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On the radio

A longtime reader, Don, was kind enough to post this to the forums a couple of days ago, but I wanted to wait until I had a chance to review it before I posted it on the blog, in case I came across like a complete moron. In which case, obviously, I would have made it disappear forevah. [Control freak? – Moi?]

Anyway, I guess it made the grade, so here we have Tryggvi Herbertson [former advisor to Geir H. Haarde], Prof. Michael T. Corgan of Boston University and our very own YT, all providing edifying insights into the greatest f*ckup in Iceland’s history. VOILA.

[If you have problems listening to it here on the site, it’s also available here.]

And for good measure, a link to hard-nosed interview [posted in the comments to the last post – thanks James!] that the BBC did with Geir Haarde this morning. They certainly cut him no slack, and to his credit I must say old Geir holds up admirably. Not that I agree with everything he says, not that I care for his leadership skills, not that I didn’t cringe when he said point blank that he hadn’t spoken to Gordon Brown since, you know, THAT incident … but still, you gotta give a guy his due.

Things warmed up a bit today and got a bit more tetchy. We currently have strong winds with flurries, tomorrow a hard rain’s a-gonna fall [sez the weatherman] and we’ll have temps above zero for the first time in ayges. Right now 1°C [34F], sunrise was at 9:32, sunset at 5.52.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Paul H February 13, 2009, 12:37 am

    Listened to it this morning, good show.
    I was pleased to hear the optimism.
    Playing it again now, so the missus can hear it, as we sit at our laptops.

  • James February 13, 2009, 12:48 am

    Yep, I thought that Geir handled that hard-nosed interview surprisingly well. And, by responding to the interviewer as “Sir” only when he thought the questions didn’t show sufficient respect, he reminded me of Thatcher in her authoritative days. As much as it may seem heresy at the moment, I could imagine him returning in an embassadorial (but not leadership) role in future. The most interesting point will be the result of the investigation into what Oddsson told Haarde about the likelihood of the banks collapsing (as mentioned in the interview) – I wonder whether or not Oddsson really did warn that the banks had zero percent chance of surviving…

  • James February 13, 2009, 1:29 am

    I just listened to the blogtalkradio and heard my submitted question (and the responses) at the end… 🙂

  • Voyager February 13, 2009, 4:34 am

    Alda, How can I listen to the piece? I don’t get a link showing, just some white space.

  • Don in Seattle February 13, 2009, 5:37 am

    Alda, you were magnificent on the show.

    Thanks for posting the blogradio icon, so others can hear what was said. It was a great, informative show.

    Voyager has indicated a problem listening to your link , so I’m going to list the URL here, for those interested but having connection problems:


    This is a very good program, and well worth the time to listen. I f you have a problem, please post back.

    I hope it ok to say that on your blog, Alda, but it really is a good show and people should hear what was said.

  • Dave Hambidge February 13, 2009, 9:43 am

    I know I keep banging on about this, but with your clarity of expression like that, stand up and be a candidate!


  • alda February 13, 2009, 10:33 am

    Paul – thanks!

    James – DO keeps banging on about how he warned everybody, etc. It didn’t stop him from declaring in May that the banks were absolutely sound, though – nor did it cause him to build up the foreign currency reserves. – and I wondered if that question had come from you! 🙂

    V – it takes a few seconds to load in … perhaps a problem with your browser, or something else. In any case, Don provided a link which I’ve now added to the post.

    Don – easy on the superlatives, you’re making me blush! 😉

    Dave – thank you! I truly appreciate your faith in me, but I have zero interest in being involved in politics. There are so many other things I would rather do with my time.

  • Guðmundur February 13, 2009, 11:39 am

    Nice interview, although I tend to take anything Tryggvi Herbertsson says with a grain of salt.

    But concerning the Hardtalk interview, there were several cringeworthy moments there, especially as Haarde is not used to being asked hard hitting questions, let alone follow-up questions (the standard of icelandic journalism is generally abysmal when it comes to interviewing politicians). But one thing that I find worrying is how Haarde and those responsible are mixing up terms like “responsibility”, “blame” and “guilt”, like when Haarde said in the interview that the special attorney will find out “who’s responsible” for the collapse. That’s not correct, the attorney is supposed to find out, first and foremost, who’s guilty of any wrongdoing, whose to blame. Responsibility is a different thing. I’m responsible for the actions of my underage son, but I’m not guilty if he does something wrong. The government and the prime minister is responsible for the well being of the economy and to ensure the best possible life standards for it’s citizens. The economy collapsed and we’re far worse of. The government and Geir Haarde are responsible and should have apologized. Whether or not they are directly guilty of any wrong doing is a different thing. And while journalists don’t push this misuse of words, Haarde will get away with his evasions and not apologize for anything, ever.

    Oh, and a better link for those not liking realplayer for the Haarde interview (scroll down a bit): https://larahanna.blog.is/blog/larahanna/entry/802723/

  • Sigga February 13, 2009, 12:00 pm

    I must admit that I don´t agree with you on Geirs performance on hardtalk – I was cringing most of the time and really felt uncomfortable for him… You know how you want to change the channel because it is far too pínlegt…

  • Dave Hambidge February 13, 2009, 1:24 pm

    Icelands loss then.

