In all of the Nordic region we have seen far-right populist parties rise in this century with a hostile even vicious anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity agenda. Of all the Nordic countries, you are the only one in the Nordic region where populist anti-immigration parties have not formed directly or indirectly a part of government.
A poll in November, however, showed a sharp rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats to 21.5% when compared with 12.9% it got in the 2014 parliamentary elections and not trailing too far behind the Social Democratic Party (25.7%) and Moderates (22%).
The Sweden Democrats are the third largest party today in the 349-seat Riksdagen (parliament) with 49 seats (12.9%) in 2014 compared with 20 seats (5.7%) they won in 2010.
In an analysis piece by Expo, an anti-racism and anti-fascism NGO in Sweden, they explained the rise of the Sweden Democrats in 2010 to the Riksdagen in the following words:
“The Sweden Democrats gain from presenting themselves as an alternative to the so-called establishment,” wrote Expo chairman Daniel Poohl. “The bloc politics that has marked the election campaign has turned the Sweden Democrats into a distinct third alternative, an underdog.”
Poohl continues to warn us in 2016 about the Sweden Democrats: “That’s where we come in. This is the white paper [stating that they aren’t a racist party and have no ties to fascism] that the Sweden Democrats would have to do, but will never be able to write. The racism found in the Sweden Democrats isn’t something that belongs to history but is a part of the party’s concept.”
Migrant Tales wrote the following letter to Sweden in june 2015 warning about the perils of playing ball with a populist party that loathes immigrants:
“Today, you, dear friend in Sweden, are the only country that can restore sanity to this part of Europe and effectively challenge this force that is undermining and threatening our Nordic values. We need you to hold out and show leadership, which has been shamefully lacking in the rest of our region.”
Read the full story here.
However, it looks like there is a tear in the cordon sanitaire that excluded the Sweden Democrats from Swedish mainstream politics. Anna Kingberg, the head of the Moderates, said that her right-wing conservative party would be ready to negotiate with the Sweden Democrats, according to Politico.
Social Democratic Party Prime Minister Stefan Löfven gave a warning to the leader of the Moderates.
“You will be sitting and negotiating with a party that you yourself say is racist and pro-Russia,” he said adding that Kingberg had ”lost her political compass.”
Löfven is right if we look at what has happened to countries like Denmark, Norway and Finland, where populist anti-immigration parties have risen to power. Apart from drafting much tighter immigration policies and fueling a hostile anti-immigration environment, these parties are only interested in two things: support of white nationalism (for example, anti-EU, bolstering “law and order,” national security, among others) and policies that hinder immigration as well as cultural diversity.
To those Swedes like Kingberg, I’d like to take the opportunity to point out that the Finns Party, or the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* as we call them in Migrant Tales, haven’t accomplished a single important thing except for fueling suspicion of asylum seekers, migrants, and minorities and helped pass tougher immigration laws that exclude instead of include people.
It shouldn’t come to any surprise that some MPs of the PS actually like US President Donald Trump and would do anything to mimic his reckless and megalomaniac style of running the White House. Trump, like the populist anti-immigration parties in the Nordic region, has proven to be a cancer, according to Boston Globe op-ed published this week.
The PS are a rambunctious and lewd party that speak in racist and fascist code to secure and attract votes. With the party’s poll standings having plummeted to 8.6% from 17.7% in the April 2015 parliamentary elections, even its voters have turned their backs on the party because they have broken most of their campaign promises.
Looking at the shenanigans of the PS, first in the opposition after the historic election victory in 2011 and now in government since 2015, I can say with full confidence that the PS have been an utter calamity for Finland.
The tightening of immigration policy by the PS and its partners, the Center Party and NCP, have done such a good job at making Finland unattractive to asylum seekers that they have scared away skilled migrants and foreign investment as well.
Why would you want to invest and create jobs in a country that has a government that is hostile to asylum seekers and sees cultural diversity as a threat?
If you play ball with the Sweden Democrats, there will be a lot of expectations from voters for the party to deliver on its promises. Since they don’t have any credible plan except to fuel nationalism, spread xenophobic rhetoric, and tighten immigration policy, they will succeed at fueling social inequality instead of creating jobs and economic growth.
Parties like the Sweden Democrats are a cancer in the Nordic region and in the same populist league as the Danish People’s Party, Progress Party and the PS, which have given racism and fascism a platform and divide Finnish society.
If you play ball with the Sweden Democrats, don’t say that we didn’t warn you.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”