Happy Families as a Means of Popularizing Politics


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Communication Analysis of The Kokoomus Parliamentary Campaign 2007

"The Happy Families campaign, as well as the preceding President of the Workers campaign, were both successes. Both campaigns utilized the marketing paradigms more boldly than their rivals did. Political campaigning in Finland has traditionally been rather conventional in terms of marketing. The Happy Families and The President of the Workers campaign both brought something new to political campaigning in Finland."

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Happy Families as a Means of Popularizing Politics

  1. 1. Brave New Way of Campaigning Happy Families as a Means of Popularizing Politics Communication Analysis of the Kokoomus Parliamentary Campaign 2007
  2. 2. L i st o f C o n te n t s The Happy Families Campaign......................................... 3 Analysis of the Happy Families Campaign ......................... 7 Main Themes and Campaign Elements ............................. 7 Happy Families as a Means of Popularizing Complex Issues ........................................ 8 Responsible Market Economics in the Lives of the Happy Families .................................... 9 The Emotional Doctoring............................................... 12 The Dilemma of Negative and Positive Advertising .......... 14 New Definitions of Old Concepts ................................... 16 Conclusions ................................................................... 17 This publication receives funding from the European Parliament. The Centre for European Studies and the European Parliament assume no responsibility for facts or opinions expressed in this publication and any subsequent use that may be made of the information contained therein. Sole responsibility lies on the author of the publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Lay out: Takomo Tuotanto Oy, Juuso Joutsela Printed in Finland by T-Print Ky, Hyvinkää The National Educational Association ISBN 978-951-8964-92-9
  3. 3. The Happy Families Campaign The campaign material in your hands represents a new way adopted by the National Coalition Party Kokoomus to state political aims in 2007’s general election in a popular and interesting manner. It has been translated into English, because there has been great interest in this material at international meetings and seminars on electoral analyses. Background and Starting Point Preparations for the campaign began in 2006, when Kokoomus was languishing in opposition for a third year running. The campaign sought to elevate political rhetoric beyond the generic level and closer to the everyday lives of people. The aim was to produce an upbeat and positive campaign with a pronounced sense of immediacy and excitement. In fact, the campaign was meant to reflect what the party genuinely thought of itself: bold, brisk, and enthusiastic. In terms of rhetorics, the starting point was to highlight the party’s own aims and strengths without undue muck-throwing at, or polarization with, the opponents. 3
  4. 4. The willingness to conduct a new kind of campaign arose from a number of factors. The popularity of Kokoomus had been in decline – they only gained 18.7 % of votes in the 2003 election. A young new chairman had been elected in 2004. Furthermore, there was the bitter experience of the “traditional” parliamentary election campaign in 2003, which addressed the right issues but failed to make an impact on the voters. Lessons were also learned from the thought-provoking “President of the Workers” campaign, which helped Kokoomus win an excellent 48.2 % share of votes in the second round of the presidential election of 2006. The success in that campaign, which was thought radical at the time, gave the planners of the following campaign certain liberties. The party ranks, as well as politicians, now had confidence in the campaigning expertise within the party, allowing space for manoeuvre in the conception of a new-look, untraditional campaign. Happy Families as a Device For the needs of the election campaign, imaginary characters were created within the framework of the popular card game, Happy Families. Chosen political themes were harnessed to touch the “lives” of these imaginary figures, conceived by party officials, politicians, and the campaign crew. The characters were then featured in Kokoomus’ campaign titled, “Responsible Market Economics – Finn’s Best Friend”, as well as in various instances presented during the campaign. The characters were: Penelope the Pensioner; Selina the Self-Employed Cleaner; Colin and Midge - the Couple with Kids; Phil and Fawn Farmer; Betty the Bachelor of Media; Ivan the Immigrant and Fay his Fiancée; Ted the Teacher and 4
  5. 5. Rita the Researcher; Stan the Student and Mary his Mother; Nellie the Nurse; Walter the War Veteran and Letty the Former Lotta; Johnny the Job Seeker; Sybil the Single Mother; Edward the Entrepreneur and Heidi the Home Nurse. Some of these characters became celebrities, like Nellie the Nurse. Kokoomus’ Happy Families also took the guise of actual playing cards. Kokoomus’ pocket-sized printed platform served as primary campaign material. Folded within and printed on thin rice paper, was Kokoomus’ political platform from 1919. This was meant to call attention to the consistent, socially responsible politics Kokoomus has pursued for almost 90 years. This inaugural platform included, among other things, propositions to improve the position of labourers and the landless commonalty of the rural areas. The campaign slogan of Kokoomus was established as “Finland’s Hope, Kokoomus”. Happy Families also popped up on websites and politicians’ speeches. In printed media, the campaign was supported by a cartoon poster, where different political emblems, animals, a rainbow, a horseshoe, a birdhouse, a hot-air balloon, the ear, and cartoon figures formed a colourful background for the message. What Happened after the Campaign Kokoomus gained a support of 22.3 % in the parliamentary elections of 2007 and entered the government. Kokoomus is the only major party in Finland that has managed to increase its member base in recent years. The parliamentary election campaign drew considerable media attention and won several prizes in various advertisement competitions. Political 5
  6. 6. opponents were divided in their response. Some considered the campaign an incongruous folly or non-ideological courtship, but many acknowledged the benefits of its positive and energetic approach. The concerns of Happy Families were, for the most part, incorporated into the government programme, and Kokoomus set about to implement its platform. At the beginning of 2009, nearly 90 % of its goals had been achieved, or were on track for achievement. Execution of the objectives has been under constant scrutiny. In February 2009, the Party Chairman reported to the Executive Committee on how the affairs of the Happy Families have been furthered. Late in 2008, the Party Headquarters mulled over producing a sequel to the original Happy Families. The idea, however, was given up as it was felt that the global economic crisis is no time for fairy tales. Nevertheless, Happy Families carry on with their lives out of the public spotlight, and the party leadership continues to oversee that the promises made to the characters are being kept. 6
  7. 7. Analysis of the Happy Families Campaign During the parliamentary election of 2007 and the presidential election in 2006, Kokoomus ran original and modern campaigns that broke many conventions of the Finnish campaigning tradition. Both campaigns drew a lot of media attention and, compared to the rivalling efforts, had a trendy and provocative edge. Both campaigns can be considered successes from at least two perspectives. First and foremost, Kokoomus gained a support of 22.3 per cent in the 2007 parliamentary election and entered the government. The “President of the Workers” campaign helped Kokoomus win an excellent 48.2 per cent share of votes in the second round of the presidential election of 2006. Kokoomus also remains the only major party in Finland that has managed to increase its member base in recent years. Both campaigns also functioned excellently from the communications perspective. They managed to wrap up the party’s political objectives in a fresh and popular form. This analysis examines the parliamentary campaign from the communication perspective and hopefully points out some of the key factors that strengthened and crystallized Kokoomus as a brand. Main Themes and Campaign Elements One of the main campaign elements was the campaign slogan designed to give a positive and a dynamic impression: 7
