A new session of parliament began today.
Traditionally all the MPs attend a church service prior to the official setting of parliament, in Dómkirkjan, next to the parliament buildings. After the service they all walk in a procession behind the Prez and the 1st Wooman, into parliament.
Today, however, four new MPs announced that they would not attend the church service – three members of the Civic Movement and one from the Left-Greens. Reason? They don’t see the logic in mixing religion and politics.
Predictably their stance has elicited more than a little disapproval among the traditionalists in this society. My view? More power to them! Although I probably would have opted for the church service, I feel very strongly that those who do not agree with the premise of it should be free to do whatever they please. I don’t see why people who are not Christians should be made to attend a service just because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. As a matter of fact, what I find so absolutely inspiring about this new era in politics is the fact that we have these new people who don’t buy into the old “because it’s always been that way” routine. People who think outside the box and are true to their own convictions, whatever they may be.
Something I’m also loving: Birgitta Jónsdóttir’s open sharing about her experiences of taking a seat in parliament for the first time. Birgitta has long been a fervent activist for various causes and she does not suffer fools easily. Take for instance her blog post from yesterday. She attended a meeting in which a great deal of time went into the leader of the Progressive Party complaining about how the party is being evicted from a meeting room in the parliament building that it’s had use of for the last couple of decades. The trouble is, the PP is no longer as large as it was [it used to be one of the two main parties, along with the Independence Party], and is now being made to switch rooms with the Left-Greens, who ARE bigger than they were and, indeed, have outgrown their minuscule meeting room. Birgitta:
The meeting was pretty bizarre and a large part of it was taken up by Sigurmundur Davíð’s discussion [PP chairman - it's actually Sigmundur, but ok] about the Progressive Party meeting room. I think it’s bizarre for some party to be able to own a meeting room in the parliament building. Obviously the parliamentary meeting rooms should be allocated according to the size of the party and not some imagined proprietorship of something that should rightfully belong to those that the nation elects to parliament at any given time. Which, of course, is always changeable and unforeseen. The most obvious thing would be to let the parliamentary staff allocate those rooms based on the size of the parties, not on sentimental reasons. Which they tried to do in this instance, and got slammed for.
Dear cabinet, it would mean so much to me if the EU paper labelled confidential could be made public as soon as possible – preferably before the evening news. We in the Civic Movement would be so relieved be freed from the burden of having to keep something secret from the nation that there is no reason to keep secret – I think all this secrecy will only facilitate rumors and create insecurity and even fear among the public.
This kind of sincerity is so refreshing – and rare – in politics. I really, REALLY hope it signals a new era and that other MPs follow Birgitta’s example. In any case, fresh winds are blowing and I have a good feeling about this new session of parliament. Touch wood.
IT’S BEEN A BEAUTIFUL DAY
And the best thing about it is the relative calm we’ve had after those endless windy days. It was partly cloudy, but when the sun did shine it was a-blazing. It was also relatively warm – in the double-digits, at least. The worst thing is all the pollution – believe it or not, we’ve had a problem in the last several days with pollution blowing up here from Europe. Something I’ve never encountered before. Currently 8°C [46F]. Sunrise at 4:13 am, sunset 10:38 pm [in about 15 minutes, even though it's still bright daylight outside].