Finland 2011 election: A perilous watershed

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Sunday’s election in Finland was historic for many reasons. For one it ushered in a populist party with far-right and xenophobic elements to the Eduskunta (Parliament). In order to comprehend the new political landscape of Finland, we must use hindsight to understand what has happened.

While some like the Social Democrats blame ever-growing social inequality in welfare state Finland and globalization for the convincing victory of the True Finns, I believe it has its roots deep in the cold war period. Even if Finland paid a high price for allying itself with Nazi Germany in the Continuation War (1941-44) and for waging war against the former Soviet Union, far-right nationalism in this country was never challenged.

This type of nationalism was maintained with the help of our hatred of the Russians and our general perceptions of other cultures based unfortunately on myths and racism.

One has only to look at the number of immigrants during the cold war era and the foreign investment laws to understand that at least in the laws Finland was an off-limits country for outsiders.

Apart from passing its first Aliens Act in 1983, or 65 years after we gained independence in 1917, Finland kept foreign investment on a very short leash through the Restricting Act of 1939. With the help of the law, equity ownership was capped at 20% and, with special permission up to 40%.  Foreigners could not own land and weren’t allowed to establish companies in the following sectors: forestry, mining, shipping, refining and securities trading.

If you were a so-called alien before 1983, you did not even have the right to habeas corpus. Soviet refugees were returned back to the USSR as well to face long-term imprisonment in asylums.

Is the True Finns’ victory a return to the cold war preiod or a twenty-first version of it?

One of the first statements on television by the anti-immigration wing of the Perussuomalsiet (PS)* led by Jussi Halla-aho, who got elected in Helsinki, was on immigration. He interpreted the True Finns’ victory as a vote against Finland’s immigration policy and the European Union.

It is kind of odd that while 2.9% of the population of Finland are non-Finns, Halla-aho and his followers are steadfast on tightening immigration policy. Is this a first preview of Denmark a la Danish People’s Party? We don’t know.

In neighboring Sweden, where 14% of its population consist of non-Swedes,  the xenophobic Sweden Democrats got 5.3% of the vote.

Even though Sunday’s election is a clear indication that about 20% of the Finns are fed up with the government’s EU policy, immigration and the weakening of the comprehensive social welfare state, it does not mean that the majority of the Finns are on a protest-vote warpath. The majority gave their support to the traditional parties and their values of our society.

The election will stand out as a dangerous watershed for Finland. As Finland finds it more difficult to finance its social welfare state with the help of borrowed money, thus fuelling social inequality, matters will get worse before they improve.

Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has a beachhead in Finland.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names 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.

  1. Frank Langella

    I can not agree with your position. The Finnish people have been quite willing to accept foreigners but ask that those same foreigners accept Finland (and its culture of independence and work values). There is no free lunch.

    Multiculturalism migration was a costly experiment introduced in various self serving European nations during the post WWII recovery period. The longer term problems both cultural and economic are now presenting themselves throughout Europe proper. Why should Finland be a part of solving a problem it never helped to create.

    The real question has never been asked – what makes mass migration from east to west necessary in this day and age?

    • Enrique

      Hi Frank Langella, and thank you for visiting us.

      I don’t know what “multiculturalism migration” means. Do you mean restricting immigration from certain areas of the world? This was done in the nineteenth and part of the twentieth century in countries ike Canada and the United States. Why do you think they scrapped these types of laws?

      I do agree with you that in a culturally diverse society mutual acceptance, mutual respect and equal opportunities are paramount. Both have to make an effort for it to work. Do you think that the majority in many European countries have accepted people from different cultures on this premiss?

      We should keep in mind that we are not speaking in the future but in the present tense: our societies in Europe are diverse today. That is a fact and nothing can make it go away. So, what are we supposed to do? Exclude or include? I’m all for inclusion.

  2. A Finnish Voter

    The big winner in finnish election, Perussuomalaiset, is NOT a right-wing party. Neither is it far to the left. True, they are demanding a more strict immigration policy, but that is pretty far from concentration camps…

    • Enrique

      A Finnish Voter, consensus ended after the cold war ended. If the True Finns aren’t, as you claim, neither far-right or left, what are they? How would you classify Suomen Sisu? Teemu Lahtinen? IKL?

  3. pun the librarian

    “It is kind of odd that while 2.9% of the population of Finland are non-Finns, Halla-aho and his followers are steadfast on tightening immigration policy.”

    This is a very common argument but I have to ask at which point asking for tighter immigration would not be odd in your opinion. And is the correct number of immigrants in all of Finland or perhaps locally?

    At which point am I allowed to start questioning multiculturalism which is going to permanently change this country and not necessarily for the better. Try giving me something to work with here because I’m starting to think that people are using that argument dishonestly and will use that argument no matter how many immigrants there are in Finland.

    There is also the fact that any tightening of the immigration policy is not going to stop immigration completely, and nobody wants zero immigration anyway. But laws are slow to make and implement. So if we start planning for more sensible immigration laws now, they are not going to be in effect for years. And if Finlands multicultural policies are flawed and some minorities drop out from society, it is going to harm their children and their success in Finland for a long time.

    By your logic, I should remain passive until problems with multiculturalism are too much to ignore. Then I could perhaps join PS, work years getting support for my party and finally start planning some new laws. All this years and years after the problem became too much to ignore. And after this we would still have to deal with a generation of immigrant kids who suffer from previous failed policies.

    • Enrique

      –This is a very common argument but I have to ask at which point asking for tighter immigration would not be odd in your opinion. And is the correct number of immigrants in all of Finland or perhaps locally?

      Pun the librarian, why don’t we cut to the chase: (1) What specifically do you want to change in the existing law? (2) What aspects of Finland’s multicultural policy is flawed and how do you plan to fix it?

  4. Mark

    Hey, Frank, which part of Finland should they accept? North and Finnish speaking, or coastal and west and Swedish speaking? Should I learn Finnish or Swedish? I mean, listening to them Finns talking and it’s hard to understand them and I have more friends in Finlad who can speak English than who can’t, so why would I bother? Maybe Finnish should be scrapped, I mean, everyone can speak English, so why bother with this Finnish. Just because the politicians speak it and the bankers and lawyers and those university boffins, but most everyone I know speaks English to me, so why not scrap this Finnish-language nonense. I mean, English culture is more important don’t you know – I mean even Soini supports an English team and converted to a Roman religion. No-one really cares about Finnish stuff anymore.

    Hey, I know what you mean Frank about them freeloaders getting a free lunch. All those lazy Finnish-speaking Finns sitting on the dole just getting benefits and going on the piss with their dole cheques! How many? Nearly half a million lazy good-for-nothing Finns sitting on their arses! Half a million! Gosh, that’s a lot of lazy Finns. They probably came from the countryside to the Cities just to live off the dole. Why don’t they go back to the countryside where they come from. Don’t they know that people in the city work, and speak English!

  5. Allan Beck

    The PerSu is not “far right”, they’re more between SocDem and Vasemmistoliitto. They might be conservative as opposed to the Greens or RKP, but in the anti-EU stance they find more common ground in the splinter communists and workers party and the IPU.

    As for xenophobia, I dont think the PerSu are afraid of foreigners, quite the opposite. I think the fobia in Finland is at the moment in the liberal circles a bad case of verafennophobia.

  6. Mark

    Hey, Allan, who are you to tell anyone they aren’t far right? Nobody tells Finns what to do – except PS Finns, that is. And that’s only because they know what being a True Finn is all about.

    I sound like one of those arty farty ‘modern art’ folks, all up your arses and your BMW’s, with labels for this and labels for that. I mean, ‘splinter’ communists’ and IPU, RKP, EU – did you swallow an alphabet or something. And splinters are what you get in your finger, doh! Don’t you know real Finns don’t speak that kind of rubbish – they speak plain English (not Finnish!).

    I mean everyone knows multiculturalism is useless – look at the Swedish Finns, no-one likes them, do they? Don’t you hate the way they speak in that funny foreign lingo – but with a bit of a Finnish accent, as if they were trying to blend in; everyone knows their foreign, right! We should send them back to Finland, and then give all their jobs to Real Finns, Finns from the countryside, that is, or Finns from the City if you had a grandmother who was from the countryside.

    And we don’t need no Europeans – I mean no-one helped us when we had a recession: well, except a few hundred millions in foreign loans, but hey, they offered to help and we thought we’d be nice by accepting – not like them Portugese, trying to rob us blind.

  7. pun the librarian

    It seems that you forgot to answer my question. Perhaps you can provide an answer after I humor you with mine. I am mostly in line with “Nuiva vaalimanifesti” but here are some notes :

    I want courts to export all criminals who are convicted to jail or are violent repeat offenders. This does not necessarily require a new law, just a policy shift.

    I think that asylum requests from EU-countries are mostly groundless and I want faster request processing.

    Finnish nationality is granted too easily and in roughly 1/3 of the time rules are bent and mostly (85% of that 1/3) when immigrants have criminal records. I would like this to change, so we need either slightly stricter law or a policy change.

    I would like a tightening of family unification practices, Kokoomus and Keskusta wanted this too before the election but I think they will most likely to forget this.

    I would like to see a comprehensive immigration policy which outlines Finlands long-time strategy for luring immigrants and acceptable numbers of refugees and immigrants. this also requires a study of the costs and benefits of different types of immigration and also projections to the future.

    New law concerning foreigners in Finland (2008) is too lax and needlessly complex. I would like to see it scrapped but even if we keep it it requires a rewrite.

    As to flawed policies, many immigrants and language workers have criticized learning programs for immigrants, refugees are too heavily concentrated in the suburbs of Turku and Helsinki, welfare payments to asylum seekers are too generous (best benefits in EU).

    I think thats enough for now. How about you answer my original question. At which point is it OK to start asking for tighter immigration?

    • Enrique

      Pun de Librarian, have you ever heard of the UN Declaration of Human Rights? Do you think it is ok to send sentenced criminals back to a country where their lives are in danger? I wonder what those international conventions we signed would say about that.

      –I think that asylum requests from EU-countries are mostly groundless and I want faster request processing.

      I have a suggestion: Why don’t you apply for a top EU job in processing refugees. How stupid of them to take such a long time. You know what nobody knows: Asylum requests from EU countries are mostly groundless.

      –I would like a tightening of family unification practices, Kokoomus and Keskusta wanted this too before the election but I think they will most likely to forget this.

      How can they forget this if they if its the law? There is a flaw in your thinking.

      –I would like to see a comprehensive immigration policy which outlines Finlands long-time strategy for luring immigrants and acceptable numbers of refugees and immigrants. this also requires a study of the costs and benefits of different types of immigration and also projections to the future.

      Why even bother?

  8. Allan Beck

    Law is needlessly complex and the whole MIGRI process is far too slow to deal with any issues. The asylum process takes years on end and of course it is abused as legal immigration is made too difficult – you do not question the amount of illegals in teh USA when you see the paperwork for an immigration visa.

    The EU does have its directives, but the problem is the local way of dealing with the process. Authorities still work as if it was the 70s and Eila Kanno was sitting on the border.

    Another aspect is the “EU free movement” – never mind the poor unfortunate beggars, the discrepancy between unemployed builders and foreign builders and builders paying tax is mind boggling. If there is a loophole there will be someone exploiting it. A foreigner will not get a job on a worksite if they are resident in Finland. However the foreigner will find his countrymen working there, as “sent laborers” with all the small things like social insurance fees and taxes conveniently forgotten, never mind health and safety rules. So its not anything to do with xenophobia foreigners not getting jobs – its a question of being a cheap gastarbeiter or a union-card-carrying resident. They had this issue in Germany in teh 80’s but nothing is learned.

  9. pun the librarian

    “…have you ever heard of the UN Declaration of Human Rights? Do you think it is ok to send sentenced criminals back to a country where their lives are in danger? I wonder what those international conventions we signed would say about that. ”

    Why yes and yes. And most often cited international convention is 1951 Geneva paper which states that refugees can be deported after particularly serious crimes or because of public order. So wonder no more.

    As for job application, I am already employed but I am grateful for this advice anyway. The problem is that officials handling these requests must obey the law and even if I would apply for a job processing refugees laws would apply to me also. So we will most likely need a new law or policy as well as more resources.

    The tightening family unification practices is not yet a law but just an election promise (if even that). Unfortunaly, sometimes election promises are somehow forgotten.

    “Why even bother?”

    I think I know how you feel. Perhaps it is unkind of me to point out that you still have not answered my original question.

  10. JusticeDemon

    pun the librarian

    Your questions are far from unanswerable. Let me give you some notes on your notes, beginning with the notion of deportation:

    I want courts to export all criminals who are convicted to jail or are violent repeat offenders. This does not necessarily require a new law, just a policy shift.

    In the first place, it’s not the courts that do the deporting (exporting – lol!) in any sense. Finland adheres to the conventional – albeit unintuitive – doctrine that deportation is not a punishment or sanction for an offence, so the courts are not even empowered to recommend deportation (as they do in the UK, for example). In this trivial sense you are wrong about requiring new legislation.

    The role of the administrative courts in deportation is the same as their role in any other administrative matter: to examine whether the decision of the competent authority is lawful. This examination has a narrower and a broader material aspect and a normal procedural aspect.

    In the narrower sense, it investigates whether there is a positive case for expulsion. The positive grounds for deporting a non-citizen are set out in section 149 of the Aliens Act. These grounds include criminal convictions, but not quite in the way that you suggest. The basic rule is that the deportable offence should carry a theoretical maximum sentence of one year’s imprisonment. Less serious offences can result in deportation if they are repeated. There is no specific requirement for a foreigner to receive a jail term in order to warrant deportation, so in this sense you are asking for a more liberal policy than we currently have (don’t you wish you were better informed?!). It is quite common for offenders to be fined, even for offences that carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment for at least one year. Stealing a bicycle to ride home when you missed the last bus is one such case, at least if it’s a valuable enough bike for the offence to be classified as theft (as opposed to petty theft). In theory you could be banged up for 18 months, but in practice you’ll only get a fine for this offence plus an order to make amends to the bike owner. Even when the court only levies a fine, however, you could face deportation proceedings. There is no need for repeated offences to be violent in order to serve as grounds for deportation, so here again you are advocating a more liberal policy than we actually have. For example persistently working without the appropriate worker’s residence permit can get you deported.

    The broader examination (known as kokonaisharkinta) then investigates the impediments to deportation, which are many and varied in principle. To begin with, the deportation may serve no sensible public interest. Deportation is not an end in itself, nor is it an additional punishment for an offence. The extenuating circumstances of a deportable offence, for example, may excuse the conduct concerned to the extent that the court convicted the offender but imposed no penalty at all. It is highly unlikely that deportation would serve any public interest in such a case. The threshold of misconduct warranting deportation is also higher when the candidate deportee has dependents in Finland. Minor offences such as stealing a bicycle are unlikely to exceed this threshold when the consequences would be to leave de facto orphans in Finland, for example.

    One important aspect of the broader examination is so important that it has its own section in the Aliens Act (section 147). This is the principle that nobody can be deported to an area where the deportee is at risk of suffering the death penalty, torture, persecution or other degrading treatment or punishment. This principle is also in the Finnish Constitution (section 9) and in important international human rights instruments that Finland has ratified.

    This last point was probably an important factor in the Ibrahim Skhupolli case (which I accept is a crucial example), particularly if we note that the only criminal offence of any substance that Skhupolli committed after Kosovo gained de facto independence was the massacre at Sello Shopping Centre. Any attempt to institute deportation proceedings based on earlier offences before this time would have been questionably late under the fair trial provisions of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. All in all, however, I believe on balance that Skhupolli should not have fallen off the radar.

    There are also special provisions governing the deportability of European Union citizens and a certain category of immigrant from outside of the EU. A history of criminal behaviour does not suffice to warrant deportation of an EU citizen; the offending behaviour must also be such as to jeopardise public safety and there must also be compelling grounds for believing that the offending behaviour will continue. This is an extremely high threshold in practice, and following the entry into force of Directive 2003/109/EC, it also effectively applies to long-term resident third-country nationals living in Finland (permit type P-EY).

