News |

Monday's papers: Finns Party poll, childhood injuries, SDP president plans and holidays for the insecurely employed

Monday's newspapers include an analysis of the fallout from the Finns Party split, concern from doctors over children injuring themselves through poor exercise choices, the next possible SDP presidential candidate and a look at holidays for those on temporary contracts.

Jussi Halla-aho, Timo Soini ja Sampo Terho
From left: Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho; Timo Soini, an MP with the Blue Reform faction, and his colleague and fellow former Finns Party figure Sampo Terho. Image: Lehtikuva

Lännen Media has a poll of Finns Party activists that aims to shed some light on the possible consequences of the recent schism in the Finns Party. To recap: Timo Soini and 18 other Finns Party MPs (including all of the party's ministers) left to form their own caucus in parliament following the election of Jussi Halla-aho as party leader. That way they remained in government as the New Alternative parliamentary grouping, and are aiming to found a grassroots party known as 'Blue Reform' in English.

LM asked local party chairs, regional board members, and people in leadership positions in any Finns Party group for their opinions on the split, and they're not happy reading for the rebels.

Some 67 percent of respondents said they did not believe the 'New Alternative' group would find a long term place as a parliamentary party, against 21 percent who felt they would. When asked if they felt a Halla-aho led party could sit in government in the future, 64 percent answered yes compared to 25 percent who said no.

Perhaps a little more interesting was a question about whether the New Alternative rebels' actions were acceptable. 57 percent said they wouldn't, 23 percent said they did accept it, while 20 percent said they understood but didn't support or accept it.

Feldt-Ranta entering presidential race?

The 2018 Presidential election is a source of discomfort for almost everyone except the incumbent, Sauli Niinistö. He says he wants to run again, but supported by a nationwide grassroots network rather than the National Coalition Party that launched him into the post.

He's clearly confident, and the polls back him up. That puts the other parties in a bit of a pickle: who do they run against Niinistö when most pundits say they can at best get second place? Or do they leave it to Sauli and forego the chance to introduce their candidate and policies to the world?

The Social Democrats have struggled harder than most with this issue, with party chair Antti Rinne stating clearly that he's not going to run but that the party would stand somebody. Nobody volunteered for a long time, but now they have a possible candidate in Maarit Feldt-Ranta, an MP from western Uusimaa.

Ilta-Sanomat carries a story on Monday that she is now supported by Timo Harakka, an ambitious former journalist and first-term MP. He reckons Feldt-Ranta is a unity candidate with the potential to bring together the often fractious wings of the social democratic movement in Finland.

Children exercising incorrectly

There's a lot of concern these days about children not getting enough exercise, so it's kind of refreshing to read in Ilta-Sanomat that some doctors fear they may be getting too much. Or at least, too much of the same thing.

The IS story focuses on stress fractures and injuries, which are apparently much more common these days. That's because children now train year-round at ever younger ages, and don't get long breaks to allow their bodies to recover.

There's also less playing on rough ground, climbing trees, and other types of 'hidden exercise' that help muscles to develop. If kids are either sitting on a couch or repeating the same kinds of movements on perfect playing surfaces, the strain on growing bones, joints and muscles can be too much.

One doctor in the IS story advocates more unstructured exercise at school, which youngsters able to choose what they do and teachers banned from giving grades for their 'work'.

Holidays for some, not others

Helsingin Sanomat has a holiday story about the difficulty of taking holidays for one specific group of employees: the precariously employed. The paper looks at the prevalence of fixed-term contracts for younger workers, asking one young project worker about her holiday plans.

"Now a holiday really means that I am unemployed and should really be looking for work," said Hanna Kemppainen, who gets short breaks every few months but does not normally take the long summer vacation that is so popular in Finland.

According to Statistics Finland some 333,000 people worked on fixed term contracts last year, with another 399,000 on part-time deals. Both figures increased from 2015, says HS.

Occupational health experts and unions agree that holidays are important, and the long-term lack of a break can have serious consequences. In the age of precarity, an absence of work does not always mean a relaxing break.

Latest in: News


Our picks