Leaving politics behind indefinitely, media darling and former Finnish PM Sanna Marin has bagged herself a job as ‘strategic councellor’ at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Marin’s joining the former British PM’s think tank/consultancy agency is but the latest example of an ex-politician—some who failed, or created controversy domestically, or resigned in disgrace—finding safe harbor at a multinational NGO.
In 2019, Marin, then only 34, assumed the premiership and held that office for three and a half years. Predictably, her relative youth (though not considered a plus by some commentators), gender, and ‘progressive’ ideals turned her into an international (leftist) media darling, which ensured her a place on the covers of prestigious U.S. publications such as Vogue and Time Magazine.
At home, voters had more pressing matters, among them, immigration and the public deficit. Additionally, while in office, Marin became known as a bit of a ‘party girl’ after images emerged of her ‘clubbing’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In last April’s elections, her party, the Social Democrats, ended in third place, narrowly bested by the center-right National Coalition Party (NCP) and the rightist Finns Party.
The following month, Marin, now 37, announced she would no longer lead the party, yet stayed on as MP—a post she has now given up as well, since it was “impossible” to combine this with her new position, she said at a Thursday press conference.
“This way, I can work for Finland in other areas. The job will benefit Finland as a whole,” she asserted.
In a press release announcing the new hire, founder and executive chairman Tony Blair said it was his organization’s mission “to help political leaders worldwide deliver change for their people,” and that Marin “knows exactly how to do that.”
He continued: “Ms Marin is bold and practical, understands the role that technology can play as the enabler of a more efficient and citizen-centered state, and will lend her experience to our mission in more countries throughout the world.”
Founded in 2017 by Blair as an unspoken response to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president, the former British PM envisaged his organization as a “new policy platform to refill the wide open space in the middle of politics.” He aimed at combatting a “frightening authoritarian populism,” which he —baselessly, since these two events came about through popular vote—claimed was undermining the West’s belief in democracy.
Active in over 30 countries, the Institute does not publicly disclose its funding, though it is known to receive backing from private donors, philanthropic foundations, and government contracts.
On its website’s homepage, the London-based think tank boasts that it helps governments and leaders “get things done,” by advising “on strategy, policy and delivery, unlocking the power of technology across all three.”
In addition, it claims, somewhat sinisterly, to have in fact led “countries, businesses, NGOs, think-tanks and charities,” as well as having “advised presidents and assisted prime ministers,” with a focus—ever so vaguely worded—on “transforming countries and changing lives.”
Marin, now seemingly joined at the hip with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, could very well be far more influential in her new role than she could ever have hoped to be as Finland’s prime minister.