Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Iceland: Kill the whales!

You may have heard that Iceland has a new government, made up of the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement. The last one collapsed after sixteen weeks of protest due to the economic crisis and the fact they had a banking sector that went well beyond their means.

The new Prime Minister is possibly the first ex-air hostess to achieve such high office. More importantly she was selected to become PM because she's generally seen to be on the left of the SDA and what's needed now is a bit of old fashioned socialism to set capitalism back on its feet. Or something.

The Left Green's chairman and leading politician is Steingrímur Jóhann Sigfússon (pictured) who's most notable achievement to date appears to be the fact that when the US abandoned their air bases in 2006 he argued that Iceland should not develop its own armed forces. He's also spoken out against Gordon Brown and the use of UK anti-terror legislation to seize financial assets.

Steingrímur holds the positions of both Finance Minister and Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, both extremely important positions and symbolic of the central role that the left is playing in the new government.

It's disappointing then to see that almost his very first act as top fishman is to extend whaling. There has been extreme international concern at the move, which is essentially a refusal to rescind an order made in the dying days of the old government, despite the fact that Parliament itself has grave reservations about whaling and the PM's earlier promise to review the decision.

"The ambassadors from the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Finland met with Sigfússon last week to discuss the issue. On Tuesday, those seven countries issued a letter asking him to rethink the sixfold increase to its whaling quota."

So let's be clear - New Labour is pressuring the Greens to ban whaling - and they are refusing. That's effing marvellous that is. That's a present from the disappointment shop with a bloody great ribbon on top!

The move will mean that whalers will be able to catch "100 minke whales and 150 fin whales during 2009", although Steingrímur has told whalers not to take these quotas for granted in future years. I'm sure the whalers are happy enough though as they were expecting the new government to institute an outright ban. Iceland and Norway are the only two countries in the world that allow commercial whaling (Japan hunts for "scientific purposes").

Not cool Steingrímur. This is not cool at all. You had it in your hands and you just let the opportunity slip through your fingers. Let's hope this kind of decision does not characterise your time in office.


Renegade Eye said...

I've been to Green Party events, where there was concern they may have to use paper plates. To be involved with whaling is disappointing.

No wonder cynicism is strong,

Aaron said...

When they get rid of all the whales, let's hope that they hunt each other for sport.

Reuben said...

Thank you Aaron for providing such a clear demonstion of the misanthropy that stalks green politics.

Jim Jay said...

I rather enjoyed Aaron's comment, and I think you missed the humour in it Reuben.

Something else that amuses me is, and please don't take this the wrong way, someone who brags about their own misanthropy seeing it as a flaw when it suits them.

I'm not sure you can have it both ways - making amusing jokes about everyone who doesn't live in London as being scum and (mock?) bridling at someone else making a similar kind of joke...

I mean you've never exactly been the friend of fishermen before now have you?

Just a thought :)

Reuben said...

Jim - there is a difference between expressing a negative opinion about people (jokingly or otherwise), and expressing a hope that people wipe each other out (jokingly or otherwise.

My approach to fishermen is fundamentally fair: i judge them on the basis of what they do. When they go around being non-londoners, I naturally express ill feeling towards them. When they hunt and kill ridiculous creatures and make Independent readers cry, I applaud them.

PS i love your use of the phrase 'top fishman'

Jim Jay said...

There isn't much of a difference in this case. Jokey misanthropy is what it is and anyway I'm not convinced you haven't made jokes about wiping out country folk (or whatever).

I think you may be allowing your hatred of the animal kingdom to cloud your judgement. I don't think you should be encouraging people to take jokes too seriously Reuben!

Aaron said...

You are mistaken Reuben, it is because of my compassion towards humans and other animals that I am involved in green politics. I was joking of course, yet I strongly condemn whaling and the needless slaughter of life.