Protest tomorrow against embattled MPs

30.11.2018 - 10:59
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Þór Ægisson - RÚV
The public backlash against the six members of Alþingi secretly recorded at a bar making abusive comments has been strong. They have apologised, but many in parliament and around the country are calling for resignations. A protest is planned outside parliament tomorrow, Saturday.

The Facebook event (“Klausturs-þingmenn til ábyrgðar. Mótmælum ósiðlegu framferði!”) created for the protest had over 3,400 responses at the time of writing. They plan to meet at parliament at 14.10 on 1st December to demand the six Flokkur fólksins (People’s Party) and Miðflokkurinn (Centre Party) MPs resign.  

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of Iceland’s sovereignty and part of the celebration is scheduled to include opening Alþingi up to the public for the day. It is not yet clear whether the planned protest will affect the celebrations. 

Out of political capital but no need to resign 

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson (pictured above), one of the Miðflokkurinn MPs involved in the scandal, told RÚV’s Kastljós programme last night that his political capital is damaged but that he sees no reason to resign.  

Gunnar Bragi used to be Iceland’s foreign minister and has served as a United Nations #HeforShe ambassador, organising an international conference on gender equality that specifically encouraged men to always think and talk about women with respect, even among themselves in private conversation.  

He told Kastljós he is ashamed of the discussion the six elected officials engaged in at Klaustur bar last Tuesday evening. 

He said it had been wrong to make hurtful remarks about female colleagues, and other minorities, but that it was done whilst drunk. 

The presenter asked him then: “You are MPs and you’re there in a public place, talking loudly, and one has to ask: what’s wrong with you all?” 

“That is actually a very good question. What actually was wrong with us? It’s not as if we’re talking or acting like that all day. It’s not even that case that one is thinking these things as one worded them there. We are at a bar and some of us should have skipped that last drink. That is completely clear and as a result one loses connection to reality.” 

According to Bruce Bartholow, author of Alcohol Effects on Performance Monitoring and Adjustment: Affect Modulation and Impairment of Evaluative Cognitive Control, alcohol does not inherently make people say bad things they do not mean; rather, it makes them care less about the acceptability of what they do say.