Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Finnish election funding scandal

Finland has had a good rep for years of being an open, honest and transparent sort of place where corruption doesn't exist. Having a job on the margins of the Helsinki political scene, I keep seeing things that seem to contradict this. I guess there is very little out and out corruption - backhanders of used banknotes stuffed into brown envelopes and that sort of thing - but there is a hell of lot of cosy little deals, unwritten rules, and you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours that goes on. If parties have some involvement, you're left never really knowing why any decision was made and you end up paranoid that the given reason for something can't possibly be the real reason. So, just like politics anywhere else in the world I guess.

But the continuing party funding scandal rumbles on as it has been all summer. And I was looking for some Finnish opinions on how some of it is being reported. YLE reports that the speaker of parliament is returning money from the dodgy company Nova Group that is at the heart of this scandal. But the article also mentions that another conservative MP, Marja Tiura, has returned some money. But perhaps more interestingly it notes that Tiura denied earlier that Nova Group had paid for her to go to Thailand, but is now admitting that they did pay. YLE are perhaps to polite to say, but did she lie previously? Or is she claiming to have been confused or mistaken or similar? This is, after all, a week where lying has been quite big political news.

YLE rather deliciously underplays the final section: that Tiura's husband, who just happened to be the head of YLE's political news section, has also stepped down from his position. I don't think you have to be particularly cynical to wonder whether these events are somehow connected.

Update: Helsingin Sanomat International has more on the story. Tiura seems to be saying when she denied Nova Group paying earlier on, she actually just didn't know who had paid. That isn't quite the same thing, is it? They have a bit more on her husband stepping down as well - you sort of feel sorry for him. I bet things are a bit frosty in their house right now.


Jonas said...

I'm sure Tiura would be forced to resign if she were a minister.

nikko said...

Threre still might be some people out there who think that this list is somehow accurate and up to date..