On Saturday, we got a glimpse into the different tactics of the Greens and the center in the opposition.
To the support pit the fallen greens and the center go to challenge Petteri Orpon right-wing government with different tactics.
This became clear when the chairmen of both medium-sized opposition parties gave their policy speeches on Saturday.
The new chairman of the Greens was elected in June Sofia Virta launched a barrage of criticism towards Orpo in the green party council in Helsinki, while Annika Saarikko came up with so many expressions for walking the middle road in his speech at the Turku party meeting that not all of them can be found in the dictionary.
We broke down the differences between the speeches under five points. In the videos, you can see how the chairmen talked about the topics in question.
1. Virta attacked immediately, Saarikko aimed for the middle road
The difference in tactics came out especially at the beginning of the speeches. Virta immediately attacked the government, while Saarikko initially focused on defining the centrist’s middle ground, leaving the arguments for later.
Virta stated that she has been mistaken for “nice” even by the governing parties. She wanted to correct this misunderstanding.
“So let’s make it clear to everyone that when we have a party sitting in the country’s government, for which all children are not equally valuable, for example based on their skin color, we will not be silent,” Virta said.
“When we have a government sitting in the country that cuts from the poorest in order to lighten, for example, the Prime Minister’s taxation, we don’t stop asking how dare you.”
Virta didn’t really try to move the Greens’ place on the left-right axis, even though he said he understood the need to adjust the economy.
For Saariki, on the other hand, left and right – and especially what is left in the middle – were the talk of the town.
“We are from the Center, a counter force to both extremes,” Saarikko said.
Numerous variations of the same theme were heard.
“The right has its capital, the left has a state spilling over the edge. We have a person at the center of everything”, was one of them.
Presidential candidate Olli Rehn is Saarikko’s “midfield quarterback”, who goes “through the middle” in the elections.
“So it’s not time for confrontation – it’s time for cooperation,” Saarikko formulated.
Coordinating is not yet a word in the Finnish language, but maybe it can become one.
Virta blamed Orpo, Saarikko Purraa
In addition to the style of criticism, there was a difference in the choice of target.
Virta focused on the coalition, Saarikko on basic Finns. This is understandable. Virta wants to make the Greens a party that the whole nation can identify with. An identity struggle with basic Finns might not help in that.
The center, on the other hand, has a lot of problems with respect to basic Finns. Basic Finns won the rural votes in the elections, and also retostel with it.
Virta reminded three times in his speech that the tax reductions the prime minister also benefits. He referred to the decision to raise the lower limit of the so-called solidarity tax.
“The government says that the poorest have to be cut – and at the same time it makes tax cuts for the richest, including the prime minister.”
Virta also blamed the coalition for the labor shortage and immigration policy. “The coalition does not seem to have enough courage to tell basic Finns that yes, Finland needs and wants people from outside our borders as well.”
Saarikko, on the other hand, directed his budget criticism directly at the Minister of Finance For Riikka Purra.
“When you have to make cuts to the livelihood of low-income earners, tax cuts for the well-to-do do not go well with that. The economy has to be adjusted, but taxes do not have to be reduced. Where is the sense of justice, Riikka Purra?” Saarikko asked.
Various examples of broken promises
Virta and Saarikko both accused the government of betraying election promises, but chose different examples. Saarikko started with basic Finns here as well.
“We are witnessing a time when almost nothing that was said and promised before the elections was true,” said Saarikko.
“Before the elections, there was no talk in the basic Finns’ tents that the bridge for low-income people would be cut – on the contrary. Before the elections, they promised a decrease in the cost of living and half-free gas.”
Regarding the coalition, Saarikko said that in the election speeches the “debt clock was ticking”, but now “it is predicted that fifty thousand million euros of debt will remain under the line of the election period”.
Virta focused on education instead of everyday costs and debt and accused the coalition of failing students. “Back in the spring, we heard that the students would be excluded from possible surgeries,” Virta recalled.
“Now we already know that in reality the study aid indexes will be frozen and, in addition, the housing allowance cuts will also affect the fact that education becomes unequal.”
Only Virta challenged the environmental measures
Less surprisingly, differences also arose in the environmental theme. Virta criticizes, for example, the cutting of appropriations for nature conservation and the government’s “petrol populism” and the forgetting of traffic emissions, as well as the cutting of support for energy renovations.
In this speech, Saarikko did not criticize the government’s climate or nature policy in any way.
Saarikko found more profitable
It was also interesting to look at the points where the chairmen tried to find good things to say about the government. Saarikko got longer on his list.
According to Saariko, the center supports the government when the goal is Finland as a clean energy superpower, economic balance, reforming the labor market and dismantling norms.
“We will give our support to the government when its proposals correspond to our values and goals.”
Virtra also found such a Praising the government part of the speech, but there were only two examples.
“We will give our support to such decisions that will truly move Finland forward. such as, for example, the government’s planned reform of learning support or the acceleration of the green transition.”
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