Skip to content

Wednesday's papers: Far right prohibition, winter tyre damage and attractive towns

Studded tyres are damaging Finnish roads, but they are not always necessary.

Kädet pitelevät kiinni nastarenkaasta.
Tyres like these do serious damage to Finnish roads. Image: Kiira Ikävalko / Yle
Yle News

The Blue and Black movement is an openly racist political party that was only added to the official register of political parties after it removed certain parts of its policy programme at the request of the Justice Ministry.

Helsingin Sanomat reports on Wednesday that the party has been disseminating the old, unedited version of its programme, and asks whether that means the party has now broken the law.

The answer is, apparently, no. The party had removed parts of its programme on freedom of speech, equality and fighting discrimination, at the request of the Justice Ministry. Those sections are now being freely shared online, but that does not make any difference to the party's registration.

"We have not been notified of any changes to the party's rules or general programme," said Arto Jääskeläinen of the Justice Ministry. "Changes are only valid after they have been submitted [to us]."

"In that light the Blue and Black programme published online is seen as campaign material, just as party members' very questionable tweets have been seen as part of the election campaign."

Across four electoral districts, the party has more than 80 candidates running, several of them with criminal backgrounds.

Parties can only be removed from the register at their own request, or if they fail to get candidates elected to parliament at two successive elections. A third route to dissolution is if the registered association behind the party is disbanded.

That could be possible under the registered association law if it is seen that the party has distributed material attacking human rights established as part of Finnish law.

Enforcing that law is the responsibility of the National Police Board. They refused to comment to HS on the matter.

Studs versus roads

Aamulehti carries a story on the apparently extensive damage caused to Finland's road network by studded winter tyres.

Four out of five Finnish cars use the studded versions, which have metal studs attached to the rubber to improve grip. The downside is that they churn up the tarmac and create potholes.

AL reports that a car running on studded tyres displaces some 2-3 centimetres of bitumen for every kilometre travelled. With hundreds of thousands of cars using these tyres, that kind of damage really adds up.

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency estimates that the damage caused by these tyres costs some 90 million euros each year on roads it maintains. That's a huge chunk of the agency's 166 million euro resurfacing budget.

That budget covers the cost of resurfacing some 1,500 kilometres of roads. The agency says it would need to resurface around 4,000 kilometres every year.

AL reports that there would be plenty of scope for expanding the use of so-called friction tyres, which use deeper grooves to increase traction rather than studs.

At least 30 percent of cars in Finland have traction control (Electronic Stability Control or ESC), and can easily run on friction tyres without increasing risks. The agency estimates that some 50 percent of motorists could safely use friction tyres rather than studded ones, but the proportion of friction tyre users remains around 20 percent.

Tampere tops table

Iltalehti carries a survey on the attractiveness of Finnish towns and cities as places to live. Tampere tops the table, as it has in recent years, but the capital city region municipalities have lost ground.

Kari Väisänen of T-Media, which carried out the study, said in a statement that cities further from the southern urban centres have improved the most. Oulu, Kuopio and Jyväskylä are examples of that, said Väisänen.

He noted that's down to people's views on the cost of living, security concerns and general liveability.

Of the ten biggest cities, Turku's rating dropped the most compared to last year, with Vantaa not far behind.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia