Are you bored with politics as usual? Disgusted by the way politicians clamour for your vote and then behave like pigs at a trough till the next time they need to get elected? Well, there is another way. A year ago, the thoroughly sensible people of Reykjavik booted out the suits and elected a party of punk musicians and artists, headed by a professional comedian, to control the City Council. You can read about The Best Party in this Observer article, but their campaign video really says it all.
I only became aware of this after watching The Night Shift on BBC4, a month or so ago. It’s an Icelandic comedy about 3 misfits working the night shift at a petrol station on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Think The Office (British version, please), with subtitles. This led down the Google rabbit hole in a search for all things Icelandic, in which there was much to like about the country. To the point where I began to fantasize about moving there.
In my wanderings I came across the Best Party and discovered that Jon Gnarr, who leads the party, plays Georg, a wonderful monster in the The Night Shift. So I was pleased to see the Observer pushing the boat out for what seems like a proper grass roots response to governments being conjoined twins with the financial corporatocracy. Most people who commented in the cif thread below the article were supportive, with an Icelandic journalist, Alda Sigmundsdottir, providing the main dissenting voice. Her post is worth quoting:
The Best Party having brought Iceland in from the cold? Ridiculous. Sure, they were initially a breath of fresh air, but unfortunately they’re great at talking the talk, terrible at walking the walk. Their coalition partners (Social Democratic Party) are effectively running the show in Reykjavík while the Best Party members flit about, talking up their “irreverent” image to anyone who will listen. Most of us Reykjavík denizens saw through them ages ago – and no, I am not a member of the “infuriated” traditional parties, or even traditional voters – just someone who doesn’t pander to the Emperor’s new clothes. The Best Party have always been all show and very little substance — and unfortunately the foreign media seem to REALLY like the show.
Ouch! I suppose that means me as well. Alda has a blog, The Iceland Weather Report, and a Facebook page. Of the English language newspapers, the Icelandic Review Online is a bit dull and worthy, while the Reykjavik Grapevine is a very entertaining read.
I’m drooling at the thought of visiting this strange place. Circumstances make it impossible at the moment, but perhaps I could get there in time for the Northern Lights…