Hell or high water

I just flew Icelandair, where there was a solo passenger in the business class section, the rest half full. He was probably a government official or a foreigner. I purchased GBP for 214 ISK per pound. I think it might be a good deal, considering that the IMF loan is supposed to arrive soon and supposedly the ISK will be cast afloat. Two guys behind me were adamant that the ISK was already floating, we just hadn’t been told. Therefore purchase of foreign currency would be mad.

We will see. It’s not more or less of a gamble than what Icelanders are normally forced to take in their everyday business.

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Eimskip, Iceland’s oldest and leading shipping company has laid off 70 people and will cut down on routes. Everyone making 300.000 ISK and over per month will face a 10% cut in pay.

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Husasmidjan, a Home Depot of sorts, one of the two biggest in the country laid off around 100 of its staff and is closing down 2 stores in the Reykjavik area.

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Unemployment doubled between months and has gone from as close to a zero as you will ever get a year or so ago up to 4%. It is expected to rise further. Expect a bloody turn of the month.

I have heard of some of the tactics being used in lay-offs and am collecting those stories. The picture ain’t pretty.

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Meanwhile another person has come out to point the finger of blame. Geir Haarde’s daugther who in a column in the webzine deiglan.com, the breeding station for the Independent Party’s footsoldiers and Landsbankinn’s employees, has discovered who is to blame for the flammable situation. Of course the media. Apparantly it was the media that gave its blessings to the mob that crashed the police station last weekend and got mazed. And the media is to blame for negative reporting of the crash, trying to get answers from politicians, instead of leaving them in peace to do their work.

Her column, in Icelandic is an absolute treat and sits nicely with the other columnists at Deiglan.com who have been blaming the media, the business-men who aren’t favorable to the party and urging people to calm down and not look for people to blame.

The future is bleak if these people will inherit the earth. That’s the reason why one of my friends who has enjoyed a successful career with blue-chip companies in Iceland has given up and is in the process of moving abroad at the age of 34. Her reasoning is that Iceland is so small, so inter-connected that the politicians currently in power and their kin will never let anything be investigated and they will never let go of the powers they have, come hell or high water.

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Talk about hell or high water, wait until Icelander’s will have to celebrate Christmas without jobs, with inflation rising, home-loans spiralling and the ISK in free-fall.

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