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To swallow or not to swallow

So, old Davíð Oddsson has resurfaced after his spectacular display of tenacity in hanging on to his Central Bank post last winter – to rant and rave about the proposed Icesave agreement. As usual he was granted what the Nicelanders call a “Queen Interview” [a.k.a. loads of space and no uncomfortable questions – the interviewer is really just a formality] in Morgunblaðið [mouthpice of the Independence Party] the weekend before last. And yesterday he took part in a television discussion [on Skjár 1] along with a few key players in the Icesave debate. I missed it then but caught a glimpse of a rerun today, a totally surreal scene in which one of the interviewers was asking Doddsson about his money when the collapse happened.

INTERVIEWER: Where did you have your money?
DODDSSON: What money?
INTERVIEWER: You must have had some money.
DODDSSON: It was in Landsbanki.

Well YEAH! I coulda told you THAT.

It’s pretty interesting to listen to Doddsson’s current rants. He’s all up in arms about Icesave, thinks it’s a total abomination, the worst agreement Iceland has made since 1264, the current government has totally sold us down the river, we don’t have to pay GODDAMN IT, and if the British and Dutch want their money, they’ll just have to come here and get it! Take us to court! Here in Iceland! [Which incidentally is manned with a bunch of his friends and relatives that he himself had installed when he was in power.]

Now, the question of whether the Icelandic nation should or should not be liable for colossal private debts is one thing. Davíð Oddsson’s rants are quite another. This is the man who was instrumental in selling the banks to his personal friends, who promised they would grant favour to IP supporters in return. This is a man who with no education in economics installed himself in the Central Bank when he decided to “retire from politics” [ha!] and made it possible and even easy for fricking Landsbanki et al to vacuum up deposits Europe-wide. And when Landsbanki collapsed in October and people suddenly realized that – oh shit! – they owed a lot of money to a lot of people who had placed their savings in the Icesave online accounts, it was Davíð Oddsson who signed a letter of intent on 15 November 2008 stating that “Iceland is committed to recognize the obligations to all insured depositors”. Furthermore, it was Doddsson who stated in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 in March of last year that Iceland’s economy was “extraordinarily good”, that the banks were “sound” and that the Icesave deposits would “not be too  much for the state to swallow – if it would like to swallow [them]”. All the while knowing that the economy was headed straight for the toilet.

BUT – this is predictable, particularly if you consider Doddsson’s remark in the aforementioned debate, in which he claimed he would not rule out returning to politics. And also if you consider what a lot of people foresaw a long time ago – that after the elections this current government would have start cleaning up the atrocious mess left by Doddsson and his Independence Party, and they would have to make a lot of unpopular decisions. And because – sad to say – much of the general public has the collective recollection of a goldfish, lots of people would start to pine for the good old days when the IP was running the country. And then the IP would ride that wave and start pointing out how incompetent the current government is in dealing with the mess. And people would believe them. And this is where I’ll just stop because I’m starting to scare myself.

AND I’LL TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER
So, after several days of summertime bliss, we’re now back to clouds and winds and cool temps. Just when we thought the good days would last forever! Right now we have 9°C [48F], the sun came up at 3.37 am and set at 11.28 pm.

MORE ABOUT DODDSSON:
Doddsson knows why the British invoked terrorist legislation
We, the brainwashed rabble of this land
Doddsson’s tirade
Anatomy of an Icelandic riot

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  • Ljósmynd DE July 15, 2009, 6:32 am

    It must be scary to see those sinister ghosts of the past resurface again.

    While being in Iceland recently, I met people, who have a good recollection of the responsibilities for the current predicaments – but some of them have decided to leave the country. If a majority of the remaining should take refuge with denial, then the odds are not in favour of Iceland.

    It is bizarre to see Doddsson rant against something, which he himself has indorsed by his own signature. It seems pretty schizophrenic. But more appalling are people, who are buying this.

    And it is ridiculuous to believe that the British and Dutch would care about decisions of Icelandic courts in the Icesave matter. Iceland acted under EEA-law in this case and even if it’s not clear, which court exactly is responsible to give a judgement, it is definitely not up to an Icelandic court to decide. Iceland would just not get any further loans from the IMF.

  • Bromley86 July 15, 2009, 8:01 am

    we don’t have to pay GODDAMN IT, and if the British and Dutch want their money, they’ll just have to come here and get it! Take us to court! Here in Iceland!

    Nice! So David was right, he did know why the UK froze Landsbanki’s assets 😀 . I take it the wet Icelandic press still haven’t pursued him on that statement? He wouldn’t be able to open his door here until he clarified it, although to be fair if he was anything like our lot that clarification would just be fluffy waffle.

    You’re right about the perils of power. The person who’s most impressed me has been Steingrimur. As a foreigner, Left-Green doesn’t conjure up an image of people willing to bend their principles in the face of reality. When he got the post I kept seeing opinions, admittedly from an IP stalwart, that he couldn’t tie his shoelaces. But he’s accepted the responsibility of his role and got on with making the best of it, even though he must know that no LG will ever be in cabinet again after this government. At least that’s how it seems to an outsider.

    On the plus side, although having the IP in power until 2011 would have nailed the coffin lid down, you’d have been a lot less likely to have a decent corruption investigation. It’s been hard enough as it is.

  • hildigunnur July 15, 2009, 8:53 am

    Heh, yes, there’s already at least one Facebook group dedicated to getting DO back into politics. Hell no!

  • Lee July 15, 2009, 11:05 am

    If David Oddsson is to return to politics, I guess he needs to keep his profile high and ensure people are talking about him. He seems to be doing a pretty good job. So, assuming the Icesave agreements are rejected and the government subsequently collapses, his time will come… Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  • alda July 15, 2009, 1:05 pm

    Bromley – I think Steingrímur has taken almost everyone here by surprise. EPI and I talk about this often. He’s really come into his own. When he was in the opposition he just nagged so incessantly that most people dismissed him. But he’s really shown fine leadership qualities, in my opinion, and has gained a lot of people’s trust.

    Lee – yes, that’s what I was trying to get at in the post. I think Doddsson’s rants are very calculated – he tries his best to discredit the current administration to pave the way for his own return to politics. This is MEGA scary. And like Bromley says, with the IP in power I fear the criminal investigation that’s now underway would not be adequate, if it takes place at all. I suspect they’d fire Eva Joly at the first available opportunity.
    EPI said the other day what a lot of people here are thinking – if the IP returns to power, he’d want to leave. It’s like the situation before the last US elections, where a lot of people said they’d leave the country if the Republicans won.

  • Ljósmynd DE July 15, 2009, 4:35 pm

    But how about the leadership qualities of Steingrímur if he doesn’t have the authority to convince his own party of the necessity to accept the Icesave agreement? I can fully understand, that nobody in Iceland wants to pay the private debts of some crooks. But bizarre as the situation is, if this agreement is not passed, I suppose, the government will be finished sooner or later. And then it’s back to mafia country and the crooks are on top again. So, of which value are fundamental doubts by some members of the coalition parties?

  • kevin o'connor waterford Ireland July 16, 2009, 1:01 pm

    “And this is where I’ll just stop because I’m starting to scare myself.”

    Ha ha excellent