    I shan’t mention it again, well………


  • hildigunnur February 13, 2009, 2:01 pm

    A good interview, Alda, I loved how you corrected Tryggvi just talking about people not buying any more flat-screen TVs, and spoke about people having problems buying food. Who cares about flat-screens when you can’t feed your children?

    But I couldn’t finish watching Geir’s interview, it was just too painful. Cringeworthy par excellence. I didn’t think he did well at all.

  • tj3 February 13, 2009, 4:03 pm

    If Iceland’s story of today is not worldwide important, I do not know what would be.

    The radio show was good in exploring the tale and letting the world know.

    I would feel uncomfortable with the “Iceland is a canary in a coalmine” analogy. Unfortunately Iceland and Florida (home) and most other places effected are like little canaries poisoned by toxic finance systems.

    The idea that we should all everywhere buy flat screen TVs and go into more debt for the sake of the economy is more than a little toxic itself. Wow what a solution!

    What scares me here in the USA is that there is not even any real discussion about what to do… except pour more trillions into the pot and see if it cooks up another even more toxic mess or not. It is a cruel experiment to conduct on all of us little birds everywhere.

  • Bryan Bessette February 13, 2009, 4:56 pm

    Thank you for the blogtalk link. I hope you and Iceland appears more often on such a media. I check your blog every morning to get my Iceland news before I even read the news from America!
    Through your blog I keep my colleagues abreast of the goings-on in Iceland. As hard as the times I believe Icelanders are going through, I remain proud of the people and the country.
    Áfram Ísland!

  • Roy February 13, 2009, 6:05 pm

    How right you are Guðmundur! You have hit the nail on the head.

  • Ljósmynd DE February 13, 2009, 7:48 pm

    The remark of Tryggvi about the lower number of flatscreens sold made Iceland’s predicaments sound like some luxury problem. You found the right answer to it and at least he seemed to have noticed.

    I wouldn’t have expected Geir Haarde to say sorry on TV from abroad. I think he is right in stating, that this has to be done at home. But otherwise it is indeed strange to find that any concept of responsibility on a more abstract level doesn’t seem to be part of his world. He is leaving it to the cleverness of some officially installed investigator to define his share of responsibility, as stated repeatedly. If the investigator doesn’t find anything, then he seems to consider himself exculpated. This way the case is going to remain unsolved, that the government didn’t manage to guard the well-being of the nation -, which is exposing the problem of non-accountability once again.

  • alda February 13, 2009, 10:26 pm

    Thanks everyone. Very interesting takes on the Haarde interview here.

    Perhaps it’s just in this comment thread, but I seem to discern a difference between Icelanders and non-Icelanders in their views on how Geir handled it.

    Perhaps it’s all in the perception – I confess I was more concerned with his composure than what he said, because what he said I’ve heard a million times and it just sort of goes in one and out the other. “We’re not responsible, we don’t have to say sorry, etc.” – at this point I’m just yeah yeah, whatever. Let us just hope this new government does something differently.

  • RK in Los Angeles February 14, 2009, 4:49 am

    Ive never been as ashamed of an Icelandic politician or anyone representing the country as I am of this interview with Geir Haarde. I only hope that the rest of the world doesnt judge the whole country based on this. Only George W. Bush can show this utter lack of respect and accountability. Til hamingju Ísland með þann næst versta.

    I thought we fired him a couple weeks ago. Why is he still representing the country? Is this nightmare ever going to end?

  • Ljósmynd DE February 14, 2009, 8:54 am

    I think there was a secondary aspect in this interview provided by the fact that Geir was speaking to a nation, whose PM had invoked terrorism law and implemented the freezing order, which among other things left many hurt feelings with all Icelanders. So, as Geir was referring to this overreaction, he could certainly speak in the name of most Icelanders, regardless of their political view.

    And besides, he managed to go through this interview without putting more strain on Iceland’s reputation, which can’t be said about all interviews and press releases of the past days.

  • Kelp February 14, 2009, 11:40 am

    I think whether people see the interview as cringeworthy or not also depends somewhat on how they view that type of hard-nosed journalism. I think a lot of people mistake arrogance and rudeness for bluntness and journalistic integrity. I thought Geir did fine, because it seemed like the interviewer was just trying to rile him up, but he didn’t get riled up or extremely flustered. The interviewer kept going back to the same questions and you know with someone like Haarde you’re not going to get a different answer the second time you ask the same question, so I definitely think the interviewer could have prepared a wider variety of questions. It was just plain ol’ arrogant entertainment journalism meant to be a platform for Britons to feel like their anger was expressed directly to a top Icelandic official through humiliating him on TV.
    As much as I don’t wish for more economic problems in the world, if Britain’s banks do end up collapsing, I hope at the very least it will humble the, in my opinion, too-arrogant and ignorant British media. (The American TV media also tends to be just as ‘hard-hitting’, read: for entertainment value only.)
    Not that I agree with most of what Geir said.
    I think for me it’s also a matter of not having had a TV in a long time, I’ve grown unused to that type of journalism… I get most of my news through written sources which on the whole tend to be calmer in tone and more varied in questions, at least outside the tabloid press.

  • James February 14, 2009, 1:11 pm

    Ive never been as ashamed of an Icelandic politician or anyone representing the country as I am of this interview with Geir Haarde. I only hope that the rest of the world doesnt judge the whole country based on this.

    Oh come on… I bet most British viewers (who are pretty cynical about politicans) thought Geir handled that interview well. Icelanders must be harder to please during revolutions!