Tuesday, March 27, 2007


(this text was published in pes@ctivists Bloggers' Corner 23 March)

So, last Sunday (18 March 2007) we suffered a terrible loss in the Finnish Parliamentary elections. In the 200-seat house we'll have 45 MPs instead of 53 previously. The conservatives won, like in Sweden recently - however, in Sweden they had prepared for the victory, in Finland the blue ones did not count on winning, not even themselves... This means tough talks in forming the government, lead by the center party (51), the biggest party with the slightest possible margin, just one more seat than the conservatives (50).

Why? Poor advertising campaigns? Bad weather? Bad image after 12 years in government? "Conservative tide in Europe"? Too close and too visible links with the trade unions? Poor selection of candidates (also indirectly influenced by the trade unions)? Boring message (better public services, smaller tax cuts)? Loss of credibility (why didn't you improve the public services while 12 years in government? why did you allow all the tax cuts to the wealthy)? Male chauvinist power elite in the party leadership, allowing only photogenic young ladies, with no real voice, a place in the limelight next to it? Old-fashioned leadership culture, with no real internal debate? No real understanding of contemporary urban poverty and the changing job markets? Fake eco-touches only on the surface, but conservative energy policies in reality?

I'm just quoting some of the comments in the present public debate here. Unfortunately, there is a lot of room for self-criticism - and many of us hope that the opportunity will be used for an open, constructive discussion, instead of trying to hide the mistakes that have been made. Creating a new culture of dialogue is our only chance to learn and to find a new edge.

This is a chance for the Finnish SDP to renew itself and to arrive at the 20th century - already next year we'll have local elections, where we should come up with new initiatives. Global urban policies: pioneering energy policies, sustainable public procurement as an innovation platform, and more diversified public services are on the top of my list. Not very sexy, I agree, I'll try to reformulate!

But for the next four years, it will be a cold ride. More tax cuts to the wealty, more irregular jobs with minimum wages, more poverty and unemployment, maybe strikes - and more nuclear energy.

Certainly, on the loss, we are to blame ourselves. But there is one thing that I can't understand: how could so many people believe the ads of the conservatives telling that they'll bring HOPE and that they are "a workers' party"? How on earth?