  8. 8. Finland’s Hope – Kokoomus. In the printed election platform key issues are presented through 13 cartoon characters, the Happy Families. There is a short story related to each of the characters. The story represents certain social themes influencing that character’s life. Attached to each story there is a passage with 3 to 6 facts concerning the social themes presented in the story. Responsible Market Economics is Kokoomus’ response to the new challenges presented by the modern, globalized world. The theme passes through the campaign material, and its goals and features are explained in more detail under each passage representing different Happy Families. Happy Families as a Means of Popularizing Complex Issues Journalists have a habit of presenting abstract issues through a story of an ordinary person. Getting the reader to identify with that person is an effective way of popularizing issues. Many journalistic studies have also shown that, for example, a close headshot is one of the best ways of attracting audience attention. This all relies on the basic psychology of people relating to other people and being naturally interested in them. The same method was utilized in the Happy Families campaign material where the familiar cartoon characters served as an object of identification. The stories of these ordinary working Finns proved also a good way of popularizing abstract social issues such as better planning of educational policies, or altering the social security system to provide more incentive. Imaginary characters exemplified how certain political issues and decisions impact the lives of ordinary Finns. The characters also brought Kokoomus’ policies closer to everyday lives of the voters. 8
  9. 9. One of the characters, Nellie the Nurse, even became a something of a celebrity. Nellie was shown to suffer from insufficient resources at her place of work. Due to these harsh working conditions many of Nellie’s colleagues are on sick leave due to exhaustion. Nellie is afraid she has too little to give both to her family and to her patients. The Finnish health care system has been considered one of the cornerstones of the welfare society, and concerns of it deteriorating has been a key issue in recent elections. Nellie’s character thereby described concerns that were very true to majority of the nursing staff. Responsible Market Economics in the Lives of the Happy Families One of the two main themes of the election – responsible market economics – passes throughout the material introducing different Happy Families. In the accompanying “fact boxes” it is shown how these responsible market economics influence the lives of certain families. For example, for Ted the Teacher and Rita the Researcher responsible market economics means that the illicit, inappropriate short-term employment relationships must go, or that oversized school classes are not to be tolerated. Certain political themes were chosen to touch the lives of each character. Rough summaries of the themes are as follows: Penelope the Pensioner – Arranging for a good life for elderly people Selina the Self Employed Cleaner – Kokoomus wants to support employment and entrepreneurship 9
  10. 10. Colin and Midge, the Couple with Kids – Kokoomus calls for reconciliation of the work and family life. This passage also discusses the state of the Gulf of Finland Phil and Fawn the Farmer – Profitable agriculture Betty the Bachelor of Media – Sensible planning of the educational policy Ivan the Immigrant and Fay his Fiancée – Pluralism in values and sufficient amount of workforce in Finland Ted the Teacher and Rita the Researcher – Continuity in employment Stan the Student and Mary his Mother – Investment in education and students Nellie the Nurse – Kokoomus supports generous pay rises for higher skilled female-dominated occupations. Securing the resources of healthcare services Walter the War Veteran and Letty the former Lotta – Free open healthcare and rehabilitation for every veteran. This passage also discusses the pros and cons of Finland possibly joining the NATO Johnny the Job Seeker – Kokoomus calls for effective employment policies Sybil the Single Mother – The basic income of families with children, especially single parents, must be improved 10
  11. 11. Edward the Entrepreneur and Heidi the Home Nurse – Lessening the burden of those who run small enterprises Election promises to the Happy Family Members Along with presenting the 13 Happy Families and their stories Kokoomus also made some actual election promises. Attached to each of the stories relating to a certain family there was a passage with 3 to 6 facts concerning the relevant themes. Among these facts were, for example, demands on how things should be arranged to solve some of the problems facing a certain character. Some of these fact boxes also contained election promises. In the fact box next to Nellie the Nurse it was stated i.e. that, “Hospital queues will have to be dissolved everywhere in Finland. This can only be done by guaranteeing the resources of healthcare services” And, “The next round of talks on general income policy must bring about generous pay raises for higher-skilled female-dominated occupations“ Concrete, unequivocal election promises were also made: “Letty’s and other OAPs’ national pension must be increased by 20 euros per month.” Splitting the Platform From a communications perspective, the structure of The Happy Families material works well. The characters are 11
  12. 12. successful in personifying complicated themes. The structure of having 13 different characters each on different sheet allows splitting the multi-faceted political platform to a form that is easily accessible to the reader. The stories entice the reader to identify with the characters faced with the same problems they themselves may have. This way, it is also easy for a potential voter to see the actual election promises that Kokoomus is making to solve his or her problems. The Emotional Doctoring Professor of Communication Studies at Oulu University, Erkki Karvonen, has done a lot of research in political image-making. He believes the positive feelings aroused by the Happy Family Campaign in 2007 was one of the key factors in Kokoomus’ eventual success (Aamulehti 12.4.2007). Karvonen quotes Dr. Barry Richards, the Professor of Public Communications at Bournemouth University, who has stated that political campaigning is turning into a “management of feelings”. According to Richards, people nowadays relate to politics in the same way as they relate to popular culture. Politics are consumed in the same fashion as the products of the popular culture. Modern voters need creative and high-quality marketing shows, not just facts shown on a campaign sheet. Voters are searching for emotional experiences also in politics, and successful campaigns need to create a feeling of pleasure to achieve their goal. Naturally this presents new challenges to political communications. Professor Karvonen also refers to new information delivered by “neuromarketing”, which is a field of marketing that studies consumers’ cognitive and affective response to marketing 12
  13. 13. stimulations. Brain researchers assume that a brand benefits from being combined to positive feelings such as pleasure and empathy. One example of the above is a famous research conducted during the American Super Bowl. It was shown that an advertisement by Disney Corp., where the Super Bowl players stated their intentions on going to Disney World, generated a strong feeling of pleasure in the test persons’ brains. On the other hand, an ad by FedEx that shows a caveman bludgeoning another man attributed feelings of anxiety - regardless of the fact that it was also considered humorous. Looking at the Parliamentary Election in 2007, we see that The Happy Families Campaign succeeded in responding to these new kinds of needs stirred up by the modern media scene. The campaign slogan “Finland’s Hope – Kokoomus” creates a positive feeling of hope. The campaign material, for instance, presents a colourful and a happy scenery including perky animals, a rainbow, a horseshoe, a birdhouse, a hot-air balloon etc. So according to the neuromarketing paradigms, the Happy Families campaign managed to strengthen the Kokoomus brand by connecting positive emotions to it whereas, for example, the Social Democrats created mainly unpleasant emotions with their ad, which will be discussed more thoroughly in Chapter 4. Kokoomus did it their way The Happy Family Campaign was an unconventional campaign also in a way that it broke the boundaries of a conventional media mix. Whereas it has traditionally been common to appeal to emotions via TV ads and by presenting facts in the printed 13
