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The mystery of the excluded parties

The most bizarre news item of the day was that our Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon has gone off to the UK and Holland to discuss the Icesave monster with high ranking officials — along with the leaders of the Independence and Progressive Parties [Bjarni Benediktsson and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson].

I suppose it’s designed to demonstrate the, er, newfound unity on Icesave within the Icelandic government — but why was there no representative from the Social Democratic Alliance, seeing as how the Left-Greens and SDA make up the coalition? And why was Hreyfingin – the fifth party in parliament – not even informed?

Also rather puzzling: why has none of the mainstream media asked this question?

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  • James January 29, 2010, 12:05 am

    I guess the Finance Minister represents the government, not a particular party.

  • Bromley86 January 29, 2010, 12:33 am

    Easy questions to answer. The government representative was just that. It no-doubt helped that he’s from the coalition party that is most hostile to Icesave.

    The Movement were excluded because (a) they’re irrelevant and (b) they’d likely be obstructive. Do they even pretend to represent anyone still?

    But IANAIcelander, so I may be wrong.

  • kevin o'connor waterford Ireland January 29, 2010, 3:40 am

    Ask no questions comrade or its the salt mines of Ontario for you,you have already pushed your luck too far with your Italian jet set life style (aka comments over at the EDZ). However its touching that you Icelanders when push comes to shove forget petty party political differences and unite as a nation to face the common foe,whilst forgetting why the hell are they on that jet in the first place. I Hope its business class, Ryanair is sooo cattle truck.

  • idunn January 29, 2010, 7:51 am

    And why isn’t everyone else in Iceland asking the same question?

  • Tom Harper January 29, 2010, 9:51 am

    Sounds like cloak and dagger stuff. Frankly, if it solves IceSave satisfactorily, I’m not sure I would object…

  • alda January 29, 2010, 10:19 am

    Seems some of you are right – Steingrímur went as a rep for the coalition. Thanks, all.

    Kevin – salt mines?? — You’re talking (well, writing) to someone who grew up in Ontario and this is the first I’ve heard of any terrible salt mines!

  • alda January 29, 2010, 11:39 am

    ps – a short gander through blogland (via eyjan.is) reveals that despite the offical response to the above (SJS representing the gov’t) a lot of people are still asking a lot of questions.

  • Rik Hardy January 29, 2010, 1:32 pm

    Exactly. As usual, it is not the media who are asking the questions, although it’s their job to do just that. So the people ask instead.
    And whatever you think of The People’s Movement, as it used to be called, it is they who most represent the popular protests of last year which led to the expulsion of corrupt government No. 1. The present government, unless it wishes to aquire a reputation as corrupt government No. 2, has yet to admit that it owes its existence to what is now called “The Movement” and that’s why I’m asking questions.

  • Andrew (the other one) January 29, 2010, 1:46 pm

    They do have Nickel mines in Ontario!They would probably do.

    The credibility of a negotiating team does matter, but as the vote is coming soon, it would seem to me that the UK/NL side will be pretty wary of striking a deal – after all, the president could just veto it again and send it to another referendum. The Icelandic team needs a clear mandate to negotiate a deal on behalf of the people of Iceland without it being subject to later revision or veto.

  • Tom Harper January 29, 2010, 2:50 pm

    “it would seem to me that the UK/NL side will be pretty wary of striking a deal – after all, the president could just veto it again and send it to another referendum”

    My guess is that the goal of these talks is to re-open negotiations under a foreign mediator instead of striking a new loan agreement.

  • Peter -London January 29, 2010, 11:48 pm

    “My guess is that the goal of these talks is to re-open negotiations under a foreign mediator instead of striking a new loan agreement.”

    How can you negotiate anything when it can be rejected without any discussion, rationality or the whim of the president and the vote of public.
    A foreign mediator is irrelevant when one party is incapable of providing a representative viewpoint, you may as well get the Pope involved and then ignore him.

  • Tom Harper January 30, 2010, 1:12 am

    @Peter -London

    I agree with your presumably rhetorical question. I was jusgt guessing the intentions. It is often the cause, though, that negotiation parties lack plenipotentiary in negotiations in the age of instant communication. A similar situation exists in the US; a treaty negotiated by the President or Secretary of State must be ratified by the Senate. I don’t think that any negotiating parties expect anything else these days.

  • James Wilde January 30, 2010, 1:28 pm

    “…á framgöngu Steingríms J., sem hvað eftir annað hafi sýnt, að hann svífist einskis í þágu ráðherravaldanna…” (Rough translation: …Steingrimur J, who has shown time and again that he will use any methods for the securing of ministerial power…

    The citation is from an article about the three MPs trip to Holland. It’s as I say, the only thing an MP fears more than the loss of power for his party is the loss of power for parliament, i.e. the take-over of power by the voters.

  • James Wilde January 30, 2010, 1:34 pm

    „Það kom á daginn að það er alveg hægt að ræða við þessa menn,“ er haft eftir Sigmundi Davíð Gunnlaugssyni. (Rough translation: SDG said “We discovered that it’s quite possible to discuss things with these men [the British and Dutch]”

    This supports the thesis of Johannes Björn on his site, vald.org, that the politicians of the creditor nations are dead scared that the Icelanders will take the Icesave case to the European court and win, because this will give the Baltic states, Ireland and Spain, not to say Greece reason to try the same course, which would be disastrous for the banking systems of the creditor countries, and could spark off a second wave of economic disaster to rival the one some people say we are now coming out of.