After Perussuomalaiset (PS) party Kontiolahti town councilman Mika Hiltunen was sentenced Tuesday by a court for ethnic agitation, we saw once again a familiar balancing by the PS: stating to moderates it doesn’t accept racism but at the same time assuring the extreme right that the party accepts racist outbursts by its members.
We have seen this time and again. The PS and Timo Soini, who said in 2009 that any party member who got sentenced for ethnic agitation would be sacked from the party, are political Houdinis. How can you be against racism and support it at the same time? That takes special politcial skills and a public that is by and large pretty ignorant of what racism is.
It’s too early still for the PS to count it’s promising political chicks. Soini and the party leaders know that its double talk and political chicanery on intolerance could backfire badly.
Let’s see how the latest balancing act by the PS works. In order to stand out and award the extremist and racist voters of the party, councilman Hiltunen claims on his Facebook page that asylum seekers and refugees are “social-welfare bums and rapists.”
Now here’s how the balancing act happens: Eero Bogdanoff, PS North-Karelian region chairman, publicly defends what Hiltunen said by asking him to not resign as member of the PS’ regional board and continue as if nothing happened. Well, as almost as if nothing happened…
“Hiltunen has mend his ways pretty well,” Bogadanoff is quoted as saying on YLE. “The publicity he got is punishment in itself.”
What would have happen to Hiltunen if he made such racist public comments and lived in a country like Sweden or Britain? There are two options: He’d be either sacked from the party or forced to give an apology for what he said.
He or the PS did neither.