Predictably, the EU membership talks vote has been the issue of the day here in Niceland. Generally I have the sense that people are pleased, although of course there are specific interest groups that are vehemently opposed – most notably those in the fisheries industry, and in agriculture.
I must say, though, that I am pretty damn disappointed in the Civic Movement – the party I voted for in the last elections and which, until now, have been like a breath of fresh air in staid old Althingi. One of their election promises was to support talks with the EU … that Iceland should enter into negotiations without the double referendum [which in my view, and as Bromley pointed out in the comments to the last post, is merely a ploy designed to stall the issue and to throw dust in people’s eyes by those who really do oppose EU membership]. At the last minute – yesterday – three out of four members of the Civic Movement did an about-face and said they would NOT support the proposal for EU talks without a double referendum unless parliament pulled back on the Icesave agreement.
There’s something about these kinds of machinations that I find really distasteful. Not only is it a low form of manipulation, it’s an abuse of the power invested in them by their voters. I did not grant them the power to speak on my behalf in parliament, only to have them use that power in such a guileful way. And – call me naive if you will if you shall if you must, but I did not expect them to break an election promise. I thought they had more integrity – indeed, they piped up at just about every available opportunity to tell us that they did. That they were different. Not like those other parties. But it took them exactly three months to lose it.
And just to drive home my misjudgement, the person from whom I initially expected the least has actually impressed me the most today. Thráinn Bertelsson, whom I had written off as an ineffectual number within the CM ranks [I confess, mostly for reasons of character … he doesn’t much appeal to me as a person] turns out to be the only one who has held true to his promise and seems to have his integrity intact. In an interview with visir.is today he harshly criticized his fellow party members, saying that their conduct “had a tremendously negative effect on the credibility and image of the Civic Movement.” Asked whether he could then continue to work within the party, he replied that it was not his role to quit – “it was not I who walked away [from the party’s ideals]”.
Anyway, personally I am very relieved that the EU matter is now out of the way and that we can now get on with membership negotiations. Then, when they’re on the table, we can decide in a referendum whether or not we want to join. [They better not reneg on that promise!] And I must say I’m impressed by the new government for getting a move on and checking this matter off their agenda in such an efficient way.
AS FOR THE WEATHER
Beautiful. Went out to enjoy it, got home to discover that a small waterfall was pouring from our ceiling. I kid you not! Our upstairs neighbour wasn’t home and we finally tracked her down – she was near Thorlákshöfn, on the south coast, and high-tailed it back home, but it took her about an hour. In the meantime we had to shut off the water in the entire house. Turns out someone had left a hot water tap running in her bathroom [!!]. Her flat is pretty much destroyed, needs new flooring and fixtures, etc. Amazing how fast these things happen. BUT – the weather. It was incredibly sunny and beautiful and warm – the thermometer went up to around 22°C at the pool today. Sunrise at 3.43 am, sunset at 11.22.