I’ve been going through the results from yesterday’s National Assembly and am well and truly inspired by what I see. Granted, all the work needed to implement these things still remains, and there are not many concrete suggestions — but the vision is there, and there are many of us who consider that vitally important. It puts things into words that perhaps many of us have vague ideas about, but may not take the time to sit down and define in the hustle-and-bustle of our daily lives. Gives us some sort of perspective of what we would like our society to look like in the future – which of course was precisely the point. Roadmaps are all good and fine, but if you don’t know what your final destination is, they’re not really all that useful.
I have to say that I’m proud of my fellow citizens for the civil action that has been undertaken since the meltdown last year. First we had the Saturday afternoon demonstrations [which initially were met with precisely the same disdain in some circles that you see towards yesterday's National Assembly - but in the end, of course, almost everyone wanted to own a part of them], we had the civic action meetings on Monday nights, we had the Kitchenware Revolution, and now we have the National Assembly. Which incidentally differs from the rest in that people are attempting to lift themselves above the endless bickering, anger and negativity and to approach the reconstruction of this society in a proactive, unified manner. I will go so far as to say that, even if nothing else comes out of this, it has given this society a sense of momentum and hope, and a chance to think about what we DO want, as opposed to always focusing on what we DON’T want.
Here are some of the main results from each of the categories discussed:
Equal access to education, irrespective of income or social circumstances | Emphasis on financial literacy and how society functions | Emphasis on ethics in education | added regard for practical and vocational training | an educational system where individuals can thrive
Guaranteed housing for families | flexible and balanced working hours | a community that recognizes that the family is the cornerstone of society | access to extracurricular activities to be guaranteed in the same way that basic education is | respect for senior citizens | targeted measures against bullying and other abuse | a community that supports the bridging of the age gap | 12-month maternity leave
Strong welfare system utilizing proactive preventative measures | equal access to health care, irrespective of income or social circumstances | strong social safety net for young and old | personal home-care for seniors | support for minorities | improved support for youngsters with drug-related issues | free dental care
Sustainable use of our own resources and green energy | more support for innovation | diversity in the economy | protection of fishing grounds| fair distribution of fishing rights and fisheries management | improved business ethics | use of resources for the good of the Icelandic nation | strong knowledge-based society instead of reliance on heavy industry | research and innovation to create strong alternative industries | support for small businesses and agriculture | processing of raw materials domestically | adjustment of public policy to support hothouse farming and changes to quota system
Formulate non-partisan comprehensive policy with emphasis on sustainable utilization, nature conservation and education | transparent utilization of natural resources | Iceland to be leading in sustainable utilization of energy | eco-friendly public transport | nature and resources owned by the Icelandic nation! | be the first country to power all cars and ships with green, domestic energy
Sustainable use of all resources | independent in energy needs | increase education & training to reduce reliance on imported energy | sensible use of resources to benefit all Icelandic residents | formulate realistic plan for efficient and sustainable use of resources | temporary tax breaks to boost use of green energy | sustainability and consumer ethics taught in schools | long-term benefits for subsequent generations
For Iceland to become a model of peace and tolerance | optimistic, powerful, independent nation and well-run society | participation in international community while retaining ownership of resources | Iceland’s wealth lies in culture and arts | Iceland as part of the EU | more transparency and new constitution | take responsibility and learn from experiences | stand unified guided by optimism, integrity and hope | independent democracy, outside the EU | non-biased discussion about EU membership | a stable currency and free media | emphasis on innovation and creativity
Communal responsibility | honest welfare society with equal rights irrespective of gender or location | respect for human rights and rights of children | equal opportunity and wages for all | community free of prejudice and bias | equal treatment of individual debtors and professional investors | Iceland should be one constituency where votes have equal weight | freedom of expression and gender equality | everyone equal before the law
Transparency [this word was in just about every suggestion handed in] | democratic administration that is free of corruption resulting from strong monitoring and judicial system | public referendum on the EU | responsibility of public servants | no selling of public resources or taxing of future generations | real democracy and more election forms | constitution created by the people | strong judicial system and monitoring of public bodies | ethical public servants who protect the nation’s natural resources!! | simplification and greater efficiency | stricter penalties for sex offenders | genuine division of power between executive, judicial and legislative branches
So there we have it!
And just to conclude, a few pics taken at the Assembly yesterday:
Looking down the rows of tables. Each table had a white balloon marked with a number.
At the two far tables were the industrious ants who processed all the results. At the front, the press people.
The first results, up on a screen.
Eygló, one of the chosen 1,500.
Looking across the assembly.
Delivering the results to the boxes. Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon looking rather grim.
Dishing out the Icelandic lamb soup at the end.
AND FINALLY, SOME WEATHER
It’s been miserable today, sad to say. It was freezing, and the wind picked up as the day went on, with some pretty malicious gusts. The worst kind of Icelandic weather IMHO. It’s currently 3°C [37F], sunrise was at 9.54 am, sunset at 4.27 pm.