An opinion poll and two results: how do young and older people vote and what does it say about the political future of Muslims and cultural diversity in Finland? For one, it suggests that matters will get worse before they improve.
YLE published Sunday a poll that shows two different political paths for Finland: Among the older voters (50-79 years), the Social Democrats are the most popular party while the younger group (18-34 years) gives a different picture.
The popularity of the National Coalition Party is pretty stable among both age groups. The Centre Party’s popularity among younger voters takes a hit, but it is not as dramatic as with the Social Democratic Party.
The Greens, which are the most popular party among young voters, reveals that parties like the National Coalition Party, Centre Party and never mind the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* will continue with their subtle and harsh Islamophobic and anti-immigration rhetoric by treating migrants and minorities like second- and third-class members of society.
In Finland, you hear a lot about how young people in Finland are more open to difference. If you look at the young voters (18-34 years), parties (National Coalition Party, Centre Party, PS, and to some respects the Social Democratic Party) that have dragged their feet on recognizing that we are today a culturally diverse society, total 58%.
How many parties are open to difference and cultural diversity? They are the Greens, Left Alliance, and Swedish People’s Party. All three parties in the young-voter group total 36.6% compared with 18.9% in the older group.
The first table shows how 18-34-year-olds would vote. The second one, on the right, shows the 50-79-year-old-age group. Source: YLE.
One of the most surprising findings of the poll is the popularity of the anti-immigration PS among young voters, which indicates that there will always be an appeal among some voters for racist and bigoted politicians and parties.
While racism in politics will stay with us for an indefinite period, we should remember what Ghyslain Vedeux said:
“Racism is like rain. You cannot stop rain but you can protect yourself from it. We need social umbrellas to protect ourselves from racism. This would come in the form of awareness, social policy, and leadership.”
The poll reveals as well that Finland is doing too little and showing poor leadership in containing a social ill like racism and social inequality.
Understanding this fact means that migrants and minorities in Finland must raise their voices and become active in protecting their rights.
* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity. One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic.
A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.