Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is not being criticised for poor performance; he’s just being bullied, says an MP from his party.
This was especially underlined after recent remarks from the Prime Minister that the overwhelming public dissatisfaction was due to “a rift between perception and reality” on the part of Iceland’s voters; that actually, the country is doing quite well but no one can see it, and people need to be more positive.
Coming to the Prime Minister’s defence is Progressive MP Karl Garðarsson, who wrote an essay on Eyjan to scold the Prime Minister’s critics thusly:
“These days it seems Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is some kind of target. When people disagree with him, everything is permitted and, more often than not, he is attacked personally. Certainly, a minister needs to accept criticism, but that criticism must be honourable and of substance. And it should least of all be aimed at them personally. … In the new political discourse, which first and foremost takes place on the internet, everything is allowed. You never have to prove sweeping statements you make about an individual. This is a discussion were bitterness and hate presides, and political bullying is considered natural.”
In response to the essay, author Guðmundur Andri Thorsson has succinctly summed up the reaction many Icelanders have had to Karl’s argument, by saying, “When political leaders use words like ‘bullying’ [to describe criticism], to me it’s like seeing a CEO’s jeep [illegally parked] in a disabled parking spot.”
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