This week in Finnish Politcs

The Center Party got their new leader as predicted and Ms. Saarikko, the obvious winner, is immediately being accused of being divisive because she challenged the then current leader who had only been in the driving seat for one year! During that time the Center Party has seen its disastrous unpopularity remain at their lowest levels for decades! It was time for change…

In any event, there can be little doubt that they will be in serious trouble because this party appears to be unable to find any leader who has the experience to unify the party around a set of common values. Today they resemble religious extremists fighting over the spoils of battle!

It is the same with the Conservative Party who also had an “election” to determine if their present leader, Mr. Orpo, should continue. He is just another politician whose whole career has been nothing more than sitting in on endless party-political meetings. He resembles the whole crowd of current politicians who end up in politics right after leaving university… Having done some work in the real economy, preferably in the private sector, should be a prerequisite for becoming a politician, although recent examples (Mr. Sipilä and Ms. Berner) are not exactly great arguments for that comment.

Anyway, the party let him continue as party leader without any opposition at their moving annual get-together… Moving because they flagged that the party conference would elect a new deputy leader. The candidates were lined up as if there would be a tough and exciting competition, but this turned out to be a “damp squid” – an English phrase means a disappointing event. It was disappointing because the key candidates were all elected as deputy leaders! We will not even publish their names because they only got there because they all have right-wing supporters with deep pockets who want to attract young voters with fresh looking young political candidates!

Finally the Conservatives and one of the bosses of one of Finland largest companies are screaming at the PM who said she thought that it was not a good time for UPM, the big forestry company, to close down a big paper factory. The company, UPM, decided to close the paper mill because of the fall in the paper demand an because workers, diesel fuel and electricity cost too much…

The factory is still profitable but times are getting tough. The bosses have never had it so good with some €20 million being paid out as salary plus bonuses… R&D expenditure has also been rather low – they prefer bones and share buybacks to research and development!

The company has also been receiving huge grants and other benefits from taxpayers over the past decades, so perhaps the bosses should at least have tried to discus with the PM on how they could close down the factory in a humane manner rather than leaving the mess to be cleared up by taxpayers. The men and women there have no other jobs to go to because the factory town is small and isolated – it is 75 kilometres in both directions to the nearest cities…

House prices there are next to being worthless their… the present bosses are far removed from the former patriarchs who created the factories and looked after their workers.

The Conservative Party has also joined in the criticism of the PM even though they were in power and setting taxation and industrial grants just a few years ago! A party is not entitled to “forget” its own policies just because they are suddenly in opposition… They should not behave like Trump who claims that he started economic recovery when it was well under way under Obama!

Photo: UPM library – The Kaipola plant was built seven kilometers from the center of Jämsä, in a virtually untouched forest. An agglomeration of up to 3,500 inhabitants was planned for the new factory community. Heimo Kautonen was responsible for the town plan and had worked as a credit architect for the United States since the late 1930s. Juuso Walden also influenced zoning at the company’s factory locations. For residential areas, the mountain council wanted collector streets so that residential streets could avoid through traffic. He knew the terrain of the areas to be zoned and the streets were piled in advance to see how they fit into the terrain. Plenty of green space was wanted to improve the living comfort of the staff.

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