Guilty By Association

Sjálfstćđisflokkurinn is learning a new lesson in politics this week.  The party system that is used in Iceland to elect members to the Althing is a two sided coin.  Not only do the members as a whole stand for the party platform but they also must answer as a whole for the party mistakes.  Such is the "team" mentality that rules much of the Icelandic political scene.

A politician, and in Iceland's case, a political party, must always remember to do two things if they are to avoid a fall due to corruption.  First they must avoid impropriety. And, more importantly, they must avoid the appearance of impropriety.  In the case of the FL Group and Landsbanki political contributions, Sjálfstćđisflokkurinn has failed miserably to avoid either.  And it makes no difference who made the mistake because, as they say in English, there is no "i" in team.  The impropriety of a few is seen as the impropriety of the entire party.

The issue most troubling about the whole affair is not the contributions themselves.  The contributions almost seem expected from a party that has held power for so long, most definitely too long. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, to use another good English saying. No, the most troubling issue is that lack of utter outrage from within the current party leaders.  Hey Sjálfstćđismenn, some unscrupulous members of your party, believe it or not, just screwed you and your chances of getting any decent percentage in the next election by complete and utter disregard for ethical behaviour! And what do you have to say about it? "A clear mistake"? "We will pay back this money"?This is something a kid who gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar says. This is not what a politican who wants to distance himself from the crisis or position himself above the fray says.  

Sjáfstćdisflokkurinn is in trouble because of these political contributions.  If Bjarni Benediktsson is going to convince the voters that he and his party can be somehow trusted he and the other party members have to express their disgust and dismay with the unethical behaviour of the other members of their party.  Unless they want be seen as a  being part of them.

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1 Smámynd: Heimir Tómasson

Furthermore, the party has the patina of corruption, guilt and arrogance in the eyes of the nation.  Nothing, not even a total reversal and cleaning out is going to re-establish faith in the party in the eyes of the average voter. Sjálfstćđisflokkurinn is going to end up with a 24-28% of the vote regardless. The reason for that is exactly the same as in the US, where 40% of the population vote republican, 40% democrat and the rest is the decisive vote. Now, the percentage that is going to vote for SF are never going to change their votes. They do so because of fear, their daddy did it or whatever. It doesn't really matter.

The only thing Sjálfstćđisflokkurinn can do now is ride it out. It is going to take 8 - 12 years. The Icelandic attention span at it's greatest.

Heimir Tómasson, 21.4.2009 kl. 03:35

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