    Deportation decisions are also administrative decisions governed by the normal administrative laws of Finland (most notably hallintolaki). If a decision is procedurally incorrect, then the court can strike it down and return the matter for reconsideration. For example a decision may be struck down because a concerned party has not been heard on the grounds for the decision. Procedural errors used to be quite common in deportation cases, but thankfully they are now rare.

    Now as far as I can tell, the practice of deportation has generally complied with legislation. Most of these rules are quite clear, and there is no point in submitting deportation proposals in cases where there is no prospect of exceeding the expulsion threshold set by law, and particularly by constitutional and international law. It is easy to criticise the outcome, but to argue that any other outcome can be achieved without significant legislation is simply futile.

  11. Finn

    I’m dumbstruck by the attention this has got around the world the first time Finnish people vote for a party that wants to drive the matters of the regular Finnish people and you blame them for being Nazi’s and whatnot terrible uproar and… I say come live here see how the people who drove the Finnish folk to vote for such a party act… they have zero respect for our culture they make demands that our culture offends them especially those of Islam religion meanwhile from little children we are taught tolerance and the when in rome way of thinking… we dont go abroad making demands… our immigrants have forgotten that its their role to be assimilated not the other way around… as far as I am concerned everyone who can act like a respectful person in a foreign country should is welcome… no one sees that maybe just maybe the way refugees and what are now called social refugees behave here is the reason… I dont like the party that caused this uproar but… it is democracy this crying… all of you who cry are enemies of democracy the point of it being you dont always win unless ofcourse you support the party with the most voters… and now the vote is over so STFU or GTFO 🙂 thats my few cents. oh… sorry for the grammar kinda lost it with all this whine care for some cheese with that?

    • Enrique

      Hi Finn, and thank you for dropping by Migrant Tales and sharing your views with us. I think the “Nazi” uproar comes from the Suomen Sisu faction and Soini’s own conservative view of society. If you look at the True Finns’ campaign manifesto we could call it quite conservative. But if I were fair with you, the first important matter to understand with respect to what happened on Sunday was that it was a protest vote. A protest is a one-off thing that usually wears off.
      I would debate with you about how immigrants adapt to our society. You can always bring your view on the matter but what counts at the end of the day is what works. As Finland’s society becomes more culturally diverse, we need mutal acceptance, respect and equal opportunities. I consider maassa maan tavalla a flawed method? Why? Because it requires the other one to do all the adapting while the other one just sits. That is not the way things work effectively in the adaption department.
      Despite all the criticism about Finland immigration policy and integration program, maybe they aren’t that bad after all taking into account that Finland has had few immigrants to begin with. In a mipex survey our integration program came in fourth after Sweden, Portugal and Canada. Not bad, no? Check http://www.mipex.eu
      In many respects the campaign of True Finns like Jussi Halla-aho and his bunch is pretty funny. They don’t really have any immigrants to go after except for the few Somalians they seem to be obsessed with. Sad but true.
      Remember that elections come around again four years from now and then the situation will be totally different.

  12. JusticeDemon

    Continuing the foregoing:

    I think that asylum requests from EU-countries are mostly groundless and I want faster request processing.

    You and everybody else. As your qualification mostly makes clear, each application must be processed individually on its merits. If you don’t have some magic formula for accelerating the process itself, then the only way to reduce overall processing times is to hire more staff to make these decisions. Such staff require legal qualifications and formal training, so the key question is how much more are you willing to pay for faster processing? Even young lawyers don’t come cheap, and I suspect that very few of them view this kind of work as anything more than a means of gaining an initial foothold in government service.

    Finnish nationality is granted too easily and in roughly 1/3 of the time rules are bent and mostly (85% of that 1/3) when immigrants have criminal records. I would like this to change, so we need either slightly stricter law or a policy change.

    The State is free to set the bar here as high as it likes, but citizenship applicants don’t melt away simply because their applications have been turned down. Instead, they hang around and raise foreign families. The children of these families remain foreigners even though they know no other home than Finland. The outcome over two or three generations begins to resemble South Africa or Israel. Germany tried this approach, but abandoned it at the beginning of the new century. You might like to look into the reasons for this reform. As foreign residents, they also constitute a burden for the immigration administration, so you will either have to find more money for this branch of government or accept that it will progressively become even less efficient at processing the permit applications of new arrivals.

    I would like a tightening of family unification practices, Kokoomus and Keskusta wanted this too before the election but I think they will most likely to forget this.

    You need to explain precisely how this will affect the relationship between parents and children in the relevant sense, which is based on the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (see especially Article 20 with its reference to kafalah). 99 per cent of tabloid and popular dialogue on this subject is hopelessly ill-informed and/or legally and morally untenable. Please note in particular that any rules in this area will have to apply equally to the adopted and foster children of Finnish families returning from abroad.

    I would like to see a comprehensive immigration policy which outlines Finlands long-time strategy for luring immigrants and acceptable numbers of refugees and immigrants. this also requires a study of the costs and benefits of different types of immigration and also projections to the future.

    Fair enough, so would I. Immigrant organisations and lobbying groups have been calling for such a policy since at least the 1980s (check out ISBN 9789516624733), but aside from one notable effort in the late 90s, successive governments have been notoriously unwilling to come to grips with this policy area.

    The closest approach was the 1997 Commission report Hallittu maahanmuutto ja tehokas kotoutuminen. You can get some idea of this document and the work of the Immigration and Refugee Policy Commission from the table of contents that is available online here.

    New law concerning foreigners in Finland (2008) is too lax and needlessly complex. I would like to see it scrapped but even if we keep it it requires a rewrite.

    You seem to be referring to the Aliens Act (no. 301 of 2004). This has been amended nearly 30 times, though most of these changes have been made to accommodate the impact of Community law and administrative reorganizations. The basic structure of the 2004 Act has remained essentially unchanged. There was one relatively technical amendment that took effect in 2008 and another that came before Parliament in 2008 and took effect in 2009, but surely you cannot be referring to these amendments alone.

    The 2004 Act was quite a lot longer, but a great deal clearer and considerably less complex than the previous (1991) Aliens Act. You will have to be a lot more specific about where you think the 2004 Act is now “too lax and needlessly complex”. Judging by previous experience, it takes about five years to prepare a comprehensive revision of the Aliens Act, and the outcome always tends to overemphasize whatever issue is flavor of the year when the bill comes before Parliament.

  13. Nauran & rajusti

    I don’t recall PS EVER saying that “yeah, lets lock down the borders – ASAP”, so don’t even go there.
    Currently we have immigrants (actually, if I were to speak numbers, probably 90% of them) who have a steady job, who pay their taxes and follow the Finnish law. To get there, it takes time and resources – lots of them. A recent news article revealed that an asylum seeker gets a daily allowance of little under 10 euros. On top of that they get free accomodation, medical care and catering. As a finnish student I’d be farting rainbows if I had 10 euros a day to throw around after paying for all of that. Keeping in mind that the “daily allowance” of a finnish conscript is around 5 euros, can you really blame people for wanting a change in practice?
    I voted for PS, im a racist, facist, utterly moronic right wing nutjob – that’s a given. Why should I have the right to express my opinion with the 1 vote given to me by the State of Finland? The facebook groups, one even titled “civil war” just shows how stupid people can be.

    You asked that why should criminals be deported to countries where their lives are in danger? Well fuck me, in documentaries some asylum seekers recall their recent holiday to their homeland with great warmth. In how much danger can they be in, if they are willing to go back for a holiday…? Because of the aforementioned characteristics I also believe that a native finn should be deported as far away as possible if he holds up a convinience store at 8am and gets away with 50 euros. Criminals deserve to be treated like criminals. What kind of a knob shows concern over the security of a convicted, proven rapist?

    Immigrants are welcome to Finland. I think that all cultures and religions should be respected equally. However, I would not accpet immigrants who try to replace finnish culture with their own. The suvivirsi has been sung in our spring festivals since.. forever. It’s a matter of principle.

    • Enrique

      Nauran & rajusti, thank you for dropping by. We’ve had quite a lot of debate on social welfare to refugees/immigrants versus Finns. In the first place, we’ve concluded that the the there is no such thing as a free ride for refugees/immigrants. Finland has had some 60-odd years experience in building a comprehensive welfare state. It has qualified public servants and good laws. Now, tell me, why would a civil servant stick his neck out and give a refugee more subsidies than a Finn? Illogical, no? But this is one myth that it being pushed out there.

      Aren’t you proud that you live in a country that can offer asylum to people in need as opposed to being in a country that would make you an asylum-seeker? I like it the first way.

      As I told Finn, the election was a protest and protests wear themselves thin.

      –What kind of a knob shows concern over the security of a convicted, proven rapist?

      A country like Finland that is an example. There are others.

      One thing I never understood is how anyone can come here and take over Finland. At the best interaction changes culture. So don’t worry, Finnish and Swedish will be spoken here as long as there are Finns.

  14. un Finlandais

    Dear Enrique,
    You have some mistakes in your writing, especially concerning parts about Finnish history.

    “Even if Finland paid a high price for allying itself with Nazi Germany in the Continuation War (1941-44) and for waging war against the former Soviet Union, far-right nationalism in this country was never challenged.

    You seem to forget here that Finland was attacked by USSR in 1939 and the Continuation War was simply a re-run of the first war. The other part about the far-right nationalism is nonsense. When the second war with USSR started a coalition government was formed with all the parties in parliament participating. After the war all far-right movements including Suojeluskunnat, Lotta svärd and IKL were banned by Allied Commission. (Lapua Movement was banned already 1932). Agrarian League (later Keskusta) was the leading political force in the cold war era having Urho Kekkonen as president between 1956–1982.

    Finland did ally with the Nazi Germany. We didn’t really have a choice. In late 1939 Finland was standing alone when the USSR attacked while Sweden didn’t want to get involved and the Allies didn’t want to interfere because of the alliance with USSR. Seeking for help Finland had no choice but to ally with Germany. Finland was in war with Germany 1944-45 when the German troops in Lapland had to be pushed out of the country.

    If you were a so-called alien before 1983, you did not even have the right to habeas corpus. Soviet refugees were returned back to the USSR as well to face long-term imprisonment at asylums.

    This part’s classy, you turned the whole history upside down. Finland was in USSR leash the whole Cold War era. Finland did keep it’s independence unlike some other countries that turned into USSR satellites, but in fact Finland was under Soviet influence until early 1990’s.

    I hope you understand that Finland is sui generis. It’s always been between major powers like Sweden, Russia and Germany. Retaining your independence as a minor country between USSR and Germany isnt bad. I’d say well played Finland. The country can’t be described as a western nor eastern society and it’s different from the other North European countries too.

    You’re right that True Finns have some characters similar to far-right movements. But the Nazi-bullshit in BBC and other mainstream media is exaggerated. As Timo Soini has said they want more strict immigration laws, not to stop it. And they want to renegotiate the finnish part in the aiding of Portugal and Greece, not to give up the aid. On historical sense True finns has its roots in The Finnish Rural Party (SMP), a breakaway faction of the Agrarian League. So pretty center I’d say.

    I hope True Finns make it to the government. The government really needs some fresh faces. And True Finns would learn that politics is all about compromises. If they stay in the opposition as a protest party I’m af raid that theywill be the biggest in the next election four years from now.

    It’s democracy, wathca gonna do?

    • Enrique

      Hi un finlandais, and thank you for sharing your views with us. Welcome to Migrant Tales.

      What the Soviet Union did on November 30, 1939 was a direct aggression on Finland. But what happened in the Continuation War, I believe, is a different story. In the Winter War France and England were almost ready to jump in. If this would have happened, it would have changed the course of World War 2. It explains why Stalin wanted an armistice.

      Even if I am a World War 2 buff, I never understood Finland’s co-belligerant relationship with Nazi Germany. Politics makes strange bedfellows? Or did some Finns really side with Hitler’s idea of “race and blood?”

      Granted: the True Finns are a hodge podge of different ideological currents: You have the “Alfred Rosenbergs” from Suomen Sisu, small businesses and even socialists. I think the far-right label came from the True Finns campaign manifesto.

      If I were Timo Soini, I would naturally try to establish the True Finns as a credible party in Finland. This means distancing himself from people like Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari, Kike Elomaa and the likes. But how can you distance yourself from these types of people who are rengades. But as the votes showed it was a big protest. Protest votes have a tendency to wear themselves down. Moreover, another matter that will weigh against the True Finns is their inexperience.

      I personally believe that the SMP scenario of the 1970s is a very valid one to take into account in 2015.

  15. Mark

    JusticeDemon, you are a God ;-). It’s nice to see a genuinely informed opinion. As you say, it’s easy to criticise, but much of the time, it’s ill-informed.

    That is the problem of a good lot of political debate – it’s people defending a gut instinct reaction with the pretence of an expert opinion.

    In the end, it’s perhaps better for us lay folk to debate the issues of political and social values – what we want and care about and what we don’t want. Saying laws are too complex is all very well, but if that is the only reason for suggesting a change or voting for a party with the ideological bagage of PS, then it’s a shame. And it also means that the real issues aren’t really debated.

    What do Finns want when it comes to immigration? A small handful of foreigners to bring tales of the ‘world out there’, make some meaningful contribution to society and don’t ask the Finns to change – and definitely don’t ask them to make small talk ;-). What a lot of people don’t want is another culture setting up shop in the cities and acting like a terrorist ticking time bomb. That takes away the feeling of security on the ‘inside’. Understandably, that feeling of threat can seem very real and very threatening. But perception and reality are far apart, at least, to start with. Because if we create an atmosphere of fear for foreign culture, and we buy into the extremist world-view that Christian and Muslim cultures are on a collision course, then we have already lost the ideological battle against extremism.

    The sensible alternative is to recognise people’s values, whether they be Christian or Muslim. There are very very few people who genuinely want a war, or a class of civilisations. Many Muslims coming to Finland are trying to escape violence, not export it. Likewise, Finland has enough of it’s own modern day terrorists, what with bombs in shopping centres and school shootings. Basically, most of us want to live in peace. We also need and would like to be respected. It’s important to respect Finnish culture while in Finland, but likewise, most Finns also respect a foreigners culture. It does well to just know a little bit about the foreign culture, because as much as anyone does their homework, there are bound to be ‘mistakes’, or just things that you would never even imagine to be different from one culture to another. As a Brit married to a Finn, I have found that the amount of water that covers the boiling potatoes is a significant cultural difference. Finns barely cover the spuds, and we Brits like to drown them. Small thing, but even that can give rise to tension, though most couples I know who’ve faced this potential cultural apocalypse in the kitchen have managed to laugh it off.

    A climate of fear will breed an uncomfortable situation for everybody. And it’s not likely to get better with time. I mean, if you don’t know how to behave around foreigners, then you can just try to stay away from them, but in this day and age, many people are curious about ‘the world out there’ and the people that have found their way to Finland, of all places.

    The other issue is just how big an issue immigration is in politics. Is it really the most important issue? it is the one that seems to get debated so much. I mean, living in a European capital like Helsinki, would you really expect to find only Finns? Capitals in the past have always attracted a mixture of people and cultures. Such is the nature of trading capitals. Of course, many rural Finns have moved to the capitals and then they are surprised by their cosmopolitan character? That’s the Big City for you – it is always more diverse than rural cultures. It also makes sense to concentrate refugee resources in bigger cities than to try to spread refugees around the country. You might think it would help integration to do that, but in the end it really makes it harder for everybody, native administrators and people from overseas. Integration takes time, and realistically, it’s often 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants that are the best adapted. It should be fine to just accept that. It really is harder to change when you get older and why should you? Because someone doesn’t like your clothes, the colour of your skin, or your funny language? Come on people, let’s be grown ups about this. We can handle a little diversity without going off the handle.

