The fact that Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s critics are still calling for her resignation is disproportionate and unreasonable.
Regular Australians in our suburban heartland care deeply about the Western way of life.
That way of life is shared by many countries across Scandinavia, Western Europe and North America.
Regular folks would find it concerning that Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin has had to apologise after images from a private party were made public on social media.
Based on details available, neither has she broken any laws, nor behaved in a manner that’s inconsistent with the social norms of the Western way of life, which Australia shares with Finland.
With the exception of Amish communities, regular participants in mainstream Western culture with a profile on Facebook or Instagram know that pics and videos like those are posted all the time.
If anything, hers weren’t even from the wilder end of the spectrum.
Nor was there anything that suggested she was under the influence of illicit drugs.
Yet this was insinuated by her critics. She was subjected to a drug test to prove otherwise.
This is a worrying denial of the presumption of innocence.
The fact that one happens to be a Prime Minister doesn’t mean you stop being human.
What one does in their private time, outside of work hours, is nobody else’s business.
As for those wondering, what if Finland came under attack while she was dancing the night away?
Firstly, attending a party after hours doesn’t make a leader uniquely unavailable.
The same could be asked of any world leader when they’re asleep, or in the bathroom, or on sick leave, or playing with their kids, or spending time in the kitchen, or out gardening, or out shopping, or working out at the gym.
They’re already away from the desk plentifully throughout the 24 hour cycle and have every right to be.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need constant reminders that pollies are humans too.
Secondly, there is a Deputy and a Cabinet with sufficient executive powers who would act on the advice of military and intelligence heads.
There is no governance model where the entire decision making process has a total meltdown just because one person is away.
Does this argument also justify British Prime Minister Boris Johnson?
No, it doesn’t.
His issue wasn’t his partying.
It was the fact that it occurred during COVID-19 lockdowns when everyone else was told to follow the rules.
Let’s be clear here, the conduct of Members of Parliament does matter.
They must be at their best behaviour. Nobody is arguing otherwise.
While on duty, they must take reasonable steps to ensure they’re on alert and at optimum cognitive capacity.
While off duty, they must act in a manner that’s commensurate with the salary and perks that come with the role and protect its integrity.
Nothing that Finland’s Prime Minister has done falls remotely in the Bojo category.
The fact that her critics are still calling for her resignation is disproportionate and unreasonable.
There is no shortage of societies where the idea of young adults having fun at a house party is frowned upon.
In those places, such gatherings are perceived as the gateways to debauchery.
Authorities in such societies censor Western cinema and music in order to prevent their own youth from being influenced by perceived or actual degeneracy.
They find the West’s tolerance for fornication, adultery, nudity, pornography, strip clubs and prostitution to be abominable.
Understandably, they wish to keep all that out of their own societies.
If this episode had occurred in one of those places, at least none of us would have a reason to be surprised.
The fact that it has occurred in Finland is a problem.
The Western way of life, which Australia shares with Finland, is supposed to protect core ideals that were compromised in this episode.
We’re supposed to value recreation, personal space, privacy and presumption of innocence.
Yet here, Sanna Marin’s right to recreation was questioned, her privacy breached and her innocence denied.
Jesus Christ said ‘he who is without sin shall cast the first stone’ at John 8:7 in the New Testament.
Yet here, everyone who routinely posts party pics and videos of their own and chucks likes on the same from their families, mates and colleagues in their newsfeed each weekend was quick to call for her resignation.
This is a grim reminder of a kind of hypocrisy that is gradually chipping away at the core of the Western way of life.
Australians can’t afford not to be concerned. We face the same challenge at home.
Too many sensitive folks take offence and start demanding apologies for things once considered socially acceptable.
That’s what has pretty much erased the idea of the Aussie larrikin. More on that in a future column.