The Social Democrats are on the populist anti-immigrant roll: SDP strongman Eero Heinäluoma stirred passions on Saturday in an HBL interview (in Swedish) by stating that Finland should not be too enthusiastic about bringing labor immigrants due to high unemployment among Finns. UPDATED (25.4.) Some dailies such as Ilta-Sanomat asked if Heinäluoma believes that immigrants will take “our women” as well.
Heinäluoma’s comments have been condemned not only by Center Party Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, but by the chairman of the Young Social Democrats, Teemu Hirvonen, who is concerned by the party’s ever-growing populist stand.
Echoing fears that part of the Social Democratic leaders have stiffened their stances on immigration to get votes in the 2011 elections, Hirvonen said that the party should stick to its values and not allow anti-immigrant groups like the True Finns to control the ongoing debate.
UPDATE (25.4) Another incredible snow job hurled at the public by Heinäluoma is that since labor immigrants “will take away jobs from Finns,” this will lead to racism. So, in essence, Heinäluoma is telling us that it is ok to be racist because “foreigners are taking away our jobs.”
This low ebb in SDP politics in Finland is a slap in the face to those immigrants who have lived in this country for years, paid taxes and work hard to make a living. Heinäluoma doesn’t appear to care about them because it is not the example he wants to give about immigrants. It won’t win his party a lot of votes.
If we did not know that Heinäluoma is a Social Democrat, some of us would think he belongs to an anti-immigrant party like the True Finns. And, please, who says that more immigrants will fuel racism? Aren’t they offering a service to this society? Doesn’t their work and tax-euros count? Is Heinäluoma afraid that his party is having the same problems adapting to the real world as the Center Party did before EU membership in 1995 with respect to the agricultural sector?
Some believe that one of the mentors behind the anti-immigration wing of the SDP party is former interior minister, Kari Rajamäki. I once attended a panel in October with him and guess what: The True Finn representative and Rajamäki were in full agreement about “the threat of refugees” to Finland.
Taking into account that EU citizens have the right to work in any member country, what did Heinäluoma mean by his statement? (Updated 27.4) Who ARE those foreign workers that Heinäluoma warns us of? It seems pretty incredible that he does not even give us a clue of where the “threat” is coming from.
Was it another xenophobic trick by the SDP to lure voters from the True Finns?
True Finns’ chairman, Timo Soini, thinks so. He was quoted in Helsingin Sanomat as stating that the SDP adopted the True Finns’ policy labor immigration.
Folks, the show will turn more tragic-comic when the SDP and True Finns start to fight each other in public to prove which party has the toughest stand against immigrants.