  14. 14. media, in the 2007 elections Kokoomus did everything vice versa. A full front page ad in the leading newspaper was all about creating an image and positive emotions. The ad had a view of blue skies, birds, hot-air balloons and the slogan Kokoomus – Finland’s Hope. The TV spot on the other hand was about facts and it portrayed party leaders Jyrki Katainen and Sauli Niinistö discussing the creation of new hope and unity in Finland. The Dilemma of Positive and Negative Advertising The issue of positive and negative advertising has been largely covered in political communication research conducted in North America. According to an expert on the subject, Professor Lynda Lee Kaid, negative ads tend to be more issue- oriented than the positive ones. The positive ads, for their part, concentrate more on the image than the issue. Negative advertising refers to ads that are opponent- focused and concentrate on what is wrong with the opponent – either personally or in terms of political stance. Kaid notes that, when applied to the US presidential elections over time, it appears that the winners are more likely to use positive acclaims whereas the losers more often attack their perceived weak points. Kaid however stresses that there is no consensus concerning the effectiveness of positive and negative advertising. The campaign context seems to be a key factor. Negative ads appear to work particularly well for the third party or the independent candidate. The risky business of negative advertising Some negative ads were seen also during the parliamentary election of 2007. The Central Organization of Trade Unions 14
  15. 15. (SAK) released a humorous TV spot where an obese cross between a CEO and a country squire feasted on delicacies and criticized his employees for being spoiled. The ad backfired disastrously and had to be withdrawn. The entrepreneurs took great exception, as did a segment of the SAK’s own members. The Social Democrats also entered the risky business of negative advertising. Their TV spot presented bad treatment of an elderly person and a child. As Professor Erkki Karvonen pointed out, the negative campaigning was a surprise from the Social Democrats, as they were the party in power. According to Professor Karvonen, the risk of negative ads is that the negative attributes used to describe the opponent easily end up describing the advertiser itself. This is exactly what happened with the TV spot released by the SAK. The negative characteristics associated with the repulsive CEO and the confrontation between the employer and the employees were seen to represent the SAK itself. The ad was described as a stale blast from the past. Alongside that stuffy image created by the Central Organization of Trade Unions, the Happy Families Campaign appeared even more modern and fresh. Concentrating in promoting hope and unity, Kokoomus also succeeded in separating itself from the negative connotations of a dirty game to what politics and especially negative ads are often associated with. So, as Karvonen sums up, the Social Democrats created negative emotions with showing unfair treatment of an elderly person and a child, and the SAK’s spot was considered repulsive. Kokoomus, on the other hand, offered upbeat images and positive phrases such as hope and responsible market economics. 15
  16. 16. Brave New Definition of Old Concepts The presidential election in 2006 provided the background for the Happy Families Campaign. Kokoomus ran a campaign with the slogan “President of the Workers”. The slogan was provocative and evoked strong feelings both against and in favour. Niinistö’s opponent, Tarja Halonen, has the background of a trade union lawyer and was strongly supported by them. So, from a communications perspective the slogan was boldly chosen. Even though the response to it was ambiguous, the communicative brilliance of the slogan is obvious. By taking the liberty of defining old concepts in a novel manner, Kokoomus succeeded in giving new content to the term “working class”. According to Kokoomus, the middle class is the new working class and the issues related to work are everybody’s concern. By being proactive and redefining the concept of the working class, Kokoomus managed to steer public discussion to the changing nature of work and the changes created by the new global economy. The same theme of the new working class was kept alive in the Happy Families Campaign, which introduced the concept of responsible market economics. The Happy Families showed how responsible market economics affect the lives of ordinary working Finns. According to the campaign material, responsible market economics are a tool to procreate wealth and instigate a functioning society in which people can make an impact on their own lives. Kokoomus’ view is that free market economics is a good servant but a bad master. The responsible market economics values and rewards diligence and enterprise, but also takes care of the weaker ones. These are all qualifications also associated with the Northern welfare society. Thus, in a way, it can be said that 16
  17. 17. from the communications perspective the term “responsible market economics” is a brilliant way of conceptualizing the values of the Northern welfare society. It was also a good means of highlighting the party’s expertise in economics. Conclusions The Happy Families campaign, as well as the preceding President of the Workers campaign, were both successes. Both campaigns utilized the marketing paradigms more boldly than their rivals did. Political campaigning in Finland has traditionally been rather conventional in terms of marketing. The Happy Families and The President of the Workers campaign both brought something new to political campaigning in Finland. The Happy Family campaign also stood out among rivalling efforts by being positive in two senses. First, it managed to arouse good feelings through positive imagery and symbols. The slogans were positive, encouraging and unifying in nature. Second, the campaign was not antagonistic towards the opponents, nor did it rely on criticizing their politics. It concentrated on raising hope by introducing responsible market economics as a means of creating prosperity. The campaign was successful in making people to associate positive images with the Kokoomus brand. Whereas the opponents mainly relied on provoking negative emotions, the Happy Families campaign strengthened the image of Kokoomus as a brand for optimistic, positive-minded and active people. The proactive way of doing things The Happy Families Campaign presented Kokoomus as a more proactive choice than its opponents, and the idea was shown in defining old concepts in a new, fresh fashion. By adding an amount of provocation to these new definitions it 17
  18. 18. was also ensured that the Kokoomus perspective attracted the media and drew positive attention in pre-election debates. Whereas most of the opponents appeared as they were stuck in their old foxholes for ages, Kokoomus looked like a modern choice. To put it bluntly, Kokoomus seemed to have a vision, whereas the opponents appeared to lack one. The Happy Families as well as the President of the Workers campaign had an impact on the Finnish campaigning culture. As it has been long understood in the business world, communications is not mere trickery in order to shape a message into a more appealing form. Good and functioning communication is a symbol for the fact that the organisation’s own mission and vision exist, and that they are clear. Liisa Salekari Liisa Salekari is majoring in communication studies and political science at the University of Tampere. She is working on her thesis dealing with digital journalism and Internet message boards as a means of activating the audience. She currently works as account manager in a media monitoring company owned by Finland’s largest media enterprise. 18
  19. 19. APPENDIX Responsible market economics FINN’S BEST FRIEND 19
