neljapäev, aprill 03, 2008

nägemist, ilkka

One has to wonder at what point between Finnish Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva's departure from Ljubljana, Slovenia, his arrival in Tallinn, his dinner buffet at Kadriorg, and then his no-show at the Lennart Meri Conference session on Baltic and Nordic cooperation the following morning, did he get a text message from Kokoomus leader Jyrki Katainen telling him that he was out and Alexander Stubb was in.

I had a feeling that the endless global media coverage about Kanerva's textcapades with an adult entertainer 30 years his junior may have been getting to Katainen, who perhaps fretted about what impact this would have on the marketability of Kokoomus' conservative chic. But I also wondered who knew what and when. Did all the politicos at the conference know Kanerva's fate before we did. And how long is the delay between official knowledge and public knowledge?

In someways it reminds me of the NATO Bucharest summit. President Bush went on tour in Kiev publicly backing membership action plans for Ukraine and Georgia. And yet it has been widely known for weeks that Germany would oppose MAPs for these two countries. So did Bush utter those words in Kiev just for show and to encourage further reform in these two countries, knowing all along that no matter how hard the US promised to fight in Romania, their fates were decided before the summit? Maybe. But who knew what and when, and how did that influence the show we see on TV? I think a lot of people ought to be asking themselves that question.

7 kommentaari:

Jonas ütles ...

I'd imagine Kanerva was aware he was for the chop when he cancelled his Tallinn appearance. Also, Stubb had to fly from Brussel to Helsinki - so he must also have known during Sunday at some point. Just the official announcement to the press took till Monday. To be fair, I think we all knew what was happening after his Tallinn cancellation and sudden need "for rest at home".
Katainen was quite emotional in his press conference saying how he valued Kanerva as his friend. Also said they had had a long conversation the previous day. So, the PM might dump people by SMS, but it seems the finance minister doesn't ;)

Giustino ütles ...

Do you think this was decided weeks ago, and they were just waiting to agree on a replacement?

Jonas ütles ...

No, I certainly don't think it was weeks ago. I do really think that they were hoping to be able to ride it out and that it would all go away. Katainen probably genuinely hoped he wouldn't have to get rid of Kanerva (he looked like he was going to cry in the press conference) . But then Hymy announced it would publish the text messages and Ilta-Sanomat already included one even before that (incidentally, Hymy has accused them of benefiting from a leak from Hymy's printers, which is owned by the same company as Ilta-Sanomat).

It basically became clear that the story wasn't going to go away and everytime that Kanerva appeared in public as part of his foreign minister role, he was going to be asked about his text messages. TV-news and the serious newspapers were also becoming pre-occupied with it and other elements were beginning to be examined other than the shear gossip value of the messages themselves; i.e. the fact that he had promised his party not to involve himself in any scandals when he was made a government minister this time around and the fact that he had changed his story on the text messages several times. For instance, on 7.3. he had already completely denied that he had sent any SMS at all. Later he claimed they were "work related".

It was only really late last week that rumours came out that Kokoomus members were discussing who could replace him if he had to go. (Stubb wasn't really amongst those rumours, most thought it would be defence minister Jyri Häkämies.)

Certainly though, Kokoomus handled the whole thing in a way that looked very clumsy and certainly gained no style points out of it all. In that way, modern-looking, image conscious Stubb could be a clever appointment in an attempt at recapturing their fresh appearance.

Giustino ütles ...

I wonder how many replacement ministers Estonia has squirreled away in Brussels.

Jonas ütles ...

Indeed, Estonia seems to have a more one-way traffic - exporting ministers to Brussels.
We seem to have a little more two-way. Although Vanhanen's brief predecessor Anneli Jäätteenmäki is of course now an MEP (I think, could be wrong, she was the only MEP to get more personal votes than Stubb in the last European parliament election).I wonder if we'll bring her back some time! So far, she's declined.

And of course, Sauli Niinistö took off to the European Investment Bank after his 'retirement' from politics. Well, that didn't last long. After getting really close against Halonen (who was supposedly untouchable) in 2006's presidential race, he got the most personal votes of all time in last year's parliamentary election and right now is favourite to be president in 2012.

So, when are you bring back Siim Kallas?

stockholm slender ütles ...

It is hard to get very enthusiastic about this issue. I guess it's nice that we don't any more have that late Kekkonen era situation where the political elite could live like pigs in the field as far as their personal lives went. On the other hand this is a huge triumph for the gutter press, and they certainly do not care for free speech but for profit and profit only - and we the citizens have the inalienable right to hear gossip of politicians' private lives. Originally, the right to free speech was won (after long and bitter fight) in order to protect unfettered, unafraid political debate and criticism. Now this unlimited right to triviality is basically drowning critical political discourse and certainly not only in Finland. So, we hear of Kanerva's silly text messages and Vanhanen's oven potatoes, but the really delicate areas such as politicians' financial ties and circumstances and the very closed process of making the hard core political decisions go pretty much uncovered. So, have we really progressed so much from the Kekkonen era?

Giustino ütles ...

Kanerva should have used his personal phone.