PS’ recipe for failure: nationalism, xenophobia and isolationism

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

It is pretty incredible how a minority like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) that got 19.1% of the votes are blackmailing the rest of the country with their anti-EU policies. It not only wants the majority to join its anti-EU bandwagon, but has among its ranks MPs like Jussi Halla-aho, who are trying to  give bigotry a respectable name in Finland. 

But can any sensible person in this country play down what the PS hope to achieve politically? One of the main stands of  Timo Soini and the PS is Finland’s withdrawal from the European Union and slap more restrictions on immigration.

Has the EU impacted Finland negatively? Have the 2.9% immigrants living in this country formed a threat to our way of life? Why all this obnoxious nationalism? What gives?

If I had the opportunity to interview Soini, one of the questions I’d ask him is how Finland is going to succeed outside the EU? Of course he’ll never give me a satisfactory answer because he is a politicians. Politicians rarely reveal all their playing cards.

Here is one PS politician who likes to bash immigrants on the net, city councilor  Hemmo Koskiniemi of Rovaniemi, on how the PS will give Finland back to the Finns.  This is what he writes in Uusi Suomi. Scary stuff.

While Soini and the PS may look like foxes  in sheep’s clothing, another menace to Finland is Halla-aho and his Suomen Sisu followers.

Here is a good link (in Finnish) of the provocative statements he’s made throughout the years about immigrants. One of the many that ring out was in 2007 when he wrote that, “I am against immigration and I hope a growing number of Finns are against it.”

The fascination of some Finns with Halla-aho and Soini, who opportunistically uses him to lure votes to his party, is a good example of how low politics has stooped in Finland.

Taking into account the problems the PS has already inflicted on Finland through its populism, anti-immigration and anti-EU rhetoric, you don’t need to be an expert to grasp that Finland is on a perilous path.

The PS view of the future of Finland hinges on nationalism, xenophobia and isolationism. In plain English it means recipe for failure.


  1. Method

    “he wrote that, “I am against immigration and I hope a growing number of Finns are against it.””

    Yes, but why is he against immigration? And what type of immigration? It reads right after that in there. That’s the issue to be argued, not the fact that he is against immigration.

    When you look at that closely though, I don’t think he thought it through. In first sentence he’s talking about immigration, and in the second humanitarian immigration. To be against all immigration, is pure stupidity, it shouldn’t be unclear to anyone. Freedom of movement is one thing, human trafficking for benefit another. Both have their own set of laws made for them. There are camps in Greece and Italy full of people trying to get in Europe without papers. They are not let in. Why? You think they should be?

    Why is Sweden basicly stopping the family uniting for Somalis? Why is the humanitarian immigration being narrowed with regulations? Why did France try to get out of the Schengen – treaty? Why does not Estonia receive same amount of people applying for asylum as Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland? Or for that matter other baltic countries in EU?

    Obviously there is something going on.

    As for me, I don’t see the current rate problematic. There should be resources pointed to integration programs and language studies, it really is very important. The work policy for asylum seekers is very poor. It’s like the rulers don’t want them to work. And again, that’s how they feed the racism. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they get something from deliberately creating a tension.

    • Enrique

      –Yes, but why is he against immigration? And what type of immigration? It reads right after that in there. That’s the issue to be argued, not the fact that he is against immigration.

      Method, there is a problem and I think it has a lot to do with the double-talk by the PS on immigration issues. They have a naive attitude that only the “good immigrants” will move here. The “good” ones will be classified by ethnicity and religion. Apart from being a racist way of classifying people, a sensible person or official would say: What kind of skilled immigrants do we want? It isn’t an issue of ethnicity or culture but that of skills.

      Another matter that these guys don’t understand is that when you show your racism and hostility towards a group, it poisons the atmosphere for all. It’s like a fight in the family. The kids watch while the father balls out the wife or vice versa. The kids feel bad. I haven’t seen, heard or even hinted by any PS MPs anything positive about immigration. Do you think any skilled laborer wants to move with his family to a country that is hostile to immigrants even if it against one type? Racism is indiscriminate. When it attacks you it won’t ask where you are from.

      –Why did France try to get out of the Schengen – treaty? Why does not Estonia receive same amount of people applying for asylum as Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland? Or for that matter other baltic countries in EU?

      Because we are in crisis. Apart from the lack of a comprehensive EU refugee and immigration policy, we are suffering from a crisis of values. I am proud and happy that a country like Finland can take refugees. I think it strengthens our values and shows that in this world there is still some empathy for the suffering of others. Don’t forget that one day we could be in hot water and knocking at the door of other countries to get in as refugees as well.

  2. JusticeDemon

    Method

    The work policy for asylum seekers is very poor. It’s like the rulers don’t want them to work.

