Creative Icelanders

Iceland’s banking collapse was the largest suffered by any country in economic history. The debts were 12 times bigger than the gross national product, the households are overindebted, thousands of people had to leave their homes and apartments. And the Icelanders are disgusted with the fact that none of the "oligarchs" who dominated the financial sector were hold responsible for their deeds.

In January, the actor, comedian and former punk rocker Jon Gnarr said, he'd had enough and founded, together with some friends, the "Best Party". They refused donations for the election and concentrated on singing, gaming and joking, and made one of the most creative election campaings in the history of democracy.

And the best thing is: Gnarr was elected mayor, Reykyavik is governed by the Best Party. His comment on the issue of foreigners: all of the Icelanders had immigrated there one time or the other and now there's an end to that daft topic.

Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) Gnarr and his friends turned out quite competent politicians with an approval rating of 75 %.

Some of this promises: to bring a polar bear in the zoo, and to offer free towels at public swimming pools. Funny? These are not so funny issues in Iceland. In 2008, the first polar bear to swim to Iceland in 15 years was shot by police.

The free towel message makes sense, too. If Reykjavik's public pools with their seawater and sulfur baths offer free towels, then they can reach accredited spa status under European Union rules. Spas equal more tourists. And more tourists - that's something the Icelandic economy needs badly at the moment.

Read more in the New York Times.

Here are some statements from the party platform. I especially like: Listen more to women and old people: This bunch gets listened to far too little. It's as if everyone thinks they are just complaining or something. We're going to change that.


Lydia said...

How interesting! I was reading this in the early morning when Michael woke up, so I read it to him. I have heard some good reports on public radio about what happened to the economy in Iceland, but still was not aware of The Best Party. Good for them. Now, if they would just start on in the U.S. ! :)

francessa said...

Yes, and here in Austria, too ;-)!

I'll follow the developments in Iceland and keep you informed how they're doing.

Hattie said...

Wow! This is so great. I can imagine a similar movement here. When you consider all the great people here, the talent going to waste, while idiots run the show...Wouldn't we all just like to sweep away them and their crap!
I'm linking to this.

francessa said...

Hi Hattie,

glad to be of service! :-)

Nobody knows, of course, how things will turn out in Iceland, but at least they are trying to break new ground - which gives hope to those of us who are fed up with always the same type of people at the controls.

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