You don't negotiate with terrorists

The Green League seems to be putting forth an effort to get out its point of view on the patient safety bill. Jyrki Kasvi MP and Oras Tynkkynen MP both wrote blog posts defending the bill, as did Green parliamentary group leader Anni Sinnemäki (all in Finnish). The general arguments are the same in all three posts. All remember to express the view that nurses should be paid more. Both Sinnemäki and Kasvi cite the International Labor Organization in support of the position that industrial action shouldn't threaten lives.

Everyone isn't quite as coordinated. Osmo Soininvaara, former Green League chair and in my opinion a pretty clever fellow, is out of the daily grind of politics and can afford to take a more combative stance. He has a go (fi) at both sides in Iltalehti:

"How could this strife become a crisis, although everyone agreed that a pay problem that had been known for a long time would be fixed? All sides have only made a mess of it and acted in a totally incomprehensible way."

"Firstly the [National] Coalition [Party]'s election advertising was wholly irresponsible. That the parliament doesn't promise wages to anyone has always been attended to, but they made it into an election campaign."

"When government then gave money to the municipalities, the municipal employers went ahead and sprinkled it evenly on the entire municipal field. It was totally mindless. Even those who hadn't asked for money got it."

"[The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals' (Tehy)] blackmail campaign makes it terribly difficult to agree to the nurses' demands."

"It's a general principle that you mustn't pay for hostages, otherwise they will become common. This is blackmail with human lives. If you give in to it, then every following strike is arranged in the same way."

So he supports the bill.

"If electricians for example thought of putting hospital emergency rooms on strike, it would then be forbidden."

"Tehy would have had several methods which wouldn't have amounted to blackmail."

"Now finding an an agreement is easier, because the principle according to which everyone who threatens to kill gets money is no longer in force because of [the bill]. It's morally easier to agree to Tehy's demands, because it won't set a precedent."

Especially the language concerning Tehy is the sort of thing you won't be hearing from many active politicians.

Meanwhile, here are the first poll figures on the issue:

56 of the respondents backed the draft law while 35 per cent did not. About a tenth were undecided.

In other polls commissioned by YLE, about 60 percent of respondents have consistently said that they "accept in this situation Tehy's industrial action". (The word "hyväksyä", used in the polls, can be translated as "accept" or "approve". Who knows how respondents interpret it.)


egan said...

Is this going to seriously damage kokoomus in the long term, do you think?

Ari said...

There's some potential for that - Katainen's public standing would be the damage point, I think. I'll elaborate in a post tomorrow.