What does Perussuomalaiset (PS) party presidential hopeful, Timo Soini, really think about immigration and cultural diversity? A column he wrote in the Suomen Soini Presidentiksi [Soini for president of Finland] publication exposes what the leader of the PS really thinks about such important issues.
It’s clear while reading Soini’s views on the topic that he is in favor of one-way integration, or assimilation. He praises in the column, headlined Maahanmuutto, demokraatia ja perussuomalaiset [Immigration, democracy and the Perussuomalaiset], those immigrants that are ready to accept Finnish culture and traditions.
I am certain if we asked the PS leader to define Finnish culture, his response would be deficient and leave us with more questions than answers.
The same “conservative and Christian” views that Soini speaks so highly of in his column has, in my opinion, been at the center of the problem. It has retarded and hindered the acceptance of hundreds of thousands of expat Finns, immigrants and their children from our society and threatens to exclude many others in the future.
If the PS and Soini haven’t already noticed, these so-called bicultural multi- or polycultural Finns have taken that giant step to integrate but many still suffer from acceptance by society. High unemployment levels, institutional racism, prejudice, antiquated views of what culture is and even the rise of an anti-immigration party like the PS, show that more acceptance is needed by our society.
Soini’s and the PS’ total disregard for mutual acceptance and that integration is a two-way street show well the biggest flaws in their stance and why it is correct to call them an anti-immigration party.
Even though Soini does not mention the word multiculturalism once in his column, his definition of it is not too far from Jussi Halla-aho’s and that of other far-right anti-immigration groups in Europe like the Danish People’s Party.
The PS chairman writes that he is not against immigrants but opposes our immigration policy. This affirmation, that the problem lies in our immigration policy, is one of the favorite deceptive arguments used by far right and anti-immigration groups. When Soini uses such an argument he really means that Europe and Finland allow too many Muslims and Africans to live here.
Another important matter is revealed by Soini’s column: Despite his conservative-populist political views, he can deliver his opinions in a diplomatic sugar-coated fashion compared with too many in his party members who can’t and whom he rightfully criticizes.
Soini is the good cop of the PS but at the end of the day he is a cop like the rest of the members of his party.
One key paragraph in particular exposes to the tee the PS leader’s view on immigration and cultural diversity: “I also hope that more and more native Finns could tolerate those who embrace Finnish culture, our customs and traditions; those [immigrants]who want to stick to conservative and Christian values, and even those who have decided to vote for the Perussuomalaiset [party]. We live together side by side in this beautiful and wonderful country, and in a affluent society that is fair.”*
In other words, Soini and the PS are ready to accept you as members of society as long as you resign your culture, identity and rightful and democratic right as equal members of this society. Acceptance only happens on their terms and with conditions.
What does the PS leader think about those Finns who don’t share his conservative and Christian views?
*Toivon myös, että yhä useammat kantasuomalaiset voisivat suvaita niitä, jotka vaalivat suomalaista kulttuuria, meidän tapojamme ja perinteitämme; niitä, jotka haluavat pitäytyä konservatiivisissa ja kristillisissä arvoissa, ja jopa niitä, joka ovat päättäneet äänestää perussuomalaisia. Me asumme yhdessä rinnatusten tässä kauniissa ja upeassa maassa ja reilussa hyvinvointiyhteiskunnassa.