This post was originally intended to be a post about protecting nature, focusing on two examples of ongoing issues with respect to the local area, but once I began to ask questions about them, it became clear there was another underlying issue which I felt needed addressing first. (A post about protecting nature will follow this though).

Whilst trying to investigate and learn more about the situations in Hietasaari and Ritaharju (and the need for environmental protection in both areas), I was advised by a party colleague of mine that a lot of the details were not to be publicly disclosed. When reading the notes to write up a blog post on this subject, I found that about three quarters of the notes couldn’t be discussed due to laws in place to prevent release of information when negotiating with private companies who the council deals with. It has become apparent to me that the council outsources a lot of it’s competencies to private companies and that there are laws and agreements in place to prevent councils discussing issues and informing the public about the decisions which are being made. Moreover, the main source of this information is from the local newspaper (Kaleva) for which it’s online content is behind a paywall, which makes it incredibly difficult to do research and to read for the majority of affected people.

This causes problems in our democracy, eliminating transparency and preventing the tax paying public from fully understanding what they are funding. Secondly, it reinforces a class-based society, protecting elites from scrutiny. It is morally wrong for people to own companies so that they can circumvent being held accountable for bad decision making, allowing them to hide white-collar corruption which plagues our society and further increases distrust in our governments. One of the many things I hear from working-class people living here is that there is the typical “hyvä veli” (good brother) type of corruption where people form these small groups where they pass business and do deals with one another, excluding others from the process. This is particularly worrying when this happens with public to private transfers. For example, council members might award a contract to a private company with little to no oversight and/or auditing. Although there are anti-corruption laws to prevent contracts being awarded to family members, it doesn’t stop individuals from promoting the interests of close personal contacts , where both parties agree on doing things which will result in their mutual benefit somewhere further down the line.

In order to fix problems like these, there need to be laws and regulations limiting the ability for the council to create companies (which could very well be publicly owned) which are able to hide the actions of the people running them. When we are facing climate challenges, it is evident that we cannot rely on nor trust private companies to do work with our best interests in mind. We require accountability at all levels of government and people should face consequences for their behaviour.

The Basic Finn’s existence started with this aim. It’s aims were to fight for the working people and to push back against the political class. Despite their hostility towards the EU and foreigners, they were right to identify the need to fight against corruption and to aim to fix a lot of the ailments that we have in society, which have been primarily caused by a class of people who have never needed to ask the government for help. For many Basic Finns, politics were limited to the professional and political class of Finland and the average worker’s concerns were being ignored. It is abundantly evident that although people are looking for change, their anger is being misdirected at the wrong crowd and I feel that it is our duty on the Left to point this out and fight against those who are actually at fault. We just want to ensure that people who do earn absurd amounts of money don’t do it off the hard work and effort of those for whom they employ.