Is Timo Soini losing his grip of the PS?

by , under Enrique

For those who haven’t noticed, Perussuomalaiset (PS) anti-immigration hardliners like MP Jussi Halla-aho and James Hirvisaari have tried to show their human side to the media. Halla-aho was recently interviewed with his wife Hilla on Me Naiset, while Hirvisaari writes on a blog entry hitherto-unheard empathy and understanding for his archenemy, the media.  

Some of Finland’s most notorious Counterjihadists are members of the PS. From (top right, left to right): Olli Immonen, James Hirvisaari, Matias Turkkila, Jussi Halla-aho, (second row) Juho Eerola, Freddy Van Wonterghem, Simon Elo, and Kai Haavikko.

Migrant Tales’ guest writer Jos Schuurmans wrote recently about Halla-aho’s interview on Me Naiset.

He wrote: “How is it possible that Sanoma, one of Finland’s largest, most professional and most respected media firms, gets away with publishing a cosy, three-page family portrait of far-right MP Jussi Halla-aho in its November 1, 2012, issue of Me Naiset, the mainstream human interest women’s magazine?”

The interview by Essi Myllyoja of the Halla-ahos is not only an insult to many immigrants and Finns, but shows how the media continues to be run by white Finns. By controlling the narrative, white Finns, or those that rule this country, ensure that what you hear and see are only the stories they want to be told.

If we are going to analyze why two of the PS’ most notorious Counterjihadists are trying to show a softer more human side of themselves, we’d have to study what is going on behind the scenes of chairman Timo Soini’s party.

Apparently there is a pretty serious fight for control of the party between Soini and Halla-aho. Halla-aho, who was convicted by the Supreme Court for defaming and inciting ethnic hatred in June, didn’t rule out the possibility on the Subin Enbuske & Linnanahde Crew TV show of challenging Soini for the party’s leadership.

The present situation within the PS is an outcome of the election blows it received after its historic victory in the April 2011 parliamentary elections. Since then it has been a rough downhill ride: Soini didn’t even make it to the second round of the presidential elections and the municipal elections of October were a clear disappointment.

Disgruntled by the situation and Soini’s leadership, Hirvisaari said recently that the party did poorly in the municipal elections because it wasn’t outspoken as before on immigration issues.

Taking into account that the PS’ anti-immigration candidates fared well in the municipal elections, it suggests that the undecided mainstream voters that gave their support for the party in 2011 have started to jump ship. What is remaining are the most loyal and radical elements, or those who vote for anti-immigration, anti-Islam, homophobic, and populist-conservative candidates.

Emboldened and scenting blood like a hungry pack of wolves, the Counterjihadists of the PS see this as an opportune moment to challenge Soini for the party’s leadership. They are determined to try again if they don’t succeed.

Halla-aho’s and Hirvisaari’s “tolerant” new look should be seen as a shameless ploy in league with many of the red herrings they have tried to feed the public.

 

 

 

  1. Mark

    Hi Enrique
    This sounds good, and it may well be true, i.e. that Allah-oho is ready to challenge Soini, but without some kind of information from a party insider, this doesn’t really add up to much of a story.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Mark, an analyst puts different pieces of the puzzle together to get some picture. We’ll see next year if this is true or not and how Halla-aho’s plans pan out and if he plans to challenge Soini.

  2. Jssk

    Seriously, i dont see the problem with Essi Myllyoja’s article. How does it insult many immigrants and finns? It only seems that you want your political opponents silenced. If we start silencing “dissidents”, that is not a good path to follow.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –How does it insult many immigrants and finns? It only seems that you want your political opponents silenced. If we start silencing “dissidents”, that is not a good path to follow.

      The interview is a bit like doing a human interest story about Josef Goebbels and publishing it in Israel or have a human interest story about Osama Bin Laden’s family published in Perussuomalainen.

  3. Enrique Tessieri

    Jssk, one more point. The strategy that the PS, Halla-aho and company is one of the oldest in history. What they want to do is to make their type of hate and extremism NORMAL; i.e. there’s nothing wrong with it because it is NORMAL. In my opinion, their type of populist policies and ideology is far from normal. It’s abnormal and must be challenged.

