It is now six months since the last General Election here in Helsinki, and the latest November poll is showing what we know to be the most common situation – parties in opposition do not have to come up with any proactive proposals to attract voters. All they have to do is sit on their hands in parliament, and avoid scandals. The only exception to saying as little as possible is to criticise every proposal made by the government even though they are probably the same proposals they made their manifestoes before the election!
It is somewhat demoralising to see how the True Finns have increased their lead this last few months without making any new proposals of their own. They just repeat their worn out dogma that Finland does not need to do anything to slow down climate change and immigration according to them should be strictly restricted. That is about all I have to offer voters and it seems to be working for the time being.
These new polls also point out that the Social Democrats and the Centre Party are facing really hard challenges with regard to their image. The two party leaders are now under pressure to perform.
The Prime Minister, as the head of the Social Democrats, has his hands full as acting President of the Council of the European Union under the rotating system, and has less and less time for handling domestic matters, while the new leader of the Centre Party is the Ministry of Trade, and she is facing an uphill task after the collapse of the party’s reputation under the former prime minister.
Another challenge facing the present government is the need to watch the budget deficit that continues to creep up because of a relatively low employment rate, a fast-ageing population and slower economic growth.
The European Commission has not helped matters. In addition to France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, the EC has requested information about Finland’s increased public spending. Helsinki replied saying the measures were temporary and necessary to boost employment and improve public finances in the long run. Naturally the opposition has leapt at this opportunity to claim the moral high ground!
Six months is a short period since the elections and much needs to be done – empty criticism from the sidelines is neither useful or fair.