    This is governed in general by section 81 of the Aliens Act, and specifically by subsection 2 of that section:

    Ulkomaalaisella on kansainvälistä suojelua haettuaan oikeus tehdä ansiotyötä ilman oleskelulupaa:

    1) kun hänellä on 11 §:n 1 momentin 1 kohdassa tarkoitettu asiakirja ja hän on oleskellut maassa kolme kuukautta; tai

    2) kun hän on oleskellut maassa kuusi kuukautta.

    Point 3 of subsection 1 of section 49 of the Act is also at least theoretically relevant.

    These rules essentially say that documented asylum seekers are entitled to work after living in Finland for 3 months, undocumented asylum seekers may work after 6 months, and anyone may get a workers’ residence permit for a job that is sufficiently urgent.

    You describe this policy as “very poor”?

  3. Method

    “You describe this policy as “very poor”?”

    The point where they can’t get bank accounts, because of no id. That was one. The whole situation was described pretty well in one YLE documentary about humanitarian immigrant workers and their problems. It’s the bureaucracy that’s the problem, so I’d say, very poor.

    “I am proud and happy that a country like Finland can take refugees.”

    That’s the thing, asylum seekers aren’t refugees as in “pakolainen”. If I understand, refugees are picked and brought from a refugee camp, there’s no question they are in need of help. Asylum seekers find their own way to our borders, and I don’t see that happening any other way than through human trafficking. I mean who has that kind of money? Somebody gets paid, somedy’s in debt, it’s seems very odd. From what I’ve understood, H-a seems to have a neutral opinion about refugees. Even Muutos 2011-party answered yes to rising refugee amounts. It was a poll made by some magazine.

    “Don’t forget that one day we could be in hot water and knocking at the door of other countries to get in as refugees as well.”

    I have thought of this many times. I’m not leaving, whatever the situation might be. This is my home, only place in the world at that, and I’ll die here. I don’t even care if they’ll call this Russia some they, but I’m staying. Finland hasn’t been around very long, and I have no illusions of it lasting forever. Like I said before, nations come and go, times change.

  4. JusticeDemon

    Method

    The banking system is private in Finland and has nothing directly to do with “rulers”. There is also no requirement to have a bank account in order to be an employee. Section 16 of chapter 2 of the Employment Contracts Act makes this quite clear.

    Your original contribution suggested that there is some unreasonable administrative obstacle preventing asylum seekers from working. I don’t think this is a fair assessment. Essentially the current law gives the authorities three months to verify that an asylum claim must be examined on its merits and cannot be referred to another Dublin Regulation State or denied as manifestly unfounded. This period is six months if the asylum-seeker’s identity cannot be verified. These rules may be regarded as safeguards to prevent the use of asylum claims purely as a means of accessing the labour market. I think they are a fair compromise.

    Employers who hire asylum seekers are still required under subsection 3 of section 73 of the Aliens Act to notify details of the employment to the local employment office and to elected workers’ representatives at the workplace. This is hardly an onerous duty, as the information required is exactly the same as the information that an employer must give by law to any employee.

    Asylum seekers are not eligible for local employment office placement services, but this merely means that the employment office does not take the initiative in referring them to the vacant jobs that are advertised on the mol.fi service.

  5. William O'Gorman

    Its scary stuff to see alright and I am wondering what does the future hold for Finland if they decide to close their borders, turn back the clock to good old days when Finns were Finns and get out of Europe! What troubles me is that even though PS makes these comments and statements still people are voting for them.

  6. Seppo

    – “What troubles me is that even though PS makes these comments and statements still people are voting for them.”

    People are not just still voting for them, many people are voting for them exactly because of these statements.

    Now that’s what’s really scary.

  7. Hmmm

    It’s also scary that it is the past and current decisions have led to this situation. The rise of PS has not mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. Maybe it should be further analyzed where did the system go wrong and not repeat those mistakes.

  8. William O'Gorman

    From what I can see there is very little wrong with the current system at place in Finland. From an International view point Finland is eutopia (even with all the “problems” that the country has). PS seems bent on steering Finland into a direction just to meet their own populistic means. i mean seriously can anyone really say that the PS will be good for the long term future of Finland? Good luck if you can. Will they bring global business here..no. Will they help to create a positive atmosphere for emigration..no. Will they promote current Finnish modern culture..no.

    • Enrique

      William, I totally agree with yout. Finland is a good country to live in with its values in the right place. That is why the PS in its present form represented by some of its politicians make it a menace to Finland.

  9. Hmmm

    Well, obviously a lot of people seem to think there is something wrong with the way the traditional parties have been running the country. Otherwise they would have voted for them.

  10. Allan

    What, do you mean? You imagine the PS will magically overnight prevent the problem makers you equate yourselves with of “enriching” the society? Helsinki city hasn’t managed to get rid of the hippie camp in three years even they have PS councillors. But its nice to see you fomenting such “closed borders” hysteria, provides such entertainment.

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