Sanna Marin: Finland's PM sorry for clubbing after Covid contact
December 8, 2021 9:54 AM   Subscribe

 
Any reason you left out that (1) under Finland's COVID guidelines, a fully vaccinated person doesn't need to isolate in a situation like this, and (2) she had been specifically told she didn't need to isolate?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:02 AM on December 8, 2021 [73 favorites]


I want to live in a country where the leader is 36 years old and goes out clubbing.
posted by Nelson at 10:03 AM on December 8, 2021 [124 favorites]


a) Yeah, this doesn't seem like a French Laundry moment to me.
b) Finland sounds awesome.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:04 AM on December 8, 2021 [33 favorites]


At least she wasn't presiding over a lockdown that was fining ordinary citizens €10,000 for revelling whilst secretly doing the same, unlike the leadership of some other countries one could name,,,
posted by acb at 10:08 AM on December 8, 2021 [18 favorites]


I'm mostly amazed that there is a country in the world where the head of government can go anywhere for hours and leave their work phone at home. I assume that she had a personal phone and that someone could get ahold of her if there were some kind of national security emergency, but still!

But yeah, she may have exercised poor judgement, but this doesn't sound like some of the other cases where government officials ignored restrictions or formal guidelines.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:12 AM on December 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


Frankly cooler than anything our politicians have ever done
posted by ominous_paws at 10:25 AM on December 8, 2021 [8 favorites]


I'm mostly amazed that there is a country in the world where the head of government can go anywhere for hours and leave their work phone at home.

From an infosec standpoint, surely it's preferable to leave your work phone at home when you're going out clubbing?
posted by mstokes650 at 10:34 AM on December 8, 2021 [49 favorites]


I'm 36 yo and I don't think I've had the stamina to go clubbing for a decade at least. Props to her.

Does Finland have a Secret Service-type bodyguards? Did they have to chaperone?
posted by basalganglia at 10:34 AM on December 8, 2021 [11 favorites]


The headline here is a combination of a) young Prime Minister, b) goes clubbing, c) 4 AM, and d) Omicron fear. It’s a very potent cocktail of stuff. As someone who knows nothing, I kind of think that, depending on Finland’s Omicron rates, the head of state shouldn’t be doing risky things, but I guess that's that.

Regarding a), b), and c), I have to think that US Presidents (and other heads of state) have gotten up to similar shenanigans relative to their ages: JFK, surely, and probably Obama and Clinton. Trump, no doubt up as late as he could be and certainly at parties. Whether that’s laudable or acceptable is a bit of a more complicated context question, but extroverted political leaders are gonna extrovert, that’s the deal.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:46 AM on December 8, 2021 [4 favorites]


(Gerontocracy or Avocado Toast, no middle ground.)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:47 AM on December 8, 2021 [21 favorites]


I'm mostly amazed that there is a country in the world where the head of government can go anywhere for hours and leave their work phone at home.


I'm amazed this can happen in a country that borders Russia.
posted by ocschwar at 10:50 AM on December 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


Mia Laiho, an MP for the National Coalition Party, said Ms Marin had been "irresponsible".

Yeah, no. She acted in accordance with the information she had. If someone sends her new information after she leaves, then it was sent too late, and that's not her fault.

As for leaving her work phone at home -- good for her. Set boundaries. Keep boundaries. Even if you're the Prime Minister.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:05 AM on December 8, 2021 [35 favorites]


(1) under Finland's COVID guidelines, a fully vaccinated person doesn't need to isolate in a situation like this

Even before news of the omicron variant, I am surprised that someone would not need to isolate until testing negative, regardless of vaccination status. Especially someone who is third in line to be head of state, and especially in a country neighboring Russia, which is currently threatening Ukraine's sovereignty.

In the larger view, most governments around the world aren't really taking the pandemic seriously, so perhaps it is tough to assign blame to any one leader of any one country for having lockdown fatigue. Consider, for instance, how the UK government generally ridicules and ignores its Covid restrictions and health policies behind the public's back. Or how the US sarcastically dismisses the idea of distributing free rapid Covid tests to individuals, as a way to keep infected folks from mingling with others.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:22 AM on December 8, 2021 [4 favorites]


I'm 36 yo and I don't think I've had the stamina to go clubbing for a decade at least.

