ICELANDAIR have called on Scots to support Iceland’s football team in the European Championships 2016.

A plane advert states: “We both wear blue and white, play with our hearts… and Icelandair’s first international destination 71 years ago was, of course, Scotland.”

The team have been causing a stir as they qualified for the championships for the first time in history. Tuesday saw the team draw with Portugal 1-1, leaving the world stunned.

But, Iceland is also being recognised for breaking new ground in another arena – politics.

Four months before the country’s general election, the Pirate Party is leading the polls at 29.9 per cent, according to the Iceland Monitor.

Founded by a mix of activists, poets and hackers in 2012, the party is pledging 35-hour working weeks and direct democracy.

The party’s branding is modelled on a traditional skull-and-crossbones pirate flag.

The party does not have a formal leader – rather its founder, MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, acts as its spokeswoman.

“People are obviously tired of being promised the world ahead of elections, only to see political parties … back away from their promises,” said Jonsdottir.

The party currently has three MPs in the 63-seat parliament, but after leading polls for almost a year the Pirate Party look as if they’ll form part of a coalition government in the upcoming election.


FOUNDED in late 2012, they are a reaction to the political “corruption” that so many Icelandic people are sick of.

The party is structured according to the “circle of power”. The members rotate responsibility and the party picks who they deem as the most qualified person to take on particular tasks. There’s also a digital voting system where any member can pledge a policy to vote for or against amongst the party.

They are gaining trust as they aim to implement a new constitution which was written by and for the Icelandic people after the financial crisis of 2008. This constitution is being ignored by the current government in the hope that the country’s inhabitants forget about it.

The Pirate Party have already managed to legalise blasphemy in Iceland after bringing a bill to parliament after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Before, anyone “blaspheming” could spend up to three months in prison. The party declared that “freedom will not bow to bloody attacks”.

Jonsdottir said: “We want to be the Robin Hood of governments, transferring the power from those at the top to the general public of Iceland.”


PIRATE parties became a well-known phenomenon when Sweden’s Piratpartiet was formed in 2006 to contest current Swedish laws regarding privacy and copyright – the party aims to strengthen individuals’ rights to privacy and make state organisation more transparent.

The party came fifth in the 2009 European Parliament elections and became the third-largest political party in Sweden in terms of membership. They also founded a Young Pirate organisation – the largest political youth organisation in Sweden in 2010.

In the party’s fourth Declaration of Principles, it’s stated that the party believes “people with an access to free communication, culture and knowledge … create a more enjoyable and humane society for everyone to live in”.

With this surge in popularity, the International Pirate Party movement was formed in Brussels in 2010 and 33 countries followed Sweden’s example.

Second to the Icelandic Pirate Party’s success is the Pirate Party in Germany, which gained seats in the state parliament in September 2011.

Common policies for all Pirate Parties include defending the freedom of expression, having a commitment to work collaboratively and direct democracy.


POLITICAL unrest is rife as documents from the leaked Panama Papers showed PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson co-owned an offshore company which had a stake in several failed Icelandic banks. Mass demonstrations ensued, resulting in Gunnlaugsson resigning as Prime Minister. There is anger over the fact that he has not stepped down as party leader or as an MP.

In his place is Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, a member of the Progressive Party along with leader Gunnlaugsson. The party has been in coalition with the conservative Independence Party since 2013.

The two parties came to power after the Social Democrat government could not solve the crippling household debt that followed the financial crash.

In the 2013 election, the Social Democrats suffered the worst defeat of any ruling party since Iceland became independent from Denmark in 1944.

Gunnlaugsson’s government suspended Iceland’s application to join the EU in 2015. A majority of Iceland is opposed to the EU’s common policies on fishing since it is one of the country’s biggest resources. The Pirate Party has promised to hold a referendum on the matter if they are elected.

Of the current government, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, ex-leader of the Pirate Party said: “[The government’s working is like] the final scene of a Game of Thrones episode – the only thing you know for sure is that there’s probably something horrible about to happen.”