  4. Mark

    What is interesting is that Jussi grew up in a family of alcoholics and doesn’t himself drink. He doesn’t like children seeing parents as being somehow ‘behaving different’. I think that opens up some interesting questions about his psyche. Maybe he would be more ‘live and let live’ if he let his hair down a bit and had a drink. Saying it is for the sake of the kids seems like a easy cop out, but I assume he didn’t drink long before he had kids. So what is he really afraid of?

    He’s rather serious and probably takes himself too seriously too, and that’s not a good trait in an intellectual, especially one that seeks to problematise an issue like immigration, which is all about people.

    He admits to being stubborn, he admits to being quite conservative in domestic roles, and that his wife is generally passive in regard to his political views because ‘she has confidence in him’.

    What’s also interesting is that he was something of a humanist in his younger days, which I would think goes some way to explaining his general disdain for religion.

    His wife talks about his views and manner as being ‘take it or leave it’. This comes as no surprise either, as I don’t think Jussi works particularly hard to understand criticism against him.

    I think my first thought about this article and especially the title was how it sounded almost sycophantic. God, now he’s a sex symbol? It just seems to be taken for granted that he’s ‘smart’, and yet I have found his analysis, while long-winded, typically lacks depth or penetration into the topic. Clearly he follows a political ideology, and he bends whatever subject that this touches on to suit that ideology, without really exploring it in depth or being self-critical. That’s the key problem for me. It’s a distinct lack of smarts!

    He doesn’t seem to be particularly empathetic, but rather cerebral about things, and that combined with his ‘idealism’ probably means that he doesn’t particularly care for how his arguments affect people in the wider society negatively. He obviously believes that Finland must ‘protect’ its identity, and probably working with dead languages has scared him somewhat into thinking that Finland needs defending in a cultural sense. My guess is that he specialised in morphology and syntactics rather than pragmatics or sociolinguistics, which would probaby have broadened his view of society and identity. Working with dead languages may give you a rather stunted view of language evolution and dynamics. It might explain his tendency towards prescriptivism rather than descriptivism (major schools in linguistics), which pretty much informs his whole ideological approach, which seems to lack an appreciation of diversity.

    But the key issue for me is how he survived the toxic childhood of growing up around alcoholics and how that translates into his current psyche, and his disdain for religion, especially Islam, which he links to militancy and superstition. Is his attempt to ‘save’ Finland from the rampaging Muslims a skewed attempt to save one of his alcoholic parents or to save himself from them? This ‘saving’ script is not uncommon with the children of alcoholics, especially ‘smart’ ones, who tend to intellectualise their problems or developmental deficiencies.

    His strategy for defeating alcoholism appears to be to reject alcohol in his own life – is this the same way he’s saving Finland, by rejecting immigration? Is that the general gist of how he deals with a problem, that he somehow rejects it rather than learning to live with it and the dangers it brings of ‘becoming different’? I guess his stubborness and determination derive from a strategy to avoid being overwhelmed by the typically domineering ‘beer-drenched’ personality of alcoholic parents. We all know how alcoholics seem to think they know everything with utter certainty. Perhaps he established his own sense of certainty, determination and stubborness to combat theirs?

    So, while I find the whole notion of Jussi getting this kind of image softening free and gratis in a women’s magazine a bit sickening, the things you find out do in fact open up a different avenue to understanding him as a person and his politics, and so it’s not a bad thing really.

    However, what remains also as a glaring omission perhaps is the question of how many immigrant families, especially Muslims, would be profiled in this way in Me Naiset? If Jussi gets the chance to present his human side, do immigrants likewise get an equal shake at the same stick?

  5. Jssk

    The interview is a bit like doing a human interest story about Josef Goebbels and publishing it in Israel or have a human interest story about Osama Bin Laden’s family published in Perussuomalainen.

    Those comparisons are really our of proportions. Is Halla-aho responsible for thousands of deaths or can he be compared to these persons in some other way?

    Jssk, one more point. The strategy that the PS, Halla-aho and company is one of the oldest in history. What they want to do is to make their type of hate and extremism NORMAL; i.e. there’s nothing wrong with it because it is NORMAL. In my opinion, their type of populist policies and ideology is far from normal. It’s abnormal and must be challenged.

    So if its not normal, its bad? There is no one and only accepted and “normal” way of thinking. Sure, their views can be challenged, but it should be done in other way than silencing them.

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