Outgoing Minister Of Employment Takes Stock Of Recent Elections

Words by

Published May 15, 2013

Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, outgoing Minister of Employment, has caused a local stir by publishing an article in the Financial Times wherein he attempts to account for the upset in the recent Parliamentary elections.
The article, which appeared in the opinion section on the Financial Times website last night and is expected in print form tomorrow, is entitled “Iceland’s election is a signal to the rest of Europe.”
In the article, Steingrímur attempts to account for why Icelandic voters chose to reinstate the right wing parties that led them into the 2008 crisis in spite of the relative success of the outgoing centre-left coalition in stabilizing the economy and lowering unemployment. 
Steingrímur centres the article around what he calls a “fundamental question,” namely whether “any politician can meet the unrealistic expectations of Europe’s voters.” He criticizes the materialistic consumerism and insatiable demand for economic growth which he claims right-wing parties exploit in order to lure voters with extravagant promises about increasing consumer power.   
Steingrímur argues that such promises of increasing consumer power through tax cuts and de-regulation are short-sighted, opportunistic and do not take sustainable growth into account.
He ponders why the left-centre coalition suffered such an outstanding defeat after having managed to lead the country towards economic recovery whilst sparing low-income groups the austerity measures which have been increasingly implemented elsewhere in Europe.  
After considering the claims that the coalition’s defeat was due to a lack of boasting about their success or disunity within the coalition, he again suggests the role of unrealistic voter expectations: “the truth is that we were beaten by the enormity of the task and the importance of public expectations.”
In this way, Steingrímur not only challenges European politicians to weigh short-term profits against long-term stability and sustainability but he also urges European voters to re-evaluate their own expectations.  



News
Naked Man Emerges From The Sea

Naked Man Emerges From The Sea

by

The Grapevine has received photos of some particularly foolhardy behaviour at the notorious Reynisfjara beach. Photographer Frank Tschöpe contacted The

News
Police No Longer Have Drug Crimes Division

Police No Longer Have Drug Crimes Division

by

While they will still arrest people for breaking drug laws, the police say their investigative emphasis has shifted to larger

News
Prog Chair Waffles On Election Date; Coalition Partners Push Back

Prog Chair Waffles On Election Date; Coalition Partners Push Back

by

Tensions are brewing between the Progressives and the Independence Party over when early elections will be held. Progressive Party chairperson

News
Something Resembling Summer All This Week In Reykjavík

Something Resembling Summer All This Week In Reykjavík

by

The week’s weather forecast for the capital area shows mostly clear skies and scorching temperatures (by Icelandic standards anyway). If

News
Seals Bouncing Back

Seals Bouncing Back

by

Seal numbers have gone up from last year, but are still below the yearly average. Vísir reports that 580 seals

News
Private Hospital Idea Ignites Criticism

Private Hospital Idea Ignites Criticism

by

A Dutch company that wants to build a private hospital in Iceland is being met with considerable criticism and resistance.

Show Me More!