From Iceland — News In Brief: November

News In Brief: November

Published November 10, 2014

News In Brief: November

ProtestIcelanders have once again grown fed up with their elected representatives, staging a massive protest demonstration in front of Alþingi last Monday. Thousands stood at Austurvöllur, Reykjavík’s hip spot for protest meetings, to denounce a veritable cornucopia of bad policy decisions (police estimated 4,500 attendees at the protest, while some attendees estimated that they were in fact closer to 7,000). This particular time around, the political party actually leading the country–in this case, the Progressives–have most recently polled at just under 9%. Remember, folks: the last time a ruling coalition stepped down, it was because one party didn’t want to give the steering wheel to the other. Just something to bear in mind.

Jón Gnarr

In happier political news, former Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr is considering a presidential run in 2016. This is a change from the last time he was asked on the matter, when he said he “hadn’t ruled it out”, and the time before that, when he said that he would absolutely not run for president. By all accounts Gnarr isn’t playing some coy long-game here; it probably genuinely takes a long time to convince some people to run for president, as crazy as that sounds. Watch this space for when he officially throws his hat in the ring.


The saga of the guns from Norway just keeps getting weirder, or more hilarious, depending on how you look at it. Despite repeated assurances from the police and the Coast Guard that the guns were a gift and the signing of an invoice was just some Norwegian formality, it seems Norwegians are insisting on getting paid for their machine guns. For now, the machine guns are being held by toll authorities until all this is straightened out. Which will hopefully make you feel a little bit better about customs hanging onto your iPhone 6 from abroad for a few days before sending it to your home wrapped in that space-age packing tape.

bishopoficeland-biskop-isSpeaking of those guns, the Bishop of Iceland has had some thoughts to share about a number of topics lately, the machine guns amongst them. First, she managed to actually point the finger at the general public for not showing the police sufficient amounts of trust, because apparently we should totally trust a police force that tried to keep a massive arming-up a secret from us (and have been keeping records of the public’s political beliefs, as we’re told). Second, she hand-waved away the rapidly growing number of people de-registering from the national church as a by-product of both emigration (contending erroneously that people who move away from Iceland are automatically de-registered) and immigration. Which no doubt made Iceland’s immigrants feel really welcome here.

casinoAccording to a new poll, most Icelanders do not want gambling to be legalised here. This might be bad news for Progressive MP Willum Þór Þórsson, who has been the sole champion of getting Iceland its first casino. By his accounts, Iceland is practically crawling with illegal casinos as it is. That there may be underground gambling parlours in Iceland would sure explain the predominance of guys wearing fedoras, carrying Tommy guns, and ending their sentences with “see?” when they shake down owners of speakeasies for protection money.

Once again, the idea of adopting daylight savings in Iceland is being floated. Granted, setting the clock back an hour in the winter would indeed make the sun rise earlier later in the year here, which would make getting up to go to work slightly more pleasant than doing so in total darkness four months of the year. On the other hand, having to set the clock back again in the spring is awful. Hopefully, we’ll just keep setting the clock back by one hour, every winter, until the sun is rising at three in the morning in December. Sure, it serves no practical purpose, but it would make life a little more interesting, you gotta admit.

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