Right? I read for 10 minutes past midnight and then spend the next week bleary-eyed and passing out on zoom meetings.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 11:45 AM on December 8, 2021 [12 favorites]


Remember when Hillary Clinton campaigned on her ability to answer a crisis phone call at 3AM? The plus/minus for Marin is (1) absolutely stoked to do things at 3AM (2) no phone.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:56 AM on December 8, 2021 [12 favorites]


Honestly what is the point of this post?
Some of us find it interesting. If it's not your jam then please skip it. Thanks for the post, OP.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2021 [11 favorites]


I really don’t know how to read this post as anything but “[relatively] young woman does something bad”. It’s gross, and it’s outrage-filter.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:05 PM on December 8, 2021 [14 favorites]


Hey, she was following the guidance she had at the time. Then they changed their minds on it. Not French Laundry here.

Also impressed by the clubbing till 4 a.m. while in that level of job.

That said..omicron's gonna change things and make it all a lot worse, I bet.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:13 PM on December 8, 2021


I agree this is mostly a tempest in a teapot but I don't at all agree that criticizing a prime minister is somehow punching down.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:16 PM on December 8, 2021 [10 favorites]


Doesn't seem quite as bad as party at 10 Downing.
posted by blue shadows at 12:30 PM on December 8, 2021 [8 favorites]


Not our head of state, but former Canadian cabinet minister Catherine McKenna could kinda famously often be found at the 80s club night at a local bar. Sometimes after closing, she would buy fries for people at the fry truck next door. No word on whether she brought her work phone with her.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2021 [8 favorites]


Unless comments have been deleted, it doesn’t appear that anyone has said this is “punching down”? It’s entirely possible to take a jab at the elite while using pretty nasty gendered rhetoric.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:32 PM on December 8, 2021 [4 favorites]


this pandemic is doing plenty of terrible stuff to our lives, no need to feed it more with some bogus outrage.

I'll leave it to the Finns to have strong opinions on this, but if we are piling on with our opinions I applaud an elected official who is balancing public health protocols with some semblance of living their own damn life
posted by elkevelvet at 12:39 PM on December 8, 2021 [10 favorites]


It's weird to read about this in the US, because so many state governors and state legislators travel with an entourage of security, including CEOs of moderately sized corporations, and take over clubs or restaurants with private security and 'verified' contacts, keeping the public at arms' length.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:42 PM on December 8, 2021 [5 favorites]


Hmm... I'm trying to imagine a sixty-six year old male PM--perhaps acting on the information he had and thinking it was okay to go to the opera with his family, then turning his phone off during the performance and missing a text--facing the same level of criticism.

I'm having a hard time doing that. It might not be punching down but ageism and misogyny are still gross. Her judgement was debatable but there is an extra level of nastiness that is clearly linked to her youth and gender.

That said, thanks for posting the article--it raises interesting questions on several levels, including the choices and decisions different people are making as they deal with the evolving pandemic.
posted by rpfields at 12:58 PM on December 8, 2021 [20 favorites]


I want to live in a country where if there is an emergency you are better off with your leader having their phone on.
posted by biffa at 1:07 PM on December 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


Dammit, I'm in Aotearoa New Zealand and I thought we had the coolest Prime Minister.

Gonna have to move to Finland, I guess.
posted by happyinmotion at 1:10 PM on December 8, 2021 [9 favorites]


I want to live in a country were you might actually get a text telling you to quarantine.
posted by octothorpe at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2021 [8 favorites]


I imagine part of the context is that Finland and the other Nordic countries did a lot better than Sweden last year due to better decisions, so the media cycle is just manufacturing this "oh look the leader of Finland may or may not have made a personal misstep" to be somehow relevant narrative in context of Finland's overall relative success in handling COVID.
posted by polymodus at 1:16 PM on December 8, 2021 [4 favorites]


I want to live in a country were you might actually get a text telling you to quarantine.

I was in Iceland back in June and had to get a COVID test before leaving. They text you the results. As I was using a local SIM card & phone # in my phone the results were sent in Icelandic. I stopped two gals on the street to ask if they would mind translating for me. It was a very cute moment when the one who read my screen exclaimed: "Oh, good news: you don't have COVID!"

(Damn, I miss Iceland!)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 1:21 PM on December 8, 2021 [24 favorites]


To avoid repeating myself on punching down, I'm going to refer to what I've said here previously. And even if you don't take the view that "punching down" describes a function of privilege and marginalisation, rather than one of personal power, the fact that marginalisation affects every member of every marginalised group up to and including heads of government (remember when the leader of the world's most powerful nation had to produce his birth certificate?) is still a massive problem.
posted by howfar at 1:23 PM on December 8, 2021 [4 favorites]


Dammit, I'm in Aotearoa New Zealand and I thought we had the coolest Prime Minister.

I'm look for the PM mashup with the Finnish PM clubbing and the NZ PM DJing
posted by mbo at 1:38 PM on December 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


The_Vegetables: It's weird to read about this in the US, because so many state governors and state legislators travel with an entourage of security, including CEOs of moderately sized corporations, and take over clubs or restaurants with private security and 'verified' contacts, keeping the public at arms' length.

