Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt reiterated to Helsingin Sanomat the government’s plans to isolate Sweden Democrats despite the latest polls in Sweden, which show the anti-EU and anti-immigration party making gains. Even if the Sweden Democrats have tried break free from their neo-Nazi and racist image, the party led by Jimmie Åkesson has suffered a number of scandals.
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We know from a fact that flirting with the far right, right-wing populism, isolationism and adopting a tougher anti-immigration stance can backfire badly as happened in Finland in April 2011, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) became the country’s third-largest party in parliament.
After over two and a half years of PS opposition politics, which has been strongly characterized by racism, nationalism and neo-liberal economic ideology, what should mainstream parties have learned?
The answer to that question can be found in neighboring Sweden where mainstream parties there have isolated politically the Sweden Democrats.
Is this an effective strategy?
Yes, despite gains by the Sweden Democrats in the polls.
Time will prove Sweden did the right thing while Finland failed in the task in challenging intolerance.
If the government of Prime Minister Jyrki Kaatainen has taken an ambivalent stance on intolerance, why would PS head Timo Soini want to renounce racism in his party if it attracts votes?
It’s like asking a junkie to give up drugs.