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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 January 2010

Iceland debt crisis: Make the 'dirt bags' pay!

ATTEMPTS TO make Iceland's population of 320,000 pay 11,000 each to bail out the bankers, has run into the buffers.

John Sharpe

All three of Iceland's banks collapsed in October 2008, having been privatised in 2005. Nearly 400,000 savers in Britain and the Netherlands had accounts with one of them, Landsbanki, through its internet arm, Icesave. The British and Dutch governments compensated these savers and the Icelandic government agreed to repay the 3.5 billion involved. This is a colossal amount for a small country that is one of the most indebted in the world and amounts to 40% of Iceland's GDP.

The original plan agreed by the Icelandic parliament last August put a cap of 6% of GDP on any payment with payments spread over a 15 year period.

This was rejected by the British and Dutch governments and a new far more stringent plan only narrowly passed through parliament after a heated debate at the end of December.

Outrage

The response from most Icelanders has been outrage at the bankers, bosses and politicians. In a poll 70% opposed the plan and a petition signed by 15,000, 25% of the electorate, called on the country's president not to sign the latest swingeing repayment plan. In a mighty shock to the establishment he didn't sign it. A referendum is likely to be held in March.

As one Icelander commented: "Why is attention not being paid to the criminals responsible, to the dirt bags living in fancy apartments in London? Why aren't we grabbing that money and taking it back?"

Icelanders are already suffering rising unemployment (which was non-existent before the crisis), pay cuts, cuts in services, tax rises and pension funds that are worthless and there is more to come. These vicious repayments can only exacerbate the situation.

Mass protest a year ago forced the resignation of the government. The new government is a coalition between the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green Movement but the cost of the crisis is still expected to be paid by those who had no part in creating it and they will become a slave to the IMF into the bargain.

It is not hard to imagine why the British government, and every other government, is worried about the outcome of the referendum. If a similar referendum were to be held in Britain, or any other country, what would the result be?

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In The Socialist 13 January 2010:

Decent jobs - not slave labour

Protest against bankers' bonuses

Leeds City Council Future Jobs Fund is no solution


Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition

Launch of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition


Socialist Party news and analysis

Labour's leadership crisis - time for a new workers' party

Global warming chills the north

The real cost this winter

Iceland debt crisis: Make the 'dirt bags' pay!

No to County Council cuts in Warwickshire!

Fast news


Northern Ireland

Corruption scandal grips Northern Ireland


Socialist Party workplace news

Fujitsu workers say: "Enough is enough"

Signallers' strike spreads

Buses - privatisation means worse services

Teesside fight to save jobs

Twinings jobs meeting

Hospital workers battle on


Unison Witchhunt

Unison witch-hunt: Shock exposures at Employment Tribunal


Workplace Feature

Call centres: Union campaign makes important gains


Socialist Party international feature

Greece - on the edge of a volcano


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka presidential elections: No to the two warmongers!

Israel: Instability, class polarisation and socialism

Chile - Freedom for Elena Varela


Comment

Hard chimes for Pompey


 

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