If I were the head of Finland’s secret police, Supo, I would have sent a long time ago my best agents to investigate whether there is a connection and well-orchestrated plan by far-right groups in Europe and Suomen Sisu to the Perussuomalaiset’s (PS) election victory in April.
If Supo decided to leave many stones unturned on this front or keep such information to itself, I would as head of a large Finnish daily send my best investigative reporters to find the tensions and links between Timo Soini’s SMP wing of PS and the MPs that belong to the Suomen Sisu association.
Here are some of the matters I’d ask my reporters to investigate: (1) Is there a greater-than-known link between Suomen Sisu/PS and other right-wing populist parties in Europe like the Danish People’s Party (DPP)? What level of consultancy work have the DPP given to Suomen Sisu/PS to spread more effectively the Islamophobic message in Finland? (2) Is one of the attack strategies of such a sinister plan overwhelming the net with Islamophobist websites like Hommaforum, which have close links to Suomen Sisu?
Apart from Migrant Tales, groups like Hommaforum have inhibited researchers, common Finns and bloggers to speak out against their xenophobic and nationalist message. Our blog was attacked by over 800 Hommaforum supporters in September 2008.
As head of Supo or of a major daily, I would look at the reaction of the politicians and society towards rising xenophobia in Finland. Did politicians cave in to the Islamophobia and reacted too late and with too little firepower? Or did the message of people like PS MP Jussi Halla-aho appeal and serve the interests of some like Kokoomus and the Social Democratic Party?
The biggest loser of the election was the Center Party. That party under the leadership of former Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi lost the most votes due to her pro-EU and outspoken stance against the PS.
Sometimes you need to cash in defeat in order to become stronger in the future. President Barak Obama is a good example by being one of the few senators that opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Thanks to his leadership, he was able to reap lots of advantages against his Republican rival John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
Nothing happens by chance never mind getting 19.1% of the votes from 4.05% four years earlier. Certainly outside factors like the global financial meltdown of September 2008 and the EU bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal played crucial roles that benefited the PS. Even so, living in denial and playing down such a threat and lack of leadership by political parties probaby played an even bigger role in boosting the PS.
Despite the good fortunes of the Soini’s party, there is one lesson that can be learned: If you don’t stand up to right-wing populism it will end up challenging your power base. Why? Because it is a message of hatred that divides our societies and impoverishes us in the end economically and socially.
That is why we need today more than ever leadership concerning the menace that has challenged our society with its anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam message.