What will happen to Finland if the PS matches its parliamentary election result in 2015?

by , under Enrique

Should we be worried by the latest polls, which show the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party vying for second place? What does the rise of the PS say about the present state of Finland? What will happen if the party matches its 2011 election result in 2015?

Right after the disappointing municipal election, PS head Timo Soini promised that his party aims to become the biggest in 2014, when Finland holds European parliamentary elections.

If you are an optimist, the rise of the PS in 2011 could be seen as a knee-jerk reaction to Finland’s ever-growing cultural diversity, globalization and especially to the economic crisis that has hit the European Union and our country.

In my hometown of Mikkeli, we had our first refugee center in the early 1990s. The initial reaction was hostile, sometimes even violently towards the newcomers. That fortunately changed with time and today it’s nothing uncommon to see immigrants in Mikkeli.

While matters have changed for the better, others like institutionalized racism, prejudice and intolerance haven’t. They linger on because nobody has challenged these problems seriously enough.

Kansainvälinen Mikkeli, an association promoting cultural diversity and internationalization, approached by email some candidates before the April 2011 parliamentary election who wanted to tighten immigration policy and cut funding to such groups. Kansainvälinen Mikkeli published these responses on their Facebook page and thereby  opened debate with these candidates.

The email was important because it showed these candidates that their views concerning immigrants were being heard.

While it’s clear that time will change matters for the better in this country for immigrants and visible minorities, what if the PS match their last parliamentary election result in 2015? What would happen if they become the biggest party two and a half years from now and its leader, Soini, becomes prime minister?

While the latter scenarios are unlikely, such an election victory by the PS in 2015 would end up polarizing our society ever more. Soini’s and the PS’ answer, with the silent blessing of the bigger and some smaller parties, would play down intolerance by denying it as a minor problem.

It’s pretty clear that immigrants and visible minorities will never be treated as equals in Finland as long as they leave this important work to others. We must rise to the occasion and we must take charge of our own future.

One of the reasons why the PS has grown to such a big party and why our answer to their discourse has been so ambiguous, is because too many white Finns don’t feel threatened by them.

Leadership is needed more than ever today to drive home a fact that Finland is a culturally divers society.

No matter how much the racists and extremists kick and bitch about this fact, that’s what’s written in stone.

  1. Farang

    I think the only way for other parties to get voters from PS is to start opposing EU. With the current state of EU, as long as PS is the only anti-EU party, they will succeed.

    • Mark

      Farang

      I think the only way for other parties to get voters from PS is to start opposing EU. With the current state of EU, as long as PS is the only anti-EU party, they will succeed.

      Or alternatively making better arguments for why we need to stay in the EU. Politicians seem to always struggle when it comes to explaining the benefits in actual concrete and even economic terms. It’s ironic for instance that PS oppose immigration from certain parts of the world, but encourage migration of ‘European’ labour and yet oppose EU membership. The EU open borders would theoretically allow qualified workers from especially new EU countries to follow jobs available in other countries, and in Finland, jobs that will become available due to population ageing. That’s only one dimension of benefit, but interesting how it contradicts PS’s stated goals.

    • Joonas

      Have to agree. There really are no other options for the people who are against EU-bailouts, so they will turn to PS. I don’t believe anti-immigrant stance has brought many votes for them (but of course, has brought some).

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –I don’t believe anti-immigrant stance has brought many votes for them (but of course, has brought some).

      This would be difficult to quantify but as you say it has brought them some votes.

      It’s interesting to watch what different people of the PS say. Soini says that it is anti-EU sentiment and Halla-aho states that the anti-immigration message was important. Some claim that new of bailouts for Portugal just a week from the last parliamentary election in April 2011 gave the PS an extra 3 percentage points in the election.

  2. Joonas

    –I don’t believe anti-immigrant stance has brought many votes for them (but of course, has brought some).

    This would be difficult to quantify but as you say it has brought them some votes.

    True. I just don’t believe that 19% (or even 5%) of the voters would vote for them just because of the anti-immigration stance. When the election was held, I don’t remember any immigration discussion on TV, but there was lot of about the EU bailouts.

