Finnish Politics This Week – “Tricky Tricks?”

Finland’s right-wing Conservative Party has already spent 12 years in government during the last 15 years, and one would think that they would be welcoming skilled immigrants and lower-paid care workers because our ageing population urgently needs more highly skilled foreigners for our factories and lower-paid workers for caring for the elderly to supplement our falling numbers of workers. 

Strangely, this appears not to be the case because they are now proposing to treat immigrants separately from what they initially called “Native Finns” (whatever that means). They later changed this unfortunate expression to “Finnish nationals living here as permanent residents” which is not much better! The Party has proposed a set of “new” recommendations that contain some real stinkers. 

Basically, they want to limit welfare benefits for all immigrants until they learn Finnish, and get familiar with Finnish society. It is doubtful if people without full access to these basic benefits, can easily learn Finnish and learn to read the local newspapers when they are looking for work, or working in low paid jobs, if found, and raising a family. The present benefits are low and you probably could not live off reduced benefits. Furthermore, Finnish is not exactly a useful language in the global markets and familiarisation with Finnish customs and traditions is a tough demand even for Finns. Their other proposals are basically aimed at keeping economic migrants out of the country, even though we already have such policies in place here. Economic immigrants do not have Finland at the top of their list. The climate and language are enough to put most of them off coming here, as are the relatively disciplined and law abiding way people manage their lives here. Slackers and cheats are sent home pretty smartly.

One can ask why they are coming with 9 proposals just now when in opposition, but the answer may be related to a secret desire to hit it off with the True Finns to enable them to form a new right-wing government in the next election. A few years ago the Conservatives managed to do this with a splinter group who left the True  Finns to form a sparkling new party called “The Future Blues”! This new group of mutineers did not last long and they were all voted out of Parliament at the next election! 

Another nasty Conservative plan could be to get rid of the True Finns by copying large parts of their rather vague manifesto which is largely anti-immigration and anti-EU à la Mr. Farage, Trump’s fervent little supporter – photographed above. The True Finns have been busy stealing disillusioned voters from the Conservatives and this is really unacceptable for the incumbent… let’s wait and see, but the leader of the True Finns has already said that the Conservatives would never implement anything copied from the True Finn’s manifesto.

The True Finns are busy planning to have a new great leader, with the current low key grumbler moving aside to let another person take over at the helm. I doubt that the current leader will be far from the podium for long because he is so popular with their supporters. His probable successor is another sour grumbler who is sitting in Brussels as one of Finland’s MEPs. One wonders why the True Finns bother with EU Parliament, but the salary and other benefits there are quite generous, way above what they could earn in the private sector if they ever held a job there. 

After watching the True Finns these last years, it is quite probable that they want to stay in opposition where they can keep on gleaning new supporters from the other parties without having to have all the pressures of being ministers in a government. In a multi-party system like Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, the main parties in government accept this rotation after the ruling coalition normally ends up losing votes after a term or two in government. Ruling parties are seldom immune to criticism by disappointed voters. However, up until now, all of the big parties have wanted to have a go at ruling for the prestige of being a Prime Minister or other minister. It always looks nice on their CVs. Having a political party not willing to bear the responsibility of government must be quite disturbing for the older incumbents.

Photo: by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Nigel Farage speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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