I'd like to make you think what problems this kind of approach - that the truth is heard from bureaucratic mouths - to societal challenges may involve. Sailas is certainly not the only civil servant who has taken role in defining what Finland should do. [...]I'm at least as pessimistic about the nature of electioneering politicians, but somewhat more optimistic about the current system. Politicians promising what they can't deliver without going into debt is a universal phenomenon, as far as I know, and it's a positive thing to have someone who can influence our elected representatives to scale down their election promises. In practice they won't entirely abandon the costly policies on which they campaigned; they'll just scale them down to moderate the costs. For example, the inheritance tax won't be eliminated as many Coalitionists wanted, but the amount of tax-free inheritance may still rise. The food VAT won't be cut as much as the Centre proposed, but a smaller reduction may be on the cards.
You never hear those openers from democratically elected leaders; they're always from professors or officials, and when the politicians finally comment their ideas, they awkwardly mumble something like how "this must be taken into consideration" but will forget it by the next campaign, where they will be once again making promises which they know they won't be able to deliver. We can of course introduce changes and reform the system by this technocratic tactic as well, but, if thinking about how sustainable it is in the long run, I find it nonetheless very worrying. There are reforms but there's no social contract behind them - which means paving the way to populists.
As for the danger from populists, Finland's electoral history suggests that the dangerous kind won't get anywhere near power unless the economy is in serious doldrums for an extended time. The early 1990s recession was rather severe, but the protest vote in the next parliamentary election went to the Social Democrats and Paavo Lipponen, an establishment figure from the right wing of a centre-left party. I think the status quo is pretty darn sturdy as of now and can easily withstand the Centre not cutting the food VAT as much as it promised or the Coalition not getting its way on inheritance tax.