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Mari Kiviniemi and the mellow fruit policy
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-06-21 08:00:57
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When Gordon Brown took over the PM’s seat in British government I was strongly opposed and that despite understanding that Britain has a representative democracy and the labours had won the elections therefore the seat belonged to the ruling Labour Party. Of course the seat belonged to the Labour Party but when people voted for them Tony Blair was leading and he resigned midterm he designed under the pressure of the people and his own party as a failure so Gordon Brown was going to offer something different, but something the people hadn’t heard of and perhaps didn’t agree.

Unfortunately reality proved me right, Gordon Brown and not the Labour Party lost the last election in UK and as a result the Labour Party met its worst defeat the last decades. The coming week is going to be a very tense week for Finnish politics because under the pressure of economic scandals suspicions and gray areas during his ruling Prime minister Matti Vanhanen resigned from his post as the Finnish PM and leader of the Keskusta, Centre Party bringing Ms Mari Kiviniemi in the leadership of the party with great chances to lead the country by the end of the week.

The truth is that the former Prime minister (he has already resigned his post) failed all the hopes of the Centre party and the majority of the Finnish society. As a parliamentarian and minister he looked dynamic, well educated with great knowledge over EU subjects full of ideas and ambitions. As a Prime minister he was the most insubstantial and unseasoned choice. His experts as Prime Minister was damage control and that often long after the trouble had hit and the pick of his Prime ministerial career was his divorce and his mistress’ book. And all that while Finland was entering recession and for the first time after decades when the unions started really reacting to the pressure; with unemployment constantly raising and the social sector (health and education) seriously hit. His worst moment was the funding scandal which apparently seems to be the pick of an iceberg that we don’t know yet how big it is. Amazingly and according publications that saw the Finnish media (including the state funding Finnish Television) his government was funding companies just before declaring bankruptcy and the same companies were returning the money funding the party and his personal campaign. And as I said this was just the pick of the iceberg since rumours saying that even his personal house was somehow helped to repair.

The scandal is huge and the dirt when it comes out will most likely cover all the spectrum of the Finnish political life doesn’t matter if at the moment is making waves only on the Centre Party. Day after day all the media were picking more and more with the Prime minister so a resignation was the best solution, for both him and the party. It would have been devastating especially with an election year coming if the Prime minister had to deal with the opposing media and a constant reference to financial scandals especially in the country that prides it transparency and zero corruption. Actually he was the only happy person with the Greek drama because during Greece’s hard times he saw his name pulled out of the headlines. Now with him out of both positions he will be able to deal better with the scandals, perhaps leading the cases to the court to prove his innocence and the party will have time to prepare for the coming election.

And this was so obvious with the first words Ms Mari Kiviniemi said as the leader of the Centre Party, he aim as the new leader is to “clean the flag” obviously meaning that she was going to clean the party’s name and give a new boost before the elections. And of course the media caught up with the whole play, headlines after headlines and televised panels talking about the young dynamic woman who’s going to resolve the gray clouds but the people sensed more than understood that it is politics as usual. Ms Kiviniemi has nothing new to offer, she was elected from the exactly the mechanism that supported Vanhanen and she going to work with the same people, actually I have the sense that she’s going to be a hostage of this mechanism that wants to clean up the former PM and keep him as the golden reserve for future presidential elections. There is as much new about Ms Kiviniemi as much new there was about Gordon Brown. The party knows that they are going to lose the next election and is pity if they think that the scandal is going to be the reason and not their inactivity for all this time; it’s pity because they will not use this chance to renew the party policies and find what’s really going wrong so they can give a solution in the future.

If Matti Vanhanen was insubstantial and unseasoned, Ms Kiviniemi is even worst because as her ministerial and parliamentarian career has shown till now she’s intentionally insubstantial and unseasoned. But she perfect for the Centre Party as thing have become this moment. She will lead government and party for a period a valuable period for the new guard to clean up the old guard or vice versa and she makes the perfect scapegoat for the coming defeat.

The opposition, left and right demanding elections and they have every right and my opinion correct right to ask so even though they are doing for the wrong reasons and the main partners in the coalition government the Social democrats are applying the policy of the mellow fruit. Give them the time to totally ruin themselves so we get a clean victory after. In the meantime the Finnish people are watching the Swedish royal wedding!

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