Finnish Politics This Week – “Nothing Wrong here…”

This week we were spoon fed on a story about how former Finnish politicians end up working as right-wing spin doctor consultants that specialise in helping acting politicians and companies sell their political policies and products to other politicians and voters. It sounds crazy, and it is crazy, when the former Conservative Mayor of Helsinki gets paid well to sell such services as glorified lobbyist rather than doing a better job as a politician. He has ended up working for Miltton, the big spin doctor company mainly owned by Nokia’s former leader, who oversaw their demise to Apple. One must wonder what second-hand politicians as consultants are useful for… and why anybody would bother listening to them…

It also turns out that our great Finnish Innovation Fund, called for short “Sitra”, is also using the same lobby company to make its PowerPoints look nicer. Spending €10 000 on better PowerPoints is like burning bank notes. But what do you expect when a another former Conservative Prime Minister fallen star who was chosen to be the boss there? One would have thought that any innovative think tank like Sitra would have plenty of bright young people more than willing to liven up their PowerPoints with some flashy slides!

Our Parliament has sacked the Auditor General at the National Audit Office of Finland (NAOF). The Audit Office is meant to keep track of the government’s spending and legality. An Audit Office is meant to lead by example, but that was not the case. Our public service broadcasting company, YLE, discovered in August 2020 that the boss there had run up high international travel costs and expenses for her “styling”, hair-does and make-up sessions. After months of investigations Parliament finally managed to get round to sacking her, even though she was claiming that she had done nothing wrong! 

Another extraordinary issue about happened in Parliament’s Commerce Committee. They share some of the responsibility for overseeing the activities NAOF. The Chairman said that they have not been following the problems that were widely reported in the media about the NAOF, but rather the Committee had concentrated on the matters that the NAOF reports on the government’s use of budgetary funds. The Committee’s Chairman, a Conservative MP, will now be the new Mayor of Helsinki, and given the serious issues at NOAF since last August 2020, there was plenty of time for the Committee to react. The Chairman also said that he regretted that the problems at NAOF were dealt with in the public domain. When public servant who is meant to be a gamekeeper turns into a poacher most of us should be pleased that this is covered in the public domain. He probably needs a little help from Miltton to polish up his image too! 

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