Sunday, April 18, 2010

Climbing Mount Unpronounceable

If I had to choose a religious adherence, if there was no box on the form for Atheist, if a choice were mandatory, I think I would go for the Old Norse. It was the religion of my ancestors, after all; and it does involve a lot of feasting, fighting and trickery.  It is also mercifully free of the clogging sentiment that pervades the monotheistic religions. And it may well be the One True Religion.

Think of it this way. Not so long ago, Iceland was a prosperous social democracy known only to WH Auden, Damon Albern and Eric Ravilious.  Then along came some bankers, bringing with them bizarre economic nostrums which had escaped from a laboratory in the University of Chicago and infected the rest of the world. The bankers leveraged (that is, put in hock) the previously fish-based economy of Iceland. The rest of the world bought huge amounts of debt from Iceland. Then the world all went to crap because a load of mortgages had been sold in the USA to people who you would not want as your neighbours, and these mortgages had been bought by leading financial institutions who were too busy to notice what they were buying. The mortgages were not paid. The financial institutions were broke. Governments felt obliged to give them lots of money, for reasons which still are unclear.

Somebody had to take the blame. The governments of the world chose Iceland. It was a simple decision; after all nobody had ever been there, they didn't produce anything the world wanted, they were known only for some peculiar pop music and they had been stroppy about cod and whales. Gordon Brown, a man noted for his adherence to post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory, decided to stop Iceland growing. He seized Iceland's British assets, using anti-terrorism laws which had been designed for use against Muslims. He then banded with the rest of the world and demanded that Iceland pay them large amounts of money, the sort of amounts that they had paid the financial institutions.

The Icelanders reacted by choosing a lesbian as their leader, safe in the knowledge that the western media are easily distracted by a woman's sexuality. Then the Althing devised a plan to repay the British (and the Dutch, for some reason) by bankrupting the social democracy. However, being a social democracy, this plan had to be approved by a referendum. Unsurprisingly, facing a cake or death choice, the Icelanders chose cake. They refused to pay.

This decision was bound to cause trouble. When the Icelanders tried to stop British fishermen stealing Iceland's fish in the 1970s, the British sent the Royal Navy. A clear and present danger existed that Gordon Brown might send the Royal Navy, or at least what is left of it, again. There was not much the Icelanders could do. However, it seems the Norse gods have come to their rescue. They have caused a previously unknown and still unpronounceable volcano known as  Eyjafjallajokull to erupt and have sent the clouds of ash to Britain, where it has stuffed up air travel.

The result, of course, is chaos. John Cleese had to take a very expensive taxi, Whitney Houston had to travel by ferry; Angela Merkel had to go to Portugal; many world leaders were unable to travel to the funeral of the Polish leader they despised. And it is not just famous people who were affected. All across Europe, ordinary decent people are afflicted by whining British chavs - lumpen proles who moan constantly, wear bri-nylon shell suits and copulate in public places. Despite their loathing for, and incomprehension of, everything foreign except American yoof culture, these creatures choose to spend much of their free time overseas. Unfortunately for the foreigners, now they cannot go home. The citizens of Europe may have to become accustomed to zooants, the Croydon Facelift and to being likened to female genitalia.

Meanwhile, many other British people are sleeping in airport lounges. This is not unusual; it happens all the time. For reasons unknown even to post-neoclassical endogenous growth theorists, any crisis in Britain tends to result in people sleeping in airport lounges. The Daily Mail usually refers to this phenomenon as the spirit of the Blitz.

Of course, there is consternation in Mayfair and rioting in Notting Hill Gate. The delicatessens,  on which Britain's ruling class relies for edible food supplies,  are quickly running out of fresh European food. Soon, university-educated people may be forced to eat at KFC like everybody else.

For those of us living in Better Britain, the volcano crisis may be a blessing. If the erupting continues, these ghastly people toffs and chavs alike may be unable to get here for the Rugby World Cup. So, ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and be upstanding; for the toast is to - Valhalla.


Jake said...

KFC is for university-educated people. You can get your two pieces of chicken and chips for half the price at Sam's Chicken Cottage.

Paul said...

Is it really that bad?

Deborah said...

I have a friend who is stranded in Europe. He started describing it as the spirit of the Blitz, moved on to the spirit of Dunkirk, and is now contemplating The Great Escape.

Lyndon said...

Someone was passing on a theory last night that Iceland meant to say 'send cash' but there is not 'c' in the Icelandic alphabet.

Paul said...

Has the film of The Road been released in Europe?

Philip said...

Your analysis of the banking crisis is the best I've seen yet, and theologically you may well be onto something. I read Roger Lancelyn Green's Myths of the Norsemen as a child and found Loki a more appealing figure than Jesus could ever hope to be. Not so sure about having a parliament called a Thing though, however much the present institution may deserve to be dynamited by Kurt Russell.

Word Verification: hisat, a particularly Satanic form of hijab.

Amanda said...

To Valhalla!!

Paul said...

Hands up who likes the idea of a Ballardian future where airships slowly pass the abandoned air traffic contol towers silhouetted against a glowering red sky. I know I do.

Fatal Paradox said...

As one who is descended from worshipers of the Old Norse god Balder, I cannot but agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed here!