  20. 20. L i st o f C o n te n t s Foreword ......................................................................... 3 Penelope the Pensioner ..................................................... 6 Selina the Self-Employed Cleaner ..................................... 8 Colin and Midge, the Couple with Kids .......................... 10 Phil and Fawn Farmer .................................................... 12 Betty the Bachelor of Media ........................................... 14 Ivan the Immigrant and Fay his Fiancée .......................... 16 Ted the Teacher and Rita the Reseacher........................... 18 Stan the Student and Mary his Mother ........................... 20 Nellie the Nurse ............................................................. 22 Walter the War Veteran and Letty the Former Lotta .......... 24 Johnny the Job Seeker ..................................................... 26 Sybil the Single Mother .................................................. 28 Edward the Entrepreneur and Heidi the Home Nurse...... 30 20
  21. 21. APPENDIX Let’s Talk about Market Economics T H E AV E R AG E F I N N has it well, we hear. We in the National Coalition Party Kokoomus decided to listen to people, and you know what: We did not find The Average Finn. We found people who have it good, and people, who don’t have it good at all. We found people who hold interesting jobs, and people who have all but given up hope of getting one. We found children with stable, happy homes, but we also found dropouts, who miss an adult; father or mother. We found pensioners, who get along well, and those, who are lonely and poor. We found satisfied entrepreneurs, construction workers, corporate bonus awardees, and kindergarten teachers. But we also found those in need of care and stuck in the queue. We found different people in different life situations. “The Average Finn” we could not find. P E O P L E ’ S L I F E S T O R I E S enhance our thinking. We politicians cannot make anyone’s life complete, or stop grief from taking place, but by decision-making we can steer Finland to a direction which promotes faith in the future – hope for a better tomorrow. Kokoomus feels the biggest problem in 21
  22. 22. Finland today is not of a material quality, but of a mental one. Therefore, people’s problems cannot be solved by political trickery. We must go deeper than that. A new way of thinking is required. We need a change to reform the ethos. Old structures must be shaken; politics is not only about distribution of money, or allocation of resources into a number of sectors. The core duty of politics is to create a working society, in which people themselves can affect their own lives. This is the foundation of confidence and happiness. This is what Kokoomus strives for. WE PROMOTE responsible market economics. Responsible market economics is a free school, which churns out masters and professionals, all of whom find employment to match their education. Responsible market economics means high-quality health care, but it also involves a willingness to look after one’s own health. Responsible market economics is infant health centres, kindergartens, and residential care facilities. But it also involves willingness to accept responsibility over one’s own life, and care for the fellow being. Responsible market economics values diligence and enterprise, and rewards them. Kokoomus believes that problems in the society breed where there are no skills in market economics. There are entrepreneurs who fail to hire an employee due to bureaucracy and burdensome regulations. There are even those who would be willing to work, but, applying basic mathematics, find out that it is financially wiser to turn down employment. Both are examples of things being badly run, and of a system in need of a re-invention. 22
  23. 23. APPENDIX has by far the best expertise O F A L L PA R T I E S , KO KO O M U S in market economics. Kokoomus has been its brave proponent even at times when it was considered out of fashion. Market economics is neither an end nor a value in itself. It is a tool to procreate wellbeing. It is a good servant but a bad master. Under incapable direction, it leads to problems: false notions of efficiency, and situations where the weakest are trampled underfoot. This may not be accepted. A sense of responsibility is required. A safety net of welfare services must always be in place for the weakest. We must ensure the environment can sustain the pressures of economic growth. Responsibility is promoted by decisions, which our children too can be proud of. Kokoomus has set its sights on an rewarding, inventive, and compassionate Finland. Jyrki Katainen 23
  24. 24. Pe nel o pe th e Pensi o ner Penelope (73) lives in a one- carpets, when I started to black bedroom flat. Her husband, a out and felt like throwing up. life-long postman, died a few The next thing I remember is years back. Their adult children the hospital ward.” live in different parts of Fin- Luckily, the stroke was a mild land. They visit Penelope a few one, and a week after she was times a year. discharged back home. It was a “That Saimi downstairs, we case of learning to live a new life. are like sisters. Been friends for The right arm is not fully func- thirty years, gone picking wild tional. Daily household chores berries and done all sorts of now take major effort. “There things together. On every other is also the fear of a new stroke. day I have Saimi here for tea, The autumn’s been hard; you and then I go to hers.” tend to get down with the days Penelope made a long career shortening”. as a midwife. The flat is her Although Penelope has own, and she has paid off the recovered fairly well, she could mortgage as well. use some assistance. Saimi Last year turned her life does help, but she is elderly as around: she suffered a stroke. well. “You need to think about “I was in the yard dusting the these things; then you need to 24
  25. 25. APPENDIX re-think. I would like to stay at that some towns and munici- home, but you don’t get special palities provide proper domes- help for a penny”, she muses. tic assistance for the elderly – She has heard her friends say some do not. Responsible market economics allow a good life for people like Penelope: 1 The service voucher scheme must be extended to the effect that a municipality may grant vouchers to cover for home nursing. Thus, Penelope herself can choose the kind of domestic assistance she requires, and go on living at home longer. A national set of criteria concerning the services for older people must be put in place, so that the quality and availability of these services do not vary depending on the place of residence. 2 Pensioners’ domestic care allowance and supplemented allowance must be increased by 20 euros per month. 3 The inflation-based index system determining the amount of state and employment pensions must be improved. The index must put more weight on the increasing cost of medicine and care. 4 The costs of medicine are cut by the removal of the V.A.T., leaving Penelope money to spare. To achieve this aim, Finland must ardently and in co-operation with other EU states change prevalent tax directives. 5 Kokoomus has proposed the lowering of the pensioners’ tax rates to the same level with salary- based income tax. This would directly benefit Penelope. 6 To complement statutory services, there is a need for voluntary civil action. A sense of responsibility for the fellow human being is requisite. Organisations working for the elderly do invaluable work and alleviate their loneliness. Subsidies for these non-governmental organisations must be increased, and the donations they get from businesses must be exempt from tax. 25
  26. 26. Se li na the S elf -Em ployed Clea ner Selina (41) lives in Oulu with work as a “maid’s chore”. her husband Heikki. The fam- Selina feels honour-bound to ily includes two children, aged be a responsible employer. She 10 and 8 from Selina’s previous cares for her employees’ well- marriage, as well as the young being, inciting them to exercise daughter Olivia from the one and enjoy culture. with Heikki. As an entrepreneur, Selina Selina left school early and is at a disadvantage when her went cleaning. When the tax children fall ill. Tax deduct- deduction system for household ability does not apply to the services was introduced and the care costs caused by a child’s demand for such services rose illness. Further grievance is accordingly, Selina found the caused by Heikki’s job, which courage to start her own busi- takes him to the neighbouring ness. town for weeks on end. Added Now, the company employs to the costs of child care, this ten full-time workers. Further affects family income: having growth is hindered by potential two apartments and two fridges workers’ reluctance to take up always means extra costs, not to jobs. Selina is annoyed at sun- mention shuttling to work and dry efforts trying to label decent back. 26
