The demographics of an ageing population are one factor that makes the elderly an important electoral constituency in Finland. Apart from being voters themselves, they are also an important object of political concern by others. In this Politico interview, made before the election, I suggested the scandal over private elderly care providers in January was a decisive moment. “Media coverage of the case created an image of greedy corporations putting profit before the needs of the elderly”.
Finally, the center-right National Coalition Party, that had been most closely associated with privatization, did not do all that horribly. It was the Center Party that took a much bigger blow because of the previous government’s mistakes (perceived and real). In any case, as a contrafactual claim, I continue to suggest the Social Democrats would not be the biggest party in the April 14 elections without the scandal of the elderly care.
Social Democrats become the biggest party in the Finnish parliamentary election of April 14, followed by the Finns Party. Greens and Left Alliance make significant advances, National Coalition Party maintains its position.
Difficult coalition building ahead. The Finns Party probably out, even if the National Coalition Party might want to flirt with it if only to threaten social democrats with the possibility of right-wing coalition in order to get a better negotiating position.
The Greens likely to be in any foreseeable coalition. The Swedish People’s Party also quite likely junior partner. The Left Alliance got the first advance in seats since 1995. Not impossible that they would also enter the government, but hard to find common agenda if the National Coalition Party also in. The Center Party lost big time, but it is not impossible that it could be a useful piece in some coalition, perhaps along the lines of the classical Popular Front governments.
In Finland, the swastika continues to be an official emblem of the Air Force command. It is also used in some other parts of the Finnish armed forces.
As I have been studying conversations around this issue, let me offer a brief synthesis of some of the dialogues that take place during my World Political City Walks. I will explore this issue more in my forthcoming book on Finnish nationalism.
-Foreigner: What the fuck?
-Finn: You should understand it is our traditional symbol and has nothing to do with the Nazis.
-Foreigner: Well, there truly is something very special about you Finns, if you believe the world agrees that your swastika has nothing to do with the nazis.
-Finn: OUR swastika truly has NOTHING to do with the nazis. We used it before there was any nazi party. Continue reading
A new political concept emerged today. Uudistamattomuusvelka. My immediate rough translation is reformlessness debt. For clarity, we could also say debt due to an accumulated lack of reform.
In my understanding, the concept refers to a metaphorical debt that has accumulated because previous governments have been unable or unwilling to make reforms. To the extent these reforms are necessary, the debt can be considered a reason for making the needed reforms with a bang, in a hurry, today. Continue reading
Criticism of the government in Finland has transgressed standard opposition talk.
Today the main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published an interview of the Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka. One of his main tasks is to supervise the lawfulness of the official acts of the government. His comments suggested in calm but clear manner that the current government has repeatedly sidestepped constitutional considerations when making law proposals in the parliament. Continue reading
The debate about the future of universities in Finland has been quite intense in the last couple of years. There have been various kinds of protests, including occupations of university buildings by angry students and critical declarations by professors. Some, such as the eminent scholar of Arabic and Islam Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, have decided to leave the country, citing the hostile attitude of the current government of Finland toward the universities as one reason. Continue reading