REYKJAVIK, Iceland—The recent national elections in Iceland were hardly a referendum on internet porn, which the previous government was aiming to ban, but it doesn’t matter for those who abhorred the idea. The news of a center-right opposition win on Saturday means that the plan is likely toast, and Icelanders will probably not have to bother circumventing the ban.
On the downside, the election brought back into power the same Independence and Progressive parties that, as the BBC puts it, are “widely blamed for Iceland's economic meltdown in 2008.”
Things work a little differently in Iceland politics, where, unlike in the United States, the left-leaning party that came into power after the previous center-righties were summarily dismissed ushered in an are of austerity programs designed to meet the expectations of international bankers. Now that the lefties have gone down to defeat, the new government wants to reverse those trends.
"We've seen what cutbacks have done for our healthcare system and social benefits... now it's time to make new investments, create jobs and start growth," said Bjarni Benediktsson, the Independence party leader who is likely to become prime minister.
Similar sentiments came from the Progressive party, which saw even greater gains than did the Independence, though the coalition has also, in traditional right-center form, promised a new regime of “debt relief and a cut in taxes.”
Not sure how austerity relief squares with debt relief and tax cuts, but who cares as long as the country moves away from the previous attempt by half-baked feminists to censor adult content online. One indication of the kookiness of the plan was the fact that anti-porner Gail Dines was actually imported to help one of the ministers draft the proposed policy. That’s one way to make sure it’s done in a reasonable manner!
But the whole idea was counter-intuitive from the beginning, according to The Economist, which said of the plan, “The main reason behind the proposed ban seems paradoxical: it is a result of Iceland being a highly liberal place.”
Along those same lines, we have no idea if the victorious right-center coalition will kill the porn ban dead or be willing to keep it alive, if only to placate remnants of the previous government that still retain seats in parliament. After all, the lefties don’t see the election as a mandate at all.
Social Democrat leader Arni Pall Arnason said as much when he declared of the center-right parties, "Their democratic mandate to change society is absolutely zero.”
We shall see.
Photo: Parliament Building in Reykjavík, Iceland