Monday, April 18, 2011

Finland's cult of youth

The big news from the Finnish general election is the advance of the party True Finns, described by Wikipedia as combining "left-wing economic policies with strongly conservative social values". On the face of it they sounds a bit like the Polish Law and Justice Party that has proved such a controversial ally for the Tories in the European Parliament. While I was at Wikipedia, I felt moved to correct the curious assertion that True Finns had won a 'landslide victory' in the election - they may have done remarkably well in comparison to last time, but they're still in third place in terms of both votes and seats. I wonder if that nugget of wisdom was added by the people who brought us the moronic No to AV campaign ad!

What leapt out at me, though, was how extraordinarily young most of the party leaders are. If you think we've got a slightly silly cult of youth in UK politics, with the three 'main' party leaders all in their early-to-mid 40s, that's as nothing compared to the situation in Finland. Here are the ages of the eight leaders whose parties have parliamentary representation...

Jyrki Katainen (National Coalition Party) - 39
Jutta Urpilainen (Social Democratic Party) - 35
Timo Soini (True Finns) - 48
Mari Kiviniemi (Centre Party, current Prime Minister) - 42
Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance) - 34
Anni Sinnemäki (Green League) - 37
Stefan Wallin (Swedish People's Party) - 43
Päivi Räsänen (Christian Democrats) - 51

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