    Nauran & rajusti asked what kind of knob country shows concern for the security of a convicted rapist. That’s a good question. Finland is the kind of country that gives citizens rights, even citizens that don’t behave themselves. If someone murdered your child, then revenge may be on your mind, but the police would step in and protect that murderer. The thinking is that the courts are there to give out justice and that invidividual citizens must let the courts do their job. So, really, the answer to your question about what kind of knob country protects criminals is very simply, a civilised country.

  16. pun the librarian

    JusticeDemon

    You have very good points in your answers (although not for the question I asked from Enrique). I hope you understand my list was just a rough set of general ideas. For example, the idea that we should be working to deport jailed criminals and repeat violent offenders was to show that even I don’t want to deport foreigners with traffic fines or minor crimes like bicycle theft. Still, I think that we should and could make deportations easier and this does not require as significant change in law as you say. But if you are right, isn’t it beter to start working on new legislation now than to rush them after greater social problems?

    As for the aliens act, I believe you when you say that it is an improvement on the previous law but I am hardly the only one to criticize it, for example head of Migri Jorma Vuorio criticized the law for making deportations harder although some changes were made to the law later. The head of administration committee Antti Rantakangas also criticized the law of being to lax. By the way, perhaps ambiguous would describe the law better than complex.

    The previous Keskusta-lead governments got a fair amount of criticism for making some rushed and controversial laws and the Aliens act is no different. Lex Nokia, Lex Karpela, New gun laws, law that got Matti Nikki in trouble and Wastewater ordinance all got flak from experts and public for being rushed and/or flawed. I’m pointing this out just to remind everyone that just because immigration is an issue in this blog, it is not the only reason to vote for PS as many of these controversial and rushed laws passed with a strong support from opposition or at least the main opposition party SDP.

  17. JusticeDemon

    pun the librarian

    Hasty and ill-judged legislative reform is a problem in many areas of public administration, and often arises following a shift in the colour of government. Many of the problems of the 1991 Aliens Act (mainly formulated by the Holkeri government, which inherited the project from Sorsa IV) were due to amendment no. 639 of 1993 (introduced by the Aho government).

    The Aliens Act is essentially a collection of rules that establishes and regulates a licensing system. It’s important to understand that every new licensing criterion introduced into this system increases the time taken to process applications. Some of the current criteria are highly reminiscent of the requirement to verify that there is no black cat in a dark room. By this, I mean that these criteria require the licensing administration to verify the absence of a vaguely-formulated impediment that often sounds fine as an abstract idea, but infinitely enlarges the workload of the licensing authority. Subsection 2 of section 36 of the current Aliens Act is an example of this:

    Oleskelulupa voidaan jättää myöntämättä, jos on perustelua aihetta epäillä ulkomaalaisen tarkoituksena olevan maahantuloa tai maassa oleskelua koskevien säännösten kiertäminen.

    Aside from the word “perustelua”, this general condition sounds fine until you examine what it actually requires the authority to do in practice. For example in principle this provision justifies a full forensic examination of every supporting document accompanying every application.

    There is a tendency to view deportation as a form of transportation penalty for criminal offences. As I indicated before, Finland adheres to the doctrine that deportation is not a punishment or sanction. There are serious technical obstacles to abandoning this doctrine. For example it is the job of the criminal court – and only the criminal court – to fix the full and final penalty for a criminal offence. This must also be done consistently from one case to the next. A typical outcome might then be that a Finnish citizen (or a foreigner who is undeportable for the reasons indicated in section 9 of the Constitution) might be sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay compensation to the victim of aggravated assault, whereas a deportable foreigner could be deported instead of these penalties or part thereof, but not in addition to them (as is currently the case). However much you may want to hold foreigners to a higher standard of criminal liability than citizens, this is simply not possible.

  18. Nauran & rajusti

    I guess my view on immigration changing our culture goes beyond wether finnish or swedish are still spoken when I need my diapers changed again. Like I said, most immigrants go about theid daily lives just like us born finns (actually, a bad term in 2011). I’ve even had the pleasure to work with them in a few summerjobs. Hard working and extremely friendly would be the two words to best describe them. That’s the kind of immigration I want to see here in Finland.

    The kind I do not want are those who openly comment on “finnish girls being kept in the same classroom as their muslim boys” or that “music lessons in finnish schools should be turned into sessions where the quran is recited”. Also, we already have enough problems here regarding the equality of women.. Letting muslims in really works wonders with that problem.

    And yes, I admit to my earlier comment being a bit harsh, and covering too much. If you come to Finland as an asylumseeker (seeking refuge from war or a tyrannic government) and then to about raping a girl in her 20’s and dumping her at a gas station in freezing weather.. IMO that kinda clashes with the whole idea of needing “protection”

    http://www.finlex.fi/fi/oikeus/kko/kko/2009/20090014 An example of the social benefits that are being paid out.. the case was later dropped? I’m not saying a native Finn wouldnt get the same, he/she would. That’s just the kind of behaviour that pisses people off and makes them vote in a protestive manner. Also, what I said about conscripts and students aint no myth… A student gets a max of 500€ from Kela. Might sound like a lot, but an apartment costs anywhere between 350-600 a month, depending on location.

  19. Takatukka

    So, the True Finns are xenophobic and there’s a risk of things taking a turn for the worse concerning human rights and immigration. Yeah, right… As if things were that simple. If anything, the TF stance is much more sensible than what has been in effect for the recent years, where you could pretty much only get nationality, permanent residence or long-term work permits if you were either 1) married to a Finn, 2) citizen of EU, or 3) a refugee. This is unsensible and hinders those willing to live and work here, while those that fulfill a certain criteria of their origin but are rather more willing to exploit the welfare are treated better.

    Here’s a few stories for you, both true and observed by me first hand.

    Back in ’04 or so, I had a roommate named Martin. He was a Canadian, but had lived in Finland for 4 years already, working in IT. He spoke near perfect Finnish, liked Finland and wanted to move here. A really nice, talented guy in his early thirties, and qualified for his job. Let’s add that he was white, too, so there’s no racist ideas. After the fifth year in Finland, the authorities would not renew his work permit due to “there already being excess workforce in the field”. No way, no how, I even accompanied him to the authorities once at this stage because he was afraid he was going to be locked up and sent back to Montreal. The dialogue between the authorities was baffling – one had a positive attitude but was unable to help, while another that was passing by was asked on what to do, and replied “Well, will he go quietly?”. Eventually, Martin was forced to marry a Finn in order to stay.

    Another case was a co-worker in one of my summer jobs at about the same time, a citizen of USSR who had moved to Finland with his athlete husband, who was a football player. It took them over 16 years of living and working in Finland to get citizenship, even for their children who were born in Finland and lived here all their life.

    Both of the above cases are examples of people who have real motivation to be so-called good citizens and respectable members of society, yet they are massively hindered by the current policies in becoming that. It is apparent, even from the media, that Soini’s (and TF) stance to the above cases is these people should be welcome to stay, if you bother to read what they have actually said. It’s not xenophobic, and if you’re claiming that their desired immigration policies are, you should consider the ongoing situation and probably make a blanket claim about all major parties that have created the current situation as being even more xenophobic. Though you had been digging into the Finnish history and immigration policies of old, you did not seem to make such a claim for some reason.

    The current system is unjust and needs to be done away with. Naively, there are good people who are having a hard time right now, while others are having an easy time for no apparent reason except origin. It makes no sense. It’s hardly populism to point out something that is wrong on so many levels.

    This from someone who didn’t vote for TF.

    • Enrique

      Hi Takatukka, welcome to our blog. I have to dash but you can say that everything is ok because for one YOU are not on the receiving end.

  20. Roland Freisler

    I love the media play in this. For example, the name of the party is translated wrong. True would be Tosi in finnish language, while Basic would be Perus. The other has the right wing racist ring to it and the other has the common people ring to it. Why do you people think the foreign media is using the first one?

  21. Mark

    Hi Roland
    Probably because it’s the official name in English chosen by PS!

    Takatukka
    Some good points. But one thing makes it difficult to take your argument seriously. You seem very sympathetic to your friend and totally dismissive of the right to stay in Finland based ‘on origin’. Maybe you don’t understand the idea of ‘refugee status’. But it’s basically a stance taken by the vast majority of developed countries towards the plight of individuals from countries where persecution of citizens on the basis of religion or political beliefs is the norm. This is not the same as the UK or France allowing residents from previous colonies to enter their countries (mostly to bolster an increasing service industry sector with labour). Finland’s contribution to this human rights stance has been minimal and so I really cannot see how people can complain about it. What really is so bad about refugees? Even if they complain about the culture, even if they dress differently, even if behave very differently…the point is, there is plenty of that also within Finnish culture – Finns are quite capable of moaning about Kela or how something in the Kindergarten isn’t right for their Urpo! The reason that PS is perceived as Xenophobic is because rather than acknowledge refugees as just an extension of what is already a vast degree of diversity within Finnish culture, they try to create the notion of a ‘pure Finnishness’, even to the exclusion of Swedish roots and culture, which is neither true, nor defensible. It generates hate, it feeds on fear, and it really actually doesn’t solve the problems.

    Even if they

  22. daniel mckillipe

    I’m an Englishman who has moved to Finland in the last few months and this debate slightly baffles me. Finland is a democracy and if the people chose to vote PS that is their right. What we now need is a proper debate on immigration and Finland’s role in the EU. I think its patronizing to suggest this is just a protest vote therefore suggesting people did it because they were unhappy with the main parties. PS have obviously struck a chord with alot of people because they are saying what needed to be said for a very long time. I cannot see any xenophobia or racism in what they are proposing, just good common sense. And to say they are racist etc is just an excuse to shout people down and use the race card which is just as bad as racism itself. From my experience back in England, mass immigration is NOT a good thing or something Finland should allow. I see many negatives about mass immigration and very few positives. Is there a European country that has really benefited from it? I cant name one. In England immigrants have contributed to a higher crime rate and social unrest and making people feel like aliens in their own country. I for one would not want that to happen to a great country like Finland.

  23. Allan Beck

    Just to add to the history bit of un Finlandais :

    “Finland kept foreign investment on a very short leash through the Restricting Act of 1939. With the help of the law, equity ownership was capped at 20% and, with special permission up to 40%. Foreigners could not own land and weren’t allowed to establish companies in the following sectors: forestry, mining, shipping, refining and securities trading.”

    Yes, and why would that be? To keep “strategic” businesses in domestic hands to ensure crisis protection. Like today most of Finnish shipping is owned by foreign lines. Imagine if this would have been the situation in 1939? No shipping = no trade. Imagine what kind of power during the cold war the USSR could have wielded just by threatening to cut the oil supply, if Teboil had owned the refineries and had a monopoly in gas stations and the tankers would have been soviet ones? Economical warfare was a part of the cold war, like with the Berlin airlift, and the reality that was there. Forestry was the main cash-bringing industries so to ensure the foreign “hard currency” wouldnt flow abroad that is understandable. Mining as well as well as providing strategic metals.

  24. JusticeDemon

    Roland

    Your approach to translation is amateurish. Like any other association or business, a political party can call itself whatever it likes in any given language (Ulkomaalaisvirasto – “Directorate of Immigration” (foreigner/alien? authority/bureau/agency?), Kansaneläkelaitos – “Social Insurance Institution” (nation? pension?) etc. etc.). You may also care to reflect on how “true” is used with national adjectives (“true Brit”, “true American”, “true Italian”) and then Google expressions like “perusitalialainen”, “perusvenäläinen” and “perusbrittiläinen”. The prefix “perus-” is used with national adjectives/substantives in a sense that corresponds fairly closely to the “true + national adjective” construction in English.

  25. Klay_Immigrant

    Two central themes of logic seem to arise time after time by people who oppose the True Finns and their agenda.

    1. How a party such as the True Finns in a very short time can become so popular when the immigrant population is relatively small compared to other Western European countries?

    2. Why immigrants are highlighted more profoundly for showing negative traits when some Finns in Finland are the same?

    I’ll take these points one by one. It’s generally agreed on both sides of the immigration debate that Finland will receive more immigrants as time goes on and that doesn’t necessarily alone mean a bad thing. But just because the immigrant population is low doesn’t mean that measures don’t have to be taken now instead of the future when the numbers are higher. Why wait until there are large scale problems and then try and find a solution to eradicate the problem instead of putting policies in the first place so those problems will never occur. Surely that’s a better idea. This line of thinking can be used for other scenarios. If you live in a house do you think it’s better to have a fire extinguisher present so when a fire starts it can put out quickly or wait until the fire starts then go out and buy a fire extinguisher while the fire blazes? When travelling to Africa do you think it’s better to get vaccinations for diseases before when healthy or wait until you may catch something there and then seek treatment? This is the logic behind the act now on immigration policy then wait later. We are also talking about people so once problems happen on a large scale it’s practically impossible to fully solve it and the only choice is a damage limitation exercise.

    My second point is that no society is perfect. There will always be people who lose their way and are negative to society such as committing crime or refusing to work. No matter how good a government is people like this will always exist. So to justify purposely bringing people at your own cost monetarily of similar nature because of that fact is completely ludacris. Just because there are Finnish native murderers does that make it alright to allow foreign murderers in too? I admit predicting who will commit crime is difficult so that’s why when an immigrant convicted of a crime of jailable sentence then they should be deported immediately no matter where they are from. People may say what about their safety? Well they lost that right when they committed that crime and should have thought about that beforehand. Keeping them in Finland is obviously a danger to the Finnish public and they should be first priority not the criminal. It’s easier though to predict to could obtain work quickly and who couldn’t. If someone has no formal education qualifications, cannot speak at least English and cannot write, how will they ever be useful to Finland which has the highest one of the highest university attendence rates?

    Immigration can work but and there is such things as negative and positive immigration. Take Malmo and Geneva for example. Geneva has more foreigners proportionally and in absolute terms yet there are no cutural enclaves (ghettos) or high unemployment among them. They have added to the city to make it a international hub for business and organisations. It’s also one of the cleanest cities in the world. In Malmo the immigrant unemployment rate is 70% and the areas they live in fire trucks and ambulances have to be escorted by police for their safety, not to mention Jews are constantly being harassed. Notice the difference?

  26. JusticeDemon

    Takatukka

    Finland is a small country and I am reasonably certain that I know the two cases that you mentioned, so I’d better be careful what I say about them.

    You are mainly describing the problems experienced by migrant workers before the 2004 Aliens Act. As is commonly the case, these problems persisted for a few years after the new law took effect, mainly because the various government departments expect their employees to learn the new system with little or no effective training. In practice this means that they learn the hard way by having their decisions quashed by the administrative courts. Even though the 2004 Aliens Act is now quite well embedded, I still occasionally stumble over cases in which local police stations and employment offices are applying the old system.

    The standard rule now is that all migrant workers in regular employment are understood to be at least probationary immigrants, and those in temporary work are also regarded as immigrants if this work continues for two years. The situation with footballers and certain other categories of sports professionals is partly due to the nature of employment in these specific occupations. The total probationary period should not exceed six years, but as I indicated above, we cannot always rely on the competence of local officials to administer the system correctly. This means that foreigners have to be vigilant and ready to insist on their rights.

  27. JusticeDemon

    Klay_Immigrant

    I admit predicting who will commit crime is difficult so that’s why when an immigrant convicted of a crime of jailable sentence then they should be deported immediately no matter where they are from.

    Why do you persist in opining on topics that you have not even begun to understand?

    Example. Like quite a few newly-arrived foreigners, Klay_Immigrant messes up his first tax return in Finland, owing to the complexity of declaring various assets and incorrect oral advice from a tax official who promptly denies ever having uttered a word. Klay then winds up in court charged with ordinary tax evasion (section 1 of chapter 29 of the Finnish Penal Code: “Joka … salaamalla verotusta varten annetussa ilmoituksessa veron määräämiseen vaikuttavan seikan … aiheuttaa … veron … määräämisen liian alhaiseksi, on tuomittava veropetoksesta sakkoon tai vankeuteen enintään kahdeksi vuodeksi.”). The tribunal is sympathetic to Klay’s explanation (new to Finland, complex foreign system, naive and poorly advised etc. etc. and please don’t go on too long), and decides to find for the prosecutor (because the offence was technically committed) but let the defendant off with a warning (“rangaistus jätetään tuomitsematta”) in view of the extenuating circumstances and trivial character of the case. The court also scowls at the young, overzealous public prosecutor to make it clear that you can only pull a stunt like this once in your career.

