Stockmann, S-Group and the Big Party Politics – Freedom of Choice for consumers is a myth…

The Centre Party is controlled by rich farmers and forest owners and their “friends”. Their “friends” are the ones who help out at election time, and who want to keep them in power because, like many “friends” they get special treatment from their politicians when it comes to agricultural grants (the EU Common Agricultural Policy), they get subsidies for forest management, they get the best locations for their shops, they get to build apartments in nice places, and their bank, pension and insurance companies get special “cooperative treatment”. Their forest based companies get special investment grants for tricky things like biofuels, that are just another form of fossil fuels that appear to do little for climate change, according to some educated folk - reports finnishnews.

The problem the Centre Party has is that they tend to live outside the big cities in provincial areas which have been rapidly emptying as people seek out jobs and a life in the urbanised bigger cities.

The solution the Centre Party has tried is to hoist urban-looking candidates on to the electorate. The last two urban candidates were Mr. Rehn and Ms. Berner.

He only lasted a few months before opting out to pick up a very juicy job as a board member of the Central Bank here. This is far from being very demanding post since Frankfurk (ECB) make all the big decisions, but it does have a very nice salary.

The other candidate, Ms. Berner, like Mr. Rehn, was given a ministerial post, which she still has, but she will not continue because she said that she is only standing for one election period, and it is quite certain that few will ever considering voting for her again after her terrible performance at trying to be a “digital transport tax reformer”.

In the recent municipal elections, the Centre Party had an awful result, and the popularity of the Prime Minister is so low that not even a miracle could lift them any higher. The Healthcare Reform and the County (maakunta) Reform have been messy, really messy, affairs that will line the pockets of the Centre Party and Conservative Party “friends”.

And that brings us to the Conservative Party. They have managed to get “Freedom of Choice for Healthcare” from the Centre Party as their condition for sitting together in the government. They also demanded, and received, the green light for private healthcare companies to invade the public healthcare space aggressively.

So what can the Centre Party do? Well it can help its “friends” to invade and grow fast and furiously in the urban areas. More business and more profits from virtual duopolies is a great way to fatten the parties’ bank accounts. And the Conservative Party also benefits from this trend – so it is truly a “win-win” thing for them.

The retail giant, S-Group, has purchased the best grocery department in Helsinki from Stockmann. At the same time, S-Group has announced that they will be building more huge supermarkets in the urban area.

There is almost no room for other grocers to compete given that the other hug group , Kesko, has an equally large share of the market where the two occupy over 80%! Kesko is naturally very close to the Conservative Party, along with doctors and chemists…

Although S-Group claims to be profitable, there is no question that their fruit and vegetables are not the freshest. Their prices are probably not the lowest, and they rely heavily on packaged and processed food that contain huge amounts of fats, flour and sugar. That may be what consumers want, but there is almost noting else on offer, because Kesko has almost identical shops with processed and packaged food. What “Freedom of Choice” do consumers really have?

Let’s be clear, when politicians start to say that they represent the ordinary urban folk, you know that they are lying.

It is only true competition that keeps prices lower for food, housing, pension and other services, and there is hardly an economic sector here that can illustrate that true competition exists. How many years has it taken for LIDL to get a tiny market share here?

Macron may have shaken the political incumbents in France, but us Finns are light years aways from such a revolution, even though Macron may just be a fox in lamb’s clothing.

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

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