What's in a party name

The Social Democratic Party held a seminar on the party's future on Sunday. Aside from such controversial suggestions as "let's be caring", one topic that popped up was the party name. Some Social Democrats - i.e. Lasse Lehtinen MEP - have suggested that the party should be called the the Democratic Party. Party chair Eero Heinäluoma reiterated that he was opposed to it.

It's obviously a terrible idea. When your opponents are arguing that they're more social than you, it's highly probable that being associated with the word "social" isn't dragging you down. Besides, party members are commonly known as Dems ("demarit") even now.

The odd thing is why the proposal keeps getting shot down even though aside from Lehtinen no one with any clout seems to support it. My personal theory is that it's something easy for the the party leadership to do that garners the full approval of the Social Democratic wing of the Social Democratic Party (to paraphrase Howard Dean).

Now, if they wanted to drop the archaic spelling "sosialidemokraattinen" in favor of the modern "sosiaalidemokraattinen", I could get behind that.


Giustino said...

I feel that the Social Democrats may have 'lost their voice' in Finland, or have been, as you wrote, 'out socialed' by other parties.

But, since you mention Chairman Dean, do you think there is anyone in the Social Democrats that could help them get their groove back?

To me it's the Halonen/Tuomioja party

Ari said...

SDP is certainly the Halonen/Tuomioja party in foreign affairs, but its problems don't stem from foreign policy - Social Democrats would be very pleased indeed if the party had similar approval ratings as Halonen. On domestic matters, Tuomioja and especially Halonen contribute little. There the party leader is the important figure.

Signs point to Heinäluoma staying in charge for at least one more election, and in any case I don't see a savior on the horizon. The rising media star of the party is Maria Guzenina-Richardson, a former MTV VJ and more recently a newspaper columnist, but as a first term MP she's probably not ready for a leadership position as of now.