Today, both true and untrue Finns are choosing their representatives in the Parliament. According to the opinion polls, up to nine parties could be represented in the Parliament – Czechia has nine – but it's really five parties that are large, between 12% and 20% of votes. They are, in the order expected in the latest survey:
- SDP, their social democratic party, that was suppressed in recent years but may return to the top
- PS, Finns Party, the authentic right-wing party that was mainly anti-immigration but the theme has calmed down (except for some child abuse by foreigners which will help them) so they rediscovered themselves as an anti-green party
- KOK, National Coalition Party, probably a CDU clone
- KESK, the Center Party, some other nameless pro-EU party
- VIHR, the Green League, the Finnish edition of the Far Left
Since December 2018, the graph of the support for the climate skeptical Finns Party (previously True Finns) paradoxically looks like the hockey stick graph ;-), indicating a doubling of votes in 4 months.
Just to be sure, the climate will probably not be "quite" the #1 topic in the elections but it will come close. The more important topic will be the sustainability of their welfare, pension, healthcare systems.
The mainstream press doesn't hide its hostility but hasn't hidden the expected good aspect of today's polls, either. The Financial Times wrote Finland’s populists find favour with anti-green agenda. The Finns Party is painted as clones of the French yellow vests which seems extremely inaccurate to me. Why? For example, the Finns Party's chairman – who became anti-left due to trips to the Soviet Union as a kid – is a scholar who has taught Old Church Slavonic, no kidding, show me the French yellow vests who speak that 9th century Slavic language. ;-) The hot blonde woman who is the Finns' presidential candidate is a trained teacher of a sort.
The New York Times admitted the Finns Party's strong enough support in the article The Right's New Rallying Cry in Finland: 'Climate Hysteria'. A pretty nice title. The Times reveal that the Finns Party were strengthened by others – who foolishly decided it was a good idea to brag about the climate panic. When this topic was made important by the alarmists, the Finns Party naturally became the recipient of most of the skeptical votes. I think that if the topic were made "really primary", which it's not, the Finns Party could approach 50% in this way.
Reports indicate that the Finnish media actually haven't demonized or ostracized the Finns Party and its position towards the climate etc.
Except for the Finns Party, all the Finnish politicians are more or less drowning in the mud of the climate change propaganda. The Green League wants to ban carbon by 2030, others by 2045, ... you can imagine that the rhetoric of numerous politicians is somewhere in between "insane" and "faded away insane". The Finns Party is the only exception and they mostly care about the increases of prices – of food and other things (I've read that Northern Finns need to travel a lot and are worried about all restrictions on transportation) – that would follow from any "climate targets". Yes, in this sense, their primary motivation to be skeptics is analogous to the Yellow Vests'.
It's somewhat ironic that Finland is the first country where the climate hysteria is going to significantly affect the Parliamentary election. As the pie above shows, the Finnish energy mix is dominated, from the largest, by nuclear power, imports, hydro, biomass, coal, and natural gas – the fraction contributed by the truly old-fashioned fossil fuels is a minority of the electricity (compare with Poland that has coal above 90%). On the other hand, Finns are probably aware of the importance of cheap enough energy from the saunas in every house. ;-)
But opinions and passions don't necessary copy the material interests too accurately. The Finns Party have the chance to be the silver winners – but it's even possible that they will turn to the strongest party, assuming that the right-wing gains are being artificially suppressed in the surveys, as we have seen in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere.
The Heavy Pochondriac's parody of "Volare Cantare" is about Czech gypsies who fly to Helsinki to apply for asylum – probably relevant for the elections today.
There's some material common sense about many Finns' climate skepticism: the cold weather. The average annual temperature in Helsinki is 5 °C, it's worse elsewhere, and some 15 °C of global warming would clearly be good news for Finland if possible. Even lots of regular workers are sane enough to understand that the painting of 1.5 °C of a hypothetical warming as the end of the world is just a silly fairy-tale.
Finland is obviously a rich enough, full-blown capitalist country, with over $45,000 of GDP per capita etc. At some point, Nokia was a global giant in the tech industry – these days it's a rather small $40 bilion company but it (plus HMD) may become a giant again. (Nokia has announced some violation of rules done by Alcatel-Lucent that the firm acquired a few years ago and a big fine or other trouble may arrive; some HMD Nokia phones were also sending some data to China, due to a mistake (?) in firmware update.) It runs trade surpluses and has other healthy traits. But the strength of the Finns Party indicates some kind of a spirit that makes the Finns close to the post-communist countries like mine.
This has some reasons. First, linguistically, Finns are closest to Estonia which has been a part of the Soviet Union, and they belong to the Finno-Ugric linguistic family along with the Hungarians (although Finnish and Hungarian are not mutually intelligible). But Finland itself, while a non-Germanic "province of Sweden" for a very long time (which made Finland a bit analogous to Czechia), was also one of the capitalist countries that were keeping the most peaceful relationships with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
While the Soviet Union allowed the normal, full-blown capitalist system in Finland during the Cold War, Finland appreciated the ease with which the Soviet Union could conquer Finland, and they sort of cooperated and also had a significant trade with the Soviet bloc. I remember some softly propagandist articles in my favorite science-and-technology-for-youth (VTM) journal that was praising Finns for that approach in the 1980s. Note that like Sweden, Finland is still outside NATO even today. But in the past, Finland was way more pro-Soviet than Sweden, despite the latter's being a "prototype of the Western socialism".
I think that the people who are worried about the ideological transformations of the contemporary West should learn much more European geography. That's true especially for the Americans who often imagine Europe to be one homogeneous chunk – or at most a collection of two chunks, the Western and Eastern Europe. But there are many more subtleties you should know. Some countries, like Norway and Switzerland, are outside the European Union which has some consequences. Others, inside the EU, have various reasons to resemble Central European post-communist countries in various ways. That includes Finland, Austria, and perhaps Denmark – but the character of the proximity is different in each case. And the post-communist countries significantly differ from each other as well.
Good luck to the Finns who are choosing their Parliament today.