  3. PS voter

    One often overlooked thing, that probably made Perussuomalaiset more popular, were childish attacks against Perussuomalaiset. For example, Helsingin Sanomat, made several attempts to defame Perussuomalaiset, but the attempts were so clumsy that it was obvious to many people that is was propaganda instead of neutral news reporting and that made many people feel sympathy for Perussuomalaiset. However, the propaganda against Perussuomalaiset worked on some gullible people and that has had polarizing effect on society and it has caused almost hysterical reactions against Perussuomalaiset, which seems to be common reaction on Migrant Tales as well.

    BTW, if you use abstract concepts, like institutionalized racism, it would be good idea to give some examples of it. Otherwise it is hard even to understand what you mean by that or if something like that even exists.

    And I find it disingenuous that you seem to imply that tightening immigration policies is somehow automatically wrong or racist, which obviously is not the case.

    • Mark

      PS Voter

      childish attacks against Perussuomalaiset…but the attempts were so clumsy that it was obvious to many people that is was propaganda…propaganda against Perussuomalaiset worked on some gullible people… almost hysterical reactions against Perussuomalaiset, which seems to be common reaction on Migrant Tales as well…And I find it disingenuous that you seem to imply

      Some observations. You are so busy slagging off your critics for being ‘clumsy’, ‘childish’, ‘hysterical’, ‘gullible’ and ‘disengenuous’ that you forgot to actually tell us ANY facts. Not a single fact was presented in that paragraph. It’s empty of content!

      Second, for someone that is begging for ‘dialogue’, you are going the totally wrong way about it. You don’t come here, write rants that attack the people here as being childish, disengenous and gullible, among other things, without giving a single shred of evidence or even actually tell us what the hell you are actually talking about and then expect us to take your call for dialogue seriously.

      if you use abstract concepts, like institutionalized racism, it would be good idea to give some examples of it.

      In many countries, research of arrest rates show that blacks and foreign looking people are many times more likely to be stopped and searched by police. That is institutionalised racism. The effect is higher rates of crime for blacks (particularly for drug possession) and a further justification for even more racial profiling, which results in even higher disparities between whites and blacks in crime statistics. The same has been found to be true of rape statistics – police are far more likely to put together a case and to call for a prosecution against a foreign rapist than against a native rapist. Institutionalised racism. Another form of institutionalised racism is the police providing crime statistics that are deliberately misleading, without properly qualifying the limitations of the methods of analysis, such as giving per capita rates of racist crime for minority groups, or not taking into account factors that skew data, such as comparing old ladies with young men in terms of crime rates, such that young foreign black men will inevitably appear to be more criminal than the ‘native’ population.

      Another form of institutional racism that I personally witnessed on my first ever visit to the labour exchange in Helsinki was the staff worker commenting that it’s good that I’m from UK, not like those from outside who don’t want to find work, said with obvious disdain. This information was offered freely without me even mentioning other forms of immigrant. Such obvious racism within public and especially employment services clearly undermines the opportunities for certain kinds of foreigners to receive a non-discriminatory service.

  4. PS voter

    And I think that demanding too much or claiming that almost all Finns are racist, bad and all problems immigrants are facing, is caused by racism or Finns being somehow bad or wrong, is very likely to backfire. Then you end up like Umayya Abu-Hanna or boy who cried wolf too many times.

    If there are truly obvious cases of racism, I think most Finns and even voters of Perussuomalaiset will condemn it. And I think that instead of just attacking Perussuomalaiset, you should try to have some kind of co-operation with us. We might not agree on all things, but I am sure that there is many things where common ground could be found and perhaps some tensions which could be defused by having real dialogue. It is worth to remember that one reason for the rise of Perussuomalaiset is the fact that there hasn’t been real dialogue on some issues (and not just immigration related issued) among more traditional parties that many citizens have felt important.

    And many persons who are critical towards mass immigration, are interested in having dialogue with immigrants. I just hope the dialogue would became more common and more civilized on both sides.

