The Finnish political party, the Center Party, is run by people most of whom live in the countryside and who generally have big farmers, and large tracks of forest. Their followers are their wives and husbands, and coop workers who strive to earn a living selling everything from pigs to financial services. Then generally do not change their politics because that would mean summary extradition and deportation to the nearest city slums.
Center Party folk are by definition old fashioned, backward looking, diesel car owners, church-going, anti socialist, anti-other parties, xenophobic except for cheap foreign farm workers, teetotallers except when travelling, childbearing, penny pinching tango dancers who would rather burn peat than save the planet. And like all good politicians if you are around at the right time you might end up working for a big company or running a central bank…
Naturally, there are exceptions although you would have to look hard to find one hidden away in Jerisjärvi under a pile of logs…
This week is like Black Friday for Center Party folk, and what is going on is blowing their wigs high into the sky.
The first thing was that their former PM and party leader, Mr. Sipilä, who resigned from the post not too long ago, publicly criticised his own party who is sitting in the present government. He thought that the government is not doing enough to get more people into the labour market. He is always boasting about his credentials – unemployment fell sharply during his time as PM but that was caused by a big recovery in the economy after the financial crisis and there was not much due to his actions. It probably would have happened anyway without him sitting on the throne…
Anyway the present Finance Minister, Mr. Vanhanen, is also Center Party member and former party leader and a former PM from the 1990s… He must be really pissed off with Mr. Sipilä’s little outburst!
Then we have the present party leader and former Finance Minister, Ms. Kulmuni, fighting for her life as party leader this weekend. She will not get to keep her job, but her best effort was to do a photo shot putting flowers on the grave of former president Mr. Kekkonen (also a former Center Party boss) whose 120th birthday is being celebrated by one and all.
This type of behaviour is millions of miles away from today’s reality. Most voters will laugh at this type of heap shot to appear patriotic and far-sighted….
Her competitor, Ms. Saarikko, who will probably win the party’s nomination for leader said she preferred Marshal Mannerheim as a role model. He was a former Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Finnish President who led the Whites against the Communists in 1918… his birthday was in June when he posthumously celebrated his 153rd birthday… and he was not even a member of the Center Party… that was really scraping the bottom of the barrel. There is absolutely no connection between her and him, even in wildest dreams.
The last thing this week that is bad news for the Center Party, that also explains why Mr. Sipilä is so touchy, is that their poll results are currently so, so bad at 11%. It was over 24% when he won the elections 5 years ago!
Both photos are from Wikipedia Commons – Ms Saarikko’s photo was taken by Lauri Heikkinen from. the valtioneuvoston kanslia.