After a long and torturous evening, the Icelandic parliament has voted, 33 votes against 30, to approve the Icesave bill into law. In so doing, the Icelandic government has taken on responsibility for repayment of all revenues deposited into Icesave by British and Dutch depositors. The bill will now go to the president of Iceland for signing into law.
Earlier this evening, a proposal to put the bill up for public referendum was defeated 33 votes against 30. Leftist-Green MP Ásmundur Einar Daðason encouraged members of parliament to sign an online petition from InDefence, encouraging the president to not sign the bill into law. The petition has already garnered 35,000 signatures.
If I may be permitted to be candid for a moment:
Watching the parliamentary proceedings online, I saw one MP after another make a short statement about why they would be voting the way they did. Not all MPs did this, but very many did. What struck me most was watching the MPs of the Independence Party – the same party who encouraged Iceland’s libertarian experiment, who encouraged unbridled and unchecked economic expansion, and who ignored warning signs from respected financial advisers such as Standard & Poors that the economy was overheating – stand up in front of the Icelandic people and talk about how the leftist government is cheating the nation.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Imagine I came into your home and utterly destroyed it, smashing plates on the floor, knocking giant holes in your walls, slashing your furniture as you begged me stop. When I finally did stop, and you began to clean up the mess I made, if I were to stand by and criticize the way you repaired the damage I did, you would rightly say I was shameless, if not downright sociopathic.
The conservatives created the mess we are in now. Empty populist barking about “doing what’s right for the Icelandic people” rings hollow coming from this group. Putting aside the fact that they are responsible for even having to vote on Icesave in the first place, for these representatives to dismiss what the consequences would be of not voting this bill into law is either dishonesty or outright wilful ignorance.
Perhaps the conservatives feel they have no choice but to oppose Icesave. To support it would be an admission of guilt, maybe. Or, if I can be forgiven my cynicism, they could be trying to distract the public from recent revelations that the party has accepted millions from secret donors over the past few years. Again, shameless and stunning, but par for the course when it comes to the Independence Party.
As an Icelandic taxpayer, no, I am not the least bit happy that this bill was approved. I am not celebrating this. But I recognize we have no other choice. I recognize that this is yet another example of the sins of the fathers being visited upon the sons. I hope and pray that when parliamentary elections are held again, that Icelandic voters will remember who put us in the mess we’re in right now, and reject the insincere hand of friendship being extended from the same people who bankrupted this nation.