Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson, shown here getting his haircut, told news discussion television show Kastljósið that the economic collapse happened despite his party’s platform; not because of it.
This assertion comes mere days after the Special Investigative Commission (SIC) report laid a great deal of blame at the feet of two conservatives – former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and former Central Bank chairman Davíð Oddsson – and also after Benediktsson told parliament that his party was willing to make the changes necessary to prevent such an economic collapse from happening again.
Apparently those changes won’t include a change in party policy, as Benediktsson told Kastljósið that “What happened here happened despite the platform of the Independence Party; not because of it.” The Independence Party, it should be noted, pushed heavily for the privatization of the banks, and has since had a decidedly hands-off approach to economic regulation, like most conservative parties.
He added that his party has never gone through as difficult a time as it is now, but that it will survive.
When asked about the private jetting to golfing trips he is said to have accepted from Glitnir, he said that while he did twice do this, he also received a lot of offers that he turned down.
He also admitted that the loan which party vice chair Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir and her husband, a Kaupthing employee, had withdrawn was unusually high (well over a billion ISK), but that he is sure she has a reasonable explanation for this, which he will encourage her to give the public … once she returns to the country.