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The same old tobacco and no new pipes

We have elections coming up this weekend and, honestly, just the thought of it makes me tired. Makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the duvet up over my head.

I know, I know; it’s what we wanted, it’s why we took to the streets en masse last fall and in January. Only — we didn’t quite want it like this. It would have been better to have had a bit more time; time for some proper renewal. Or for someone to appear who had some kind of vision. I get the feeling that the parties in the running now are all just muddling through with their hair all disheveled and slightly out of breath. It all seems so disorganized.

I’ve spoken or corresponded with a handful of  foreign journalists in the past couple of weeks, nearly all of whom have asked what the major issues are in this election. And I’ve sort of been drawing a blank. Until this weekend, when I realized WHY I’d been drawing a blank — it’s because the big issues haven’t been clearly defined. And the reason is because parliament was still in session right up until last Friday. Never in the history of the republic has it been in session so late in the lead-up to an election. And they were there largely because the Independence Party insisted on doing everything it could to make sure a bill would not go through parliament before election day — a bill allowing for amendments to the constitution that would return more power to the people, that would give us a better democracy. They stalled it until it became obvious that it would not be passed. Because they had an agenda, to protect those who have poured money into the party. Bribery, corruption – call it what you want. It stinks.

So, anyway — now, five days before the elections, nothing is clear. In large part because we don’t have the big picture, and the reason we don’t have it is because we lack so much information. About the status of this country, about the size of our debts, about our options when it comes to the EU, and so on and so forth. Making it impossible to arrive at informed decisions about anything. And we’ve got the same old tobacco to choose from, without even the benefit of new pipes to smoke it in. It’s depressing.

Ach. Time for bed. Expect more ramblings on election-related issues as the week wears on. Consider yourselves warned.

WE HAD A TEMPEST EARLIER
You should have seen YT struggling to navigate the circle around the golf course this afternoon – you would have laughed. Trying to keep my hood and baseball cap [to keep rain out of eyes, natch] on, plus iPod speakers in my ears was an exercise in such deft coordination that it would have made a juggler proud. So, yeah, we had a major storm with tons of precipitation. I’m not even exaggerating; I would never exaggerate about a thing like that. Right now 5°C [41F]. Sunrise was at 5:38 am, sunset at 9:17 pm.

* Sorry to be so vague about all this – so much has gone down in the last few weeks that I haven’t been able to blog about due to time constraints, etc. — but, as ever, the corruption continues to float to the surface. Particularly where the IP is concerned, but other parties too.

Comments

comments

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  • Jessica April 21, 2009, 2:32 am

    Wow. I’m sort of glad that I’m a foreigner here and therefore have a really great excuse of why I’m not voting. In fact, a few of us expats are gathering for a “I can’t vote so don’t blame me for a bad outcome” party on Saturday to celebrate the elections ; ‘ ) Call it forced apathy. Or blissful ignorance maybe? Well good luck with whichever party you choose! (I have a feeling it won’t be the IP…) Yikes.

  • Lee, UK April 21, 2009, 2:53 am

    Are the policy differences between the parties summarised anywhere (in English)? With the current uncertainties, perhaps there should be a “Lucky Dip” check box on the ballot paper for those that prefer a random selection…

  • Ljósmynd DE April 21, 2009, 6:11 am

    There was a summary about the programs of the different parties listed in the Iceland Review some days ago:

    http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_life/?cat_id=16571&ew_0_a_id=322796

    I found it particularly revealing that th IP still considers the building of aluminium smelters as panacea for the current predicaments. As far as I have understood the oversized Kárahnúkar project was more a trigger for financial instabilities leading up to the collapse and therefore part of the problem and not of the solution. So, going on with this heavy industry ideology and pretending business as usual appears to me quite insane – unless there are private reasons or personal relations involved.

  • alda April 21, 2009, 10:04 am

    Jessica – whatever gave you that idea?? 😉

    LDE – thanks for the link. Lee, take note!

  • jóilondon April 21, 2009, 12:14 pm

    Vote Silfur Egils!

  • Physchim62 April 21, 2009, 3:20 pm

    The Reykjavík Grapevine has also published a longer guide to the positions of the political parties, based on a standardized questionnaire.

    http://www.grapevine.is/home/electionfever

  • Mondrian April 21, 2009, 4:11 pm

    I had been wondering what (if anything) had been seriously discussed on the subject of EU membership or engagement.

    A bit of a difficult situation re the timing of the election. More of a wait before the vote would have resulted in the risk of a lame-duck government for too long. With the constitutional situation still a question, how long will the new government be able to stay in power?

  • JoeInVegas April 21, 2009, 4:46 pm

    Here we get so much information it is totally confusing, but most of it is PR crap that has no bearing on reality. And then those elected go ahead and do what they want anyway. Argggg.

  • Immigrant April 21, 2009, 6:50 pm

    The EU question has now emerged quite clearly as the dominant issue for Saturday’s election. Any decision on application will depend on which of the two parties expected to form the next government fare better, the Social Democrats (Pro-EU) or the Left-Greens (Anti-EU).

  • Voyager April 22, 2009, 5:26 am

    We are facing Provincial elections here that also are giving me a big yawn. With the economy in chaos all the candidates’ taking pot shots at other just seems stupider than ever.
    V.

  • Ljósmynd DE April 22, 2009, 8:15 am

    There seems to be some “new tobacco” to chose from, eg. the “Democratic Movement”. How about this as an alternative?

    Today I found your blog featured in the print edition of the German Süddeutsche Zeitung. 🙂

  • alda April 22, 2009, 10:39 am

    Hildigunnr – also a favourite here, the only thing holding me back is their position on the EU. Oh, and the fact that they have Paul Nikolov. Still, I think they will do well.

  • alda April 22, 2009, 10:23 am

    LDE – well, sadly, the Democratic Movement is not all that new — it’s led by one Ástþór Magnússon who is, to put it gently, WACKO. He’s run in just about every presidential election in the last few years and he’s a miserable individual just about in every way who just cannot be taken seriously.

    A better option is the Citizen’s Movement, which is still strongly under consideration. And yes, I agree, they are new tobacco.

    And thx for the heads-up about SDZ. 🙂

  • hildigunnur April 22, 2009, 10:35 am

    I will vote for the party that has been fighting the idiocy here non-stop for years. And no, I don’t think that tobacco’s run out at all… 😉

    They’ve long been rumoured to be ‘against everything’, ‘against the future’, ‘against progress’ but well, turned out to be against the nonsense that’s been going on here. So I want to give them a chance.

  • hildigunnur April 22, 2009, 9:11 pm

    Yep, you can’t have everything, there will never be a party that you agree on everything they say. I’m sitting on the fence in the EU matter, can’t seem to decide myself and definitely don’t want to rush into anything. We won’t be able to adopt the Euro until we get a good grip on our economy and that will take time, oh yes it will…

    (is Nikolov high up on a list? I haven’t checked – but if he’s on mine I’ll cross him out)

  • The Other Katherine Harris April 22, 2009, 10:52 pm

    Have you read “The Shock Doctrine” yet, Alda? A major caveat from that illuminating book is: Distrust Haste. Always, in exploiting these crisis situations, the predators rush things through — and thus achieve objectives they could never attain if people had a chance to think.

    Variations on the theme are being pursued now everywhere. People must stand firm against being hurried into anything irrevocable, or it will end in tears — for them — and in endless payoffs for the profiteers.