Author Topic: What is the Finnish government up to now?  (Read 129 times)

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Offline SCarpelan

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What is the Finnish government up to now?
« on: July 13, 2017, 07:08:38 am »
From my and Askold's annoyed posts in the last few years the modus operandi of the current Finnish government should be clear: come up with an idea that screws over the poor and then pull it back if the backlash is too harsh. One of these recent ideas was changing the laws to double all the fines with the explicit goal of increasing government's income. They had to back down when the legal experts pointed out that treating fines as a source of income instead of a proportional punishment for a misdemeanor is against basic legal principles.

This government did what they often do: put their idea in new clothes to circumvent the obstacle. They have come up with a new concept of "traffic error payment" that they intend to replace traffic fines with. According to the Justice Ministry the complaints about proportional punishment do not apply since the new proposal has a totally new kind of punishment that has absolutely nothing to do with the old traffic fines. Also, due to this redefinition the process can be streamlined and the right to take the issue to court doesn't need to apply. There is not even any requirement to provide evidence when administering this new penalty: if you get hit with one it's up to you to file a written complaint with evidence that proves there has been a mistake - you are guilty until proven innocent. The Justice Ministry and the police argue that this doesn't matter since this is intended to be used only in the most minor of offences.

I have to say that part of me admires the shamelessness and creativity the government displays when it wants to get an idea through.

Oh well. Since privatizing profitable government properties leaves nasty budjet holes they need to be filled with something. Legal fundamentalists like Judges' Union and Lawyers' Union who whine about old fashioned concepts like proportional punisments and presumption of innocence are just standing in the way of the progress and can't see the big picture.

There is also a nasty little class warfare component in this system: being able to effortlessly explain yourself in writing and knowing how to navigate the bureaucracy correlates with education level and that translates almost directly to social class. With no legal representative nor a chance to explain yourself verbally the system would disproportionately penalize the poor. Oh, and there would be a 250€ payment required to file a complaint to disencourage people from burdening the system with frivolous complaints.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 07:13:23 am by SCarpelan »