    Klay then becomes “an immigrant convicted of a jailable offence” and should be kicked out of Finland.

    Earth to Klay… Hello?

    It is surprisingly easy to be convicted of an imprisonable offence through little more than ignorance of common custom. One case that I examined many years ago concerned a Ghanaian student who had been in Finland for just three weeks when he bought a used mobile phone in a flea market. He discovered that the phone was stolen only 3 years later when it broke down and he took it to an authorised dealer for repairs. The court found that the defendant had “had reason to suspect” that the phone was stolen (rather a harsh conclusion to reach for a Ghanaian with less than a month’s experience of living in Finland, and also difficult to square with the subsequent behaviour of taking the phone to an authorised dealer) and imposed a small fine for negligently receiving stolen property (section 4 of chapter 32 of the Finnish Penal Code). This is also an imprisonable offence. I successfully contested an attempt to delay issuing a permanent residence permit on this basis, but only because the delay was disproportionate.

  28. Klay_Immigrant

    As usual Stupid_Demon common sense evades you. Just because an extreme part of an offence may be jailable doesn’t make the usual offence jailable as a whole. In the two scenarios you gave, the norm punishment isn’t a jail sentence so I don’t know why you even mention it. Was the Ghanian student put in jail? No. Would I have been? No. So what’s your point? Take for example speeding in a car in the UK. You can be sent to prison for that if let’s say you were caught doing over 100mph in a 30mph zone. But you are also breaking the law by doing 34mph in a 30mph. Now you would never be thrown in prison for that so that’s the equivalent of the two scenarios you mentioned in your last post. Each case has to be taken on it’s own accord. If the normal punishment (the most likely consequence) is a jailable offence for serious crimes such as rape, burglary, robbery, murder, serious aggrevated assault, drug dealing etc. then they should be deported and those were the crimes I was talking about. Ofcourse as I said before common sense alludes you and everything has to be explained like a little child when I would take for granted you would know exactly what I mean.

  29. JusticeDemon

    Klay_Immigrant

    English lesson on use of the -able, -ible and corresponding suffixes:

    For the semantic content see here.

    For the associated spelling conventions see here.

    A jailable offence is an offence for which someone can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

    This is not the same as an offence for which someone has been so sentenced. Such offences are a subset of jailable offences. Draw the Venn diagram if you still don’t get it.

    You said that jailable offences should entail mandatory deportation:

    when an immigrant convicted of a crime of jailable sentence then they should be deported immediately

    Even you can complete the syllogism.

    If you meant something else, then you will need to explain this a lot more clearly. For example, if you feel that deportation should only be a consequence of offences in which a specific penalty of imprisonment is ordered by a criminal court (a certain subset of jailable offences), then you are advocating a very considerable liberal reform of the present system. For one thing, common assault and persistent shoplifting would hardly ever lead to deportation, even after the third or fourth offence. Deportation would come to depend on the vagaries of Ministry of Justice sentencing guidelines, with the expulsion threshold effectively depending on extraneous factors such as the prison population.

    ***

    This is entirely relevant because the expulsion provisions of the Aliens Act are specifically formulated in terms of the theoretical maximum penalties for various offences. That’s a fundamental feature of the systematics of expulsion in Finnish law. The actual penalty imposed (if any) has no bearing on whether the conviction can serve as grounds for expulsion.

    Thus a foreigner can never be deported for a single offence of trading in dog or cat fur, as this offence (kissan tai koiran turkiksen markkinoillesaattamisrikkomus) is only punishable by a fine. A deportation decision based solely on a conviction for an offence of this kind would be trivially incorrect in law. By contrast the Finnish Penal Code includes a very large number of offences that are punishable by various terms of imprisonment (i.e. jailable offences). If the maximum term is not less than one year, then the offence can be grounds for deportation. It is possible to be convicted of such offences under circumstances in which expulsion serves no intelligible sensible public interest.

  30. esperanza

    I am appalled at the misrepresentation by the author in the form of this blog:
    it is ‘our’ resident alien interpreting to the rest about our xenophobic and ultra conservative society! The author paints a one-sided and biased picture, and conveys a very, very murky picture of Finnish people and Finland’s situation at the present moment. Perhaps this is to serve his own aims.

    Finns have always been most tolerant towards newcomers, in fact, in a naive way there is a tradition to put the newcomer – here immigrant – forth as a priority. I am myself a spouse of a ‘foreigner’ and my spouse gets better service in Finland than I do! I gather the author himself is a second or third generation Finn, corny but true.

    The ill-feeling of the present situation was well reflected in the Parliamentary election just held, Like some other suffering economies in Europe must re-consider the open-doors policy: up till now, anyone who utters the word ‘asylum’ when landing on our shores will never ever be deported, and will be able to have a residence permit for life, and an endless process of appeals should there be a denial, and of ‘family reunification’.

    The author fails to mention that Finland has until now a most generous policy for remunerations for asylum seekers. There is, as of now of social welfare benefits to scores of Somalis who land in our shores. And that the majority of those who seek asylum come from far away (why? Isna’t there asylum anywehre closer to where they are from?) are not the kind of immigrants that will bring any benefit to the Finnish society – quite to the contrary: the loitering populace of the newcomers are reluctant in integrating themselves, despite measures that the society has taken to sustain them. Any country would question such practices; we cannot afford this. As a rather civilized nation, however, we do not want an auxiliary culture, or cultures, living in shantys or ghettos, as are in the fringes of many European cities. It is not the Finnish way to have ‘two kinds of people,’ the Finnish way is that everyone is provided for.

    The author writes: “This type of nationalism was maintained with the help of our hatred of the Russians and our general perceptions of other cultures based unfortunately on myths and racism.”

    This is utter nonsense. The author shows that he is not knowledgeable of Finnish history and its repercussions. There is not need to resort to myths and racism in forming perceptions of the current type of immigrants. The author should refrain from lumping together immigration from Russia, or lump together immigrants who come to Finland as spouses, or are skill-workers, to a lined-up job, with those who come simply as asylum seekers: the readers from elsewhere should be informed that Finland, for 20 years offered to Ingrian born Russians to resettle to Finland ; this rule was applied to all second and third generation Ingrians. They are well adapted to Finland, as are Russians and Estonians. They have generally adapted well into our society.

    It is quite reasonable to ask: why should Finland be the payee to a family of undetermined membership of Somalis in Finland?

    • Enrique

      Hi Esperenza, you must be the person that comments on Uusi Suomi, right? I don’t think I have to elaborate on what you try to claim because you answer that question yourself. Aren’t you concerned about how a party like the True Finns uses xenophobia to further their political career? I personally see it as something cowardice and of questionable character.

      Generalizing and labelling others is dangerous. There is too much of that in the ongoing debate.

      Let’s see what you say: First you mention that Finland is a friendly country to immigrants (I am certain that many live good lives and are content) and then you state later how asylum-sekers/refugees don’t adapt and are a “problem” in this society. Do you also fear that “foreigners” are taking over Finland? You use arguments like “open-door” policy to immigration and why Somalians come to Finland – why don’t they go somewhere else? Are you another person in this country who is obsessed with Somalians and Muslims? Oy vey!

      I would recommend you meet some Somalians and find out who they are. Taking into account the racism they face from some Finns and the hostility in our society, they have adapted remarkably well. They are a tough people who have learned how to survive in the bootcamp of racism. They if anyone know how to keep their heads above water.

      When some Finns speak in an insulting manner about “maahanmuuttajia” and “pakolaisia” they end up unfairly insulting the very Finns that left this country in the last two centuries. By insulting these people you conveniently shut your eyes to our history and a part of who we are. That part of who we are has the words immigrant and refugee engraved in it.

  31. JusticeDemon

    esperanza

    I am appalled at the misrepresentation by the author

    That’s rather rich in the light of the inaccuracies and fabrications in your subsequent remarks:

    1.

    p till now, anyone who utters the word ‘asylum’ when landing on our shores will never ever be deported, and will be able to have a residence permit for life, and an endless process of appeals should there be a denial, and of ‘family reunification’.

    Your source for this claim? The official figures on claims for asylum and international humanitarian protection bear no comparison with your characterisation.

    2.

    The author fails to mention that Finland has until now a most generous policy for remunerations for asylum seekers.

    Perhaps you should give concrete figures instead of generalising. One asylum seeker of my acquaintance whose application was upheld in February was unable to find the 8 euro round trip bus fare to Helsinki from Kauniainen, where he was studying, in order to meet me in town. That’s hardly surprising on a daily allowance of just €2,92 payable to an asylum seeker on full board and lodging.

    This is the cue for some Finnish student to explain how he survives on two tins of baked beans a month, and then only when they are on special offer…

    3.

    for 20 years offered to Ingrian born Russians to resettle to Finland ; this rule was applied to all second and third generation Ingrians. They are well adapted to Finland, as are Russians and Estonians. They have generally adapted well into our society.

    That’s an interestingly selective perception of our experiences in the late 1990s. The population group concerned was originally advertised as Ingrian Finnish (though by the standards of your fellow rabid contributors to this blog, they were not Finnish at all), but the initial welcome extended to this lost tribe in 1990 was soon curbed by slow bureaucracy and progressively more restrictive procedural rules (most particularly the requirement to arrange housing before arrival). Some of these initiatives were positive (e.g. establishing homes for old people in Ingria and arranging pre-departure training), but many of them were merely obstructive bureaucracy designed to slow down the influx of Ingrian returnees. The clearest evidence of this is obviously that these special measures were not applied to returnees from Australia, North America and so on.

    Some of the earliest members of the Ingrian returnee group, who arrived in Finland in their early teens, enjoyed desperately little support in terms of professional immigrant integration services. The resulting problems of social exclusion were exceptionally severe in some cases, with symptoms of antisocial behaviour even managing to exceed the very high threshold for deporting a person of Finnish extraction.

    The experience of relocation was also ruinously expensive for those who were forced to give up any claim to ownership of the homes that they had lived in all their lives, following privatisation of the housing market in the post-Soviet period. AFAIK Finland did absolutely nothing to alleviate this problem, which amounted to stripping people of their life savings purely in order to satisfy administrative regulations on domicile registration.

    In many ways the Ingrian community provided the guinea pigs for Finland’s earliest pre-competence blunders in integration service provision, but the Ingrian experience was far and away the single largest factor boosting the nascent pedagogical discipline of teaching Finnish as a foreign language to adults.

    Fortunately most of these problems of the Ingrian community are now history, but the well adapted Russian speakers that you mention continue to report regular experiences of discrimination in many aspects of their lives.

  32. Mark

    Daniel

    I’ve heard these things you are saying so many times before: people have the right to vote, these things needed to be said, it’s not xenophobia but common sense, it’s not racism, but accusing someone of racism is ‘playing the race card’ and is as bad as racism, mass immigration is not a good thing, very few positives about ‘mass’ immigration, no benefits from it, linking immigrants with crime and social unrest, people feeling like aliens in their ‘own’ country.

    People do ‘have the right to vote’, and so far, but come on, who is saying that people don’t have the right to vote? Not anyone on this blog and not anyone I’ve heard talking about the election. So you can put that straw man away for a start!

    PS brought up immigration in the political debate. That is playing the race card in politics. That is why everyone refers to them as a ‘nationalist’ party. I mean, it’s not rocket science to understand that this is a party with a nationalist and populist agenda. But then you want us to believe it’s common sense, it’s just saying what everyone is thinking? I don’t want to call you naive, but hey, this populist game has been played out in politics a million fukcing times before, it’s not trying to deal with an issue that’s been ‘under the carpet’ for a hundred years. Did you ever do history at school?

    So if I’m pissed off that PS are going after the foreigners as if that is the most important problem in Finnish society (it absolutely is not!), and talking about foreigners as if they were second class citizens, then I’m the one who is ‘playing the race card’. Get out of here!

    You, like many others who make the same arguments, have probably never really looked up the meaning of the word racist. It has two basic meanings, which are closely linked. The first is that my race is better than your race, the old ‘Aryan Race’ argument. This is a bit more than the ‘my team is better than your team’ thing, which is a fairly harmless throwback to tribalism. It’s a case of ‘my team deserves better treatment than your team because this is our land’. That leads onto the second definition, which is racism is any kind of negative discrimination and prejudice based on race. By race, we are not talking just about colour, but about culture, language, origins etc.

    Now this, ‘it’s our land’ kind of argument is a load of tosh, because let’s face it, most of the land is not ‘owned by us’. It’s owned by a minority and mostly by the banks, if we are going to get technical about it. People think of Finland the land and say ‘it’s our country’, is if land ownership gives the rights to decide what happens on that land. But really, that’s just a big fucking lie, because it’s not about owning land, it’s about SOCIETY. Finland is a country, but when it comes to talking about anything meaningful which we all own collectively, it’s not land, it’s society. When you put it like that, it’s much easier to understand that arguing something like ‘it’s our society so we get have more rights as citizens than other people who aren’t ‘in our society’. Surely you start to see how stupid that argument begins to look. Of course, arguing ‘it’s my land and I get to say what happens on it’ is a much stronger argument, but really it’s fucking meaningless to all intents and purposes. If you own land, then I assume you don’t have a lot of immigrants trying to camp on it. No. People use this ‘it’s our country’ to try to make the argument stronger, when really what they are saying is ‘it’s our society’. And really, society is not something that people ‘own’, it’s something that they are a part of. And when you start talking about giving citizens in that society a different status and set of rights, then that is verging on the racist. Now, ‘guests’ as in those that come here to work on a permit are not going to have the same rights as ‘citizens’. But once full residency is given, then full rights should come with it. I can see why a foreigner would be barred from becoming president, though that is a rather pointless symbolic kind of racism that is totally unnecessary – because lets face it, Finns are not going to vote for a foreigner to be president, and if they did, then it means the constitution doesn’t reflect the common will of the people.

    Another thing that is clearly racist is when you label a whole culture with negative stereotypes. That is very plain and simple racism. That is why everyone was up in arms at the treatment of the Roma in France. Once you start saying a whole group of people of a different culture are ‘criminals’, or ‘terrorists’, or just ‘uncivilised’, then you are being racist. I know that people don’t like this definition, but that is the definition. You are taking people, who come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, behave in a variety of ways, have a variety of value systems, and lumping them all into one box and sticking a fucking big negative label on it. And by negative, I mean it’s generally filled with hate, the kind of irrational hatred that goes with the worst kind of tribalism.

    You know, I laugh my head off when I read your comment about ‘I see very few positives from mass immigration’. Fact is, if you suddenly took all the mass immigrants (and their descendends) out of the cultures/economies of France, the UK and even Finland, the whole fucking system would collapse overnight. You would be thinking about the positive fact that we wouldn’t be paying so much benefit, while meanwhile hospitals would be closing, transportation would grind to a halt, imports of goods would grind to a halt, the service sector would cease to function etc. Basically, society would collapse. Just think of the chaos that comes with a bit of snow in England, and how things come to a standstill because a minority of workers can’t get to work. No positive effects? You really have no idea how society works, do you!?

    By the way, of course immigrants have contributed to a higher crime rate in the UK, for several very clear reasons. First, the single biggest trigger for crime is poverty and deprivation. Immigrants have been farmed into poor areas of cities and had only minimal resources spent on them and their integration. And, people like you moan for every pound or euro that is spent on them. I’ve worked extensively with refugees coming from Latin America to London, and the huge problems they face day in day out would make your life look like a Winnie the Pooh picnic, I’m sure. You want your cake and to eat it. You complain that they don’t integrate, but then you also complain when people want to spend money on helping them integrate. Of course, your answer is just not to have them at all. So, now they are here, you don’t want to help them, then they suffer all the problems of deprivation and you are offended by that. But you would accept them happily I asume if they looked like ‘us’, talked like ‘us’, walked like ‘us’, etc. But you’re not a racist.

