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
Head To Toe Arsenal Gear, Except At Funerals

Head To Toe Arsenal Gear, Except At Funerals

by

Hardcore Icelandic Arsenal fan, Sigfríð Ingólfsdóttir, only ever wears Arsenal gear or Arsenal themed clothing, reports Vikudagur, except when she has to attend funerals. Sigfríð, 62, began following English football 30 years ago and first started supporting Arsenal after thinking the name of the team was pretty neat. She has since become one of Arsenal’s most dedicated fans in Iceland, has an “Arsenal Room” in her home, and is regularly stopped to discuss games. “I get stopped out on the street, people like to talk to me about Arsenal and football in general,” said Sigfríð. “Some of them are on

News
A Farewell To Arms

A Farewell To Arms

by

The MP5 submachine guns Iceland received from Norway will be sent back, the Icelandic Coast Guard has announced. According to the announcement, posted today on the Coast Guard’s website, the conclusion of talks with the Norwegian army yesterday and today led to the decision to return the guns, which have been held by toll authorities over the past few weeks. Customs officials held onto the guns on account of a dispute over whether the guns were a gift or a purchase. The Icelandic Coast Guard contends that “almost all the weapons in possession of the Icelandic Coast Guard (90%) have

News
Minister Of The Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir To Resign

Minister Of The Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir To Resign

by

Minister of the Interior, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, is expected to announce that she is stepping down today and will not return to parliament until the New Year, according to RÚV. Hanna Birna has been under a lot of scrutiny following the leak of incriminating and falsified information about Nigerion asylum seeker Tony Omos. She has maintained her innocence throughout the affair, even after her aide Gísli Freyr Valdórsson admitted to the leak. Despite the Independence party and PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson declaring their support of her, a lot of pressure has been on her to resign, including from the 1,000 people that

News
Pressan Acquires Newspaper DV

Pressan Acquires Newspaper DV

by

Vefpressan, the publishing company behind such websites as Pressan.is, Eyjan.is and Bleikt.is, has acquired 70% of newspaper DV’s stocks. This was announced this Friday morning. Björn Ingi Hrafnsson, once a member of Reykjavík city council on behalf of the Progressive Party, has been titled as DV’s publisher. This comes following turbulence among the owners and board of DV, which saw former editor Reynir Traustason discharged. Hallgrímur Thorsteinsson was hired as editor in his place. Björn Ingi has not revealed his intentions or plans regarding the purchase. Vefpressan’s news release merely explains that the publishing of DV has now been “secured”

News
Increased Use Of Antidepressants

Increased Use Of Antidepressants

by

Anxiety and antidepressants are prescribed 70% more often in Iceland than 10 years ago and Icelanders consume more antidepressants than any other OECD nation, reports RÚV. According to the Directorate of Health, in 2013 39,000 people were prescribed antidepressants and 34,000 people were prescribed sleeping aids at least once. The most commonly used sleeping pill in Iceland is Zopiclone. The Directorate of Health wrote that Zopiclone should not be used for longer than 2-4 weeks but that many Icelanders are getting prescriptions that last much longer than that, in some cases, even years.

News
Feminists Want Statue Of Bríet

Feminists Want Statue Of Bríet

by

The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (IWRA) has sent the City of Reykjavík a letter suggesting they erect a statue of suffragette Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, reports RÚV. Bríet, along with other women’s rights activists founded the IWRA in 1907 and ran the association for 20 years. She is considered the catalyst of the women’s rights movement in Iceland. The IRWA suggested in their letter to City Hall that a statue in a prominent place in Reykjavík would be a great homage to Bríet’s memory and fitting as next year marks 100 years since women gained the right to vote in Iceland. To

Show Me More!