With any luck, we should have a new government later today [Saturday]. By all reports coalition talks between the Left-Greens and Social Democrats are coming along swimmingly. No word yet as to who will run what ministry, but rumour has it that there will be five ministers from each of the parties and two ministers from outside the political arena – Gylfi Magnússon, an economics professor at the University of Iceland, as Minister of Banking and Business Affairs, and Björg Thorarensen, a law professor from the U of I, as Minister of Justice.
The Progressive Party is also very much involved in the talks as they are instrumental in propping up the minority government, i.e. they have pledged their support to protect the government from collapse, providing some fairly stringent conditions are met. Among those is that the constitution be completely reviewed and changes made where necessary [along the lines of what Njörður P. Njarðvík described in our interview here].
The project schedule for the new government has been drawn up in collaboration with a group of economists, including Jón Daníelsson, a professor at London School of Economics. What is particularly reassuring about this change in government is that FINALLY we get a sense that things are moving and people are doing something rational [like consulting real live economists], and moreover it is TRANSPARENT – we, the public, are kept posted on the discussions taking place and when they are expected to finish and who is involved, and suchlike. Which is a complete turnaround from the surreptitiousness we have seen here over the last three months.
It’s like a breath of fresh air.
Meanwhile, the Independence Party has gone out like a deflating balloon. The ministers, including the PM, have been packing up their belongings and moving out of their ministries over the last couple of days, and the IP ministers I have seen interviewed have all been speaking through clenched teeth. The Prime Minister, for instance, addressed his party today in his farewell speech [he’s leaving politics, at least for the time being, for health reasons] and went on about how their former coalition partners the Social Democrats had been “controlled by their hatred for one man” – one Davíð Oddsson, because they had set it as a condition for the continued collaboration that Doddsson be removed from the Central Bank. Not a word about Doddsson’s incompetence or his numerous failures to protect the interests of the Icelandic nation in the lead-up to the economic meltdown. Nope – Doddsson was a poor innocent victim – much like the Independence Party itself – of the impossible Social Democrats and their preposterous conditions.
And the refrain is repeated and repeated again: this country is on the fast track to hell because nobody but nobody can do a proper job of running it except the Independence Party. Those horrid Socialists and Left-Greens are, of course, ignorant fools who know nothing about finance and whose policies are childish and ill-conceived. Geir Haarde even had the gall to stand up on the podium and pronounce that “things in the economy are far from being as bad as many people like to claim.” My God! The only thing worse than their arrogance is their delusion.
AND FRESH WINDS HAVE STARTED BLOWING
In actuality, across our fair country. It’s picked up quite a bit in the last couple of hours. Weatherman sez we’ll have moderate winds in the capital area, with sunny spells and temps around the freezing mark today. Right now, just after midnight, we have just that, 0°C [32F]. Sunrise is at 10.13 and sunset due for 5.09 pm.