    Oh, humpty dumpty, what a numpty!

    • Enrique

      Hi Mark, I could not have said it better. Even if I may be blamed for sounding too simplistic, I believe the whole immigration/cultural diversity debate in Finland boils down to the following question: Do you see immigration as a threat or a possibility?

      I personally feel that all this anti-immigration baloney arguments is a form of denial. Over a million people emigrated from Finland in the last two centuries. Those that have a romantic view of Finland and its people conveniently forget this historic fact. It’s shameful but true.

  33. Mark

    Thanks Enrique. My writing is a bit ragged at times cos I don’t have time to edit it. ‘Scus me!

    Amazing, two million people! I think one of the truly great benefits of multicultarilism is yet to be realised, and that’s to avoid a huge clash of civilisations. If Muslims can live and prosper in Western countries, as they mostly do (1.5 million of them in the UK), then it greatly weakens a possible clash of civilisations based on the ‘them unholy Christians’.

    Society always seems to have it’s problems, and many of those problems are focused on the marginalised in society. But what is the point of calling for better integration while fostering attitudes that actually only increase the marginalisation of these ‘visitors’. It doesn’t make sense. And fact of the matter is, for the far right, it’s not really about caring about immigration at all, it’s about winning votes. That’s what these numpties really don’t get. But then, all politics is like that. The ‘debates’ about political approaches are quite far removed from the business of government. Simple statements like ‘we want stronger immigration’ are not enough to improve legislation or to improve the prospects for immigrants, especially if there is a strong resentment towards immigrants being fostered in the population at large.

    The true impact of immigration in economic terms, in terms of law and order, and even cultural identity is massively overblown. Of course it is; it’s an easy vote winner. The UK was a very successful empire not so very long ago, with colonies stretching the corners of the globe. The price of that imperialism was always going to be a melting pot of cultures. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot go out to influence the world and not be influenced yourself in turn. The same applies to Finland in the modern day. If Finland wants to be a player in the global economy and reap the benefits of that, then the result is going to be more evidence of that contact with the outside world in the way of foreign ‘visitors’. Likewise, if Finland wants to stand up for human rights and political freedom, and it’s great if they do, then one of the prices of that is to put your money where your mouth is – in other words, to accept the financial and economic cost of supporting those that suffer the effects of persecution for standing up for those same rights. I mean, for a good Christian country like Finland (tongue very much in cheek), it’s not such a huge thing to see this as an extension of compassion, not that religious morality is the only thing that drives human rights, far from it.

    Nope, the price of benefiting from globalisation (which is why Finland is in the EU) is quite rightly that Finland takes up some of those responsibilities that goes with a mature democracy. And that means doing things not simply because they are profitable, but because they are intrinsically right, because they reflect our political and social values. Much of our Finnish society is built on those values, the rights of the citizen, the rights to education, health and opportunities to work and play in relative freedom, the right to redress for grievances through a fair judiciary. We have the right to create our own cultural identity, whether that be traditionalist or modernist (fuck you PS and your thought-police), or green-eyed monster-raving radicalist. People can choose their cultural identity. But then, some people are saying that foreigners are not allowed to choose their cultural identity, they have to conform to what is a very shallow and extremely unconvincing idea of ‘true Finnishness’ as dreamt up by some power-hungry politicos! And we buy it? God help us. I mean, we are all allowed to moan about society and it’s failings, but really, let’s not forget the freedoms and the successes that we have achieved as a society. I don’t mind people moaning about foreigners, because it means I get to moan about them! 🙂

  34. Mark

    When I say “the true impact of immigration in economic terms, in terms of law and order, and even cultural identity is massively overblown,” I mean of course the so-called negative impact.

  35. Touke

    Well, isnt this Mark angry one, heh
    I do agree about globalization with him, everythin else seems to be more or less opinions, instead facts.
    As you mentioned UK and their history with melting cultures, i did not understand that, how it is relevant to PS?
    And who wants to be like UK, i dont say that they are bad or somethin but i really dont think that Finnish do wanna copy UK history or the present moment.
    So why bother to mention… Because these “off topic” messages do unfortunatly be missunderstand, like they have somekind of real value, which they do not.
    This compare with PS and Nazi`s is ridiculous, everyone who does mention these are same thing, should be checked by a doctor, hopefully somekind of brain surgery is available for help.
    If someone has different opinion, it does not automatically mean that he is Nazi = i hope so, otherwise we have lost our freedom already.
    And their politic opinions are very far from Nazi`s, they only want Finland have what they think is best (as you see, i wrote “they think”, i dont wanna talk everyones behalf ) .
    In that point of view they are no different from other parties, which declare to work in best interests of Finland.

    “PS brought up immigration in the political debate. That is playing the race card in politics.”

    This comment of yours is 100% correct, why?
    Because you have no more anykind power to say who will come and who will not, if for some reason you dont want immigrates from a certain countries, you are racist, right?

    Personally i think that is wrong, people should have rights to choose way of livin, and no other foreign country should give us orders in that issue or anythin else.
    Otherwise we are not independent nation and our fathers did die for nothin.
    Especially people who are “visitin” here should check in the mirror.
    This kind of language and behavin is outrageous, it do tell lot of things about their attitude and respect for Finland.

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  36. Mark

    Angry? Sometimes.

    Yes, lots of opinions, but debate is about sharing opinions and challenging other people’s opinions. But yes, you can be dismissive if you really want to.

    I mention the melting pot of cultures because Daniel falls back on the ‘mass immigration’, with several mentions of the UK situation. The situation is different there than in Finland, where I hardly think we can talk about ‘mass immigration’, except maybe in reference to repatriation of Karelians.

    The general point about the UK and which is relevant to Finland is that the more involved you become in the world, the more likely that world is going to visible in your culture. The benefit is trading partners and cross-cultural exchange. But it also exposes Finland to foreign cultures in the way of refugees. And foreign can really mean anything that is perceived as different. Personally, I don’t buy this ‘national identity’ stuff. People of different cultures have a lot more things in common than differences. But some people only see the differences and decide they must be threatening to their own identity. As this mostly refers to the major cities of Finland, I also find that slightly bemusing, because major cities have always had ‘minorities’ or even ‘enclaves’ in them.

    Why do you not want immigrants from ‘certain countries’, Touke? There are people of certain nationalities that you don’t like? Well, that would generally be called racist, yes! It’s really simple, you are replacing genuine knowledge of a people and their culture with half-baked second-hand notions and downright stupid stereotypes and then cry foul when someone says that maybe, just maybe, you are being a bit fecking blinkered in your attitudes? And, yes, that kind of thing does make me angry. Why, because the effort to live with prejudice is so much greater than the effort you would need to make to just accept people as people and stop blaming ‘foreigners’ for watering down your sense of ‘Finnishness’.

    As for your ‘fathers dying for nothing while trying to make Finland an independent nation’, don’t talk bollocks. How on earth is Finland’s independence as a nation threatened by a few hundred or even a few thousand (depending on which groups you focus on) refugees/immigrants?

    I have a lot of respect for Finland because it has created an enviable welfare-state society, that has enshrined the values of an egalitarian and free society. I therefore find it rather odd that if you are also respecting this character of Finland that you are defending a party that wants to tell people what their cultural identity should be, right down to what kind of art to like or value. And you are surprised that people are comparing them with Nazis? Take a history lesson and maybe you won’t be so ‘simple Finnish’.

  37. danielmckillipe

    PS were right to bring up immigration as an issue because it could potentially ruin Finland and strip it of its own character and traditions and way of life as it has done in the UK and in France. Right now it is not too late to stem the tide of mass immigration unlike other countries where it has come and ruined all before it. And im sorry, but when did being proud of ones country, and wanting to protect it from immigration become “racist”? I dont believe that most Finns are against a sensible amount of foreign people coming to live in their country if they want to contribute and be a part of society and respect Finnish customs and traditions. But the problem is that most immigrants from either African or West Asian countries do more harm than good after they arrive.

    • Enrique

      –And im sorry, but when did being proud of ones country, and wanting to protect it from immigration become “racist”?

      When you exclude others and forget your history. Sorry, but your argument (trying to hide your contempt for immigrants/cultural diversity) confuses me. How can anyone discuss with you this topic if (a) you see immigration as a threat and (2) assume that immigrants break the law and turn into rapists?

      You should have asked the Africans and Asians the harm that Europeans did to them. At least they are not coming here like conquerers.

  38. Touke

    Well, this was pretty much answer what i was waitin, no suprises.
    Keep things simple and dont mind facts.
    You do think we need refugees to be more multi-cultural, right?
    I dont agree.
    Immigrants that want to come here work and live by Finnish laws, more than welcome.
    Should we make more observation about these things, yes.
    And i do “know” lot of refugees, which are makin our land more “cultural” = and i am not satisfied on results.
    In Finland i have been raised from the start that if we go somewhere, we respect their house rules, and we eat only what we can earn.
    But i dont mean that social wellfare is bad thing, there is situations when you might need it to get back on your feet.
    But it is not for lifetime support system and in some cases it has been used wrongly.
    And that is what i mean, i do want that we will be nation who can take care themself and help others.
    But first we must have our own yard in order, then we can help.
    At our present situation with Keskusta and Kokoomus parties, their leadership has bring Finland to its all time lowest work situation and everythin has gone worst (slowly, but sure).
    Global business is very important, no doubt about that, but it can happen without brainless money losses.
    I have been workin in Stockholm, Sweden and was at Rinkeby = if you want to see true social wellfare culture meltdown, i suggest that you visit there.
    I dont think that anyone in Finland wants that happen here, if you are not sure, go and check it out (it is worth it, i promise).
    Nobody has waterned my sense of “Finnishness” and national identity, if you dont have those, then it is impossible to explain them.
    But in Finland, selfesteem is a huge thing, so i would not underrate it, that includes national identity.
    As it goes to our indepence issue or war history lessons, i think i might have a little upperhand on those issues.
    Not only that i am 100% fin, because i have studied those things too.
    So i can be sure that PS have no Nazi values, it is fact.
    Why people do compare them Nazi`s = ignorance, prejudice, fear of new…..
    Wait, those seem familiar… I think those are definition of racist????????

    So everyone can see what they want, facts are optional..

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  39. Mark

    Well, I think it’s the PS folks that want to keep it simple, the old ‘man in the street’. Soini has constantly complained about academic and political elites, as if they are too corrupted to have a correct opinion about anything.

    I said early in this page that arguing the details of legislation or even trying to trade in facts is probably pointless unless people really know what they are talking about. DemonJustice showed that point perfectly well I think, that people so often take a few misplaced facts that have been doing the rounds for years and present them to us to make themselves look more educated than they are or to defend an attitude that really is indefensible. My point was that it’s probably more sensible to argue about our social and political values. That is what I tend to do. As you are not offering any ‘facts’ to the conversation, I’m not really sure what you want. I guess a discussion about political values is a little ‘over your head’, perhaps? Perhaps it doesn’t fall neatly into the arguments that you have had in the past with people who criticise your support for PS?

    I’m not saying you need more or less refugees. I’m saying that they are a fairly natural consequence of Finland’s more outward-looking economic policies, plus their maturing as a democracy. What I’m talking about is the attitude that some people have towards foreigners from some areas, and the blindness that some people have to their own racism. I have hardly ever heard a racist admit openly to being a racist. Almost always people are in denial about it. Why is that? Because they always call it something else, they always say that it’s not about their culture or their origins, but about their laziness, about their demands for changes in the Finnish system, or about the benefits or help they get. And yet these very same things that you are so incensed about in foreigners are also present in Finns. Finns can be lazy, Finns can leach off the benefit system, Finns can moan about the state of politics or how some group enjoys privileged status. But when Finns do these things, it’s okay, but when foreigners do it, it’s not okay. Why aren’t you talking about lazy Finns? Why aren’t you talking about Finns sitting on the dole for years? If it’s not really about race, then why aren’t you getting antsy about the much greater number of Finns that do not seem to want to work? Why is it only a problem when you some a small minority of foreigners who aren’t working? And let’s remember, it’s a damn sight easier for a Finn to get a job in Finland that it is for a foreigner? You see, this is where I and many others start to think that you folks are in denial about your racism!

    So, things are much worse in Sweden, and we don’t want it to get so ‘bad’! You mean there are more foreigners there or people are suffering? I mean, if people are suffering with lack of jobs or poverty or things like that, then isn’t the thing to do to try to help them? Or is that only true if you are Finnish born? Because if you are going to create a society where Finns have one set of rights and others with an immigrant or even half-immigrant background have another set of rights, then that is a massive, massive change in the values of Finnish society. Think about it, you are saying you want to protect Finnish culture, but if you were to create this ‘two-tier’ society, where there are 2nd class citizens, you would actually be fundamentally changing that very ‘traditional Finnish Society’ you claim to want to protect ‘from the foreigner’.

    I see, because you are Finnish, you can talk bollocks about Finland’s independence, which your fathers died for, is being threatened by a couple of thousand refugees? And these are peaceful refugees on the whole! 🙂 🙂

    So, because you say PS have no Nazi values, it is a fact. Well, I shall remember to defer to you in all matters of fact from now on.

    Why do people compare them to Nazis = because they build up a myth of ‘true Finnishness’ based on an idyllic but completely fictitious historical ‘Finn’, in much the same way as the Nazis used to talk about the Aryan Race, because they attempt to blame ‘foreigners’ for the ills of society (far more Finnish criminals in Finnish jails than foreign criminals), because they have attempted to politicise ‘art’, by implying ‘modern art’ is somehow flawed, belonging to the cultural elite etc.. These are very specific things that the Nazis did. Of course, no-one is saying that PS are advocating death camps for Somalians, but it is not an Either-Or argument; it’s not that they are either completely Nazi, right down to the Final Solution, or they are not Nazi at all. They can of course fall somewhere in between, using similar political tools such as populism or nationalism to generate a support base.

  40. JusticeDemon

    Touke

    Do you think the Swedish tabloid headlines En finne igen and Finnjävel encouraged reasonable perceptions of Finnish immigrants in Sweden back in the 1970s? Wasn’t this also cultural meltdown? Why did all those Finnish immigrants insist on living in the same part of town and speaking their unintelligible gibberish to their children, thereby overburdening the public education system? Why couldn’t they be more like those nice Norwegians instead?

    Answer in simple Finnish if you like.

    • Enrique

      –Do you think the Swedish tabloid headlines En finne igen and Finnjävel encouraged reasonable perceptions of Finnish immigrants in Sweden back in the 1970s?

      Justice Demon makes an excellent point. I am sorry to disappoint you all who think the True Finns will “save” Finland: They don’t have a clue what to do but prefer instead to cut down immigrants and spread “urban legends” as Justice Demon says.

      I have a perception of the role of immigrants in this society and the magic word is inclusion. Other words that Finnish officials could start using regularly are “mutual acceptance,” “equal opportunity” and “racism sucks.” All those countries that have lots of immigrants learn the game. Europe is still figuring this out because its history has been entrenched in nationalism and war. Think how much nationalism and war have helped developed Europe’s banking system and strenghtened as well as justified the nation-state concept.

      If we don’t break this vicious circle we will end up in another terrible war. Those seeds are being planted by far-right parties in Europe.

  41. danielmckillipe

    Enrique, Yes i do see immigration as a threat to Finland if it is uncontrolled. I’m not hiding that fact. If people are allowed to come to this country it should be mutually beneficial to both the immigrant and Finland. At the moment the only people who gain are the immigrants. There has to be stricter and tighter laws to gain entry and residence in the country. Its a no brainer. And yes, alot of immigrants DO break the law when they arrive here from other less uncivilized countries. To deny that is both wrong and keeping your head buried in the sand for the sake of political correctness.

    • Enrique

      –Enrique, Yes i do see immigration as a threat to Finland if it is uncontrolled.

      Daniel, what does uncontrolled mean? When does immigration become that way?

