Part three in Finnish Politics 101, written for my own education. I don’t have the knowledge to make an in-depth analysis or extensive commentary, so I invite people with the know to comment. This part was even more painful to write than the previous…
Suomen Keskusta (Swedish: Centern i Finland), or the Finnish Centre Party, is one of the three largest parties in Finland. The party was originally a Union of Finnish Peasant Population (est. 1906) and in 1908 merged with Etelä-Phjanmaan Nuorsuomalainen Maalaisliitto, which is fucking impossible to translate. I don’t even know what it means. Peasant Union of Southern Osthrobotnia is the closest I can get. Help? Anyway, the original purpose of the party was to present the peasant population and the issues of the rural areas of Finland – even today, the support for the party can be found in the less urban areas. The Centre Party is also a moderate liberal democratic party.
Aside from the fact that the Coalition is a bourgeois party and the Centre is a representative for the peasant / working class population, I can’t find many difference in their political aims. The Centre Party’s ideology covers a personal, social and environmental responsibility, diversity and equality, tolerance, co-operation, working, entrepreneurialism and the value of communal effort.
”The base for all social and national renewal is humanity and it’s need for development.”
The above quote is from Santeri Alkio, who was a founding member of the original Peasant party, and whose ideology is still large factor in the Centre Party’s program. It’s referred to as alkiolaisuus, Alkio-ism. It was born as an alternative for socialism and capitalism. Today’s the Centre drives to have jobs forcibly moved away from cities in order to support the survival of the less populated areas of Finland. The Centre justifies their continued support for farming as a environmentally healthy food production, self-sufficiency and the employment opportunities agriculture provides.
The Centre Party website provides a handy alphabetical list of the Party’s position on various issues, and I think they rely on the fact that no one has the longevity to read through all of it. I’m skipping everything on childcare and family issues, pensions and pensioners and most things on countryside issues as personally uninteresting…
Adoption: […] According to the law a married couple may apply for adoption together, whereas registered couples may not. […] In Finland, the internal adoption of same-sex couples was approved on September 1st, 2009 […] The Centre Party considers the current legislation functional, and sees no reason for changes.
Energy production: The Centre Party supports radical actions to increase the amount of renewable energy production in Finland as it ”creates plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs and employment in the countryside.”. They also list some options, but as far as I know, these are not nearly as effective as a large-scale energy production requires? Coal energy production should be decreased, but believes that it will continue to be used during ”peak (energy) expenditure”.
The moderate trend can also be seen in the question of nuclear plants, where the Centre makes the decision separately for each nuclear plant proposition. In practice, I believe the Centre as one voted for the three nuclear plants under construction in Finland at the moment. There is no position offered on the nuclear waste, which I think is the central fucking issue on nuclear energy.
Climate politics & environmental issues: Wants to bring Finland to the top of the environmentally friendly nations, and boasts their ability to affect legislation in order to achieve it. Also supports less regulation for sparsely populated areas in issues such as sewage cleansing. The Centre is ‘worried’ of public transportation’s ability to compete with private transportation. Notably, they are not suggesting additive taxing of private transportation but instead developing the benefits of public transport and removing the 8% VAT. For me, this smells like ”let’s not step on the toes of the majority of voters who are dependent of private transportation.”.
Advocates legislation and international education to protect the nature of the Baltic Sea.
EU: No clear position, but constantly refers to decisions made in the EU and the compliance to. Offers no criticism, but notes that Europe should be built towards… better… future… and stuff. You know?
Welfare & employment: Whatever they’ve written, sounds like a load of bollocks to me. The only sensible thing I could decipher was the advocacy to make part-time employment more profitable than full-time unemployment, which makes sense. They also suggest income taxes should only be paid from income exceeding a certain level, and if the income is below the level, the state should pay ”negative tax” for the individual.
NATO: Refrains from giving a position on the issue of joining NATO, but states that there should be an ‘advisory’ referendum (which means people get to vote on it, but the outcome is not the actual decision).
Immigration: Again, has no position, but suggests further research.
Violent crimes: Since the current legislation was operational from the beginning of 2006, ”this is not the time to make changes, but to see how the legislation works.”. I think current laws are far too moderate, especially in cases of rape and pedophilia.
Student benefits, rights, etc: I can’t read all of that, but the gist seems to be that students have it too easy.
Responsible journalism: ”If [journalism] is shallow, biased and unilateral, it brings democracy to the gutters and erodes the base of a dignified freedom of speech.”. My goodness – so opinions and interpretation are no longer a valid journalistic currency? I agree that a lot of contemporary journalism is just as described, and I promote responsible journalism, but the position above is way too open for interpretations. Note that the Centre offers no position on actual freedom of speech.
Phew. That was a pain in the ass. The Centre Party is definitely moderate on everything but issues regarding the development on countryside and less populated areas. I can’t make head or tails on the Party policies – it seems all decisions are really made within the Party as issues arise, so voting for them is like a pig in a poke. Having gone through all that, I will regretfully decline further reading offered on the Centre Party website.
The “True Finns” Party Silly me, it’s Social Democrats next.