    And I want to remind you that persons who are critical towards mass immigration are not homogeneous group and for many of us, the criticism is directed more towards immigration policies or obviously false attempts to try justify them.

  5. Farang

    Mark

    In many countries, research of arrest rates show that blacks and foreign looking people are many times more likely to be stopped and searched by police. That is institutionalised racism. The effect is higher rates of crime for blacks (particularly for drug possession) and a further justification for even more racial profiling, which results in even higher disparities between whites and blacks in crime statistics.

    Are you seriously claiming that if black innocent person is stopped by police without a cause, it will cause that person to start doing crimes? That is absolutely the most hilarious nonsense I’ve ever heard.

    The same has been found to be true of rape statistics – police are far more likely to put together a case and to call for a prosecution against a foreign rapist than against a native rapist.

    Now you do exactly same as you just accused PS voter of doing. Making (false) claims without any evidence. There is nothing that would imply that police would put any more effort in rapes by foreigners than rapes by finns.

    Another form of institutional racism that I personally witnessed on my first ever visit to the labour exchange in Helsinki was the staff worker commenting that it’s good that I’m from UK, not like those from outside who don’t want to find work, said with obvious disdain.

    Why is it always racism if someone speaks something based on his/her own experience? Like when Halla-aho mentioned couple of days ago in TV that asian immigrants are more likely to adjust and integrate than some other immigrants, some people immediately accused him of being racist. That is not racism if someone says facts which are based on experience. If we simply take two groups of immigrants with different ethnic background and clearly see from statistics some differences, it can’t be racism to say those out publicly.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Are you seriously claiming that if black innocent person is stopped by police without a cause, it will cause that person to start doing crimes? That is absolutely the most hilarious nonsense I’ve ever heard.

      Why don’t you get your brain in gear before you write Farang? That would make such a pleasant change! It is a simple fact that if you stop a large number of young people aged 18-25, then you will find a small percentage will be in possession of controlled substances like cannabis. Now, if you target mostly black people in this search, then you will end up catching a higher proportion of black people for possession. This only has to begin as a small trend, but once it begins to skew statistics and statistics are then offered as ‘evidence’ of higher rates of possession, then more blacks would be stopped. It is not about ‘making’ people into criminals.

      Farang, before you start trying your logical gymnastics on this, this argument is very well understood and very well demonstrated and even admitted by police forces who have studied their own institutional racism.

      Now you do exactly same as you just accused PS voter of doing. Making (false) claims without any evidence.

      There is plenty of evidence. An example, following the widely reported ‘most rape in Stavanger [Norway] is committed by foreigners’ newspaper and social media headlines, police investigator Kristian Johansen pointed out that foreigners were no more likely to be reported for rape, but when it came to convinctions for rape, it was a different story: 17 of 20 convicted rapes were committed by foreigners. I have also previously pointed out to you the statistics offered by Tukinainen, Finland’s rape hotline set up to support victims of rape, that show that the representation of foreigners in the reported rapes matches very similarly to their proportion in the population, while this is not true of police statistics! Researchers are quite certain that foreigners are ‘overrepresented’.

      So, what’s your evidence that police statistics can be trusted? Do you suggest that police statistics are immune to factors such as institutional racism?

      Why is it always racism if someone speaks something based on his/her own experience?

      You cannot dismiss a public official bad-mouthing immigrants in the process of carrying out her job as ‘merely expressing an opinion’. All racists opinions can thus be defended, but it nevertheless does not make them any less racist.

      Like when Halla-aho mentioned couple of days ago in TV that asian immigrants are more likely to adjust and integrate than some other immigrants, some people immediately accused him of being racist. That is not racism if someone says facts which are based on experience. If we simply take two groups of immigrants with different ethnic background and clearly see from statistics some differences, it can’t be racism to say those out publicly.