      Another statement that kind of took me aback was: At the moment the only people who gain are the immigrants.

      That is a very general statement. Could you substantiate who immigrants are living better than the Finns. Thank you.

  42. Touke

    Well this is “weird” comment, as i said my previous message that i dont have anythin against immigration, only we should be more carefull what we are doing, we should be smarter about these things.
    Let`s not be those dummies who do what big ones do first, lets try to think by ourself.
    That is different thing…
    And i dont exclude history, it is like many other countries, sometimes better, but there is worst times too.
    It do not effect this PS issue, what was mentioned as racist partie.
    I only want to correct these issues and give another point of view.
    Because i am realistic, i do understand that people have different opinions, as they should, but i dont appreciate the value of narrow-mindedness.
    That was only thing that i did want to point.
    Only ones who should ask africans and Asians is those countries who did attack them, most of Europe, if you see that important…
    I dont think it is Finland issue, as we have only defence forces, so i am pretty sure that we have not attacked there (in history too).

    But i value every opinion, facts are what we do make them.

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  43. Mark

    Daniel

    Oh dear! We really are a broken record, aren’t we?

    So, the UK has been ruined because of all the foreigners there? Do you think the Celts felt the same when the Anglo-Saxons took over? Or did the Anglo-saxons feel the same when the Romans came? And the Normans? Probably. Only there, we are talking REAL invasion, real usurping of the old culture. The point is, being British is really about the colour of the skin of the people you see around you, it really is just about you, and what you want to see. The fact is, British culture is now mixed. That is the fact. That is what aliens would report to Mars and that is actually how it has been for many many centuries in the British Isles. There has been constant mixing. But you see, the other point is that ‘Native Brits’ are not a single people with a single set of beliefs or values.

    Everyone is different, some vote Tory, some Labour, some like Take That, some like Charlotte Church, some don’t. And these days, it doesn’t matter what your cultural preferences are. I mean, were you an Oasis fan or a Blur fan? A bit of both? The point is, you have a choice about what things you eat, what things you wear, what kind of lingo you want to speak. So why oh why oh why would you want to deny that to ‘foreigners’. If ‘freedom’ is one of the great British values, why would you want to deny that right to everyone? I mean, I really detest some of the political groupings, I recognise that they should have the right to exist, otherwise, we create the very thing we are supposed to be trying to avoid, a totalitarian state.

    So yes, if trying to ‘protect your country from immigration’ means that you would make make foreigners into second class citizens, or give them and their cultural choices any less respect than you would give your neighbours, and you do this all based on their race/origins, then you are being a racist. Of course, people often hate their neighbours taste and gossip about how crap they are, or ignorant or this or that, and that’s just human beings. But we don’t and should not elevate that kind of petty bigotry to the level of State Intitutions. Our democratic laws and institutions are there often to protect us from our own pettiness. But you would raise that petty bigotry up to the level of a respectable political ideology! Well, this monkey ain’t falling for it.

  44. Touke

    to Mark

    I dont think that PS will lead us totalitarian state, we do have other parties too, if they need to cool down.
    And i dont mean ‘protect your country from immigration’ kind of thing, as you see in my previous message.
    Our problems are far too big to compare this example:

    “Of course, people often hate their neighbours taste and gossip about how crap they are, or ignorant or this or that, and that’s just human beings”

    And i dont really care much about UK situation, i think they do what they think is best for them (hopefully they are right) and they have long history attackin other countries makin “immigrants” for themself.
    That is whole different story so i would not go there.

    But excellent opinion, again…

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

    • Enrique

      –I dont think that PS will lead us totalitarian state, we do have other parties too, if they need to cool down.

      With about 20% of the vote, it is impossible. And we must remember that it was a protest vote, which have a tendency to change course depending on the political winds of the time.

  45. Mark

    I agree Touke – I think it is extremely unlikely too, that PS would even want to turn Finland into a totalitarian state. But I was very surprised at the way that PS attacked ‘modern art’. That was mixing politics and culture in a way that hasn’t been done as far as I can remember since before WWII. That worries me. What business do politicians have saying what is good art and Finnish art? Of course, it builds into this idea of a single noble Finnish ancestry, where art was real art, men were real men and Finland was pure and true!! Cue trumpets…

    Sorry to talk about the UK situation so much, but others are commenting on it too. Some people are afraid that Finland becomes like parts of Finland, as if that was so terrible. Many UK towns and cities have large ethnic communities, where large facets of the original culture contiue, including the language. The UK faces real challenges, where some schools in London have as many as 30 different mother-tongues among their students and where levels of English can be poor. Other areas house large communities where a significant proportion cannot speak English. This leads to genuine problems, for example, when visiting health care centers or engaging with state administrations. Protecting the rights of every community to its own language is expensive. But it does work. The fabric of British society has not broken, it’s just got a few more threads in the tapestry, many of them very gratefully received.

    The problems begin when politicians start exploiting the problems and fermenting anger between communities. If there is a terrorist threat, then that can also colour relations between communities. But let’s remember, this is nothing about the race of the people. There were people in Wales burning down cottages in the 1970s of English people buying summer residences and pushing up the prices of local houses. There are tensions always between people of different areas – in Newcastle, you could get your head kicked in if you were on the wrong side of the river with the wrong colour scarf around your neck. Of course, it’s mostly kids, young men, with more time on their hands than they know what to do with, and so it’s a kind of ‘gang’ mentality.

    But again, you don’t want to elevate those kinds of tensions or attitudes to the level of being a legitimate political ideology. It’s easy to get people riled up over these things. I remember one area where a large estate was refurbished for the local poor residents, council housing. But before people were allowed to move there, 350 Kosovan families were accommodated. That generated such a lot of bad feeling. The Kosovans weren’t to blame, the resentment against them was huge. The local government said that their hands were tied because they had to take a quota of refugees and that housing was the only housing stock available. Local people were understandably disappointed that an investment in improving the housing stock would not benefit local people. That’s a mess, and there is no easy answer, for anybody. So imagine, it’s such a fucking annoyance when a politician comes in and wants to exploit all that bad feeling and to do it, they go on and on about how the foreigners are taking everything from the poor. And so two very poor communities are pitted against each other, and the person that benefits the most is the politician who exploits it. Those refugees have not been moved and I can guarantee that there won’t be a vast repatriation program of Somalians from Finland, so what has actually changed by voting for PS? Not a lot. Maybe immigration will be made ‘harder’, which probably means it will become slower too. Also, a difficult asylum process actually encourages a black labour market, where people simply disappear off the radar and live ‘illegally’. Again, problem not solved.

  46. Touke

    Sweden vs Finland, is not correct thing to compare.
    We always have bad blood between, but even the swedish can not ignore that finnish are their most valuable asset in example construction business.
    So Finns did bring lot of money and prosperity to Sweden, as new work moral too.
    Even they call Finns even today Finnjävel, it does not mean immigration, it is because they think finns are very different in nature, swedes do say that we are too strict and crazy, and we do mostly think that they are too soft and crazy.
    And our history is one thing that does effect, we have been under Sweden and Russia in history, so these things do effect, direct compare is impossible.
    We even have Sweden as our second language….

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

    • Enrique

      Hi Touke, and this is something we can be proud of (our blingual nation) not destroy and undermine it.

      What you say is logical: people will make an effort to adapt in the country they move to. Why would they not want to do this? But for adaption to work we need mutual acceptance and equal opportunities. Stressing always how much of a threat one group is and fuelling urban myths and suspicion won’t do it. Unfortunately we have a lot of this in Finland now.

      If Finns have created a successful society they can also do it with immigrants. Those that disagree are the one’s stressing difference and destroying bridges. Some of them do so for an opportunistic goal: scoring political brownie points. These types of politicians are the real threat to Finland – not immigrants.

  47. Touke

    to Mark
    I agree 100%, i dont think that immigrants are our problem, they dont take anythin from Finland, they are great assets.
    But refugee politic must be planned better, it can be see all around the world how it can be screwed when you dont plan anythin, just import people around the world, that is huge mistake.
    My opinion is that help should be send country directly, movin people does not solve problem, at worst case only increases them.
    Every nation which does think only with opinion, no brain, will have economic problems, cultural crashes, last but not least we have work and integration of society (new rules, laws and relignion).
    We have a lot rules and laws and restrictions in here so anyone who come from other countries, i think they have a lot studied and understood.
    My opinion still is that people who go any country in the world, will learn way of local livin and respect that culture.

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  48. Touke

    Enrigue, i agree, we should have more tolerrance for new things.
    But it will take time, finns are slow in these things.
    We have way of thinkin everythin thru multiple times before we can be sure what is our final opinion about matters.
    Immigrants issue is important, we should not take it lightly.
    But i dont think that immigrant question will be only matter what we should change or make better here.
    If we can make Finland better and listen majoritys voice, we can help immigrants also to settle more comfortably.
    This requires many other things to change, so it is not simple.
    But i am 100% sure that we will get there, one way or another, i just hope we will do it smart.

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  49. Touke

    Enrique, this thing i dont agree..

    “Hi Touke, and this is something we can be proud of (our blingual nation) not destroy and undermine it”

    I dont support mandatory swedish in our schools.

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  50. danielmckillipe

    So Enrique. The PS are more of a threat to Finland than immigrants? What planet are you on? Let me ask you some questions. Do you think Finns want any more immigrants to come? Well the ones Ive spoken to certainly dont seem to have the stomach for any more. And who can blame them? Higher immigration will bring more unemployment, higher taxes, a demand for more housing, an extra strain on public services, an erosion of community spirit and a higher crime rate. We will have areas that will be turned into ghettos such as some areas in Helsinki where that has already happened. The areas where most Finns do not want to live in or even pass by. Wow, i can really see the benefit of this!! To argue for immigration is to live in a liberal dreamworld and not to see the harsh realities of everyday life. A small amount of immigration is always needed to bring in skilled workers of course. But if you dont have a valid reason to come to Finland, work, or a Finnish partner or family, well frankly you are not welcome.

    • Enrique

      –The PS are more of a threat to Finland than immigrants?

      Did I say that? You are assuming that. All those that drive home xenophobia, isolationism and exclusion of groups in our society are a threat. Are there such representatives among the True Finns and other parties? You seem to think so.

      –Do you think Finns want any more immigrants to come? Well the ones Ive spoken to certainly dont seem to have the stomach for any more.

      The issue goes much deeper than your statement. You and those that agree with you don’t want competition and seem to live in some time warp where change is stagnant. There are over one million people ABROAD who are Finns or claim Finnish ancestry. There are many in Finland with multicultural backgrounds. And here you are speaking of building some or returning to a so-called “monocultural” Finland where, like in North Korea, everyone is the same. Your statement is also an attack on the Swedish-speaking and other minorities who are FINNS.

      “Monoculturalism” is a funny term used by some to justify exclusion of immigrants and minorities from Finnish society.

      Every time you speak against immigrants you turn away those who are Finns and expatriates as well as their descendants abroad. This also includes immigrants who have made Finland their home. So, Daniel, your statement goes much deeper than just “being against immigration.”

      –But if you dont have a valid reason to come to Finland, work, or a Finnish partner or family, well frankly you are not welcome.

      Do you think the immigration authorities allow people to get residence in Finland without a valid reason? Oy vey!

  51. Mark

    Touke

    Your comments still strike me as overtly racist, Touke, even if your stated intention is to be tolerant, fair and smart about things. Let me explain why.

    You start by saying you have no problem with immigrants, or rather, ‘immigrants are [not] our problem’. You even play up their strengths by calling them great assets. But then you spoil all those good words with a dirty great big BUT, and then talk about why immigration should be restricted (planned), how importing people around the world is a huge mistake, why it’s just so difficult for the poor foreigner coming to Finland because of [apologising] all the rules we have, or if I take your words at full value, immigration should be stopped altogether so that we can ‘help them’ in their own countries. And that creates a huge set of contradictions in your stance. And that sticks in my throat, to be honest. My lips press together and the words are fighting to escape – ‘another fucking racist in denial!’ 🙂

    Let me put it to you this way, I agree 100% (I love this agreeing thing we are doing!) that every nation will have economic problems, cultural clashes, and problems of work and also integration with the culture, and that we would NOT be talking at all about immigrants, but just the normal citizens of that country. There are difficulties between northerners/southerners/easterners/westerners, between high brow and popular culture, between young and old, between parents and kids, between rich and poor, between friends and between enemies. And at no point in the discussion do we suggest sending the people who have these problems ‘somewhere else’. So why oh why do we have to have such different expectations of foreigners? I think that mostly we have a different set of rules because we are looking for excuses to not let them live here, and I think the reason we don’t want them to live here is because our wondeful, tolerant, enlightened Finnish society is racist.

    I mean, do you think we are racist in Finland? Do you think there is racism at all? If so, what kind of racism do you see?

    People seem to want the right to say negative things about immigrants without fear of being called racist, and then abuse that right by only or mostly saying negative things about immigrants and then say nothing about those same problems existing in our ‘normal’ Finnish culture. Of course immigrants face problems and can even be dangerous, criminal and behave in a way that is offensive to our values (i.e. with practices like female circumcision etc.). But Finns can be that way as well. And as soon as we loose sight of that, and start using those things as excuses to not letting them live here, we are giving in to racism. Not the kind of racism that says our race is better than their race directly, but more a ‘it’s better for you if you don’t come, because we are such an insular people and we find it difficult to mix with foreigners!’ Gosh, one would almost feel sorry for these racist Finns, they way they talk sometimes.

    Time to grow up people. Time to accept that white Finland is the majority and that it is all too easy for this, us, the white majority to be racist and to be in total denial about it because we really really really want to be tolerant, it’s just we have all these funny Finnish customs that get in the way, called our culture, and we are really very insecure about that culture and fear we might lose it if we have a few thousand foreigners dotted around our vast landscape!

    I’m glad you ended your piece with a positive note about respecting the local culture. How much respect do you think that culture would deserve if it was horribly racist and most people were in denial about it? Just a ‘for instance’… what would you say, Touke?

  52. Mark

    Daniel

    You are just a lost cause!

    Let’s start by showing what a snivelling little bigot you have just revealed yourself to be: as a foreigner to Finland, one of the most well-used words I have heard on meeting new Finnish people in work or in their homes is ‘tervetuloa’, and before people said that, they didn’t ask me first if I was a skilled worker, whether I had a valid reason for coming to Finland or if I had a Finnish partner. So I’m glad to say that you are completely out of step with the vast majority of your fellow Finns. Nevertheless, I’m sure there are other Finns that feel the same way you do.

    I really feel sorry for you the way you see things so negatively. You are really burdened by these ‘harsh realities’, as you call them. Let me lift that burden from you somewhat. The majority of immigrants who come to this country find productive work, contribute taxes, shop in Finnish shops, pay their rents (making landlords happy), make national insurance payments, take a sauna, laugh and cry over Suomi Big Brother, or Suomi Idol, add to the international ‘feel’ of Helsinki as a European capital, enjoy the snow, love the summer, moan about the taxes, and generally appreciate the fact that Finland is a relatively safe and civilised place to live. You see, reality is not so harsh.

    Now, of course, you are right to say there are difficulties and problems for immigrants. Some of those problems are the same problems that Finns face, unemployment, competition between the poor for scarce resources, anti-social behaviour, and some of those problems are the problems of individuals and some are problems created or made worse by state policies. But they are not problems caused by the fact they are immigrants. Being an immigrant brings challenges, and a good many immigrants rise to that challenge. Some fail. That is human nature. You want to take the failures and smear all immigrants as scroungers and criminals, then fuck you, you are an arsehole of the worst kind, a hate-filled numpty looking to blame anything and anyone for your own harsh view of the world. Fine. I doubt you’ll change, though one day you may realise that you lost an opportunity to be happy in life, to be inclusive towards others, to appreciate the diversity of the peoples of this planet. But maybe that was always going to be a bit too wet and liberal for you! You prefer your harsher realities.

