened to be National Day and -even at 7 am - the streets were thronged with families all in national costume, parents and children alike. As the bus wended its way through little hamlets the story continued, all were out in their finery, and the atmosphere seemed magical.
Nae nukes mind...
Anyway, the bus driver had been spending some time on a mobile phone, when he turned and beckoned me up front. Explaining that due to the celebrations, the route was bypassing the airport, I was told that I would be dropped at a layby, where a taxi would pick me up to complete my journey. Standing rather apprehensively in the middle of nowhere, I was relieved when a Mercedes turned up and shuttled me off to the airport. With 36 euros on the meter, I fumbled for my wallet, only to be gently told that the bus company would be paying the bill.
Can you imagine that happening here? Me neither. Beautiful country, great infrastructure, and a society to aspire towards. Love it.
Everyone who started, from a wireman to an accountant, spent their first weeks working in every department, learning each stage of production and testing (they made sophisticated CCTV systems) before taking up their proper duties.
At lunch everyone used the same (beautiful) facility, again overlooking the fjord, all sat together, no segregation of management and workers.
I was very struck by the spirit and enthusiasm of the staff, and with the realisation that it could be a pleasure to come to work in these circumstances. This allied to the tale above started something within me, a recognition that how we operated in the UK was all wrong, short termism and greed over-riding the kind of mutual co-operation and efficiency that I found embedded in that little factory. An accountant wielding a soldering iron, without complaint!
I actually travelled home from there with a real sense of wonder, couldn't wait to tell my wife about this lovely country.
Vote YES in 2014 and we may just be able to replicate some of this, and build a society worth paying taxes for, and a society in which it would be a pleasure to participate and live.
What a lovely place Norway seems to be... Now we might actually be better together with them...
...And thank you Stuart.