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Chris Cook in the Salon links to the English-language Icelandic blog Economic Disaster Area.

Looking in the recent posts there one finds things such as: The National Referendum: Not About IceSave March 4th, 2010

If you are a foreigner taking a look at the national referendum this Saturday, please don´t make the mistake of thinking it is about IceSave.

It is all about internal, Icelandic politics.

Those who will vote yes are voting for the government to stay on (Social Democrats and those who still think Steingrimur J. Sigfusson is the leader of the Left/Greens).

Those who vote no are voting for the Independence Party and the Progressive Party (People who would absolutely love for it to still be 2007).



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 06:09:15 PM EST
No Vote In IceSave Referendum (February 26th, 2010)
Of course I would say no to paying for the insane way Landsbankinn went about its business. Today, Halldor J. Kristjansson, one of their CEO's is on record saying that there were meetings in February 2008 between the banks and the government about an impending collapse, yet they continued on to open the IceSave accounts in the Netherlands two months later.

But in a discussion dominated by the frantics, Bryndis Hlodversdottir, law professor at Bifrost University has come up with the most rational input regarding the referendum so far. In order for it to be democratic the following has to apply:

...

None of these parameters are met with this ridiculous referendum. So for the first time since I was old enough to vote I will stay away from the voting booth. This farce served up by a lame-duck president and a Progressive Party pressure group called InDefence has nothing to do with democracy and I want nothing to do with it.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 06:12:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
National Referendum: A Sad Day For Democracy in Iceland (March 5th, 2010)
Three likely scenarios

a) The government keeps going and attempts to find a solution with the UK and Holland on the grounds that "people are against paying these debts". Why would the UK and Holland see that as an argument? Those countries can wait. The IMF loans could wait as well. The government is backed into a corner and has little options but to resign.

b)  The government keeps going and attempts to find a solution with the UK and Holland on which the opposition can agree to. Which is unlikely, because the opposition can wait until things are so tight that it can assume power on a wave of discontent.

c) The government resigns. The current opposition resumes negotiations and quickly finds an "acceptable deal" with minor adjustments which they will take credit for. The new opposition kicks up a storm. Then what? A new national referendum on that deal?

It is really a whole big mess. ...



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 06:15:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, this has unsurprisingly become a matter of political jockeying for power, playing on the widespread anti-bailout sentiments of the Icelandic people? Is there anyone actually crafting alternative solutions to this, or are their voices being drowned out?

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 07:08:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone find it ironic that the UK and Netherlands are looking for bailouts because of individual decisions made by Brits and Dutch? Even while lecturing Greece in the media about looking for a handout? What of Germany accepting $20+ billion from the US taxpayer last year? I seem to recall the German gov't bank KfW made a $300 billion loan to Lehman a few hours before Lehman declared bankruptcy. Whose fault was that? And now the UK and Netherlands are threatening that Iceland will not receive an EU bid? Very rich. How very Greek.
by Upstate NY on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 07:43:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the case of Icesave, we're talking about less than a percent of GDP for each of the UK and the Netherlands, but something like 30% of Icelandic GDP.

Of course the conduct of Landsbanki in creating and managing Icesave was unconscionable, and the Icelandic government's blanket guarantee of all of the icelandic banks' foreign liabilities foolhardy, but the UK and the Netherlands are making a lot of fuss over peanuts.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 07:45:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lesson is pretty clear. Gov'ts are fearful of their economic future, and this fear paradoxically feeds the economic pressure on the gov'ts since the markets sense it.  
by Upstate NY on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 09:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
$300 million loan, not billion. Jeez.
by Upstate NY on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 08:57:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but IIRC they made a payment under a swap agreement - which they were supposed to - but might have decided not to do and wait for the bankruptcy estate to sort out later...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 05:24:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that the excuse Greece and Goldman Sachs used to cook Greece's books?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 05:30:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in this case, the underlying transaction was, as far as I can remember, completely benign - the problem was the person who decided to send 300M into what was obviously-by-then a black hole. What I can't remember is whether that payment was an amount owed to Lehman (in which case the bankruptcy trustee would have claimed it anyway, just a bit later) or if it was some kind of drawdown (in which case the German bank would have had a legitimate reason not to let it happen once Lehman was bankrupt, and it traded good money for a one claim among a very large number of similar claim for Lehman's shrinking assets).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 11:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't we assume, however, that it was the latter since the US taxpayer had to make do on a claim that was never recovered through bankruptcy proceedings?
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 01:02:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearly some people there don't understand Dutch geography right...
by Nomad on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 08:13:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland Holland

(yes, you can actually troll-rate this comment)

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 08:36:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you been at the Dutch Courage...?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 08:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, they want the idiots that created this mess in the first place back in power?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 06:45:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The claim is they're being played like fools. In the end it's like the Italians voting for Berlusconi, the Thai voting for Thaksin... The Progressive Party leader (Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson) is nothing if not media savvy (he was behind the inDefence petition) and very wealthy.

Economic Disaster Area: What Have You Done? (January 7th, 2010)

What could have been so hard to misunderstand about the InDefence petition's opening statement?
"I challenge the president of Iceland, Mr. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to reject the new IceSave bill. I think that it is fair to demand that the economic burden imposed on the Icelandic public and the future generations of this country will be put to a national referendum where the Icelandic nation gets to vote on it."

The front page of Frettabladid also reveals an interesting turnabout. Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and especially Bjarni Benediktsson are now against a national referendum. They would prefer the bill to be revoked and new negotiations should take place between Iceland and the UK and Netherlands. Petur Blondal, the Independence Party MP who sponsored a bill a couple of weeks ago asking for a national referendum said yesterday that "MP's have to sponsor bills all the time which they don't necessarily agree on wholeheartedly" as he now claims that a national referendum would be less preferable to renegotiating.

(this was written shortly after the President of Iceland refused to sign the Icesave bill thereby precipitating the referendum)

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 06:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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