Of the top 12 anti-immigration candidates below, only one didn’t get reelected: National Coalition Party’s Pia Kauma (UPDATED) and James Hirvisaari of Muutos 2011. While this is a small consolation in the face of the success of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party on Sunday, the big question is if this populist anti-immigration party will form part of the next government.
We know that most of the PS are arch conservatives that want to keep Finland white but the big question is what now. How do they plan to put their petty provincialism, anti-immigration, anti-Islam and anti-Other sound bites into practice? Does the PS victory on Sunday mean ever-toughening immigration policy and ratcheting up white Finnish hostility towards migrants and minorities?
Finland’s Other, which have the same rights to live here as everyone else, will have to figure out and organize more effectively against a party that is openly hostile to us and may form part of government. Expecting others will do this for us is wishful thinking. The election results reinforces as well Migrant Tales’ role as a voice of migrants and minorities.
Stay tuned folks, what you saw on Sunday is nothing that we’ll see in the next four years.
The top 12 anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity MPs seeking reelection on Sunday are (top to bottom left to right): Timo Soini (PS), James Hirvisaari (Muutos 2011), Juho Eerola (PS), Teuvo Hakkarainen (PS), Pia Kauma (NCP), Päivi Räsänen (KD), Olli Immonen (PS), Maria Lohela (PS), Tom Packalén (PS), Maria Tolppanen (PS), Mika Niikko (PS) and Vesa-Matti Saarakkala (PS).
1. Timo Soini (PS): This politician is the so-called ring leader of Finland’s anti-immigration voice in parliament. He always appears as a “good cop” in the media against his party’s racist “bad cops.” A conservative converted Christian, Soini is a power-hungry politician with few moral scruples.
2. James Hirvisaari (Muutos 2011): A social media Frankenstein created by Soini and the PS. Hirvisaari has the dubious honor of getting sacked from the PS because he didn’t know how to hide his far-right anti-immigration views well enough. Hirvisaari’s chronic hunger for media attention has encouraged him to talk about skid marks in parliament toilets and “wildly” masturbating journalists.
3. Juho Eerola (PS): This politician will always be remembered for an infamous statement he made a few years ago claiming that “I myself am attracted to Benito Mussolini’s fascism, and in particular the economic policy [the country] pursued.” Eerola belongs to the same far-right political wing as PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho who are fighting tooth and nail to maintain Finland white by denying migrants and minorities space and basic civil rights.
4. Teuvo Hakkarainen (PS): Three matters would be highlighted if a biography would be written about this politician’s four-year stint in parliament: drinking binges, women, victimizing and labeling immigrants and other minorities like gays. He has become the darling of tabloids.
5. Pia Kauma (NCP): Became a household name in the fall when she falsely claimed that low-income migrant women get social aid to buy new baby carriages. Finnish mothers, however, bought used carriages, according to Kauma. Despite the furor that she created by pitting migrants mothers against Finns (“us” versus “them”), Kauma never apologized for her false statements.
6. Päivi Räsänen (Christian Democratic Party): This conservative anti-immigration politician who considers homosexuality to be a sin is good example of how urban tales and suspicion are fed and maintained in Finland. As long as we have politicians like Räsänen in power, who served as minister of the interior during the last four years, nothing will ever change. Some of the many infamous statements she made about our ever-culturally diverse society include: Finland should only take Christian refugees, permits the detention of minors seeking asylum, ethnic profiling doesn’t happen in Finland, among others.
7. Olli Immonen (PS): Just like some far-right anti-immigration politicians of the PS, Immonen too has built his political career on Islamophobia. He is another social media Frankenstein PS creation as well. This PS MP, who is chairman of the far-right Suomen Sisu association and has been branded a Nazi by former Finnish Rural Party chairman, recently suggested that Finland should start classifying different people by ethnic background. The worst of the worst and a true enemy of migrants and minorities in Finland.
8. Maria Lohela (PS): Somebody who had worked with Lohela said she is a pretty sensible person but when you mention the term “Islam” she turns into a Ms. Hyde. Her dubious accomplishments in parliament have been to spread misinformation about humanitarian immigration, among other things related to cultural diversity. Apart from her staunch Islamophobic views, Lohela has made homophobic statements as well.
9. Tom Packalén (PS): This MP from Helsinki has, apparently fearing he may not get reelected, bolstered anti-immigration sound bites for the media and voters. Packalén lost by a wide margin in a debate on cultural diversity against Maryan Abdulkarim and Abdirahim Husu Hussein. Like Kauma, who used baby carriages to attack migrant mothers, Packalén claimed that migrant gangs are attacking innocent white Finns in Eastern Helsinki. He forgot to mention that some of the members of these gangs are white Finns and those that he labels as “with migrant backgrounds” are Finns as well. In sum a narrow-minded politician who doesn’t have the faintest clue about cultural diversity. He covers up his ignorance with his prejudice.
10. Maria Tolppanen (PS): Tolppanen is the most recent example of how some politicians have used the anti-immigration card to attract votes. The PS MP from Vaasa claimed that she would shout with joy if there were fewer immigrants and more people in the city square. Tolppanen has vowed to take away child support from immigrant families. She, like many of her PS MP colleagues, are a good example of how they are not interested in helping to promote immigrant participation in our society but their exclusion.
11. Mika Niikko (PS): One of the most homophobic voices in the PS and parliament. Niikko is in favor of deporting sentenced migrants and stiffening Finland’s policy towards refugees. In order to lure votes on Sunday, he used an unreliable online source that claimed that foreigners had gang raped a woman. In light of the hysteria and public reaction to the Tapanila gang rape casew last month, the police had to put out a statement alerting the public that the news was a hoax. Niikko has been accused of refusing to enter a taxi since the driver wasn’t white.
12. Vesa-Matti Saarakkala (PS): Even if this MP is the last on the list it doesn’t mean that that aren’t many more that could easily make it to this disgraceful list. In plain and clear English Saarakkala is a politician who loathes cultural diversity and would do everything possible to keep Finland white. His credentials as an anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity politician can be traced to the Nuiva Manifesto, which he helped draft. One of the many problems with this manifesto is that it wants Finland to do away with integration, or two-way adaption of migrants, and replace it with one-way adaption, or assimilation.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.