More social than you

In recent days the leading lights of the government have been conducting something of a counterattack on the Social Democrats' insistent criticism of their social policies. First Jyrki Katainen had a go:

Jyrki Katainen, chairman of Finland's National Coalition party and the country's finance minister, on Tuesday pulled no punches in blasting what he said was the Social Democrats' "no-alternative, contradictory and yapping" opposition line. [...]

The SDP had said, among other things, that increases in certain taxes and charges would nullify improvements in the pensioners' role.

Mr Katainen rejected the critique, saying the increases in the prices of electricity, fuels and services would be covered by index-based rises in pensions.

Then Matti Vanhanen craftily invited the Social Democrats to defend his previous government's record:
Matti Vanhanen (centre), the prime minister of Finland, said Wednesday that the current Centre-Conservative government had produced clearly more social and equitable policies than had its Centre-Social Democrat forerunner.

[...] Vanhanen underlined that the draft budget contained increases in pensions and the student grant.

The prime minister spoke of a war veteran living alone in Kajaani whose pension and related additions would rise by 76 euros a month next year.

"That is something completely different from the mockery heard last legislative period over five euros," Mr Vanhanen added.

That's consensus politics for you: all sides pretty much agree on what should be done, leaving politicians to bicker over who has actually been doing it. In this particular case centre-right politicians are defending their commitment to equitable and social policies by pointing out all the income transfers they're implementing. Par for the course.

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