In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Perhaps somebody should send Gordon Brown back to school

Posted by seumasach on May 9, 2009


Iceland Weather Report

8th May, 2009

Old Gordon Brown appears not to have all his cups in the cupboard, as the Germans would say. During question time in the British parliament last Wednesday he claimed that Britain was in the process of negotiating with the International Monetary Fund and other institutions on how to collect from Icelandic authorities the money they owe as a result of the collapse of Iceland’s banks.

When asked about the status of Christie’s Hospital in Manchester, which lost high sums in the collapse of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, a British subsidiary of an Icelandic bank, he replied that Icelandic authorities were responsible for covering those losses.

The truth is that Kaupthing Singer & Friendlander operated as a British bank, under British law, and fell under the British compensation scheme. Surely a man as intimately involved as Brown in matters concerning the Icelandic banks should be aware of that.

As for unilaterally negotiating with the IMF over Iceland’s debts – this must strike any intelligent person as absurd. We’re talking about a dispute between two sovereign states, here, which needs to be resolved bilaterally.The IMF has a clear policy, which even YT is aware of, not to interfere in political disputes or any similar matter. And even if that were the case – of course we cannot rule out backroom intrigues – surely Brown would have the wherewithal to keep mum about that, rather than blabbering about it in parliament.

Predictably, IMF’s representative in Iceland categorically denies Brown’s claims about negotiations. “It is a bilateral matter that needs to be resolved bilaterally,” he tells Fréttablaðið today.

According to Fréttablaðið, queries have been sent to British authorities about with which “other institutions” they are in talks with, and whether new claims are being made on Icelandic authorities. So far, no reply. But we’re waiting, with bated breath.

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