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Icesave passed in parliament

Well, after a marathon session this evening, Iceland’s parliament finally voted to assume a sovereign guarantee for the Icesave debt by a narrow margin – 33-30.

Prior to that, a proposal to postpone the vote yet again was rejected, as was a proposal to call a national referendum on the matter.

I’m so relieved it’s over. The whole thing had just become a nightmare, to the point where most normal people just couldn’t exercise any sort of healthy judgment on it. There was an immense amount of fear mongering on both sides and the Independence Party clung to it like a lifeline – after all, it has been their best chance of getting back into power.

Lára Hanna Einarsdóttir, one of this country’s most formidable bloggers, dug up an old video from about a year ago where Bjarni Benediktsson, leader of the IP, pontificates about Icesave, and it is outrageous to watch. His argument is the complete, 180-degree opposite of what it has been in the last few months and weeks. It is downright sickening to watch how the party that is most responsible for plunging us into the Icesave nightmare and which had signed a letter of intent accepting a sovereign guarantee just over a year ago has whitewashed itself of the whole thing and systematically worked to have the Icesave deal rejected – all because manipulating the Icesave debacle is the best way to whip up antagonism and ill-will against the current government.

Meanwhile, one of the main players in the IP and the entire collapse sits up at Morgunblaðið’s editorial offices and systematically works to rewrite history.

In my opinion the Icesave matter has brought out the worst in Icelandic society – from its ostentatious beginnings to its bitter, sorry end.

Farewell Icesave, let  me spit in your wake.

[PS – I should mention that the matter is not completely over yet — the president has yet to sign the bill, and scores of people are urging him to veto it. However, I don’t anticipate he will.]

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  • kevin o'connor waterford ireland December 31, 2009, 12:30 am

    Thats the easy bit over, as this all tots up over the years to 20 million krona per head .so I read somewhere, then comes the nice part of paying for it all if that figure above is true then a family of 3 has signed up to purchase a property mortgage of 300,000 euros except of course they dont end up with a property at the end of this repayment period, with reports of 40% of government income spent on servicing debt this is to put it mildly an extremely challenging.If you were 50 yr old you would have to say that its game over basically,the hunt must be on for assets to defray this massive cost almost to to the point of forgetting about the private property thing comrades,lots of planes heading to Norway,Dennmark as the IMF,EU,ICESAVE boa tightens its grip over the following years. Yes very funny that The IP guys come out with that line. Is that figure of 20 million per head true or have I got it wrong ?

  • Rikki December 31, 2009, 12:34 am

    Scores of people urging the president to veto the bill?
    I thought there were supposed to be 30,000.
    About 1,500 scores…
    But you’re still right – I don’t anticipate he will veto it either.
    Happy New Year, Iceland!
    I still love you.

  • sylvia hikins December 31, 2009, 12:56 am

    Bjarni Benediktsson- an example of a ‘snollygoster’- a shrewd, unprincipled person. (see my comment in your blog just previous to this). Defeat them, or they will come back to haunt you.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Alexander E. December 31, 2009, 2:10 am

    the party that … had signed a letter of intent accepting a sovereign guarantee just over a year ago

    So by pressing the bill through the throat new (so called) government just finished what IP promised to do? 😉

    the president has yet to sign the bill, and scores of people are urging him to veto it. However, I don’t anticipate he will.

    Last bastion of Iceland 🙂
    I agree – doesn’t look rock solid

  • James December 31, 2009, 7:49 am

    Even though parliament didn’t refer it to a referendum, is the president able to refer it to a referendum?

  • Joerg December 31, 2009, 9:08 am

    Congratulations! It’s certainly the best for Iceland, if this neverending play is coming to its final curtain.

    What else could a national referendum on Icesave be than a competition of fear mongering, given the complexity of the matter. And which other effect could it have than to broaden the gap within the Icelandic society.

    What a pity that I don’t understand a word of what Bjarni Benediktsson is saying – I’m still waiting for a Google application for simultaneous translation from spoken Icelandic to English/German – but I can imagine its gist.

    I wish you all the best for 2010!

  • Andrew December 31, 2009, 12:19 pm

    At least you’re doing your bit to ensure that history is not rewritten! This website will be a valuable historical resource in the years to come!

  • Michael Lewis December 31, 2009, 2:02 pm

    Its being reported in the FT that this paves the way for Iceland to join the EU.

    I can’t think of a more depressing fate for a country. The EU is run by Franco-German socialists. It largely for the benefit of French argi-business interests. And, will suck the life out of European businesses.

    A depressing way to end a decade, I hope the EU splits apart in the next decade.

  • Michael Schulz December 31, 2009, 2:57 pm

    Excellent news that put us back on track to a future.

  • Ingólfur Bjarni December 31, 2009, 5:22 pm

    Here is a transcript of Bjarni’s speech, it can be translated by Google translate: http://www.althingi.is/altext/raeda/136/rad20081128T013823.html

  • roughdoggo December 31, 2009, 5:32 pm

    You’ve gone soft, Iceland. Once upon a time, you were known as the people who would rather live on top of a vulcano, instead of under a king.

    If you think the EU is your deus ex machina, a rude surprise awaits.

  • Paul H December 31, 2009, 7:08 pm

    Just read on Iceland Review Online that the President has not signed the bill yet and will meet with InDefence on the 2nd.
    Have we not ‘heard the fat lady sing’ yet?

  • Andrew January 1, 2010, 4:37 am

    Will the President veto it?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/6918183/Icelands-president-turns-cold-on-Icesave-deal.html

    In a dramatic development last night, president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said that legislation passed by the Icelandic parliament late on Wednesday was controversial and he would need time before signing it into law. “I have noted that a large number of people have signed a petition against the law and I have also listened to remarks made by a number of legislators during the debate,” he said after meeting government ministers.

  • Kaj January 1, 2010, 10:03 pm

    Horrible decision. Why should the tax payers pay anything to private banks? It over when you have paid the debt.