Finnish Politics – A Welcome “No!” to Divisive Politics

You always know when a general election is coming. It is the time that the party leadership starts to drop hints about what could be their future strategies. Politicians are seldom very explicit about the future and prefer imprecise language so as not to be caught out later when they have to compromise. 

In countries like the Finland we are accustomed to having coalitions of political parties in a government. They are called Rainbow governments because the “right” and the “left” normally find themselves sitting on the same bench. It is a much more workable system than say the British of American one where the “right” and the “left” are at loggerheads all the time because only one block can be in government at any time.

I write the terms “left and “right” this way because they are tired expressions – all the political big political parties allow themselves to be lobbied and influenced by their biggest (… and richest) supporters, they prefer bigger government even though they may say the opposite, they normally insist on public (taxpayer) funding of the parties, and they like to give their friends nice jobs. 

Politics in Finland has become messy with the rise of the True Finns. They are on the right when it comes to immigration and international aid, they object to extra activities to reduce greenhouse gases, they are ambiguous about vaccinations and are fast to move with the wind of public opinion. They love the ambiguous and can be more than outspoken without being very intelligent.

The True Finns have done well in “Trumpian” times and they have been successful in getting voters from the Conservative, Centre Parties and a smaller number from the Social Democrats. During recent months they had set their sights on becoming part of he next government with the Conservatives and the Center Party, especially since the Conservatives have been running in the poll position recently.

However, the True Finns have the same distinguished smell of rotten fish that the Sweden Democrats enjoy in Sweden. One right wing Swedish party has said that they might consider forming a coalition with the Swedish Democrats, and that got the media here thinking that a similar agreement could be arranged between the Conservatives and the True Finns. A couple of young over-enthusiastic Conservative Party members started to hint as much but only obliquely… However, such a link up would almost certainly strengthen the support for the True Finns and cause the Conservative Party a loss of voters. A second fact is that the True Finns have never had  the smartest leadership – they have built their manifesto’s on the rather simple generalist slogan rather than on hard analysis and accurate numbers. They would be free riders in any coalition – the reader should not forget that Trump had very little understanding of anything other than trying to enrich himself… 

Thus, it was no surprise that the head of the Conservative party announced last week that he would not roll back on any of the policies that the present and past government have put in place for slowing greenhouse gases. In so doing he is saying very clearly that he will not sit with the True Finns in the next government, a fact that means that he will almost certainly be ready to sit in a government or form a government with the Social Democrats.

The leader of the True Finns was clearly taken aback on TV upon hearing her colleagues resounding “No!” It is surprising how a simple two letter word can have historical consequences. In Finnish the word for “no!” is “ei!”… pronounced “eh!”

The Social Democrats have remained high in the polls even though they have thrust into a weak economy two years ago with massive public debts, and then came Covid. In spite of the challenges, they have done well in keeping stronger economic growth, with low Covid infection and death rates. We have done much better than our richer brother Sweden… and all this in spite of the two main media companies being highly critical about the present government’s performance! 

Thus with elections coming in 18 months time in April 2023 the picture is becoming clearer so long as we do not have any major political crisis like our friends in Austria…

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