Real change or the same old product in a different package?

Everyone is talking about change, but what meaning does the word have in Icelandic politics? 

The new leader of the Progressive Party is Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson who is “old Progressive Party money”. He is likely to feel comfortable with the “old Independent party” money of Bjarni Benediktsson, the favorite in the Independent Party primaries. Their family ties with their parties are as involved as possibly could be. So new suits, but no change in the old guard. 

Some of those who have declared their intent to run have a wicked sense of humor. Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir “feels the will of her party for change” so she will run. Her eight year stint as Geir Haarde’s assistant obviously makes her perfect to lead the change. Economist Tryggvi Thor Herbertsson feels like he “has something to offer in the current situation”, just like he had something to offer as Geir Haarde’s advisor and as the main cheerleaders of the Icelandic Economic Miracle, with his 2006 report published with Fredrich Mishkin of the Columbia Business School. (“The analysis in our study suggests that although Iceland’s economy does have some imbalances that will eventually be reversed, financial fragility is currently not a problem, and the likelihood of a financial meltdown is low”. (“It matters a lot that a respected economist like Mishkin participated in the making of the report” – Edda Ros Karlsdottir of Landsbankinn in 2006.)

Steingrimur J. Sigfusson will run for the Left Greens, extending his stint which began the same year as Microsoft Word was introduced, Michael Jackson hit it with Thriller and Neil Kinnock became leader of the British Labour Party. Only the most loyal of his young and merry green elfins are allowed a piece of the action. 

Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson, former leader of the People’s Party, born in the same year Hitler invaded Poland is the youthful rabble rouser within Samfylkingin. The younger generations in the party seem to be completely lacking balls when challenging its leadership. 

Change, like the winter sun is definitely below the horizon in Iceland.


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