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The new blogtitution

As some readers will undoubtedly know, Iceland is in the process of reviewing its constitution. A constitutional assembly will be set up next spring, chosen via direct personal election, for which anyone can run. The deadline for submitting candidacies was last week, and a whopping 525 people have decided to run, which amounts to 0.2% of the population.

Right now, the Icelandic media and others are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to adequately present all the candidates. RÚV [state broadcaster], for instance, has a legal obligation to give equal time to all of them — and if each person only gets, say five minutes, that will run into several hours of airtime. Consequently some media experts have slammed the procedure, calling it profoundly flawed [while at the same time acknowledging that it IS a radical and worthwhile attempt at direct democracy] — because most people will wind up voting for their friends and/or people who are already well known.

Like bloggers.

Yep, it has come to some people’s attention that a large number of the candidates for the constitutional assembly are bloggers.* Which is why this gave me a howl [see translation below]:

From top:

At some point, way in the future, when the Icelandic financial system has collapsed another 20 times, an all-airing programme will be produced about the constitution that emerged from the constitutional assembly of our time ..

[Host] The Icelandic constitution lays out many of the fundamental rules of our social system and differs completely from all other constitutions. Right Þjarkur?

[Þjarkur] Certainly! In it you will find classic articles like the third, “Do not comment on your own blog under an alias,” and the fifth, “Do not refer to a blog post without providing a link to the original post,” not to mention the controversial article ten, which breaks up mutual flattery cliques on blogs ..

[Host] To be sure, fantastic stuff, just fantastic stuff!

[Þjarkur] Certainly! Without the constitution and the country’s blogging fathers we would never have got rid of the trolls and would be doomed to respond to blog posts from hidden people all day long. Hahaha!

[This is from Henrý Þór Baldursson, resident cartoonist at DV, who is giving Halldór a serious run for his money as the country’s best satirist.]

* Before you ask, no, this does not include our YT. And anyway, I’m not well known in this country. Probably because this blog is virtually ignored by the Iceandic media.

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  • sigga October 24, 2010, 11:27 pm

    Why does the host remind me of Walt Disney – was this intentional I wonder…. or am I just imagining it. Yep, am not looking forward to this election. Call me paranoid but am wondering what the political ramifications will be in the rural vs city debate that is raging at the moment.

  • Kris October 25, 2010, 6:34 am

    What is wrong with the constitution? They are all about the same aren’t they? Another point is to do this, don’t you want to take some time, like 20 years or so? It is, after all, a serious matter. And, isn’t this just more chaos in an already chaotic situation? These are my random thoughts on the matter. I wonder what Gulliver would have said about Iceland? I know what the Queen of Hearts would have said, “Off with their heads!”
    Don’t spill your mocha latte, but I changed my mind about joining Europe. The change of (political) scenery might do the people good. No sense in beating a dead horse (the Icelndic gov).
    Here in the US, Tweedledee drove the country to ruin, Tweedledum turned a catastrophe into a calamity and now Tweeledee is poised to return to power and really sink the ship. Does this sound familiar? If so, it’s time to buy some chickens and some pigs (or sheep) so that you can eat.
    DO was Iceland’s charismatic despot. I wonder who ours will be? Maybe it was Obama and I just missed it.

  • idunn October 25, 2010, 8:19 am

    Congratulations to all 525 candidates, particularly those with the welfare of Iceland closest to their hearts.

    You may well be on to something, in perhaps suggesting the best form of expression for all these many voices would be in the virtual world. If RÚV would find it problematic providing the airtime many viewers might find confusing or tire of, they could help in funding websites for everyone. All linked together, of course. All the easier for the voter to cross-check and compare.

    As some candidates will surely prove stronger and prevail, at least in transparency all might have a fair voice.

  • Jonathan October 25, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Well well! Perhaps one or other of the 525 candidates is taking Rudolf Steiner’s threefold state idea seriously. Of course it would put quite a few noses out of joint, but greatly to be desired for those of us without egotistic agendas. Politicians would be accountable and confined to law-making, the economy would be concerned only with the production, distribution and consumption of manufactured commodities for the benefit of all. Capital could not be owned beyond the point of general economic benefit. Human labour would no longer be for sale and all culture and education would be free of political and economic interferance!
    It’s bound to happen sooner or later somewhere. Can’t imagine a better place than Iceland right now.
    God! I think I’ll try it!

  • Michael T October 25, 2010, 11:40 pm

    The idea of a state constitutional convention has been bandied around a bit here in New York. The idea fills me with horror as it will be the crooks in charge now (or their brother’s-in-law) legalizing their cupidity.

    Best of luck.

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland October 26, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Thats curious Alda not well known in Iceland ,I mean you have had articles appearing in the Guardian etc and you do get the odd Icelander sounding names on this blog, I bet Dave knows who you are 🙂

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland October 27, 2010, 5:34 pm

    Speaking of above translations google translate now has a sound button and its quite freaky, It has helped me out no end in that as far as I can see Icelandic,Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are all very different from one another and a Icelander would be as lost as me if you dropped him/her into Stockholm, whereas previously I had this idea that Norwegians were just Swedes who moved to Norway,Danes Norwegians that moved to Denmark and Icelanders a combination of the above two with a couple of Irish sex slaves chucked in. Anyway try it out its very handy to cut and paste from Frettblaðið to get whole texts translated even experimenting with icelandic runes on the mac, it does not speak however after the text gets to a certain length.All we need now is the automatic language machines and you would be fluent in the lot, chinese whatever.