Like many others here in Iceland, I’m absolutely appalled that there has been no sign of repentance from our leaders after all that has happened. Most of the people who are in power have been so for years and years, they designed and engineered the system that has prevailed and were absolutely blind to the signs that it was imploding. Despite this, nobody has resigned [except one MP who stepped down for a completely different reason and has become an unlikely sort of hero – simply by virtue of the fact that he’s the only one showing any semblance of humility] — and nobody has even said they’re sorry. Instead they scramble all over each other trying to whitewash themselves of any wrongdoing and pointing fingers in every which direction but back at themselves. It’s totally obscene.
The concerns I and many others currently have is that now that this IMF loan and a bunch of others have been secured and we as a nation have been plunged into debt more massive than most of us can fathom, the money will be handed over to the same people who caused this colossal f*ck up. And I’m afraid it’s just going to slip through their fingers. Witness the fact that our fearless Central Bank governor used a full hour last week to make a speech in which he talked only about the past, only about how blameless he was in all that has transpired, and said NOTHING about how he was going to take this nation’s monetary policy forward. Obscene indeed.
Until very recently, I was not in favour of the government resigning at this point in time. But I’m changing my mind. As long as the same people remain in power, I fear nothing will change. They ran this ship into the ground and now they want to rescue us? I don’t think so. It’s a question of trust – and trust is something they don’t have from the Icelandic nation now.
So I’m leaning more and more towards the idea of “utanþingsstjórn” – for once I don’t know the term in English [and can’t find it in any dictionaries] so please help me out … it’s a government that is appointed by the President and that does not sit in parliament. [In Icelandic it’s literally called an “outside-parliament government”.] Having the Prez [who I’m not terribly keen on either, but whatareyougonnado] hand-pick qualified individuals for each post seems like the most eminently sensible solution right now. We need new people with fresh ideas – not the same dusty old parties with the same dusty old candidates. And after such a government has run the country for a few months, and we’ve had a taste of something better [because surely they cannot make a worse mess than has already been made] and new ideas have surfaced and – most importantly – been listened to [which is SO not happening right now] … then with any luck we’d have some new directions and fresh candidates and could hold elections.
Even though the Prime Minister and leader of the coalition party have blatantly announced to the nation that there will be no elections next year and, in fact, no elections at all before the end of the term, three years from now.
Is it any wonder we’re spitting venom around here?
On a completely different note: I’m totally loving the little stickers they’re putting on all Icelandic products in the shops now, to remind people to buy Icelandic:
“Áfram Ísland” means Go Iceland! and is what people yell at sports matches when the national team is playing. Guess it’s to remind us that we’re all playing as a team now, gotta stick together, all that good stuff. [Now if only our politicians would get the idea.]
MEANWHILE, A WINDY DAY
With occasional bright skies, but mostly overcast. Chilly, right now 2°C [36F], sunrise was at 10.23 am, sunset at 4.05 pm.
*As many of you will undoubtedly know, Finland went through a similar economic crash back in the 1990s [although ours is much worse – because we do everything best here in Iceland, even economic crashes] at which time they focused on finding new solutions. A quintessential example of that is the company Nokia that before that time manufactured rubber boots, but with the new renaissance there got with the times and began manufacturing cellular phones. The rest, as they say, is history.
PS. I’ve decided that calling it ‘depression’ – even if slightly tongue-in-cheek – is just too much of a downer these days. So I’m gonna banish that word from this blog and replace it with euphemisms – like “our Nokia time”. Good, huh?
UPDATE: A reader emailed this morning to point out that one woman, Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir, actually did resign from the Central Bank’s board – and urged her colleagues to follow suit. None did. So – major props to Sigríður for this truly exemplary act! [I’m totally embarrassed to have forgotten this.]