  27. 27. APPENDIX Yet, her life in enterprise expand her business, and branch Selina would never barter. She out to other forms of household only hopes that, in the future, service. she could serve more customers, Kokoomus wants to support employment and entrepreneurship: 1 Recruitment is to be boosted and the social security system altered to provide more incentive. The payment of unemployment allowance must be sped up so that its payment continues immediately at the termination of a short employment relationship. Receiving employment must always be worthwhile. This is responsible market economics. 2 Employers may be given incentive to promote their employees’ wellbeing and endurance. Exercise and culture vouchers are one form of incentive which deserves to be kept in force. 3 An entrepreneur’s expenses incurred by the nursing of an ill child must be made tax-deductible. 4 Combining parenthood and entrepreneurship is challenging due to the entrepreneurs’ irregular and long working hours as well as the difficulty in having holidays. A means of alleviation is to enhance the entrepreneurs’ temporary replacement system and extend the current experiment to the entire country. 5 Kokoomus has proposed a new tax deduction to Heikki and others, who due to their work must live weekly away from their families. This would compensate for the increased cost of living, including housing. The deductible sum should amount to 3,000 euros a year. 6 Tax credit for domestic help has proven to be a functional and effective means of getting domestic assistance. The system is to be improved by raising the maximum deduction to 2,300 euros a year, including renovation work. The applicability of the credit is to be extended to cover for domestic installations of a computer or a digital set-top box. 27
  28. 28. Coli n an d Midge, t h e Co u ple wi t h K i d s Midge (35) has graduated from that, she would like to work a commercial institute and shorter hours for a few years to works as a planner for a com- be able to spend more time with munications agency. Colin (38) her son. is in sales at an exporting com- Colin would have gone on a pany. They have a son, Luukas nursing leave following the birth (7), and live in Espoo. of Luukas, but this clashed with Colin’s job takes him con- the company practice. He is stantly on the road. Reconcili- vexed about the way fathers are ation of work with family life is being put to rack for “not want- a real challenge, especially with ing” to tend their children. the grandparents living hun- Luukas health has been poor- dreds of kilometres away. Luu- ly, and he was diagnosed with kas has a hired nanny to watch asthma. Colin and Midge need him in the evenings. to take him to the doctor reg- Midge wants to build a career ularly, but social security only in what she feels is important, covers a fraction of the bills. and is ready to invest in her Colin, Midge, and Luukas work. She has even thought spend their summer holidays about setting up her own com- at Colin’s parents’ cottage in munications business. Before the Turku archipelago. Luukas 28
  29. 29. APPENDIX would want to swim every day, tankers sailing the sea, and spills but the blue-green algae, the oil from the cruise liners are scary. Responsible market economics does not only focus on the results – the wellbeing of the workers and their families is as important: 1 Reconciliation of work and family life is a challenge that permeates the entire society. Finland’s economy is growing fast, but burnout has become a veritable epidemic. 2 Parents of small children must have an option to shorter working hours. This right is to be extended until the child has completed the 3rd grade at school. 3 If equality in working life is to be achieved, it would be essential to get fathers involved in child and home care. Paternal leave will therefore have to be extended by two weeks. 4 Private day care allowance must be increased from the current 137 euros to 180 euros per month and the tax credit for domestic help further enhanced. Also the child home care allowance needs development. 5 The amount of Kela (= The Social Insurance Institute of Finland) reimbursement for doctors’ and dentists’ bills must be increased to cover 50 per cent of the actual costs. 6 The state of the Gulf of Finland needs to be improved by increased multinational co-operation in addition to national measures. The current drawn-out transition period for communal waste water treatment must be abandoned in those EU countries that lie within the drainage area of the Baltic Sea. In Finland, nutrient spills from agriculture and fishing industries must be curbed by, among other means, creating more protection zones. 29
  30. 30. Phil a nd Fawn Fa r mer Phil (30) is an agrologist and the moment, but the barn is in faced with a big choice. As the bad condition and in need of an only son of a farming family, he extension. The extension and a has been groomed and trained bigger number of cows would to become a farmer. The house require an increase in field area has been in the family for eight to secure self-sufficient produc- generations. The mother and tion of forage as well as disposal father are approaching the of manure. retirement age. Farm succes- The investment would cost sion is soon at hand; Phil would hundreds of thousands of euros like to take over with his wife with no guarantees of govern- Fawn (28). ment subsidy, for the money Phil is terrified at the thought at the Development Fund of of an enormous bank loan he Agriculture is scarce. The same would need in order to pur- fund can award young farmers chase the farm from his parents a start-up grant, but processing and pay off his siblings. Then an application may take absurd- there would be need for invest- ly long. ment. They would also have “Milk production has been to choose a production sector. at least moderately profitable, There are some twenty cows at but it’s also laborious. These 30
  31. 31. APPENDIX talks with the EU increase ing the property tax to apply to uncertainty – you can’t be sure agriculture and forestry as well. how Finland fares in them.” Not that there is no good Phil is referring to the negoti- news, too. Fawn is pregnant with ations on the continuation of twins! Getting farm relief serv- farm aid payable under serious ices is a bit of a worry, though. difficulties. “It would be nice to spend some “Last time around these talks time with the family too, so that on Article 141 went badly. The life would not be all work”, Phil Minister of Agriculture could thinks. Temporary replacements not achieve a single aim”, Phil will probably be needed, espe- complains. His peace of mind cially if the old farmer and his is none the better because of wife are to move to town, as has pre-election talk about extend- been discussed. Kokoomus wants to ensure that agriculture in Finland remains profitable: 1 The centre-left coalition government ignored the needs of the Development Fund of Agriculture. Its assets must be increased to guarantee new farmers’ start- up grants and investment subsidies for new investments and extensions. The negotiations on Article 141 (farm aid payable under serious difficulties) must result in success and guarantee the continuation of national subsidies on livestock also in Zones A and B. 2 The law on retirement compensation for farmers must be altered so that a farmer who leases farmland to active producers is also eligible for compensation. This promotes the structural development of agriculture. 3 Property tax is not to be extended to farmland and woodlots. 4 The number of statutory holidays at domesticated animal farms must be increased by, at least, one. At the same time, there must be a sufficient availability of temporary replacements. 31
  32. 32. Be tty the B a c h elo r o f M edi a Betty (26) has graduated from at a small, local media busi- a university of applied sciences, ness, and learned she was one majoring in media studies. She of the two top applicants for a specialized in audiovisual media position. production. These past few Ari the company owner years she has been holding all is faced with a dilemma. His sorts of temporary assignments, choice will be between Riku and which however have not been Betty: both share the same train- uniform with her training. ing and have equal amounts of Her studies included a peri- working experience. od of on-the-job training, which At the interview, Betty said Betty completed with flying col- she has been married to Petri for ours at one of the top firms in two years. Ari naturally wonders the business. The company was if Betty and Petri are planning however sold to become a part to have children. “The man is of a bigger business, and Betty no fool”, Betty says. He is father found herself redundant. to three himself. But he really After her graduation, Betty has to think about the conse- has been applying for jobs at quences to his business.” several companies. Last week Ari has calculated he is just she had her second interview about able to hire one new 32
