Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin, just like Michael Gove, should be allowed to dance the night away – Scotsman comment

After videos emerged of Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, dancing with friends, including a Finnish popstar, an almighty political row has broken out.

Finland's Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, holds a press conference amid controversy over videos showing her dancing at a party (Picture: Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)
Finland's Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, holds a press conference amid controversy over videos showing her dancing at a party (Picture: Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)

It has even led to bizarre accusations that Marin must have taken an illicit substance, prompting the 36-year-old to decide to take a drug test, with the results due to be made public next week. “I did nothing illegal,” she insisted.

There were also claims that because she was at a party, she would not have been able to respond at short notice in the event of a political crisis.

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It is a row that is reminiscent of the attempt to embarrass the youthful US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a video showing her dancing while she was in college, which was leaked by an anonymous Twitter account that announced: “Here is America’s favourite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is.”

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And, of course, not to forget the brouhaha which erupted after the then UK Cabinet minister Michael Gove’s foray onto an Aberdeen nightclub’s dancefloor last year.

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All this might seem frivolous, hardly worthy of note, but the opposite is true for a number of reasons.

There is more than a hint of misogyny about the treatment of Marin. The favourite pastimes of middle-aged male ministers seldom lead to accusations that they are a danger to the good governance of the country because a crisis could erupt while they are fishing, playing golf or whatever.

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And politicians need to be allowed to have time off to relax and blow off some steam, in the same way that we all do.

But, more importantly, if politicians are to be ridiculed for acting like normal human beings, if they are to be forced to live in a metaphorical straightjacket which limits their freedom of expression to a sanitised and carefully controlled public image, then we will end up with some decidedly strange elected representatives.

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Furthermore, by focusing on such trivia, rather than on their actual politics, we are ignoring what really matters – their opinions and their actions.

The more we turn democratic debate into soap opera-style gossip about dancing or clothes or taste in pop music, the more we allow politicians off the hook.

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