I’m guessing if you don’t have access to nukes, you’re not a very attractive assassination/kidnapping target.
posted by dr_dank at 1:48 PM on December 8, 2021


I’m guessing if you don’t have access to nukes, you’re not a very attractive assassination/kidnapping target.

I don't track it closely, but it seems that national-level politicians in that neck of the world are actually the victims of assaults and assassinations at a much higher rate than in the US. Olof Palme was shot and killed, Anna Lindh was stabbed, an assassination attempt on Jyrki Katainen was prevented by his bodyguard.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:15 PM on December 8, 2021 [3 favorites]


That's too small a sample to reason meaningfully from, though it does stand out that all the successful assassinations were in Sweden, whereas all the ones in Finland were failures. Perhaps this reinforces that the Finns are still badasses whom one does not mess with?
posted by acb at 2:38 PM on December 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


That wasn't meant to be an all inclusive list, just a handful of examples.

Also, Finns could just be exceptionally incompetent assassins.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:42 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


This has been a huge story here in Finland. On one level, I agree that any Prime Minister should have their ministerial phone with them. And it's probably prudent for heads of government to be extra cautious when they've potentially been exposed to Covid.

However, one underappreciated fact is that, for reasons that I haven't been able to work out, the Prime Minister has two work phones, a so called "government phone", and a separate "parliament phone". Marin had her parliament phone with her and received a call from the head of the Prime Minister's Office, who said that no special precautions needed to be made.

At the same time, she received text messages to her government phone, cautioning against close contact with others. But she did not have her government phone with her, only the parliament phone.

I think it's entirely predictable that this kind of thing would happen to people who have to carry two work phones with them. I don't understand why this is the case, because at least some other ministers have just one phone, for instance the Finance Minister.

That said, it was a bit of a fuck-up, and Marin has apologized.

Personally, I think that her age and gender do play a role here. To use rpfields' example above, if it had been her two immediate predecessors going to the opera, there wouldn't have been the same kind of uproar.

I don't think, unless other revelations emerge, that much more will happen. It might cause her party to dip in the polls for a few weeks, but I don't think it'll change many people's opinion of her. Her handling of the pandemic is widely held to have been exemplary here in Finland, and her voting base is likely to give her credit for that. But given the nature of multi-party democracy, she could do well in the next elections, and yet end up in opposition.

If you want to read more, I recommend the Finnish public broadcaster's English-language news page. It's an excellent source of news about Finland.
posted by Kattullus at 2:43 PM on December 8, 2021 [38 favorites]


What a head of state does in their spare time (if they have any) is their own business, but to be out-of-contact with no stand-in available is quite alarming. It’s kind of like Finland just decided “LOL We’re closed” and didn’t bother hanging out a sign.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 3:17 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


Also, Finns could just be exceptionally incompetent assassins.

Simo Häyhä would like to have a word.

What a head of state does in their spare time (if they have any) is their own business, but to be out-of-contact with no stand-in available is quite alarming. It’s kind of like Finland just decided “LOL We’re closed” and didn’t bother hanging out a sign.

The head of state in Finland is the president (currently Sauli Niinistö), not the prime minister.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:40 PM on December 8, 2021 [11 favorites]


Her behaviour seems to me to be roughly as irresponsible and dangerous as if she had decided to drive home from the club while very drunk.
posted by zymil at 4:16 PM on December 8, 2021


That's a rather excessive assessment, in my opinion.
posted by tclark at 4:28 PM on December 8, 2021 [13 favorites]


What? That seems wildly disproportionate, both in terms of the legal situation in Finland and, you know, actual risk.
posted by sagc at 4:28 PM on December 8, 2021 [5 favorites]


Unless comments have been deleted...

Here lies they whose comments were writ in water.
posted by y2karl at 4:43 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


What? That seems wildly disproportionate, both in terms of the legal situation in Finland and, you know, actual risk.

Legality doesn't really change how I feel about drunk drivers and people who knowingly potentially expose others to covid.

The risk she's going to infect a bunch of people at the nightclub is very low, but the risk an individual incident of drunk driving is going to lead to an accident is also very low.

The severity of dozens of people at the nightclub getting infected is comparable to a drunk driver hitting someone with their car as it's also likely to put someone in the hospital.
posted by zymil at 4:52 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


Finland? More like Funland, amirite

I'll see myself out
posted by General Malaise at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2021 [5 favorites]


I think a lot of Americans have a lifetime of set-piece images of the U.S. president driving around with an entourage of 12 cars and two dozen secret service. But I have heard stories about people in NZ bumping into PM Jacinda Ardern in the supermarket, which is mind-blowing just because it's so human-scaled!

