Finland – All that’s Bad and All that’s Good

It is Independence Day here in Finland and this last few weeks have been depressing here in Helsinki.

The Finnish Prime Minister has just resigned because “he did not enjoy the confidence” of another party in the present coalition. He objected to the fact that the last government’s board appointees at the Post Office Company had decided to reduce postal workers’ wages by 30%. The board said that that their competitors were using workers with lower wages… That was not true… The postal workers went on strike for 2 weeks before the PM put a stop to this nonsense, by forcing the board to reverse their decision, However, he did not follow “protocol” and the right-wing “law abiding” opposition politicians and sheep-like followers started screaming for his head and got it on a platter. 

Now, next week, around 100 000 Finnish workers will go on strike because they are not getting the increase in wages they wanted. It also appears that the employers’ unions are taking a hard line by trying to cut other benefits that the workers have managed to win over the years. Their determination is hardened by the fact that management are getting more generous renumeration each time workers’ benefits are cut! It is the same bunch of folks from the “Finnish Republicans” that are behind both schemes too…

So let’s relieve ourselves with some gossip about what is wrong and what is right about Finland today. And this is coming from a pitch dark freezing  evening at a log house on an island in the sea one hour from Helsinki. No lights, no neighbours just the wind and sleet howling outside.

What is really bad

The use of the word “the Cream of Finland” to describe who was invited to the President’s Independence Day Party in Helsinki on 6.12.2019. One must wonder what the poor folk queueing outside in the cold at the free soup charity run by Mr. Hursti are being called? That is his father’s photo above. If anyone is the “Cream of Finland” today it must be Mr. Hursti and his dozens of volunteer helpers!

Sales of shares Give-away– €6 billion of stock exchange shares were sold by the last three governments. There was not much to show for this in terms of budget deficit reductions or austerity! In both cases things got worse – so much for good economic management of the nation! If they had held on to most of these shares they could have netted almost twice the amount! Great traders here… 

Lead Party Who was PM Sold Dates
Center Party Sipilä government 2 500 000 000,00 € 2015-2018
Conservative Party Stubb government 1 700 000 000,00 € 2114-2115
Conservative Party Kataianen government: 1 800 000 000,00 € 2111-2114
Total sold 6 000 000 000,00 €

Healthcare Deform – these last 3 right-wing governments tried to reform social- and healthcare systems here as well as privatising large parts of healthcare. Well done… nothing happened because planning was useless – except huge sums were spent on expensive IT solutions that still do not work. The reform ground to a halt after 10 years and there is a still a long way to go! The former system was good enough and needed reform, but not this chaotic attempt. Now there are too few doctors in the public healthcare sector! The doctors have all gone private!

Municipalities Non-Reform – Finland is still wasting billions of Euros on having far too many small municipalities. Sweden and Denmark have halved the number this last 3 decades while Finland has sat back and done almost nothing to reform and reduce the number. 

Gold Medals for Keeping Monopolies – Competition is so weak in the following sectors – retail, construction, banking, insurance, dairy, airline, pension, media, communication, etc. In some of these cases two or three companies dominate their whole market. There is no excuse for this – no other small or large country in the Western world, except the USA, has such a desire to minimise competition by refusing to break them up. Can you imagine having just 2 retail giants with a 84% market share! It is the Soviet system here…

What is Really Good

People – Finns are smart and good to be with…

The Weather in Summer – the only problem is that it only lasts for 3 months…

Education – Great and free…

Cities and countryside – cultured, lively and clean big cities are balanced by beautiful forests, lakes, islands and sea. Most of the small cities and towns are not so interesting but there are some gems…

Food – although pricey it is of excellent quality and tasty.

An open society – where people know what is going on in the world.

Great for families, work and life… really…

Photo: Wikipedia

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