The Happy Lands focuses on the traditional mining communities of Fife, several of those involved in
making the film have first-hand experience of the tensions and huge social upheaval of the 1984/85 miners’ strike: lending the film an added aura of authenticity.
The Happy Lands maps the events that laid the foundation of Scotland’s identification with socialism and internationalism and asks questions which many Scots feel aren’t being asked within the current Yes / No campaign.
Is the desire for social justice, as captured in the film, driving change or is it national pride or patriotism – or merely the politicians desire for power?
Is the perception of Scotland as a socialist country still meaningful today or has the perception of socialism within Scotland changed so dramatically since 1926 as to render it meaningless?
The enduring challenge of poverty is pervasive throughout the film. If this is still a major issues Scotland has to tackle, or as Professor Tom Devine commented, is the current debate operating in a moral vacuum in which Scotland’s pervasive poverty and inequality are rarely mentioned?
With the worlds media fascinated by the “End of Empire” days represented by the possible break-up of the United Kingdom, there is likely to be international media interest in the film, as evidenced at its recent screening at the China Film Museum in Beijing where large enthusiastic audiences commented upon its relevance to both China today and to the Independence debate.
With millions around the world claiming Scottish ancestry, and remarkably strong diaspora groups thriving in countries such as America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, The Happy Lands will find affinities across the globe.