A series of high-quality films by Phantom Power Films and Lesley Riddoch, looking at the ceconomies and culture of Nordic countries and examining what lessons Scotland can learn from them.
The Faroes - Connected Nation
Despite being a remote cluster of islands with population of just 50 thousand people (1% of Scots pop.), the Faroe Islands certainly don't think small. The Faroes took on global giant Google to protect their language and identity and have also created the world's fastest mobile broadband (a reserved issue in Scotland). The key factor in these success stories has been the Faroes Parliament: without doubt, the world's most powerful devolved parliament.
Iceland - The Extreme Nation
Despite being a sub-arctic island pulsating with potentially catastrophic volcanoes, Iceland's population (334,000 or Aberdeen and Dundee combined) has managed to become one of the most successful societies on earth.
To understand Icelander's attitude to risk and creating a positive from the bleakest situation means understanding the volcanic landscape that has shaped this nation and its fortunes. We look at how Iceland has harnessed the power beneath their feet, created a successful media industry by exploiting its lunar setting, how the land has shaped the island's politics and more.
The seismic global crash (and subsequent volcanic explosion) could have brought Iceland to its knees but, in fact, regenerated Iceland - empowering it to become a globally recognised, more sustainable, politically engaged nation with a future that looks brighter than ever. Iceland certainly puts any doubts about Scotland's huge potential in perspective as the UK and Europe's political tectonic plates continue to shift.
Norway - The Twin Nation
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 But over the last 200 years Norway has withdrawn from a Union with first Denmark and then Sweden and has invested its oil wealth wisely while Margaret Thatcher squandered ours.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?