Should Iceland be made to pay?
It has to be said that the news that Iceland’s voters have rejected the idea of repaying Iceland’s debt to Britain and the Netherlands is not exactly shocking. The result was overwhelming:
With about 98 percent of the votes counted Sunday, roughly 93 percent of voters said no to the plan, in the first public referendum ever held on any subject in Iceland. Less than 2 percent voted yes, and the rest of the votes were invalid.
However, despite the ‘no’ vote the Icelandic government will still repay the money. I have nothing but sympathy for the people of Iceland however who, ultimately, are being asked to repay a debt that is not their fault. In that vein; Britain’s strongarming of the Icelandic government is unacceptable and the right-wing Spectators celebration of the result is hypocritical considering it is the actions of bankers it usually lauds that has put Iceland in this position.
The reaction of the right-wing is conditioned by the current occupant of Number 10 being from the Labour Party;were David Cameron in the hot-seat they would settle for no less than a full-scale invasion and annexation of Iceland. So, to answer the question posed by the House of Twits, should Iceland be forced to repay?
Of course, most people will say that yes Iceland should be forced to repay a debt caused by the collapse of an Icelandic bank. However, is it really right to collectively punish an entire populace for the mis-deeds of those at the top and for a failure of regulation? Surely the answer has to be no. What really needs to be addressed is the lack of international protection and regulation that protects customers when banks like Icesave collapse.
What really needs to be addressed is the weakness of governments when it comes to standing up against the markets and this is something that Britain’s government is just as guilty of as Iceland’s. The debt Iceland owes represents nearly 40% of Iceland’s GDP; demands for repayment are punitive and therefore should be rejected. It is not right to cripple a nation because of the actions of its financial elites.