On eyjan.is – one of this country’s most popular websites – there is a blog called Orðið á götunni [Word on the Street] which is written anonymously and focuses on the buzz in Icelandic society at any given time.
The current post claims that, since people are generally so pleased with President Ólafur Ragnar’s appearance in the foreign media, lots of folks would like to see him and Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir switch places – to have her move to Bessastaðir [president’s residence] and to have Ólafur return to parliament. The posts suggests that perhaps we could vote on that proposal as well in the upcoming national referendum.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea, and the first comment beneath the blog post is pretty stellar. An eyjan reader named Jón Örn Marinósson writes:
I beg your pardon? I presume the proposal in the last paragraph is a light morning joke. Just the idea of having Ólafur Ragnar back on the battlefield of Icelandic politics makes me shudder; there are enough devious political foxes there as it is. In his “interview” with the BBC Ólafur uses the same tactic as his arch nemesis for many years, Davíð Oddsson, and tries with an incessant stream of words to prevent the host from asking uncomfortable questions. The president’s defiance borders on rudeness and is not fit for a man in his position. Ólafur also talked as though democracy in Europe was nowhere greater and more effective than in Iceland. I beg your pardon? What about the inequality of ballots in Iceland? What about the two-party governance that has infested Icelandic society for more than 100 years? Ólafur also talked as though referendums were a fundamental part of Icelandic politics and practically an annual event here in Iceland. In the just over 100 years since Iceland gained home rule, Icelanders have had a chance to take part in two referendums – on the alcohol ban and the founding of the Republic. I am 63 years old and have never voted in a referendum – and neither has Ólafur Ragnar. It is possible that some BBC listeners bought into Ólafur Ragnar’s unctuous description of Icelandic democracy – but it does not make me feel any better being supported by people who have been purposely deceived with the unsubstantiated claims inherent the interminable wordflow of our president. Ólafur Ragnar was not prudent when he gushed about Icelandic business acumen on his travels abroad and its supremacy on a global scale. I think he would do well to watch his words now when speaking about the excellence of Iceland’s democracy and its global supremacy.
For anyone who is interested, here is the BBC interview again: