The Scottish National Party is marking the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution and highlighting the role of ‘constitutional father’ Wilhelm Christie, whose family came from Montrose.
Norway’s 1814 constitution is the third oldest in the world in continual force, and paved the way for self-government and eventual independence for Norway in 1905. Thousands of Norwegian children marked the 200th anniversary on 17th May with a parade through Oslo.
The success of Scotland’s independent neighbours like Norway and Denmark is regularly highlighted in Scotland during the current debate running up to the Scottish independence referendum on 18th September 2014.
Westminster SNP Leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Angus Robertson MP is in Oslo to speak about Scottish independence and the potential of closer links with Nordic neighbours including Norway.
Addressing an audience of academics, diplomats and journalists at Oslo University Angus Robertson MP said:
“Norway has used the power of self-government to radically improve the country, promoting economic success and social fairness.
“Without the powers of independence it is unimaginable that Norway could have harnessed its wealth, including the creation of the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.
“This success can be traced back to the ground-breaking 1814 constitution.
“Few people in Scotland know that the ‘Father’ of the Norwegian constitution Wilhelm Christie traces his family back to Montrose in eastern Scotland.
“In this special anniversary year celebrating Norway’s constitution we should remember the role played by Christie, whose statue stands outside the Norwegian Parliament and in his home town of Bergen.
“We take great pride in Scotland about the contribution of Scots to the foundation of the United States. We should not overlook our connection to Norway, and build on our close links.
“Norway has shown the way a northern European country the same size as Scotland can be better governed, more economically successful and socially just. It is unsurprising that Norwegians are rated as living in the country with the highest quality of life in the world.
“200 years on from the inspiration of Christie, we can maybe catch-up with Norway in Scotland and have our own Constitution. To do that we will need to vote ‘Yes’ in September.”