greetings from a memorable cruise to stockholm!
we took off from the port of helsinki late friday afternoon. after stepping on board the ship we instantly noted that the crowd was peculiar: we had accidentally booked our trip to coincide with the euro election cruise of the finnish centre party.
the centre party is on the conservative side of finnish political map and the heir of the rural party -- an image which they struggle with. as a personal opinion, it appears as though the representatives of the centre party are those who mainly fear the disappearance of the good olden times when "all finns" were blonde, heterosexual, meat-eating, god-fearing, and hardworking. their political actions are directed at resuming that illusion and ideal and, needless to say, i do not exactly identify with any of them and they hardly impress me with acuity.
their current slogan "urhoutta eurooppaan!" rides on references to both the late finnish president urho kekkonen and bravery, and is most likely meant to appeal to people hovering between the populist right wing and romantic notions of finnishness. the campaign creation of phs was quickly transformed by some drunken party members themselves to "urpoutta eurooppaan!" and roughly translates to "rednecks to europe!" ... how convenient.
sadly (for them) we were challenged to a political debate by some eager party members and had to conclude that their grand idea of promoting everything finnish echoed emptiness. my questions "what do you mean by finnish? do you represent all finns or just the conservative hicks who fear everything unfamiliar? what about the kind of finnish i identify myself with?" were left unanswered or with vague mumbling of "normalcy". the agricultural minister sirkka-liisa anttila got explicitly uncomfortable when i posed my simple questions and she asked us "who we were" as if she suspected she was facing something other than politically aware normal citizens...
i am and have been deeply troubled by the conservative backlash in finnish politics. populist strategies thrive on simplifications that are read as honest opinions; saying ignorant things openly is regarded as refreshing sincerity. when did our politics turn into an admiration of forrest gump?