Finnish Politics This Week 4

Election fever has smitten the two parties, the Conservatives and the Center Party, who are going at each other’s throats with angry accusations.

The reason for the Center Party wild outbursts against all the other parties has been because they are now in third position in the polls, after the Conservatives and after the Social Democrats who are in the lead position… The Center Party see themselves as the misunderstood saviours of the universe…

—- and naturally, the Conservatives are threatening the Social Democrats with wild populous claims that the Social Democrats will raise taxes and will increase the government’s debt, which is something that they have been doing while in power this last 11 years!

Not only that but both of these 2 parties have privatised large parts of public healthcare, allowed private equity firms to run scandalous care homes for the elderly, sold off valuable public power lines at give-give-away prices, permitted the state owned power company to buy dirty fossil fuel activities, and increased public debt to record and unsustainable levels. Both parties have cut the education budget, even though both made promises not to do that before the election in 2015.

Their attempts to reform healthcare has resulted in costly solutions that include a third level of government! In their last election promises they said that they would reduce regulation and stop political appointments. Did they break these promises! Yes, they did by creating such a mess of the reform that we still do not know what it will include, except that the public health system is being privatised one way or another. The creation of the new counties is a huge extra cost that favours the Center Party just like Trump’s actions benefit the Republicans.

The Transport Minister and the Finance Minister have just announced that the public rail system will be cut up into any new companies and that all future investments in rail traffic will be financed faster and outside the state budget. The state and municipalities will still own the companies, so it is just a magician’s trick that the debt will not appear on the government’s  balance sheet! This was how the French and Belgian governments tried to hide public debt in the 1990’s by getting a new bank called Dexia to finance public sector infrastructure. The bank collapsed at huge expense to the taxpayers. Important public transport, like railways, is best managed by transparent public debt. There is nothing to stop the state railways from long term planning todays – and the “new ideas” are just pointless and misleading. Japan has private ownership of railways but government financial support is generous and regulation is very tight. The Swiss have and excellent public system but our Transport Minister, who also happens to be Swiss, just ignores their excellent results!

The Social Democrats and the Greens are making headway in the polls. It will be refreshing to see some serious competition to the current incumbents, given that the 2 big parties in government have increased public debt, cut public support for healthcare and  education while increasing taxes and social insurance for salary earners. 

Site Footer