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Political parties' funding, the Finnish abscess
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-08-12 09:47:51
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Let me get this straight, when the government threatens to close down libraries due to lack of funds, when they say that they have to make cuts in education and health care, it is because my tax money doesn’t go to where it should, but it goes to funding political parties and their campaigns? And this happenes in various ways including funding from state owned enterprises! If what the Centre Party Secretary Jarmo Korhonen said is true, then Finland is facing a huge economic scandal that is beyond transparency, on the limits of stupidity.

According to the Finnish News Agency, two partly state-owned companies; arms manufacturer Patria – already known for a bribe scandal with a foreign government – and the financial group Sampo have made overgenerous donations to political parties. Especially to the Conservative Party and coincidentally, the two ministers who oversee the certain companies in the coalition government are from the Conservative Party! Of course they used many ways to fund the political parties, with the most popular funding going through political supported organizations and party sponsored seminars.

Reading all this; do you know I kept thinking? WTF!!! One of the first things I loved when I came to this country was the libraries; libraries that hosted literally millions of books in any language, including even modern Greek literature in Greek. And there were buses that turned into libraries to make sure that books could reach even the most isolated places in Finland. Well, this is over. Due to lack of funds and yes, we did react but the international situation is difficult so we complained but the library buses were cut off.

There are queues to the hospitals for operations and procedures, queues that sometimes last over a year – I have personal experience from that. This is due to lack of personnel, again having to do with funds. And the so much advertised Finnish education system lacks the necessary funds the last three years, again due to the difficult financial times. Unemployment is rising and the benefits remain the same. The financial situation makes the poor poorer, and if I was wondering where my tax money goes, I just found out! I’m funding the pathetic Finnish Green Party to pollute the streets with more NON-recycled paper during the election campaigns, or the xenophobic Conservative Party to pollute my brain! Great!

And please don’t forget that the political parties are funded by the state with millions, they are funded by the tax money we pay! Do you know what I found tragic? In the spirit of transparency, Mr. Korhonen promised to make public all the donations received by the Centre Party from state owned enterprises. Give me back my money!

Everybody, just everybody, Finn, immigrant, even tourists pay taxes in this country, whether they realize it or not. Every single thing we buy or consume has taxes, plus VAT! VAT in Finland is 22% and out of this 22% something around 1% goes to the EU, apparently that’s why the Commission complains so often and asks for more funds. The rest - under the excuse of EU - goes to the state. This money is supposedly used to serve the people, make better schools, better equipped hospitals, better trained and more efficient civil servants, better security, but what do we get? Brochures of the … Conservative Party?

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the funding situation and all the accusations against the Prime Minister’s Party. I saw a political move behind it, mentioning that the funding of political parties is something beyond transparency. At the moment the Conservative party is using it, but it might turn against them, since all the political parties have issues with this certain subject. The funding of political parties is literally a black hole. Well now the black hole has turned into an abscess, hitting the foundations of a political system that has flagged transparency and non-corruption!


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Emanuel Paparella2009-08-12 11:58:33
Ah, transparency and non- corruption! Wonderful virtues, but the fact that one has to brag about them is already an indication that one does not really possess them fully.

On the Sistine Chapel Michelangelo's narration moves from the opacity and degradation of the body in the drunkness of Noah, to the transparency of light in the act of creation. Perhaps in a million years we'll all be fully evolved and be transparent to one another: pure light on the other side of the black hole. Meanwhile I am afraid that the human condition begins and remains flawed. To insist that one is an angel, is to make sure that one becomes a devil.

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