If there is one party that has brought out bigotry, racism and populist far-right ideology as of late it is the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*. But Finland is so much in denial about its bigotry and white privilege that it sees no harm in the PS. This means that the government will do little, except offer lip service on how to challenge social ills like racism.
That blind spot is costing Finland a lot of problems as the election for new PS chairman in early June shows. PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who was convicted for ethnic agitation in 2012, is the favorite to win the chairmanship of the party against Minister of Culture, Sport, and European Issues Sampo Terho, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
Finland’s face of racism: MEP Jussi Halla-aho and Minister of Culture, Sport and European Issues Sampo Terho. Source: Helsingin Sanomat.
According to a poll, 40% said they would vote for Halla-aho and 26% Terho. The poll showed as well that 25% of those polled were undecided.
If I were a bigot and voted for the PS, I would certainly support Halla-aho because he’s the real thing, not a watered down version like Terho, who has become at least in image a more diluted version of the latter’s racist views.
If Halla-aho gets elected, it will mean sweet revenge on Timo Soini, who has led the PS since 1997. Soini has opportunistically given people like Halla-aho and many others a platform for their racist views. Soini incorrectly thought that he could keep such candidates on a short leash.
The whole Soini-Halla-aho saga is like the creation of Frankenstein. In the classic move, Dr. Frankenstein resurrects a monster from the dead that ends up killing him.
It is the same story being played out now with Soini, the PS and his #socialmediafrankensteins.
If Halla-aho is elected, it may well be that the PS’ partners in government, the Center Party and National Coalition Party, may look the other way and accept the new chairman as the new normal.
Such parties have a lot of experience at denial of racism and finding excuses for not doing enough to challenge the racism and bigotry of parties like the PS.
* The official translation to Finnish of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is the Finns Party. In our opinion, it is not only a horrible translation, but one that is misguided. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Such terms like the Finns Party of True Finns promote as well in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and thereafter the acronym PS.