    And finally, to argue for immigration is not to live in a dreamworld. Or would your denial of racism go to the extreme of denying that there are even immigrants in Finland? I thought not. Nope, not a dreamworld, a wonderful new reality in sunny downtown Helsinki – soak it up brother, diversity is coming your way! lol

  53. JusticeDemon

    Touke

    You didn’t really answer the question about the impact of tabloid journalism on popular perceptions of Finnish immigrants in Sweden in the 1970s. To the extent that you addressed this issue at all, it wasn’t from the perspective of typical Swedish working people at the time. Instead you talk with hindsight about long-term history and alleged macroeconomic benefits. You entirely ignore the context of the banner headlinesFinnjävel and En finne igen, which was popular reporting on negative social phenomena, particularly violent crime.

    The point about those popular perceptions is that they were based on the idea that antisocial behaviour is a fixed and immutable characteristic of a minority population group, but you can identify no magic trigger that activates this characteristic simply by crossing the Tornio River bridge from East to West. To some extent you can understand the situation and views of the Finnish economic migrants concerned, and you can appreciate the background to the cultural meltdown features that I highlighted:

    Why did all those Finnish immigrants insist on living in the same part of town and speaking their unintelligible gibberish to their children, thereby overburdening the public education system? Why couldn’t they be more like those nice Norwegians instead?

    The next time you are in Rinkeby I suggest that you extend to its residents the same margin of appreciation that you are evidently willing to extend to Finnish immigrants in Stockholm.

  54. Touke

    to Mark
    I understand that is is easy to label everyone as racist, if they dont agree with your opinion.
    But it dont make it as fact, still.
    All things are not that simple, so mistakes are always on our decisions, unless we start makin more plannin what we can do and how we will pay those things.
    And you do generalize my opinion to against everyone, that is not simply the truth.
    It is not colour of skin issue, world is cold and hard place, because everythin is about money (unfortunatly truth).
    You seem to be really bad denial of common sense, you only feel, not think.
    We have already enough people who make decisions based of feelings alot, now we need people who make those decision based on reason.
    Sorry, i have to be that “bad” person to tell, i know it is not popular point of view but it is only way to survive in our future challenges.
    I do think you have really narrow minded point of view about things, you have no ground about how we will provide all this in matter of seconds, all should happen now… really…
    Wake up and smell realism.
    And you are callin Finns racist, every change you get.
    That does make you fanatic, you have no tolerance anyones opinions but you own.
    That is worryin me….

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  55. Touke

    to JusticeDemon
    I did answer as it was relevance to matter we are discussin, that Finnjävel is still word that Swedish use from Finns, and it has been from start.
    Immigration from Finland was in Sweden, history truth..
    So what????
    Was it easy to Finnish, some propably was, some not.
    well, wake up, that is life and world.
    Finnns did recover that in Sweden and they dont whine about.
    Why you suddenly care about Finnish past and their obstacles thru their history???
    I cant understand relevance???
    Is it only topic “immigration”
    Is that your headline, or what is it…

    Best regards, Simple Finnish

  56. danielmckillipe

    Thanks Mark. So im a sniveling little bigot, and you say fuck you to me? Interesting. Funny how these so called liberals can be the most íntolerent and rude. I dont believe i have insulted or sworn at you because of your opinions have i? So i respectfully ask you do the same. I would say to you my views are neither racist nor fascist, but protectionist. I want to protect what is great about Finland not destroy the very fabric that makes this country great.

  57. Mark

    Touke

    I gave very clear reasons why I thought you were being racist and it was nothing to do with you disagreeing with me. You haven’t responded to any of those reasons I gave, I notice.

    If things are not so simple, maybe you should explain in more detail.

    So now it’s about what we can afford. lol. How the arguments shift like the sands.

    I’m not sure what you mean about generalising your opinion.

    Ah, another one going on about ‘cold hard reality’, though this time it’s about MONEY. Actually, the job of politicians is to set the priorities of government in such a way as they reflect the political and social values they stand for. So if you value human rights and equality, then you would simply sign the paper that says ‘no to racism’, and fund the programs that work to combat racism. Likewise, each tax-paying immigrant in the Finland adds to the GDP.

    And once again you fall back on the ‘common sense’ argument, as if the vast majority see and agree with you, meaing I am in the minority, and that alone makes me wrong. You are so blind to the way the power of domination works, aren’t you, poppet!?

    I think that my posts speak for themselves in showing how much I ‘think’ about these issues. But you can call me a lovey dovey sentimentalist if you want, I shan’t lose sleep over it.

    Who is asking for things to happen now? I think you have confused my post with someone else’s. Oh, and another one falling back on the ‘I’m only telling you the truth’, when that truth is about as unbiased as a Coca Cola spokesperson asked to rate Pepsi!

    As for making decisions based on reason, you haven’t actually responded to any of the reasoned points in my post. If you cannot see reason, I guess you cannot answer it. So, you have nothing at all to say about racism in Finland? It doesn’t exist? Finns aren’t racist? Enough said.

    And finally, the usual anti-anti-racist counter, I have no tolerance, I’m the fanatic!

    Isnt’ it funny Touke that in so many instances in history, those on the Right of politics opposed changes to reforming laws and later had to admit that they were on the losing side? Do you really think that somehow that has changed, that those that stand up for the rights of marginalised people, making clear arguments for why they think those groups are being discriminated against, are on the losing side this time?

    History shows us that for all the rights that we have earned as citizens, there were those that opposed them: we didn’t deserve the vote (women were too sentimental to have an opinion on politics and so shouldn’t vote), we were too stupid to be given education (blacks denied entry into state education in the US), we were too savage to rule (Aparteid in South Africa), we were too lazy to fend for ourselves (Irish Famine blamed on Irish people being lazy). Time and again, people defended prejudice, with arguments that it was the fault of those that were discriminated against.

    Do you really think it’s any different this time?

  58. Mark

    Daniel, you are fucking racist.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but where I come from, that is how people speak when someone starts bullshitting to your face!

    Now you folks down at PS are always telling us how you are just normal everyday folk, telling it how it really is, well, here’s some back for you.

    Rude? Yes! I save my rudeness for those that I think are past respecting. Intolerant? Now that made me laugh. Funny how you racists only ever use the word ‘tolerance’ when you are fighting off criticism of your natural-born, God-given right to hate foreigners and look down on other cultures. Of course, you PS are the champions of the down-trodden, the hard-done-by forgotten Finnish peasant! Only you are not part of the minority, you are part of the majority, and you have every right and every freedom to peddle your racist shit to anyone and everyone, and indeed, I’ve had to listen to this PS propoganda on the telly and in the papers for the last several months. And you want to complain to me about not being allowed to speak your opinions? Who has been standing up for the immigrants throughout this election while PS and snivelling bigots like yourself have been dragging their name through the dirt?

    I cannot pretend, Daniel, I find your beliefs obnoxiousness. But please, don’t think for one minute that I want to shut you up. I’m not advocating banning PS. But I am advocating a much better understanding of how PS are exploiting the immigration issue to create a divided and hate-filled society, where foreigners are viewed with suspicion or outright hatred, and where they are afforded second-class citizenship.

  59. danielmckillipe

    Mark. Have you also forgotten that i am an immigrant? Ive got dual nationalities as Britishamerican. I have lived in both London and New York for the majority of my life and now have settled down in Finland with my fiancée. So i believe maybe I can speak first hand about being a foreigner in Finland?

  60. JusticeDemon

    Touke

    The point is that the popular xenophobic profile of various relatively recent immigrant groups is much the same in every country (Ugandan Asians in the UK, Koreans in Japan, Turks in Germany etc.). This includes the popular xenophobic profile of Finnish immigrants in Sweden in the 1970s. If you think that this profile was unfair because you reach your assessment based on the self-image of this group over a time span of 40 years or even longer (“Finns did bring lot of money and prosperity to Sweden, as new work moral too“), then why not offer the same courtesy to immigrant groups in Finland? When a Finn tells me that Finnish immigrants in Sweden were misunderstood and that the tabloid headlines were at best unhelpful, then I say exactly the same thing has occurred with respect to certain immigrant groups in Finland.

    There is a reason why the same courtesy is not extended to certain selected immigrant groups, and why these groups are judged by different standards. Perhaps you can guess what that reason is.

  61. Mark

    I see. I’m guessing you are not a Black American?

    I suppose when a racist moves around, that even when the shoe is on the other foot when it comes to ‘being a foreigner’, it doesn’t make them any less likely to give up their racist beliefs. They simply align themselves with the racists in the new country. Funny that, isn’t it.

    I’m not surprised though. American/British/Finnish cultures are sufficiently similar (white-dominated Christian) that you don’t have to change your ideas of ‘us’ and ‘them’ too much while moving between them.

    And by the way, living in cosmopolitan London is not a get-out-of-jail-free card on the issue of racism. I met plenty of racists, in all communities, while I was living in London,… mate!

    Also, I recognise that as a Brit in Finland I am rather more welcome than if I was from certain African countries, or from the Middle East, or from Asia. You should realise, having lived in England, that people of different origins and backgrounds can get on perfectly well.

    You know, I’ll say it again, because you completely missed it the last time I said it, but ‘mass immigration’ can bring problems and challenges, many of them to do with allocating adequate resources. If we are going to have immigrants, politicians should support their integration with proper funding and integration programs. But what happens is not enough money gets put into it, while what money is made available is criticised by people resenting money being spent on ‘foreigners’. Politicians on the far right jump on the issue, ferment anger and resentment among (mostly) the poorer communities against the foreigners themselves, saying the answer is ‘restrictive immigration’ because ‘mass immigration is bad’. They exploit people’s fear of not belonging to the ‘ingroup’.

    What if Finland gets so overrun with immigrants that in twenty years, a white person is in the minority? My gosh, disaster, that would be really shit, because we know how minorities are treated; they are bullied and have much less chance of success. Fuck, we don’t want that for us and our kids, so the answer is to keep them out!

    You know, there is another answer than trying to stay the dominant group in society, and that is to make society more inclusive and tolerant, and then everyone that lives here can feel like they have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

    You know, as a fogeigner here, i know that your opinions Daniel are shared by many Finns, and it makes my skin creep, to know that walking down the street, I am so obviously a foreigner, and that this is this widespread feeling in Finland that foreigners are not wanted. That’s probably as bad as it will get for me, and that’s more than bad enough. I know for a fact that it’s a lot harder if you are black, and if you are a Muslim. And I don’t think that’s right! It just isn’t right.

  62. StiflersDad

    It frequently comes through in various discussions that people perceive the Finnish vote to be skewed by lack of understanding by the voters. I personally believe that Finnish people are actually VERY responsible with regards to their right to vote. Due to the wide variety of parties, people can find and vote for a party that is closely aligned with their own values, views, beliefs and causes.

    This is unlike in countries like US where the difference between the binary options is so wide that people are stuck voting for the same parties over their lifetime due to vast difference in values. People have to have a huge change of heart to switch or there are other large changes e.g. Obama attracting significant ex-Republican votes from minorities. The limited choice also means that people often choose the “lesser of two evils” – if there were, say, 5 parties then individuals could better match themselves to a party of their choice.

    Even worse situations are observed in some low education countries where politicians use the gullibility of people to their own advantage e.g. in South Africa the president of South Africa (and ANC) has been campaigning with the message that “if one does not vote for the ANC, then one can’t get into heaven”.

    In short, Finnish voters think quite deeply about who to vote for and are also not easily bluffed. One should thus respect the election result and focus on understanding the drivers behind the changes in election patterns. There has to be real reasons for people’s dissatisfaction – and it is not only immigration policy.

  63. Mark

    Oh, and yes Daniel, I did forget for a moment that you weren’t Finnish. 🙂 I guess I saw your stated opinions on immigration and assumed you were a PS supporter.

    Can I ask you outright – do you support PS? Do you think they are more extreme in their views than yourself? Do you think that some PS members and now MPs are clearly racist? Do you think there is racism in Finland, if so, towards whom and in what shape or form? Have you experienced any racist or xenophobic comments while living in Finland?

  64. Mark

    StiflersDad

    I think there is a lot of truth in what you say, and certainly compared to some countries, Finland’s electorate is going to be more media savvy. But at the same time, I feel that the Far Right in its more extreme forms has been off the political radar for so long that people have forgotten the original appeal or policies of these parties.

    Soini’s own Master’s Thesis on the use of populism in politics, inspired by his teacher Vennamo, outlines exactly the strategy to use, including being a ‘folksy, down-to-earth saviour of the forgotten’.
    Soini did his homework and now he’s reaping the benefit, but how much have the electorate done their homework on the politics of the Far Right? The problem with this kind of extremist politics is that quite obnoxious beliefs get normalised, so that everyone gets to thinking that they are just saying it how it is, that it’s natural that we want to protect ‘our’ country, and so on, forgetting any notion that Society is something we are part of, not something we own.

    Also, my thinking about human nature is that we often take ‘gut instinct’ decisions and then go looking for reasons to justify that decision, while dismissing any criticisms, again usually with second-hand arguments. It’s a fact that almost all of the criticisms thrown at me in these blog comments are stuff that are routinely thrown at anyone who dares to bring up the dreaded word ‘racism’ or who dares to criticise an anti-immigration stance as ‘racist’, even when it very clearly is.

    Of course we must respect the electorate. Some good friends of mine voted PS, and I don’t think any the less of them (well, not much less). I also sought to understand the reasons. Many of them are plain selfish: pay less tax, pay less energy tax, pay nothing to Portugal. Other reasons were more problematic in suggesting that some of the deeper prejudices of the Far Right are seeping into the a section of the electorate, such as protecting Finland’s culture (cultural self-defense). Cultural self-defence changes the rules of the political game, because it turns attention away from domestic issues, and makes people think that Finnishness is on the line; it mobilises a war-like mentality and attitudes. I mean, do the people supporting PS ever wonder how the Nazi party inspired a German nation to suddenly go to war against the rest of Europe?

    PS have tapped into the feeling that the common man has little say or power in politics. But really, those things don’t change whether you vote for Kokomuus or PS. It’s just one politician is talking about your powerlessness while doing little to actually change it, and the other politician is busy talking about economics and the normal stuff of domestic and foreign politics.

    I don’t know, Stifler’sDad, but I really suspect that a part of the Finnish electorate is not so informed as you might like to them. People can be deluded by politicians, history tells us so.

  65. danielmckillipe

    Ok. Firstly i believe that every right wing party will have a tiny element of racists. Unfortunate, but i would be naive to deny it. Do i believe PS are racists? No. But again their will be a very small minority of racists im sure. PS have my cautious backing for now. Secondly, do I believe there is racism in Finland? Yes. But i find Finns more tolerant than other countries, perhaps because the situation hasn’t gotten so out of control yet? Have I experienced racism? Hmmm. Yes, but i believe the majority is done behind closed doors. I also believe that if i was Somalian that i would have experienced it tenfold on what i have. And please can i tell you one thing. Tonight i am picking up my best friend and his wife from the airport. They will spend Easter with us.They are Moroccan.I dont want to justify myself against accusations of racism but i feel i have to.

  66. StiflersDad

    do the people supporting PS ever wonder how the Nazi party inspired a German nation to suddenly go to war against the rest of Europe

    I think that would require you to assume that they are part of something negative? My guess is that they believe that they are joining something that is “right” rather than something that is “wrong”. Maybe they feel like theie brand of nationalism is more akin to the African nationalism that was widely used (e.g. Kwame Nkrumah or Nelson Mandela) to bring together disparate tribes against colonial / minority rule in 1950s – 1980s in Africa. They probably believe that they are force for good rather than the dark side. You must keep in mind that every large movement of people requires something to unite them. Over history that has tended to be nationalism or religion; lately political ideology has also started to replace religion as a factor to bind people together.

  67. Mark

    Daniel

    I can see why you would want to resist the accusation, especially when your friend is coming. It’s a horrible accusation. I think the issue is that many people who are sometimes very racist don’t see that racism in their thinking, because they look at their thoughts and they don’t see any hatred, they don’t see any passion to attack foreigners. But please, try to understand that society as a whole is generally blind to racism; there has always been big resistence to it, and some of the arguments used to defend are the exact same arguments that you are using. That makes it very difficult for me to seperate you out from racists. That is why I call you ‘a racist in denial’.

