Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Tuesday 6 August 2013

An Icy Reception for Putin

Britain has a long tradition of twinning cities across the World. On entering almost any town it’s possible to see a sign showing where it’s twinned with. Some towns are twinned with several foreign cities in several countries.

I suppose the purposes are essentially cultural, and I know, for example, that many a school kid has enjoyed hospitality abroad because of the scheme. It’s all to the good. I like a bit of cultural cross-pollination. It’s to be encouraged. Of course, most of it takes place across Europe. I believe the town where I live is twinned with a town in France that’s only a short ferry and bus ride away. It’d be nice if we were twinned with somewhere fabulous in Japan, for example, but that wouldn’t be terribly practical for school trips and local council jollies.

What I didn’t realise is that other countries indulge in this sort of twinning, too. It’s a bit of a thing.

Iceland is one of the places I’d rather like to visit. I like the idea that the landscape and climate are somewhat alien, that the language is impenetrable, that it’s a country of extremes. I admire their long tradition of story telling, too. I also like Iceland’s reputation for liberal politics.

Jon Gnarr, Mayor of Reykjavik
Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is twinned with Moscow. 

Jon Gnarr, Mayor of Reykjavik isn’t hugely impressed with Putin’s latest attacks on the LGBT community in Russia. 

As we must all be aware, by now, and as I wrote about in this blog, the Russian premier recently signed two new anti-gay laws. It beggars belief in a World where equal rights are finally beginning to be widely recognised, for all, that Putin should take such damaging retrograde steps. It’s even more surprising to me that more politicians aren’t taking a stand against him.

Mayor Jon Gnarr has taken that stand, and I’m rather impressed with him, not least because he’s required to go through Iceland’s Foreign Ministry and his move is unprecedented.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry has essentially passed the buck right back to Jon Gnarr, saying that while the ministry must assess any impact the proposal might have on relations between Russia and Iceland, the decision to dissolve the relationship between Moscow and Reykjavik remains in the remit of the city council.
The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

I’m not sure what the repercussions might be for Reykjavik or for Iceland if Jon Gnarr succeeds in his proposal, but I certainly hope that he does. 

My guess is that, if nothing else, he’ll earn a very healthy share of the Pink Pound/Euro/Dollar in the near future. Iceland could be a wonderful place for a wedding of any description, including the same sex unions that are celebrated under Icelandic law. I’d go to Iceland to be married beside the Blue Lagoon or beneath the Northern Lights. I can hardly think of anything more romantic! 

In fact, if I’d had a first honeymoon, I’d consider Iceland for a second... Hell! I might consider going to Iceland just because Mayor Jon Gnarr has the courage of his convictions. The World needs more politicians like him.

1 comment:

  1. If you ever do make the trip to Iceland and want some pointers, or want a little help in that "impenetrable" language (which I really don't think it is but rather that native english speaking people are at a distinct disadvantage) just let me know Nic. :) R