Sv÷r vi­ spurningum tveggja spŠnskra bla­a

Tv÷ spŠnsk bl÷­ hafa sn˙i­ sÚr til mÝn vegna mßlarekstursins yfir Geir H. Haarde og a­stŠ­na ß ═slandi. Anna­ er ARA Ý Barcelona. Cristina Mas spur­i mig řmissa spurninga, og hÚr eru sv÷rin:

1. How did the 2007-08 crisis change Icelandic society?

It caused a social crisis, with people ceasing to believe in traditional values, like politeness and civic responsibility. Also it meant a sharp turn to the left.

2. What are the main concerns of people according to polls?

To those who are thrifty and creating wealth, the main concern is that taxes have been raised. To those who have recklessly accumulated debt, sometimes in foreign currency, the main concern is how they can avoid paying back their debts.

3. What is the opinion of people now of the financial system?

It is rather low. The Icelanders lost confidence in the system after the fall of the banks.

4. The same for the political system?

People have very little faith in the political system. The leaders who came into power in 2009, after the financial crisis, have not managed to create any confidence. They seem to be petty, vengeful characters, stuck in past rivalries. One example is how they broke all the unwritten rules of Icelandic politics by ousting the former conservative leader out of the Central Bank, even if that man, David Oddsson, had been the only person of authority who had warned against the expansion of the banks. Another example is how they have put the Prime Minister during the crisis, Geir H. Haarde, on trial on charges which are so weak that they are almost laughable.

5. Are people confident in the future?

Some are, with good reason. There are great possibilities in Iceland for the very few people who inhabit this interesting and beautiful island: fertile fishing grounds around the island, lots of hydroelectric and thermal power, and a flourishing tourist industry. But the present government is hostile to all creation of wealth. It just wants to redistribute wealth, not to facilitate its creation.

6. What about the idea of adopting the Canadian dollar?

Some people want to abandon the krona and adopt the Canadian dollar. This is a fanciful idea. With the krona we could adjust to a severe recession, which we could not have done under the euro or any other foreign currency, as the example of Greece shows very well. However, in general I think that small nations may consider adopting the currencies of bigger countries, for example under currency board arrangements, provided that economic fluctuations move in the same way in the two areas. The country which is closest to us for that purpose would be the United Kingdom with its pound sterling which is not going to disappear, I predict.

Hitt bla­i­ er La Vanguardia, og sß Glora Moreno um vi­tali­, sem hÚr fer ß eftir:

1. Do you agree with this trial of Geir H. Haarde?

I do not agree with it. I think it is a travesty of justice, a show trial, a political vendetta by the left in Iceland. Even if Geir Haarde may not always have reacted very swiftly or prudently to the crisis, he did not commit any crimes. We must bear in mind that this was an international financial crisis which hit Iceland particularly bad in the autumn of 2008 because the banks were relatively big in Iceland. The growth of the banks was not illegal, although it was unfortunate in the circumstances. In Spain, Santander grew very rapidly. Which politicians would be put on trial for not hindering that?

2. What do you think about the fact that finally the charges against the other three members of Haarde's Government were dropped? Does this decision undermine now someway the trial against Haarde?

It definitely shows that this is a political trial. This outcome was narrowly decided with the votes of the hard-core left in the Icelandic parliament. They did not want the social democrats to go on trial, but they wanted to try the conservative. If there was a political responsibility for the fall of the Icelandic banks, it was of course shared by the social democrats who were in government with the conservatives. And political responsibility should be decided on in elections, not in criminal court.

3. What do you think about the fact that two of the charges against Haarde were finally dropped?

The charges should all have been dropped. Some of the remaining ones are almost farcical, such as the charge that he did not hold sufficiently many meetings with his ministers! This had of course nothing to do with the fall of the Icelandic banks.

Thank you very much. Of course, if you want to make more comments on this issue, you're more than welcomed.

The people who have worked against the national interest of Iceland are the present leaders of the government, Johanna Sigurdardottir and Steingrimur J. Sigfusson. Johanna was Minister of Housing in the government preceding the financial crisis, and she did her best to increase housing loans or mortgage possibilities! Steingrimur and his helpers negotiated a very bad deal with the British and the Dutch about reimbursing them for expenses connected with deposits in Icelandic banks abroad. An accomplished international lawyer negotiated a much better deal later, even if that was also rejected by the Icelandic people. This case brought Steingrimur’s ineptitude and recklessness well into focus.

Johanna is an under-educated, but vengeful and petty personality, who lacks all language skills and can therefore not uphold the Icelandic cause abroad. Steingrimur is a hard-core leftist whose only idea of reform is to raise taxes and to hire more personnel for his ministry from the ranks of his ever-dwindling party. He ran in the last elections on an anti-EU platform, but he has sold out on that issue to the social democrats, with the consequence that his party has split.

╔g segi sÝ­an: Og ■ar hafi­ ■i­ ■a­!

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