Take a close look at Norway if you want to see what may happen in Finland after the 2015 parliamentary elections, when the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) may be in government.The populist anti-immigration Progress party (FrP) of Norway will form part of a coalition government with the Conservative Party (Høyre), Christian Democrats and Liberals.
If the Conservative Party can accept to govern with a party that used to have mass killer Anders Breivik as a member, certainly the Center Party of Finland, if it wins the next parliamentary elections, won’t have any problems governing with the PS, even if some of its members have been sentenced for ethnic agitation.
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Parties like the FrP, PS, Danish People’s Party, Sweden Democrats and other of the Nordic region, which are anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam, are a good example of the intolerance and racism that has creeped into Nordic politics.
How do these parties work and what is their role in strengthening intolerance and institutional racism in their respective countries? They function as watchdogs gaining our attention, even our sympathies, with the help of fear-mongering and spreading intolerance thanks to our prejudices.
Their strategy is simple: The best way of maintaing things as they are is not to challenge or question anything. If in doubt, blame the immigrant or minority x.
Eyeing power, it’s natural that parties like the FrP want to sound sensible just before the formation of a new government.
A good way of finding out the real issues and cut through the snow job is to watch closely what politicians deny and, most importantly, what they don’t say.
The new incoming Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, claims in an interview with The Local that the FrP ”is not a xenophobic party.”
She continues: ”…Parts of the immigration policy they [FrP] are pushing for have already been implemented elsewhere in the Nordic region.”
Solberg doesn’t elaborate but let’s get it straight from the FrP party leader’s mouth, Siv Jensen.
Apart from playing down the FrP’s anti-immigration and anti-Islam stances, one of the most incredible things I hears Jensen say in another interview with The Local was that she was against Norwegian immigration policy, not immigrants.
According to political editor Martine Aurdal of the daily Dagbldet, who is Jensen’s biographer, claimed that after 22/7, when Breivik killed 77 people, the leader of the FrP has left out more extreme rhetoric from her speech.
Because it sounds awkward especially after what Breivik did and certainly doesn’t win you over votes.
So what’s the lesson we can learn from all this?
Attitudes and xenophobia remain intact. The only matter that changes is the message.