  33. 33. APPENDIX employee to ease the burden of expenses that would not be his current staff. If Betty should reimbursed by the state. This soon go on a maternity leave, it might tip the scales in favour of would incur his company extra his rival firms. Kokoomus feels Betty deserves an education which brings her employment: 1 Educational policy has suffered from poor planning, and in the so-called “hot” trades there are more job seekers than jobs. Not all can find employment to match their training. In the future, monetary rewards should be available for such vocational schools and colleges that have the biggest percentage of graduates at work to which they were trained. This would put an end to the current waste of educational resources. This is responsible market economics. 2 Employers’ losses from parental leave should be fully reimbursed from public revenue. This way, women in Betty’s situation may more easily find employment within their own area of expertise. 3 Problems in the reconciliation of work and family life cannot, however, be resolved through legislation alone. Less than 10 per cent of fathers stay at home to tend their children on paternity allowance. This is a question of values and attitudes at home as well as at work. 33
  34. 34. Ivan the Imm i g ra nt a nd Fay h i s F i a ncé e Ivan (24) comes from Colom- er. After that Fay, being the eld- bia. He moved to Finland four est child, assumed responsibility years ago upon gaining a place of of affairs ranging from the buri- study at the Helsinki University al arrangements to the inventory of Technology. He completed his of her late father’s estate, as well master’s thesis late this year. as the payment of the inherit- Ivan received funding for his ance tax. Times have been hard thesis from a firm, which has for the siblings. The inheritance now offered him work. “Actu- tax forces them to choose which ally, I have had job offers from is to be sold; the summer cot- no less than three companies”, tage, or the family house. Ivan says in fluent Finnish. “I Ivan has applied for a per- want to stay in Finland. I have manent residence in order to everything here.” Now the big continue work in Finland. His question is whether he will application has been under receive his work-related resi- process for four months already. dence permit in time to formal- “This is not easy. All the time, ly apply for a job. a veil of uncertainty hangs over A couple of years back, Ivan everything.” started to go out with Fay (27). Ivan hopes to be able to live Her father died of seizure a year and work in Finland, and start ago. Her mother had died earli- a family. 34
  35. 35. APPENDIX Kokoomus wants to ensure the Finland of the future is pluralistic in values, and has sufficient workforce: 1 Ivan feels at home in Finland, and will probably apply for Finnish citizenship at some point in the future. This requires six years of continuous residence, which is deemed to start upon attainment of a residence permit for an employed person. Kokoomus has proposed that this period of residence be shortened to four years, taking into account half of the time spent in studies. This way Ivan could be eligible for citizenship within two years, enabling him to plan his future in Finland. 2 The policy of employment offices assessing the availability of workforce is to be discontinued in those fields of work where there is shortage of labour. The occupations to be freed from such assessment will be determined yearly. The aim is to be bring to Finland more professionals like Ivan. This is responsible market economics. 3 The integration of immigrants needs investment in language training by, among other things, boosting education that allows for the different starting levels of the learners. Similarly, there is a need to emphasize the practical employability of those who seek to immigrate. 4 Finland’s high inheritance tax rates often lead to intolerable circumstances. The inheritance tax must gradually be dispensed with altogether. The reform begins with the complete elimination of the inheritance and gift tax from spouses, children, and the inheritors’ own parents. This way Fay’s siblings could have kept the family house as well as the cottage. Taxes levied upon the succession of firms as well as farms and forest estates will also have to be lowered. 35
  36. 36. Te d the Teacher a nd Ri ta t h e Resea rc he r Ted Teacher (32) is a Master of place of work. Arts working in temporary jobs. The availability of special He is married to Rita Research- education is poor, and teachers er (30), with whom he has three have in practice little chance children. of getting a pupil transferred Ted graduated from uni- to special education. Although versity seven years ago major- teaching is Ted’s calling, he ing in Finnish history. He also feels the strain of responsible acquired a teacher’s proficiency. work done in bits and pieces. In these past seven years, he has “It’s hard to inspire the young, had seven short stints teaching when you are exhausted your- history. self ”, he says. “In one town, I was being Rita is a researcher at Hel- transferred from one school to sinki University. Like Ted, she another in order to avoid my has had her share of periodic post becoming a permanent employment. The work, how- one”, Ted relates. Schools also ever, has been interesting. Rita have meagre resources, and has wondered why research burn-out among staff is ripe. resources should be so meagre. This is partly attributable to She has been sometimes sug- constant changes of the actual gested that they increase co- 36
  37. 37. APPENDIX operation with businesses. “I they found out that someone in want to do research which actu- temporary jobs has a tough time ally benefits people”, Rita says. getting a mortgage. They were Ted and Rita have been plan- offered an interest rate margin ning to buy an apartment in which far exceeded that for peo- suburban Helsinki. At the bank ple in permanent employment. Kokoomus values securing continuity in employment and the ensuing advantages in life management. This represents responsible market economics: 1 Illicit, inappropriate short-term employment relationships will have to go. Government transfers to municipalities will be distributed thus that a municipality receives the more funds the less it resorts to short-term employment. Temporary replacements for those on maternal leave must come from among permanent staff, and public administration will be obliged to cut fixed-term employment. This way Ted and Rita would surely find permanent jobs, and they would have their mortgage on a lower interest rate. 2 Municipalities’ economic strife endangers the well- being of children and young people. Cuts at schools bear on hundreds of thousands of pupils, families, and teachers. Oversized classes are not to be tolerated, and there will have to be sufficient accessibility of special education. Responsible market economics means investment in the young. 3 The economic independence of universities must be enhanced without delay. Their funding should be diversified to the extent that corporate donations to universities become fully tax exempt. 4 Finland’s universities should specialize and concentrate on their own strengths. High-quality basic education and research require added investment in the universities’ base funding. 5 An appropriate social security and pension system must be set up for researchers working on grants. 37
  38. 38. Stan the Stu dent a nd M a r y h i s M o t h e r Stan (19) is in the kitchen of good job at a bank. After the his digs unpacking tuna, noo- birth of her first child she want- dles, toast, and 50 cent orange ed to stay home. Mary and her juice cartons out of a carrier husband Keijo have three chil- bag. Those are the delicacies fit dren, of whom the two eldest for a student’s purse. have gone to work abroad with Ted moved to Helsinki in their families. the summer upon gaining entry After the youngest had to the Stadia Polytechnic. He left home, Mary and Keijo shares a flat in the North Haga divorced. Mary claimed the area with two other students. family home to herself. This “The student allowance meant getting a hefty mort- alone does not pay for both gage. She however did find a food and rent” – let alone buy job. the necessary computer. Some Mary is now aware of what of Ted’s friends get money lies ahead. If she retires at 63, from home, but for him it is she cannot repay the remain- not that simple. ing mortgage, because due to Ted’s mother Mary (56) a short career history she is graduated from a commercial only entitled to a modest pen- institute in her time and got a sion. Mary will have to sell the 38
