Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sauli Niinistö, The Working Class President of Finland?

Sauli Niinistö, the presidential candidate of the right-wing party Kokoomus claims on his recently published campaign ad to be the "President of Working People". I laughed out aloud when this caught my eye on Tuesday's paper.

Mr. Niinistö piously declares on this ad that: "The time of confrontation is over. Finland is the enterprise of all of us. It is time to end the unnecessary confrontation. This concerns both the employees and employers -- the whole working people of today. Without work economy cannot run. And with working economy we cannot take care of the education, health services and good old age".

It is nothing short of grotesque that Finland's leading right-wing party -- which has favoured the neoliberalist politics of cutting off any benefits for the poor, sick and old, and giving even more of them to the elite of the rich -- should now adopt the traditional slogans of the left, about the workers/working people/working class.

Mr. Niinistö who these days works for the European Central Bank used to be the Finnish Minister of Treasury in the aftermath of 1990s recession, and in that job responsible for his part for the political decisions which took benefits away from the very working class whose President he has now declared himself as.

At the same time such MPs of Mr. Niinistö's party Kokoomus as Ben Zyskowicz are notorious for their ongoing populist chase after the people who abuse welfare benefits. The only people in whose welfare Kokoomus seems to have any interest are those well off: the rich and the elite.

So, who do Kokoomus think they are fooling here? How many people they are expecting to buy their cynical lip service?

I don't think the time of confrontation in Finland is over. Far from it. On the contrary, the general discontent is increasing rapidly all the time, sped up by such scandals as the recent squabble over the enormous stock options granted to the directors of the state-owned energy company Fortum. Simultaneously, Finnish pensioners felt generally insulted by the mere five euros' monthly raise to their pensions. No, Mr. Niinistö, the confrontation is just beginning.

Politics in Finland @ Wikipedia

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