Many things left open by election promises
This spring’s parliamentary election was largely an economic election. Themes such as securing services and reducing public expenses were pitted against each other, reflecting the left–right division.
Translation Marko saajanaho
Whilst the electoral debates got rather heated at times, policy details were rarely explored. Science and higher education were not amongst the most prominent election promises. When they were highlighted, any suggestions for concrete actions remained in the background.
When you promise something, you create the expectation of a positive result.
If keeping your word leads to negative results, it is more of a threat. We did not get many election promises, but we also largely avoided direct election threats.
This is important because our political parties tend to stick to their word better than we often think. Some of the content of election programmes always moves on to the government programme. If a party ends up in the government, many of the goals stated in their programmes are usually accomplished, at least partially.
The fact nearly all parties committed to increasing research, development, and innovation funding should not be understated. The same applies to the fact different sides of the political spectrum committed to increasing the level of education. In a multi-party system, unanimity between the parties is often a prerequisite for significant reforms that cannot be realised in a single four-year period.
Signs of an indirect election threat have been observed in the balancing of the public economy becoming the main topic of the election spring. In the debates, education and research were mentioned as something that cannot be skimped on as it would eventually have expensive consequences.
Now, we need our representatives to be decisive if we wish to accomplish the RDI and education goals. Public funding has no shortage of takers with hefty arguments behind their demands. Despite the lack of direct election threats, science and education representatives should still prepare to argue why we cannot afford to pinch pennies.