Three Perussuomalaiset (PS) MPs plan to present a bill to Parliament that would ban begging in public places, according to YLE in English. The aim of the bill has nothing to do with helping the Roma, a group that has suffered persecution in Europe for centuries. Its main aim is to reap political points for an embattled and scandal-ridden party, the PS.
Scapegoating the Roma by banning begging will only exacerbate the problem by sweeping the issue under the rug. Such a law indirectly casts a shadow as well on Finland’s 10,000-strong Roma community and reinforces our collective suspicion of the group.
The proposed bill is a good example of how the PS are trying, with the municipal elections nearing in October, to capitalize on our xenophobia and racism.
Why are Roma leaving Romania, Bulgaria and other eastern European countries to come to prosperous Finland? How many Roma are we speaking of? Are those begging on our streets a number-one national issue? Why is an anti-immigration and especially anti-Muslim party like the PS so interested in banning begging by the Roma?
Behind all these questions you will find two factors orchestrating the rhetoric from behind: loathing for the Romany minority and political opportunism.
The aim of the bill is what makes it especially suspect. Writes YLE in English: “The proposal states that begging has a negative impact on public safety and that permitting begging does not reduce the poverty and discrimination that foreign Roma face in their home countries.”
Two of the PS MPs proposing the bill, Jussi Halla-aho and Olli Immonen, have made their questionable political careers by bashing Muslims and immigrants. Now their attention has shifted to the Romany minority.
The third PS MP is Tom Packalén, a policeman.