Finnish Politics – Bad Weather & Conservative Infighting

Is it politics or climate change that is causing Finland’s strangest winter ever. Nobody can remember anything like this?

Finland is a long country stretching from Helsinki to the Artic circle over 1100 kilometres! In the South the temperature is a record 8C today with no snow and no ice – we have always had sub-zero temperatures in February, but not now…

… and in Lapland they are recording deep snow of 1,5 metres and more on the way. Roads and houses are covered in deep drifts that can swallow man. They have not seen snow like this before and are really worried about serious flooding when the warmer spring sun starts melting the snow and ice too quickly!

But it could be caused by politics because we are starting to hear about the Conservative Party’s heated leadership contest. Two young lions, both ultra-hard-rigtht-neo-liberals are trying to grab the Leadership position from Mr. Orpo. He currently holds the post but his problem is that he says very little and does even less. He is the sort of person you call “nice chap but not very dynamic”. 

He claimed the leadership some 3 years ago after defeating Stubb, who had defeated Katainen before that. These two former leaders were hyperactive individuals with dozens of opinions about this and that. One favoured lending to Greece (“A Great Deal”) and who has now secured “Job of the Year” by heading up SITRA, a wealthy government fund for Future Innovation without any scientific credentials other than belonging to the Conservative Party. Mr. Stubb runs marathons and has also ended up with a cushy job at the EIB, lending other people’s money to big Nordic banks. 

All three have never held jobs outside political appointments since they all entered politics after leaving school.

Mr. Orpo has managed to get through several years as leader of the Conservatives, a period longer than most because he is a nice chap. However, this makes the young lions nervous because they want to be a “Kurz” or a “Macron” leading their countries to “Great Futures” – you are only young once!

One of the two lions in question is Mr. Häkkänen, a former Minister of Justice, who is best described as a political broiler since he has never had a job outside politics after leaving school. He expressly claims not to be a leadership challenger but his very regular appearances in the media tell another story! He is right at the leading edge of right-wing nationalist politics and has said things that indicate that he would consider joining up with the True Finns in the next election. We love coalitions here but the True Finns have not 

The other young lioness is Ms. Lepomäki, a former Royal Bank of Scotland investment banker who is well known for selling expensive financial options to unsuspecting Finnish clients. She claims they bought insurance but they saw their losses pile up, and closing out these options cost taxpayers hard cash. The Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the biggest bank pushing Public Private Projects to privatise public services. They did that right up until they did the opposite. The UK government nationalised them to stop them failing – they were “too big to fail”. The losses to British taxpayers were enormous, almost as big as Finland’s total debt at the time! 

Well you can expect her to be a hardline Thatcherite once in power as a Finance Minister or even as Prime Minister. She is definite super ambitious and has now polished her appearance just like Mr. Häkkänen. But for now she earns good money as a MP in Parliament and bides her time. She certainly has her sights on a leadership challenge, even though she too denies this. She is also suddenly appearing in the media on a regular basis…

It is interesting that all the big Finnish parties, except for the True Finns, are posting younger leaders. It looks like their spin consultants are working hard to attract new voters to the patrons they represent. In Sweden, Norway and Denmark they still use older or slightly older versions to represent the people! 

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