On a related note to the OP and commenters who live in or have links to countries outside the U.S., I would welcome more articles on other countries! Thanks to @folklore724 for posting.
posted by Violet Blue at 5:12 PM on December 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


Her behaviour seems to me to be roughly as irresponsible and dangerous as if she had decided to drive home from the club while very drunk.

We can and should expect better from people who are in a position to know better — even if we still inexplicably make exceptions for government leaders and sports professionals, etc. Lesson learned, hopefully, and that the parties involved resolve not to make the same mistakes, going forwards.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:32 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


Totally, I had lunch with Jacinda at a tech unconference (before she became PM), seemed n ice had preternaturally white teeth. I've sat behind other Prime Ministers on the plane - things are more human scaled here.

Then again I was sitting in a Berkeley cafe once and my toddler made a run for the door, the Head of the House Armed Services Committee (Ron Dellums) jumped up to catch him (my, now 30 year old, toddler used to play this game where he pretended to run for the door ....)

BTW Finland and NZ have similar populations I kind of expect this sort of thing to work similarly
posted by mbo at 5:37 PM on December 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


Legality doesn't really change how I feel about drunk drivers and people who knowingly potentially expose others to covid.

Weird how you don't seem to notice that the whole issue is that she had no knowledge of her exposure. And the reason she didn't find out is due to being notified only on one of her work phones.
posted by ambrosen at 11:18 PM on December 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


Both times someone has alluded to the French Laundry, I have read it as the French Dispatch and wondered what the hell a Wes Anderson movie had to do with anything. Oops. Got it, y’all are referring to the stupidity exhibited by California’s governor. Nope, this situation is not that.

Unrelatedly, Finland has done better than most countries and not just Sweden when it comes to the pandemic. Also, Sweden has done much worse than its immediate neighbors (sigh).
posted by Bella Donna at 11:46 PM on December 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


Weird how you don't seem to notice that the whole issue is that she had no knowledge of her exposure. And the reason she didn't find out is due to being notified only on one of her work phones.


She went to a restaurant, was informed by her staffer that she had been exposed to Covid, then went to a nightclub.
posted by zymil at 4:12 AM on December 9, 2021


I'm just here for the obvious credit that she does to the party-worthiness of all mid-30-somethings. Represent!

Also, I realize that Finland doesn't have nukes or anything, but can't they, like, assign her a person for her phone or something? Some dude or dudette from the Army, perhaps? I feel like that's probably a plum assignment compared to whatever else the Finnish Army gets up to in December.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:36 AM on December 9, 2021


Frankly cooler than anything our politicians have ever done

JFK hooked up with Marilyn Monroe.
posted by srboisvert at 1:00 PM on December 9, 2021 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of Americans have a lifetime of set-piece images of the U.S. president driving around with an entourage of 12 cars and two dozen secret service.

Never mind just the president. They mayor of Chicago has a 4 or 5 car detail. I would have been run over by Obama's Secretary of Commerce's 5 car entourage speeding through a 4 way stop intersection and apexing the corner if my wife hadn't pulled me back.

Some countries have politicians and others have temporarily appointed holy roman emporers careening around in their pretend chariot status symbols with a large guard contingent yelling at the plebs to clear the way.
posted by srboisvert at 1:07 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]


I should add that in England I borrowed the push mower of my next door neighbor once so I could try it out and see if they were something I was willing to buy and use. My neighbor was The Right Honourable Baron Hunt of Kings Heath, Phillip Hunt OBE PC life peer of the House of Lords.

I returned the mower very poorly cleaned but I did go on to buy one.

I did also hoard all the various balls and toys his children hit into our yard for a few weeks until I had about 40 and then returned them all at once by throwing them back.
posted by srboisvert at 2:58 PM on December 9, 2021 [5 favorites]


The[] mayor of Chicago has a 4 or 5 car detail.

I've run into the various mayors of Pittsburgh by themselves multiple times over the years. Almost literally in the case of Murphy because we passed on the riverside running trail more than once. The current mayor can easily be found holding down a barstool at Cappy's in Shadyside most nights of the week.
posted by octothorpe at 4:11 PM on December 9, 2021


Although Jacinda did just announce that our new COVID settings mean we can now have orgies, so beat that, Finland.
posted by happyinmotion at 7:03 PM on December 9, 2021 [5 favorites]


"Your move Finland"
posted by mbo at 8:13 PM on December 10, 2021 [4 favorites]


I heard that first sentence as "tender liaisons" and thought that sounded like such a lovely euphemism. So much better than booty call.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:07 AM on December 11, 2021 [3 favorites]


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