[Ben Reeve Lewis considers Iceland…)
I’m writing this with Radio 4 on in the background and there is an uber-posh millionaire twonk, somehow elected into public office talking about the people’s view on Brexit.
Know your audience
He said “What one hears being talked about in the pubs and clubs”?!?!?!?!?!
Are you for real????? So you hang around in pubs and clubs do you? The Bullingdon Club perhaps but if it’s a pub you can bet your life it’s a riverside hostelry by Henley on Thames, whose car park is crammed with Ferraris and Bentleys and not the Mechanics Arms in Deptford. Yes there is a pub of that name in the High Street.
I despair sometimes.
The people elected to represent our views in parlimant have lives that are so far removed from ours that they cannot possibly understand what our concerns are and yet we continue to dignify the nonsense of these multi millionaires as if they speak for us.
Looking at Iceland
And with this in mind my increasingly angry eye this week was drawn to the Pirate Party of Iceland. It would appear that the Icelanders (is that what they are called?) have woken up and smelled the coffee since the resignation of their president over the Panama Papers scandal and are largely behind a rag tag bunch of anarchists who are likely to be elected to government.
Iceland, in case you didn’t know, were the first to jail their bankers when the recession hit and refused to bail out the banks. The result of which is that they are the fastest economic recovering country in Western Europe.
This prompted me to go off looking for the rental situation in this old Viking land.
Rents in Iceland
Rents look cheap – a 2 bed Condo being advertised at £750 dollars, which is £510 a month, which in London you wont even get a bedsit for. A luxury duplex goes for around £500k which is the same price as a 2 bed London flat.
My investigations took me to this wonderful article in last year’s Guardian about the barriers faced by developers when clearing an area for building.
In Britain we have NIMBYISM, objections to housing development based on keeping the Hoi Poloi out of rural areas under the guise that they are protecting William Blake’s ‘Green and Pleasant’ but in Iceland it isn’t high speed rail links they are nervous of…..its the Elves! Or the ‘Huldufolk’ as they are properly named.
Respect the Elves
I have to stay with this article for a bit because it rendered me gobsmacked. The article points out:
“In the 1970s, plans to move a rock out of the way of one major road went awry when a bulldozer inadvertently crushed a waterpipe feeding a fish farm. Some 70,000 trout perished overnight and there were so many other freakish accidents in the following days that the project was abandoned. One workman claims to have been stricken with bad luck ever since.”
Imagine workers on ‘One the Elephant’ saying that?
One the Elephant you will recall was the plot of land cleared for development by Boris Johnson and officially launched at a developers fair in Singapore by Mr Johnson to bring in foreign investment that has in part contributed to the accepted view that London is the property money laundering capital of the world for foreign criminals.
Where ‘s an Elf when you need one?
More on Elves
And how about this?
“In Kópavogur, south of the capital, a rock known as Elfhill has caused disruption since the 1930s, when attempts to build a road through it were abandoned after a series of accidents. Plans to level the hill re-emerged in the 1980s, but problems recurred and workers refused to go anywhere near it. Even TV crews said their cameras failed to record anything when pointed at the rock. A road was finally built skirting round the protrusion – drive along it and you’ll notice that the house numbers skip a plot, in deference to the invisible neighbours who ultimately had their way.”
I feel inspired.
We don’t need new, dull, prosaic housing policies to sort out the housing crisis, we need Elves. Terry Gunnell, professor of Folklore at the University of Iceland said;
“For the huge Kárahnjúkastífla dam project in the east, consultants with clairvoyant skills were hired to check out the landscape first to ensure it was empty of elvish rocks.“
I LOVE THIS COUNTRY!!!!!!!
A burgeoning Anarchist government…….Jailing Bankers……….Elves defeating property developers…… Even Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t gone that far.
Its my personal Utopia.
Elves and sorcery
Investigating further I read of even more evidence of inspired thinking by the Icelandic people in that in 2015 they abolished a 400 year old law that allowed local residents to kill people from the Basque country on sight. Now get this:
“The decision to do away with the decree was more symbolic than anything else,” said Jonas Gudmundsson, Westfjords district commissioner, when he officially repealed the law at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery last month.”
The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery??????????? What on earth is going on in this country?
I also looked at the basic principles of Icelandic housing law as enacted through the Housing Act number 44/1998 which states:
“Promotes, through the granting of loans and organization of matters relating to housing, that Icelanders will enjoy security and equal rights as regards housing, and that funds are provided in the specific purpose of increasing people’s chances of acquiring or renting housing on manageable terms.”
That’s it….I’m packing my bags and my Parka and heading Northwards. There is nothing to hold me in London anymore when the housing crisis is being fought by Elves, backed up by Anarchists and a statutory rule that levels the playing field when it comes to acquiring or renting housing on manageable terms.
What made me smile this week.
See ya next week. [When normal service will be resumed – Ed]