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On herding cats

So, the Social Democratic Alliance held its national congress this weekend and by all accounts Prime Minister Jóhanna held a thunderous speech in which she pulled no punches.

Among other things, she talked about the difficulty of “tightening the ranks” within the current government coalition and said that getting some of the Left-Green MPs to support her agenda was “like trying to herd cats”.

Apparently some of the Left-Greens have not taken kindly to being likened to stubborn felines with minds of their own and are, in fact, rather offended.*

Me, I see a new breed of Icelandic dog being born: The cat-herding Icelandic politdog.

Has a ring, don’t you think?

But then again — it might just be easier on horseback.

[Thank you Jeff!!]

* go figure

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  • Jeff March 29, 2010, 12:30 pm

    Great analogy !! Give the Movement Party horses!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

  • alda March 29, 2010, 12:36 pm

    Hahaha! Thanks Jeff — I shall add this to the post NOW. 🙂

  • Flygill March 29, 2010, 12:55 pm

    Her suggestion that the fish-quota system be put to a national referendum was the first good idea she’s had in, oh, let’s see, about a year and a half.
    Otherwise – what agenda?
    Maybe this one:
    – leave the banks in the hands of the bankers who screwed up in the first place
    – let the banks write-off loans to their friends without any interference
    – no help, no skjaldborg, for Icelandic home-owners
    – don’t challenge the power-base of the two corrupt, nutty right-wing parties
    – hands off Jon Asgeir J., the “friend” of Samfylking
    – drag feet on criminal prosecutions
    – allow sales of national property to foreign vultures and give them subsidies
    – no substantive reform on a host of issues. Banking, bankruptcy, corporate oversight, judges, direct elections, indexation. Except stripping. Stripping is very bad and requires special attention.
    – keep secrecy laws, and generally keep information away from the people
    – don’t communicate with foreign governments
    – ignore informed experts
    – trust Svavar Gestsson. Don’t read small-print in binding agreements.
    – generally do nothing until something absolutely needs to be done. Work on the least important issues first.

    So is it any wonder that she can’t keep the few Althingi members with any sense from departing from the party-line?

  • Michael Lewis March 29, 2010, 1:21 pm

    I’d have to agree with the tone of your post, but this bit:

    “allow sales of national property to foreign vultures and give them subsidies”

    Erm… you can’t have it both ways. Icelandic companies bought up huge swathes of the UK high street. Now they need to sel. And, now Iceland may need to sell some national assets, or rights to those assets for a certain period of time. That is what happens when you open up your markets. That’s probably a better outcome than the closed market alternative.

    As I say I agree with the tone of your post, the Icelandic PM just seems to have indicated her management skills aren’t exceptional and the evidence would suggest (better Icesave deal offered as soon as the Icelandic PM pushed legislation to referendum) that her negotiation or management of negotiation isn’t up to much either.

  • Easy March 29, 2010, 3:08 pm

    I agree with Flygill’s comment.
    Well, I would say that the ONLY thing she’s done is the streep tease bann, the referendum is just an idea, they will never do it, she is saying it just because she knows people will like that idea, and she will get some sympathizers back from the thousands that they have lost. But this thing of practlicly well, actually literally insulting the parlamentarians, looks like a very desperate person.

  • Kris March 29, 2010, 3:51 pm

    Yeah, I call her Doddson lite. I think she should make like Pelosi and call the people riffraff while she is at it.
    She exposed herself as a fraud when she agreed to accept the IP loan agreement for Icesave. Her only salvation is that people dread the return of the IP. Flygill has a nice list.

  • idunn March 29, 2010, 6:37 pm

    Great video. Those are some fine (cat)boys.

    When mentioning willful cats the first one that came to mind was one pictured on these very pages. I KNOW that cat wouldn’t take kindly to herding. I like a politician who speaks from the heart, and perhaps Prime Minister Jóhanna is doing exactly that?

    Maybe an enticing saucer of milk?

  • The Fred from the forums March 29, 2010, 10:30 pm

    So the PM has said the Left-Green MPs are stubborn and independent.

    Why would that be offensive to an Icelander?

  • James March 29, 2010, 11:14 pm

    I use the herding cats phrase at work at least once a week, but ensure none of the “cats” hear it…

  • Marc March 30, 2010, 10:42 pm

    I can imagine that trying to get the left-greens to act as ONE party is difficult. They are born to be critical of everything, such is their nature, and that’s why they get voted into parliament, that’s why they make a great opposition party and a lousy government party (for now anyway). However, pointing out flaws in your coalition partners generally leads to your own weaknesses being exposed shortly after.

    There are only two ways of governing in a coalition:
    1. Have every party score at least a couple of important goals. This tends to be detrimental to one-issue parties, because once they scored their goal, people don’t vote for them anymore.
    2. Avoiding that the other parties score any important goals. This is very unnerving for the participants, but will go down well with the backbone of the party. Voters though dislike these governments, but they will dislike some parties more than other.