There is a big misconception about Finland and the Nordic countries in that foreigners think that our welfare system means that the State looks after all of us from the cradle to the grave.
People look at our taxes and think that they are high.
People look at our public hospitals, kinder gardens, schools, universities, care of the aged, and think that they are all free.
… and it looks like politicians and civil servants are open and honest… but these are big misconceptions!
- Finns pay their taxes because we receive, or at least up until now, excellent basic services -education, health and social care, and public transport.
- Education at schools, vocational colleges and at universities. Students must pay for books and for laptops and iPads, but classes and facilities are available for all without cost.
- Healthcare is also basically low cost with reasonable charges that almost everyone can easily afford. For those with more money, private healthcare is also available at a much higher cost. It is certainly not the best in the world, but it functions rather well.
- Public transport, buses, trams, trains and ferries are all available and well organised. Roads, motorways and waterways are all well maintained. Private operators also supplement the public sector with good services.
But none of the above are socialist or represent some left-wing ideal. The above are all the result of years of understanding that shared resources and public goods can operate more efficiently if they are paid with shared funding or taxes. It is a smart and efficient use of hard-earned cash, that has its roots in the cooperative movement that goes back over 100 years into our history.
Just consider the high cost of US healthcare which is some 4 to 5 times higher that Finland. Education costs are extreme in the US as are private schools in the UK. Public transport in both countries is run down or non-existent in both countries.
The final result is that taxes plus these extra costs far exceed what Finns pay for these basic services! This has nothing to do with ideology or with political dogma – it is just plain common sense.
However, do not believe that we have a monopoly on common sense and do not believe that the general public in other countries lack common sense – quite the opposite, it is just spread in a different way.
Political leaders in Finland, the USA and in the UK all appear to be infected with the same virus that has eaten any their capacity to think whites bets for the country.
We can refrain from making any comments about Trump and May – their weaknesses are just too obvious to write about. but not the Finnish political leadership. They are being pummelled by voters, right left and centre.
It is the Finnish political leaders that are now facing hostile audience and are using every trick of he trade to stay in power. Recently, since November, they have all gone into hiding. There are np comments on Brexit, the current chaotic state of the EU, Trump and the tremors from North Korea. Nor do they comment on why they are making such expensive solutions for the health- and social care reform that bring windfalls to the private sector or why the state-owned railway company must be split up with the best parts being sold off!
Popularity, like that of Trump’s, has sunk to new lows, by becoming even more secretive about their next moves, using the element of surprise and spin doctors to best explain what they think i such a good innovative idea, until the media cry out in protest, and and voters vote…