      It may be that Asians already speak English, an intermediate language, which speeds up ‘integration’. The issue is how this information is used, not so much the information itself. If this information is offered as a way to defame immigrants and create a negative view of them and their potentialities as human beings, we are right to call that racism. In Halla-aho’s case, it almost certainly is racism. He is all too eager to take the smallest piece of information and use that to draw very negative conclusions about particular ethnic and religious groups of people. It is that eagerness and willingness to disparage these groups that reveals his pathalogical bias.

  6. Farang

    Mark

    It is a simple fact that if you stop a large number of young people aged 18-25, then you will find a small percentage will be in possession of controlled substances like cannabis

    In that case the stopping and checking has served it’s purpose and it is a good thing, isn’t it?

    Same should ofcourse be done for all people, no matter of their colour or background.

    An example, following the widely reported ‘most rape in Stavanger [Norway] is committed by foreigners’ newspaper and social media headlines, police investigator Kristian Johansen pointed out that foreigners were no more likely to be reported for rape, but when it came to convinctions for rape, it was a different story: 17 of 20 convicted rapes were committed by foreigners.

    Can’t you do the math here? This only proves that women make more false or loose reports of native men, meaning there is no proof found against the accused men.

    It doesn’t mean that police would investigate the rapes by foreigners more thoroughly.

    For example in Finland it’s easier and more common for women to make false rape accusations against finnish men.

    It may be that Asians already speak English, an intermediate language, which speeds up ‘integration’.

    That still doesn’t change the fact that they integrate more effectively. When we say group A are more likely to integrate than group B, it doesn’t mean that it is BECAUSE of their ethnic background. It’s all the details that causes some group integrate better than others. That is the reason why we can say it out loud and use that fact when we decide on immigration policy.

    • Mark

      Farang

      In that case the stopping and checking has served it’s purpose and it is a good thing, isn’t it?

      So now you’ve changed the subject. We were not discussing whether stop and search is an effective method for crime detection, but whether specifically targetting blacks for stop and search can skew statistics and act to justify and perpetuate institutionalised racism. Please respond to this point.

      Can’t you do the math here? This only proves that women make more false or loose reports of native men, meaning there is no proof found against the accused men.

      Oh boy…you really scraping the barrel today!!! That is a disgusting comment. You should be ashamed of yourself. And your evidence that the lack of prosecution is down to ‘false’ claims or insubstantiated claims?

      For example in Finland it’s easier and more common for women to make false rape accusations against finnish men

      So, your answer to the institutional racism question and rape is to highlight false rape accusations? You are a low-life piece of shit, Farang! And I’m quite sure you will cry mommy at that accusation, but really, to turn this debate around to talking about false accusations is the work of a real fucking low life. And your evidence is? Provide me with a single piece of evidence, Farang? Just one, and I will take it back!

      That still doesn’t change the fact that they integrate more effectively.

      Well, it is great importance if the difference in integration is simply a difference in a couple of years of citizenship. Somalis in Finland for 15-20 years have very similar employment rates to native Finns. So, yes, it does make a difference how you look at it and what you choose to extract from that ‘picture’.

      It’s all the details that causes some group integrate better than others.

      And you define integration how? What parameters are you using, what indicators are you using? What timescales? Come on, if you know what you are talking about, you will have some ready facts to hand! If, on the other hand, you are talking out of your arse as usual, perhaps this time you will have the grace to leave the debate already at the start, rather than after you’ve had your arse handed back to you on a plate!

  7. Farang

    Mark

    Provide me with a single piece of evidence, Farang? Just one, and I will take it back!

    It’s enough evidence if a rape accusation is made but no proof is found, or police have proven that woman has lied. Also in some cases the women have later on admitted that the made false accusation. What other proof could you demand?

    • Mark

      Farang

      It’s enough evidence if a rape accusation is made but no proof is found, or police have proven that woman has lied. Also in some cases the women have later on admitted that the made false accusation. What other proof could you demand?

      You have to provide evidence that the reason is false accusations. This is what you said, and you have provided no statistics or evidence to suggest that this is anything but a very rare event.

  8. Farang

    Mark

    And you define integration how? What parameters are you using, what indicators are you using?

    For example a woman who is wearing burkha -> not integrated

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