  39. 39. APPENDIX apartment, in which she has and brought up all her chil- lived for the most of her life dren. Responsible market economics is investment in education and students: 1 Kokoomus thinks the student allowance for those in university and polytechnic should be increased by 15 per cent, from the current 259 euros to about 300 euros per month. The tax-free threshold of a student’s income should be raised by 20 per cent. The student loan must be made more attractive by raising its tax deductibility to 50 per cent, and by abolishing the excess threshold of 2,500 euros. 2 Study aid in the upper secondary level needs comprehensive reassessment. Parents’ income must not affect the amount of study aid to 18 and 19-year-olds who live independently. Neither should the low income or unwillingness of parents be an obstacle to successful studies. 3 Mary has realised that, upon staying home, she should have made Keijo pay for a private pension policy, which would have guaranteed her livelihood after the divorce. This the ex-husband could well have afforded. Mary believed in socialists’ allegations that private pension schemes were somehow dodgy. She is not happy now. 4 Kokoomus wants to promote long-term household saving. Long-term saving must become an attractive alternative in improving personal pension security. Voluntary personal pension schemes need to be given tax breaks, and small-time investors’ dividend income is to be made partially exempt from tax. Popular ownership is, among other things, a means of accumulating national wealth, because households are particularly keen on investing in Finnish companies. 39
  40. 40. N elli e th e Nu rse Nellie (48) works as a nurse at a exhaustion. Nellie, too, feels she ward in a central hospital. She is has little to give to her family, as happy to be close to people, and the work leaves her both men- to be of concrete help. tally and physically drained. She However, working conditions has even left her hobbies behind, in the hospital are hard. There but there is no choice but to are insufficient resources, and carry on until retirement. the ward is having a hard time Nellie is worried about the finding nurses. The head nurs- patients. Not all at the ward are es have been trying to recruit permitted follow-up treatment. more staff, but the wages aren’t “We should have more staff”, attractive. Nellie has been sur- Nellie says matter-of-factly. Her prised by recent reports, which superiors insist that every pos- reveal how few locally trained sible thing to recruit nurses nurses actually work in a Finn- has been done, but there is not ish hospital. Our nurses drift to enough interest in the job. Norway, even Australia. Some Recently, Nellie has been have taken up an altogether dif- shocked by the events sur- ferent job. rounding her new-born niece, Many nurses from Nellie’s Emilia. She is disabled, which ward are on a sick leave due to first came as a fright to her par- 40
  41. 41. APPENDIX ents, who however got over it ents were being bounced from with love and dedication. Nellie one bureau to another just as has wondered why Emilia’s par- their grief was at its height. In responsible market economics, important and hard work is rewarded with a decent pay: 1 Finns have a right to high-quality health care. Hospital queues will have to be dissolved everywhere in Finland. This can only be done by guaranteeing the resources of healthcare services. 2 The next round of talks on general incomes policy must bring about generous pay raises for higher skilled, female-dominated occupations. The resulting collective agreement must be based on gender equality. Increased government transfers are to be used to support such an agreement on a municipal level that guarantees above- average pay raises for skilled trades, where women are the majority. 3 Average-income Finns like Nellie are the backbone of this country. An incentive to career progression and moving forward is to lower the high tax rates of the middle earners. A larger share of wage-earners income must be left to their own personal use. Tax on wages is to be further lowered on every income level. Moderate, employment- boosting tax cuts are a way to endorse a general incomes policy settlement. 4 For every Finn returning to Finland for work there should be a subsidy of 1,000 euros. This way, even some nurses could be enticed to return. 5 Municipalities are to provide the parents of a disabled child with an employee in charge, who is there to help with every aspect relating to disabled services and benefits. 41
  42. 42. Walter the War Veteran and Letty the Former Lotta Walter (85) and Letty (82) invalidity classification as his met during the war. Walter was war souvenir, but the wound wounded at Ihantala in the has never stopped him from summer of 1944. “On the 3rd working. Walter had a success- of July, I got a grenade in the ful career as engineer at the leg when diving into a foxhole. I city waterworks. Letty stayed was taken back in a hurry.” at home and brought up their Letty did not have it peachy four children. Walter and Letty either. Twice her family was belong to those who raised Fin- made to evacuate from Äyräpää. land back to her feet. As a member of the Lotta Svärd In recent years, Walter’s old women’s auxiliary corps she wound has given him some saw the real face of war. She was troubles, and he feels he could first posted to a military hospi- do with some medical rehabil- tal in Viipuri, but moved with it itation. ”I’m not one to com- to Lahti. “Walter came that way plain, other people here in Fin- too, through the regimental aid land have problems too.” post belonging to the troops of Walter and Letty voted in General Lagus. That’s where we 1994 for Finland’s membership met then, in Lahti.” in the EU, first and foremost for Walter carries a 10 per cent security reasons. Although the 42
  43. 43. APPENDIX dealings of the EU sometimes cerned with Finland’s security. leave them nonplussed, they They have also given thought to believe the membership is good NATO membership. “One must for the country. “As long as the look to the future – what kind of EU has the sense to focus on a world our children live in. The the essential and take good care first thing is we must always be of things”, Walter muses. able to defend this country.” Walter and Letty are con- Kokoomus thinks that responsibility includes making decisions with a view to the future: 1 Finland is to be made the world’s number one utilizer of experience. There a saying in the Ostrobothnia region, “Wisdom lives in old women.” The same goes for old men. Our debt of honour and gratitude for the war generation is never-ending. 2 The invalidity degree, as decreed in the War Injuries Act, is to be annulled as a qualification for open healthcare resources. Free open healthcare and rehabilitation must be guaranteed for every veteran. 3 Letty’s and other OAP’s national pension must be increased by 20 euros a month. 4 The EU must focus on those matters in which the member states alone are not strong enough. The emphasis should be on public well-being, sustainable development, and European security. Increased co- operation is an asset for us, too. Finland must play an active part within the EU. In the hard core of its decision- making bodies we may best promote Finland’s interests. 5 The primary responsibility of Finland’s defence belongs invariably to us Finns. Co-operation with the EU enhances our security. Finland’s membership in the NATO would strengthen our security as well as international status, but accession must not take place against popular will. Membership in the NATO requires support from the majority of Finns; manifest in a referendum but also in the consensus of all major political players. This means that Finland will not join the NATO during the next election term. 43
  44. 44. Johnny th e Jo b Seeker Unemployed Johnny (52) hails up with an offer of a refresher from a small locality in Satakun- course. “The office people must ta. In 1988 a factory in which know what’s best for me”, John- Johnny had worked ever since ny mused. he left school, closed down. Its The following years Johnny production was moved to Esto- spent on various courses and nia. At the time there were no job-seeking training. At times local jobs matching Johnny’s he was unemployed again. Once working experience. He enlist- he had a spell in subsidized ed as a job seeker at an employ- employment with the munici- ment office. pality. That was a job he liked. Johnny wondered why no one Working seemed meaningful, from the office would contact but that came to an end, too, him, even though it was prom- with the subsidy. ised as much on the Labour Johnny has found out that Office Internet site. Johnny there could be work for him in thought about moving else- the town of Pori, but his skills where to seek work, but then might just fall short of the the employment agency came requirements. 44
