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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:45 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 2:08 pm
Posts: 126
Some of you may have seen allegations in one of the Unionist dailies recently alleging that the Norwegian Foreign Minister had stated that Alex Salmond was telling lies about the Norwegian economy during the banks "crisis". These are refuted here:

Norway says nothing about Scotland
Yesterday (29 October), the Daily Mail "Scotland" reported that Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Stoere had torn into First Minister Salmond demolishing his argument that Scotland could be as economically successful as Norway. Apparently the arguments were devastating and destroyed the claims that Scotland could build the kind of prosperous society that the Norwegians have produced through the careful management of their oil resources.

To be honest I was reading the article on the newspaper stand in Tesco and had to try to digest the arguments in the piece without attracting the attention of the staff at the lottery and fags kiosk. I have to say I searched and searched but couldn't find anything that resembled even marginally an attack on Salmond, the SNP or the notion of Scottish independence. In fact the Norwegian Foreign Minister said, as is the wont of foreign ministers, precisely nothing about the domestic affairs of a foreign state. What Mr Stoere did say was that Norway and Scotland were different. One had been independent for over a hundred years and the other hadn't. One had completed the process of nation building and the other hadn't. One had had many years to build up an oil fund and the other hadn't. Norway had discovered oil at a different stage of development from Scotland and therefore it was difficult to make direct comparisons.

Daily Mail journalists and editors believe their readers are stupid enough to fall for this propaganda - and in its construction it is beyond even the usual level of Unionist duplicity and double speak that we in Scotland are used to. It is hard to imagine what the Mail wants from this exercise. To damage the SNP? To make it more likely that Scottish voters will support its party of choice, the Tories? There may be short term gains for Unionism in this tempestuous period but in the long run the outcome will not be to the British nationalist taste. English voters will again be asking themselves why they are being asked to subsidise Scotland and Scottish voters will be asking the Unionists what they can offer Scotland other than a permanent state of penury and dependency on the alleged generosity of the UK state (i.e. England).

Goebellsesque propaganda of the type we saw yesterday may satisfy the Unionists desire for revenge on the SNP and Salmond in particular but in it lies the seeds of their own destruction. Nationalists think in centuries - it has taken us 301 years to regain the present level of control over our country. We have lived through setbacks before, we've seen every form of anti Scottish propaganda that it's been possible for the British state and its supporters to construct. We've survived to see a time where more Scots support the national movement than ever before. Unionism like Brown maybe experiencing a bounce but it's a dead cat bounce; as the Unionists over stretch themselves in mounting hysterical attacks on Scotland the true nature of the bounce will become apparent. Brown claims this is his Falklands moment. He's wrong; this looks much more like a Diana moment to me. Readers will remember that the former Princess of Wales died about ten days before the referendum on Scottish devolution. Some ultra unionists even called for the vote to be postponed. Nationalists feared that the Britishness fest that followed Diana's demise might lead to a loss of support for the Yes side in the vote. They were wrong - the vote came out more strongly in favour of a Scottish Parliament than even the most optimistic had hoped for. Glenrothes might provide similar surprises.

And finally, news this morning that Scottish house prices are holding up better than any other part of the UK. At least until now. Prices here never rose as fast or to such dizzying levels as they did in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prices remain amongst the lowest in Western Europe - Edinburgh still looks cheap compared with neighbouring capitals like Dublin, Oslo, Amsterdam and London - even after the price falls there and here. Avoiding the serious crash of other parts of the UK is important for the country - a correction may be necessary but the type of meltdown that's happened in E,W and NI is not desirable. How do you avoid a meltdown? Well, one way is by encouraging a sense of confidence in the economy and its future prospects. Why then have the UK prime minister and his chancellor been so intent on doing the opposite. In their desperate attempt to stay in power they have been finding every possible way of sacrificing that sense of confidence for the sake of votes. In the long run they will pay the price.

and here:

Norwegian Ambassador slaps down Daily Mail
I've just received this e-mail and letter from the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Dear ,

with reference to your e-mail to Bjørn Jahnsen at the Norwegian Foreign Minister's press office, pleased be advised that the attached response letter from ambassador Bjarne Lindstrøm was sent to the Scottish Daily Mail this morning. We very much hope this will appear in tomorrow's edition of the newspaper in order to avoid further misunderstandings.

Kind regards,

Stein Iversen

Stein Iversen
Minister Counsellor
Head of Press, Information & Cultural Affairs
Royal Norwegian Embassy
25 Belgrave Square,
London SW1X 8QDWork
(+44) 020 7591 5521Mob.
(+44) 0777 55 24 737


The article "Salmond Slapped down by Norway Minister" in the Daily Mail on 29 October contained several incorrect and misleading statements attributed to Norway's Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre.

Firstly, there is no "growing anger in Norway" over comparisons made between Scotland and Norway during the debate in the United Kingdom against the backdrop of the current global financial crisis.

Secondly, no accusations have been made by Mr Støre against Mr Salmond, as alleged in the article. In the interview, the Foreign Minister merely pointed out factual similarities and differences between the challenges presently faced by Scotland and Norway. Inferring from this that Mr Støre is of the view that Mr Salmond has in any way lied or mislead the public, is simply incorrect.

In short, the Norwegian Foreign Minister did not intend to criticise either side in this debate, which is a domestic political discussion. What he strongly emphasised in the interview with the Daily Mail and which, sadly, was simply omitted from the article, was his sincere appreciation of the warm ongoing relationship between Scotland and Norway.

Yours sincerely,
Bjarne Lindstrøm
Ambassador of Norway

With grateful thanks to The Truth About Scotland

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