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WHERE WILL THE INDEPENDENCE PARTY GO FROM HERE?

WHERE WILL THE INDEPENDENCE PARTY GO FROM HERE?

Published September 3, 2004

Halldór had then been Prime Minister in Davíð Oddsson’s government for eight years, and seems to have been loath to change partners. Oddsson, who still had the largest number of votes, had to outbid his rivals, as the Progressive Party were the only feasible partners. However, after 12 years of Premiership he could not look as if he had lost the election. So they came up with a compromise solution where Oddsson retained his chair for a year, before allowing Halldór to take his turn. This has led to a general cabinet reshuffling, which seemed to move Oddsson into foreign affairs, and has left minister of the environment Siv Friðleifsdóttir out in the cold, angering the party´s female constituents. What any of this has to do with democracy is anyone´s guess. But another question is: where does the Independence Party go from here?
Its core has always been big business:Eimskip shipping company and Icelandair, the two companies that controlled access to and from the country being the backbone, a conglomerate known as the Octopus. Now the Octopus has been broken up, and the major financial power players, Björgúlfur of Landsbankinn and Jón Ásgeir of Bónus, do not form part of the old ruling elite. Jón Ásgeir does not belong to the Independence Party and seems more disposed towards Samfylkingin.
So what does the party do when it not longer represents big business? Two courses of action seem open. It might, as it has done in the past, incorporate the nouveau riche into its ranks. But the animosity between it and them seems too deeply rooted to go away anytime soon, although there´s nothing as likely to bring old adversaries together as hope of financial gain.
The other possibility is more interesting. What if the party has lost its ties to the money men forever? What if the new króna billionaires opt for Samfylkingin instead, as they have been doing? The Independence Party was the party that upheld the old family monopolies over the economy. Now that new families have moved in, it may become the very party to go in for breaking monopolies up. They´ve already tried, and failed, to impose a media law. Who knows what’s next? Perhaps they’ll set laws in motion that allow us to see who is funding what party. When they had money on their side, they had no interest in that, but now that this has changed, so may their policy. The party might then be forced to become what they always said they were, the party of the people. Wouldn´t that be ironic?



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[Continued from Ungoo: Part IX] Earlier this year, a free-trade agreement between Iceland and China took effect. Iceland is the first, and so far the only, European country to make such an arrangement with the People’s Republic of. No one knows what that means. Literally no one. Perhaps some politicians, administrative staff or business managers think they do: they probably have some rough estimates about the agreement’s effects on our GDP, and at some point may have read an article or two about whether or not China has any imperial ambitions in the arctic. By and large, they would seem

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[Continued from Ungoo: Part VIII] Combined, these faults admittedly sound like the joke about that restaurant: two friends go out for dinner; one complains that the food tastes terrible to which the other replies: yes, and the portions are way too small. The like-button is probably the greatest invention since the billboard, and just as inattentive to thinking. Facebook is fast, whereas most sources seem to agree that depth is slow. If Facebook is the way we converse and, thereby, think, then yes, our culture is probably pretty shallow. Our, as in: yours too, wherever you are from. We are

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[Continued from Ungoo: Part VII] Which brings us back to Facebook. You may or may not know that a government agency called Promote Iceland has based whole marketing campaigns on encouraging the country’s inhabitants to employ social media to lure visitors. If those plans received any criticism at all, most of that probably appeared as Facebook posts, which were then drowned in more life-affirming messages. Nonetheless, debates take place on Facebook. If an interesting article appears elsewhere, whether on Starafugl or in Fréttablaðið, Facebook is still where most of the following debate will take place. Facebook is a radically new

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[Continued from Ungoo: Part VI] The most recent attempt to create a common venue for cultural commentary and debate is Starafugl, a website started and edited by author Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl. It’s been around since last winter. As I have been involved in various ways, I am liable to be considered biased when I claim that Starafugl has had a convincing first few months. I claim it, all the same. Starafugl ran into trouble a few weeks back, when it received its first ever invoice. The invoice charged Starafugl for a photograph, that had been used to illustrate an article

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