A new political party called Optimism! has been born, and plans to take “many seats in parliament” on a platform of being “a moderate, green and environment-friendly party that keeps Icelandic national values in high regard.”
The party, founded and led by Einar Gunnar Birgisson, has a platform freely available in both Icelandic and English. In discussing the vision of Optimism!, Einar writes, “Optimism! is like a newly-born child; what will become of it in future is not yet clear. We do not know what its karma will be. Optimism! is a work in progress, and we do not know what direction it will take. It is up to its optimistic members to carry it forward. We are convinced in our hearts that it has a bright future. We aim at landing many parliamentary seats in the next general election, and are confident of gaining support and achieving good results. Like the Tao, Optimism! is based on the idea of unimpeded flow. Simplicity, peace and humility are of paramount importance. What matters is the way towards the goal, not the goal itself. The way is pure Tao.”
The party describes itself as moderate and green, similar to the platform of Bright Future, the sister party of the Best Party. However, on the economic front, Optimism! appears to be very different from another new party, Solidarity, whose platform puts a great deal of emphasis on household debt.
One way in which they differ from any other party currently running, however, is a decidedly anti-immigration platform. “There are hundreds of millions of people in poor countries who would like to move to Iceland and other rich countries. In many cases they want to escape from war and unrest, but in most cases the reasons are destitution, poverty, oppression, corruption and social injustice. This is a lamentable situation, but we do not want to have these people in Iceland. They are not our responsibility,” their manifesto reads.
“It is not our style, in Optimism! to blame our difficulties on others,” the party vision states. “Even though we know a lot of people are undergoing hardship, we do not indulge in talk about debts, belt-tightening and so on. Our belief is that a lot of people need to adopt moderation and an optimistic and positive attitude and be grateful for what they have.”
Optimism! eschews populism, but says that they aim to strike a balance between the interests of urban and rural Icelanders.
“We promise all sorts of good things, just like the other political parties: we adopt all their worthiest causes as our own, but without the populism for which they are so notorious. Our promise to those who support us is sunshine in their hearts and a bright future; for everyone else, we wish only the best.”
Update: The fourth paragraph was added 14:12, March 14.