  45. 45. APPENDIX Kokoomus wants to provide Johnny employment, not excuses: 1 Labour Administration has been under continuous Social Democrat control since 1995. This has, sadly, led to employment offices offering year on end same old employment tricks like job-seeking training or subsidized employment in the public sector. Even according to surveys conducted by Labour Office itself, the impact of these measures is minimal. 2 Employment funds must be transferred from training courses and public sector subsidized employment to the apprenticeship scheme, vocational labour market training undertaken jointly with businesses, and employment subsidies in the private sector. Experience has shown that many people thus employed can continue at work also beyond the period of subsidy. This way Johnny could find employment in his place of residence, or nearby. 3 Another viable alternative is that Labour Administration carries out a 3 to 4 month-long training period as combined acquisition with a Pori-based firm. Johnny would be joined in training by, say, 15 other persons. The training would be chiefly carried out at the company premises, and at the end of it Johnny is employed by the same. To make this possible, Labour Administration must become much more open-minded to co-operation with businesses in need of workforce. This is responsible market economics. 45
  46. 46. Sybil t h e Si ng le M o th er Sybil (35) works at a checkout that they ought to go skiing, it’s counter in a Vaasa supermarket. slosh all over!” Three years ago, Sybil divorced The daughter Milla says that her husband, who later moved somebody has been peddling abroad. drugs in the grammar school Sybil has at home children yard nearby. Sybil is worried Markus (5) and Milla (10). Last if Milla has anything meaning- spring, after their winter holi- ful to do after school while she days, they went on about their is still at work herself. Further, classmates’ skiing trips to Lap- it is sometimes hard to pick up land. Sybil would love to give Markus from his kindergarten her kids the opportunities to in time. The working days at the do things their friends do. The counter run occasionally long- problem is to make ends meet as er than the kindergarten stays a single parent – there is barely open. Sybil has tried to arrange enough money for basic needs. her hours so that she can get her One thing is the ever-increasing child home herself. Sometimes electricity bill. it just cannot be done. Luckily, “I pinched pennies and got some friend of hers come to the each a new pair of skis. Now rescue. 46
  47. 47. APPENDIX Kokoomus feels politics should be for families, not families for politics: 1 The basic income of families with children, especially single parents, must be improved. Child benefits are to be bound to the consumer price index in order to retain their purchasing power. Lone parents’ increase is to be raised from 36,60 to 45 euros. 2 Drug problems have become a part of a Finnish reality. Prevention of drug abuse among children and youth calls for co-operation between families and schools. A sufficient number of police officers are to be made available so that their presence is seen on the streets both in towns as well as less densely populated areas. The number of school calls by the police will also have to be increased. 3 Schools are to increase afternoon club activity with the help of volunteer organizations. 4 The opening hours of kindergartens will have to be overhauled to allow Sybil and others in her situation some breathing space during weekdays. 5 Climate warming is a global threat. Emissions must be curbed with a genuine protocol, with all the major polluters among its signatories. 6 Finland is a small country, but through our own example we can make an impact within the EU and other international forums. We must achieve our emission- cutting targets and set exemplary standards as defenders of the climate and environment. 7 Finland’s energy production must be based on a diversity of sources and remain as self-sufficient as possible. Energy production from renewable sources – hydropower and bioenergy – is to be increased. 8 There are sound reasons for further construction of nuclear power plants. This is both a clean and emission- free form of energy. Increased availability of nuclear energy means reasonable electricity bills. 9 The responsibility of our planet’s future belongs to everyone. In traffic, purchase of newer, safer, and environmentally friendly cars must be promoted. Vehicle tax is to be levied mainly on vehicle use rather than the purchase of a new one. Diesel tax is to be reduced. Public transport must remain a viable alternative. 47
  48. 48. Edward the Entrepreneur and Heidi the Home Nurse Edward (53) is a self-employed a chill. “All expenses added, van driver. 13 years ago he start- you may multiply an employ- ed a sole proprietorship called ee’s wages by two.” “Ed’s Transit”. He has never The mother of Edward’s wife been short of work. “I haven’t Heidi (49) moved in with them had any days off for four years, after she had taken ill. Heidi except at Christmas and Mid- then stayed at home to mind her summer.” Two years ago he 80-year-old mother. Heidi also underwent a bypass operation, resigned from her clerk’s job taking then “a six days’ sick at an elementary school, as she leave”. otherwise could not have done Today, there is still so much what she deemed right. work that Edward wants to Heidi’s mother is a little bet- employ a worker or two to help ter already, and Heidi would him. He has been able to sort prefer to return to work. “I wish out a few practical things, but I could work such hours that I all sorts of red tape appear to eat could care for my mum as well”, up too much time from actual she sighs. work. The costs of employment, Edward hopes to be able too, are starting to give Edward to continue his business until 48
  49. 49. APPENDIX retirement age. “It would be tech gadgets, could also spare a good if the politicians, with thought for us old-school small- their Nokias and all the high- time entrepreneurs.” In responsible market economics, active employers are supported, not patronized: 1 The burden of bureaucracy on an entrepreneur’s shoulders must be decreased. Today, pointless bureaucracy eats up too much time from actual work. The threshold for offering employment must be lowered. The employer’s peripheral costs from recruitment need to be cut. The so-called low-income allowance must be extended to cover a greater number of people – especially young adults. 2 An entrepreneur’s tax rates need to be lowered regarding both wages and dividends from own business. This encourages ever more Finns to employ themselves, and others. 3 Legislation will have to be altered to allow wage- earners who double as informal caregivers a chance to shorter working hours. 4 Informal care must provide a uniform set of criteria based on demands of the care, and sufficient funds allocated to informal care. The number of caregivers’ holidays must be increased to four per month. 49
  50. 50. THIS CAMPAIGN PROGRAMME has been made in co-operation with ordinary Finns. During the Korva (“Ear”) Tour we heard and saw a lot – and learned all the more. Thank You for that. Hopefully this shows in our policy. The people who relate their stories in this campaign programme are fictitious. But their tales are real, and their quotes actually heard in the Korva Campaign. KO KO O M U S THE LISTENING EAR: xxxx xxx xxx S U P P O R T O U R C A M PA I G N : x x x x x x x x x ( €10 +local ch arge/call) FUNDRAISING ACCOUNT NUMBER: SA M P O x x x x x x–x x x x x W W W. S U O M E N T O I V O . F I FUNDRAISING PERMIT NUMBER OKU 1636 A • FUNDRAISING INFO: WWW.SUOMENTOIVO.FI 50
  51. 51. Translation by Timo Kivistö, M.A.
  52. 52. Happy Families The campaign material analysed in this book represents a new way adopted by the National Coalition Party Kokoomus to state political aims in 2007’s general election in a popular and interesting way. Due to notable international interest towards the campaign, the election programme was translated into English and analysed in a comparative manner from a communications point of view. 52