Sunday 19 May 2013


The other day I wrote a piece on Norway's National Day, which received few comments, probably because there wasn't that much to say about it.

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.

First post: 

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.

Second Post:

I have worked in Stavanger since, but that was my very first visit to Norway. The factory where I was doing the inspection was a modern building set amongst woodland overlooking a fjord, and they insisted on taking me a tour round before we started, with very obvious pride in what they were showing me.

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.


  1. Denis Healey: Westminster 'worried stiff' about losing North Sea oil

    Scotland would prosper under independence thanks to North Sea oil and Westminster politicians are "worried stiff" about losing revenues from offshore production, according to a former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

  2. So it was really Mrs Thatcher's fault Dannis, was it? You didn't collude in any way at all.

    After she was in power and using all our money to hurt our industry, you still said nothing about what was in that report.

    Labour in Scotland. You can always count on them, huh?

  3. Norway looks like the Western Isles - one of the happiest places in the UK. Come on, you mainlanders, chose Harris before Blackpool (or Dundee)!!

  4. Aye, John. Beautiful. My Hungarian friend, Dani, and his parents just spent a week on Skye and Harris and came back utterly speechless about the beauty of the place and the friendliness of the people. Having spent the last 2 years getting his English up to scratch, he found himself having to cope with Gaelic... and was thrilled by it.

    You are so lucky.

    I'm determined to visit the islands soon, but the costs are formidable. It is cheaper to go to the Italian lakes!

  5. It is such a puzzle in how Norway can manage such an 'unnecessary' volatile product which we can circumvent by using shanks' pony and live on air according to the treasury.

    I've seen a white goat, a naked man and a couple on that rock not at the same time I might add.

  6. I think Norwegians must be cleverer than us CH.

    They have come from being poorer than us, to in 40 years being one of the richest nations on Earth because of how cleverly they used their oil bonus, that volatile asset that was, back then, relatively cheap and is now incredibly expensive, even given its propensity to change value by the day... a bit like gas, metals, tea, coffee, gold, silver, cash, cocoa and in fact just about every other commodity. The SPIV breed of Tory should know that. That's one of the ways they make all their money.

    Strangely, Scotland got exactly the same boon, and got poorer and doesn't have anything to fall back on.

    What does that suggest.

    It suggests to me that Norwegians are clever resourceful people, and Scots are complete idiots for allowing their riches to be taken away from them; used to improve the lot of their neighbour and its standing in the international community, have an embarrassingly large armed force for its size and financial status. It's the mark of the muppet to sit on a fortune in oil, and have your people queuing at food banks and huddling together to keep warm in a summer which is more like November than late May.

    So that's that problem explained. Scots are, it would seem, idiots.

    Can you imagine Norway saying to, you take it all. You look after it. We'll just go one being stuffed?

    Nor me.

    As for all the people you have seen on that rock... hmmm... are you a voyeur or something?

  7. Net surfer by putting two and two together to get five. I first saw that pic on Californians for Scottish Independence so originally thought that it was part of their landscape, how wrong I was.

  8. Ahhh... and there was me thinking you had been perched on a rock with your binos trained on it...

    ...and been sorely disappointed when the goat turned up!

  9. The question that remains unanswered regarding the demonstration against Nigel Farage is why was it allowed.

    It did not have approval from Edinburgh Council and as the demonstrators blocked the road they should all have been arrested.

    The Police have to answer for their handling of the demonstration.

    Mob rule seems to be the norm in Scotland now.

  10. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend
    your site, how can i subscribe for a weblog site?

    The account helped me a acceptable deal. I have been a little bit
    familiar of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

    my site; safe diets