What is the standard price for a politician?

Sigmundur Ernir Rúnarsson the former news anchor and TV show host was fired from Channel Two a few months ago because he and others did not fit into the new owner’s plans. Baugur had their fingers in this mess. He then got the brilliant idea to use his public persona to get into the Social Democratic Alliance political party and got voted to parliament simply because he is famous. He is to many an obnoxious person on scsigmundur-ernirreen, and in the parliamentary speech booth. As a person outside the media he is probably an ok guy.

He made a massive faux pas in parliament last week when the parliament was discussing the IceSave deal, in probably the most important cases ever put before parliament in our short lifetime as a republic. The only difference between him and most of the other members of parliament that night or any other night for that matter, is that he was drunk as a skunk.

There is a video below that shows him drunk, and you don’t need to speak Icelandic to see that.

Sigmundur Ernir denied to have been drunk at first, but then “came clean” in a statement that said that he had tasted wine earlier that night, but did not feel any effects of it at the time of the speeches. Instead he blamed the interruptions of other members of parliament about his “strange behaviour”.  He had been playing golf the whole day as a guest of MP Bank here in Iceland, and then had a fancy dinner with “a lot of wine” according to media reports, also as a guest of MP Bank. MP stands of Margeir Pétursson, the chess grandmaster and a former Kaupthing banker I believe.

MP Bank website, about section is here.

Here is another article about Margeir Pétursson and his bank.

The part that bothers way to few here in Iceland, according to a vox pop on TV a few days ago, when the public was asked if Sigmundur Ernir should resign for not telling the truth about his state of sobriety (lack there off), and the public said no. Well it has to be agreed that being drunk in parliament is nothing new, at least according to the reports of one journalists who used to be the political correspondent for a newspaper here in Iceland before the parliament TV was started.

He said that it was common to see ordinary members of parliament either tipsy or drunk, just like many ministers had the notoriety for being drunk in parliament and in media interviews. Then the journalist said that of course they never talked about that, that was common practice to just not tell the public that the people they voted and ruled on their behalf were drunk all the time. That’s not very nice to say that in the media.

It only shows how the media have danced to the song of the politicians. The general Icelander thinks this is just fine. I can understand being drunk at parliament, since most of what comes from there seems to be the work of drunk people, either on alcohol or drunk on money.

That brings us back to Sigmundur Ernir and the nation who simply did not get the point.  Not very quick of the mark so to speak, the nation is. The fact that Sigmundur Ernir, and he is just an example in this case, was playing golf, dining and drinking after being invited by a bank, when he should have been working in parliament is not just wrong, it is corruption. One can only ask the fundamental question; What is the price one needs to pay in order to own a member of parliament?

Is the rate a simple game of golf, dinner and wine? Or a trip abroad with free hotels, drinks and/or prostitutes even? There have been countless trips abroad by members of parliament and the city councils all paid for by banks and other companies that just happen out of their goodwill to invite the politicians what they desire.

What possible reason does a bank have, to invite a politician to events, trips, golf, wine, etc. etc? Because they are nice to them instead of being nice to their customers. Why is that? Why are they nicer to politicians than regular paying customers? The answer is simple, they politicians have influence and they are for sale.

As Lord Acton said once: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are always bad men.” One can only wander about the price and what the bank gets in return.



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