Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who to vote for?

Putin and Halonen in Turku
Originally uploaded by
When being ill last week I spent hours and hours in bed. Boring as everyone knows. So I amused myself by playing with the election machines (websites where you answer a list of questions and the software calculates which one of the candidates is closest to you with his or her answers, check YLE, MTV3 and Helsingin Sanomat).

Well, of course the election in question is the one of the Finnish president. We Finns are going to vote in January. The current president (in pic) is likely to win already on the first round. I just received my letter indicating where I should vote.

I also spent two hours watching a stream of a presidential debate a few weeks back. Both in the machines as well as in the debate I was highly interested in how they see the role of Finland in the global and European context and how they formulate their views on immigration. I think these are the few issues where the president really could have an influence.

Well, I found myself being disappointed again. Most of the candidates bring out the issue of unemployment of "real" Finns when immigration is considered ("Before taking more immigrants we need to tackle the problem of unemployment"). I was highly irritated. It is not like our unemployment problems will be solved by closing all borders. In that sense it was excellent that the current president questioned - although very quickly - the goal of full employment.

I was quite disappointed by most of the candidates saying that we need to be more selfish in our immigration policy. More selfish with a 2 % immigrant population? Surprisingly I think it was only the Conservative candidate who mentioned the enriching impact of foreigners to our culture. The ethical question of brain drain was not even mentioned.

Pfff....a recent book published by a Finnish think tank MSL said it quite accurately: Finns tend to forget that we have always relied on other people´s help and that Finns still tend to think like being Finnish would be an ethnic concept. Even taking into consideration the recent integration problems in the Netherlands I do think that Finland and Finns would have a lot to learn from the Dutch way of thinking.


Anonymous said...

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos as H. J. Simpson put it once :). It's true that the candidates are quite dull sometimes, but Mr Soini for example clearly says what he thinks of the EU, our relationship with Russia and so on. I've met him few times, nice guy but doesn't get my vote. Still, he's the only one who gets his voice heard.

The result seems quite clear now so the other candidates could loose their tongue a bit. Everybody (except president Halonen herself) of them has said that one reason for participating the game has been a need for decent conversation. So where is it?

Thinlina said...

I hope Vanhanen wins.