Helga Arnardóttir: We're fed up with Icesave but we'll vote no
View from Iceland
Saturday 06 March 2010
Everyone in Reykjavik, whatever their opinion, is so fed up with the whole thing: Icesave is a banned word here. It has been ongoing since before 2008. And, you know, this is always on the evening bulletins. Even if you don't understand it you're sick of it. "You can talk about anything," people joke, "so long as it's not Icesave."
When they do talk about it, people say that it's really unfair that the whole nation should have to pay for other people's mistakes. But it's not a question of "Will we pay this money back?" – it's a question of the terms on which we do it. And now talks are underway with Britain and the Netherlands, the referendum seems pointless.
The point I keep hearing now is, "What's the point if there are talks about a new deal which is so much better for the Icelandic nation?" After all, it's going to cost 150 or 200 million krone (£776,000 – £1m). It's not like we have the money to throw around – we need it.
Still it is a constitutional right to vote, and we will. One thing is clear: despite being tired of it, people are going to say no. It's a matter of solidarity, to show the nation's view on the legislation. The deal we are voting on is just so bad for the Icelandic people. If anything, the referendum seems to have put us in a better negotiating position: we already have the prospect of a better deal, even if it's not approved yet. I feel, and I think most people feel, much more optimistic about our country's future than we did before the referendum was called.
Helga Arnardóttir is a broadcast journalist with Stöd 2 television
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