    Do you know that one of the basic defences against accusations of racism is ‘I’m not a racist, look, I have friends who are foreign!’ As if that alone means that we are totally off the hook in ever looking at our opinions. I have friends who are black, asian, middle eastern, south american etc., but I do realise that I have had racist thoughts and opinions, some of which I’ve learnt to root out by just reading around the subject and looking more deeply at my convictions. It’s a painful process, especially if you think of yourself as tolerant in the first place. It’s just so easy to be swayed by the ‘it’s not about the race, it’s about their attitude’. I’ve heard people say, the Vietnamese are OK because they keep themselves to themselves, but them Somali are lazy. That’s a racist belief. Now a person that holds that belief can have ten friends who are from every continent on the globe and think that they are not a racist and would be appalled that someone would accuse them of it. But that belief is racist. That kind of stereotyping is racist. The problem for all of us is that stereotyping is a very normal part of opinion formation, but that it’s very dangerous and offensive when it’s applied to ‘people’s’. It’s also even more offensive when that then becomes a political slogan. Do you see where I’m coming from here, Daniel?

    The older I get and the longer I’ve been in Finland, the more I yearn for people like me, people who talk the same language, share the same cultural reference points, can understand my jokes, and where I’m not having conversations on superficial levels because the conversation is usual about or comes back to ‘being a foreigner in Finland’. And then I go home and people ask me what Finns are like, as if there was a single homogenous Finn that perfectly describes Finnishness? It’s so so easy to fall into stereotypes. Most of the time, those stereotypes are harmless, but racism is a problem because those stereotypes become negative, so that you are talking about a whole group of people in a negative way, and with racism, that has somehow been normalised in the dominant society, because who would want to talk in a way that is openly racist? Almost no-one. In fact, the most extreme groups are the groups making the strongest, most frequent and loudest denials. That’s the problem, Daniel.

    Happy Easter!

  68. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘You should realise, having lived in England, that people of different origins and backgrounds can get on perfectly well.’

    Mark this just shows how naive you really are. Evidence of a total lack of obsevational and awareness skills. Can you honestly say Hindu Indians and Muslim Pakistanis live in harmony? England is a segregated society on race and class divided by communities. Unfortunate but true. But carry on, telling lies how great England is. I live in London and have lived in England for the last 12 years. I’m also of mixed race (black/white) and I can tell you on first hand experience that Finns are not racist in the slightest. If they see you wanting to integrate into mainstream society and make an effort to fit in learning the language and customs a person no matter what appearance will have no problems.

    Finns are clever enough to avoid the large scale problems present in other European countries due to irresponsible mass immigration hence the election result. Resources and money are finite and when certain groups are allowed in with a history of much higher unemployment, prevalence for crime, and poor educational attainment then it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s no coincidence that nationalistic parties are rising across Europe. Voters in various countries don’t suddenly become racist in a space of a few years, it’s just have they havn’t got their eyes shut to the problems occurring unlike you. I pity you and your ignorance.

  69. Mark

    StiflersDad

    Yes, keeping a tribe united is an important feature of even modern nations. No question about it. And nationalism is a tool. I said not long after being in Finland that one/a few of the most used words I heard in Finland was suomalaisen, suomaliaset, suomalainen. It made me wonder if we Brits talk about the UK in the same frequency.

    I think that you are right to say that thinking of PS in terms of the Nazis presummes that they are somehow wrong or bad. I’m not sure yet what PS really want to achieve. For some of them, immigration is a big issue and cultural-self defence is the name of the game, or even building up some sense of ‘stronger’ Finnish nationhood, hence all this nonsense about rejecting modernism. The point is, I’m criticising the tactic used to achieve political power. What they do with that power now is anyone’s guess, and whether they will give Finnish people reason for embarrasment or pride, I really don’t know. I also don’t know if I will share those feelings.

    I can very easily see the appeal of PS. I’m not a great fan of political, economic or academic elites, all three of which I have had to deal with in my life. They all have their ‘ivory tower’ problems. But I’m also sure that many of the existing institutions of society, while being stuffy and often unconnected with the common man or woman, nevertheless largely on the whole serve a very important purpose in maintaining a societal system based on rules and rights. Sometimes this kind of anarchistic wave overcomes the populace that likes to think what would happen if they sent a ‘wrecking-ball’ into the place. I think the vote for Toni Halme (RIP) was just such a vote. But it’s a dangerous game if the rights of the minorities are to undermined in the process.

  70. Klay_Immigrant

    This is how liberals argue their point. I’ve read this countless of times on here. If you’re a native and express concern about immigration then liberals say you’re not an immigrant so wouldn’t understand. If you’re an immigrant express concern about immigration then liberals say you’re not an ethnic minority so wouldn’t understand. And if you’re an ethinic minority immigrant like myslef and express concern about immigration then you’re an uncle tom. Funny how all these concerned people could be saying word for word exactly the same thing but are given different reasons why they are wrong based on who they are not on what they’re saying.

  71. Mark

    Klay

    And here we go again. Yes, of course, I must be completely blind, naive and lacking in any awareness skills to think that multiculturism has worked in the UK. Oh, and I loved that bit about the UK being Great, that throws me right in there with the True Finns. I saw that one.

    And of course, another stale argument thrown in that we shouldn’t have immigrants because they will fight amongst themselves. We’re saving them from each other. How generous-spirited we are.

    And of course, another many times repeated claim that Finns are not at all racist in the slightest, not ever, not once, not at all. Or maybe, in very isolated cases!!! And yet an openly racist Far Right party gets nearly 20% of the vote! Klay, who has their head up their arse?

    So, it’s about being clever is it? My IQ is 146 (tested several times under test conditions). Or are you going to say that it’s not that kind of cleverness? It’s about ‘common sense’. 🙂 Fucking hilarious the way you numpties move the goal posts whenever it suits.

    So, you think Finns are smart and I think they are dumb. That’s a nice generalisation to create. I think that you can be smart and be a racist, just for the record.

    Here we go, ‘certain groups with a history of crime, unemployment, poor skills’. Are you really fucking joking me? Of course there are groups that would conform to that kind of stereotype, and they are usually marginalised. And with that kind of attitude they stay marginalised. Think of the Roma. But you could easily say the same about areas of the cities, where deprivation gets concentrated, schools do much poorer than the national averages, employment rates are higher, and crime is higher. These aren’t problems of immigration you idiot, they are problems of poverty.

  72. Mark

    Klay

    If your concern for immigration went so far as to say that immigrants suffer much the same problems as other (native) poor populations and that you were concerned at how to solve those problems of poverty, i’d take my hat off to you and put away racism vocabulary and happily discuss how to make it better.

    But no, you’re not saying that at all, you are that those problems that some individuals have are because they belong to a certain racial grouping and that group are ‘susceptible’ to these negative traits and should be excluded from our society. Oh, and of course you are not a racist! Eh, Tommy Cooper would turn in his grave at your trickery!

  73. Klay_Immigrant

    Mark if in your own words Finns are racist and stupid why do you live in Finland? If I lived in a country like that I would move A.S.A.P.

    -‘But you could easily say the same about areas of the cities, where deprivation gets concentrated, schools do much poorer than the national averages, unemployment rates are higher, and crime is higher. These aren’t problems of immigration you idiot, they are problems of poverty.’

    Ok Mark and your solution is to bring more immigrants who don’t have a choice but to live in those in those areas? Is that going to solve inequality or make it worse? Great logic.

    Tell me how Somalis, Iraqis and Afghans have benefitted Finland?

  74. Klay_Immigrant

    Also Mark is a party racist when in their own manifesto they boldly welcome ANY immigrants that are neutral or positive to Finland? Remember just because you label a party racist doesn’t automatically mean by definition alone that they are racist without proof.

  75. Mark

    Gosh, I take that as a partial victory if you accept that the problems are related to poverty and not to their national characteristics. But my joy is short-lived when I see you ask what benefits Somalis, Iraqis and Afghans give to Finland.

    Let’s assume for a second that you really did accept that it is an issue of poverty. Then it is a fair question to ask whether the answer is to add to that poverty with even greater amounts of poverty? The answer would probably be no. But that is not the end of the question by any means. The issue is how much resources and will there is available to address that poverty? The question is how much individuals and indeed whole groupings are blamed for their condition when it’s as much a result of a failure to properly resource their integration into society. Finland has certain obligations due to its commitment to human rights. Also, Finland is committed to allowing a degree of immigration based on family unification. But it’s a fucking moot argument if Finland then keeps that grouping in a condition of poverty and then cries that it cannot take any more refugees because the ones they have are doing to badly. That’s like the guy who fucks up the dinner so that he never has to cook again!

    Not good enough.

  76. Mark

    Klay

    “Is a party racist when they … boldly welcome ANY immigrants.”

    Good question, Klay. Is a person a racist even when they deny being a racist? Of course it’s possible.

    And aren’t we forgetting something here? This is the party known as the ‘anti-immigration’ party! So everyone has it wrong, they aren’t anti-immigration, at all! Or is it that they are pro-immigration, as long as you are not from a poor country and not Muslim?

    Also, I would seperate out the issue of racism and immigration. Deciding whether a society is racist is not simply a matter of looking at how many immigrants they let in. For politicians, much of the immigration policy is decided by what they think are the needs of the labour market. Hence, much of the immigration of the 60s and 70s in the UK was to serve a burdgeoning service sector. Similar arguments are made in Finland about the need for immigrants as Finns are less and less willing to do menial jobs (sometimes for shit pay).

    But the discussion about racism is much much broader than immigration. It is about ingroups and outgroups, about domination and subtle oppression, and how the ‘other’ is constructed, whether as something positive or negative. It is about building stereotypes to take the place of actual real accounts of people, and their lives, hopes, fears, struggles and successes. The fact that you can even ask what Afghans, Iraqis or Somalis have ever given to Finland suggests you don’t know any personally. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  77. Klay_Immigrant

    Look Mark, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that poverty is related to crime, education and employment. No one has argued including myself that they are mutually exclusive. But do rich Africans or Arabs move to Finland? No, so they will automatically be at the lowest level of society meaning more money and resources would have to be spent on them, meaning higher taxes for the natives who in turn receive next to nothing in benefits in return. And then you wonder why people protest. Whereas a Western immigrant would be able to obtain work usually fairly quickly, get a mortgage and pay for themselves without the taxpayer footing the bill. Notice the difference. Examples of negative and positive immigration, so where the racist accusations come from is puzzling.

    -‘Finland has certain obligations due to its commitment to human rights.’

    This is a myth that people always use to justify humanitarian immigration. How come Japan takes much less refugees/asylum seekers than Finland when it’s population is over 24 times more? South Korea is another example. The answer is a country ultimately controls who is allowed in not the EU or the UN. Where there is a will there is always a way in politics. A recent example a few days ago is France blocking trains full of Tunisian refugees from Italy even though they have temporary resident permits issued by Italy.

  78. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘And aren’t we forgetting something here? This is the party known as the ‘anti-immigration’ party!’

    What separates the True Finns and the other main parties is that one of their central policies is improving immigration NOT banning it. But from that people accuse them of being anti-immigration as they are the only ones who want to talk about immigration policy. It’s a simple case of quality over quantity when it comes to their views on immigration.

    -‘ Similar arguments are made in Finland about the need for immigrants as Finns are less and less willing to do menial jobs (sometimes for shit pay).’

    If that’s the case then explain why Somalis, Iraqis, and Afghans have over 50% yes over 50% unemployment rate if they were needed to do jobs of that nature?

    -‘ The fact that you can even ask what Afghans, Iraqis or Somalis have ever given to Finland suggests you don’t know any personally. Correct me if I’m wrong.’

    Like I said before I live in London and only 5 miles away from the largest Somali community in Europe (Shepherd’s bush) so yes I do know some. Also when I was younger I lived in Saudi Arabia so can speak Arabic to a decent level (not fluent though) so do know Iraqis as well. But again this mean absolutely nothing, just because one may be in contact with some people doesn’t make them in a better position to talk about immigration or racism. For example I did a prison mentoring program when I was doing my BSc degree in Uni and some of the people I met were very friendly and nice people and sometimes you had to remind yourself that they were convicted of rape and armed robbery. Just because I found their personality that way doesn’t mean that their punishment should be lessened.

  79. Mark

    Klay

    “It doesn’t take a genius to work out poverty is related to crime, education and employment”

    Good, so why didn’t you mention it when you were talking about the crime, unemployment of certain groups?

    Instead, you ask later how Afghans, Iraqis and Somalians have ever benefited Finland, the implication being that you see negative national characteristics for these groups.

    So it’s all a matter of economics you say. You think that western immigrants just adapt quicker, get work, pay a mortgage, pay taxes. Do you actually work in Finland Klay? I know of a good many Western immigrants to Finland, some very qualified, who have struggled for many reason – language being the main one. And you think they just slide right in their with a mortgage and a verokortti?

    Funny how you call humanitarian immigration a myth. It’s a reality. That is one of the key criteria for seeking asylum in any country, on humanitarian grounds. Yes, governments have a choice about how many immigrants to let in, but they also have a choice about defining their commitment to human rights and whether they want to act as a safe haven for those persecuted in their own countries.

    But the point is also that once they are here, you shouldn’t abandon them or worse still, exploit them to make political capital. Only scum would look to do that to further their political careers, while at the same time, smearing the reputation, nationality and culture of those people. And you think it’s just about economics. Klay, get your head out of your arse, my friend!

    • Enrique

      –Like I said in Finland what is seen as far right and extreme is maybe different in other countries but the Finns know the difference between sensible views on immigration and views which are work of a mindless racists.

      How come James Hirvisaari got elected to name one? This guy’s ideas are straight from the 1930s. He, like Jussi Halla-aho, are members of Suomen Sisu, a far-right association. Teemu Lahtinen, another Suomen Sisu member, loves IKL, a fascist organization that existed in the 1920s and got its inspiration from Mussolini. Lahtinen, who was a PS candidate that did not get elected, has been quoted as saying (are you ready for this?) that Finns at school should not be encouraged to marry foreignesrs. This guy is one of the children of Eugen Fischer in 2011 obsessed by things like “racial hygene.”

  80. Mark

    I just love the way you make parallels between having contact with rapists and armed robbers (and murderers I assume) in prison and knowing immigrants and having fond feelings for them, while all the while knowing their ‘true’ character. Fucking twisted. Or maybe you didn’t mean that. Of course, not.

    The reason the PS is called an anti-immigration party is because they take a negative stance towards immigration NOT simply for economic reasons, but fundamentally for ‘cultural’ reasons. And it’s when a party shifts policy to talking about immigration by way of cultural-defence that that party is generally labelled ‘anti-immigration’ in the political sense, which means Far Right. That’s not accident or misconception on the part of the media, that’s savvy understanding of political strategy. And as for taking immigration seriously, then I think you will find that parties to the left of centre are more willing to invest in the livelihood of immigrants in Finland than those on the Right, so it’s very clear who takes immigration seriously as an issue, and as a ‘problem’ (there is a lot more to immigrants lives than being ‘a problem’.

    You’re right, speaking a language doesn’t mean much. My English grandfather spoke Arabic, but that didn’t stop him being a rabid racist! 🙂

    So, you lived 5 miles from some Somalis once. Anything else you care to add to that? Did you know any personally? Did you find out the life story of any? Did you swap phone numbers/emails with any of them?

    I really am not surprised that 50% unemployment among the Afghans etc. But look, that is slightly less than 50% who are working, paying taxes, buying mortgages, shopping in Finnish shops, enjoying Finnish culture as well as their own and generally adding to the bon homme of the place. So, in answer to your previous question about what have Afghans, Iraqis and Somalis ever done to Finland, I think you’ve partially answered your own question.

    And I assume that given an opportunity and developed skills, then the rest will work also. However, if it’s 50%, we might assume that some of those who are unemployed are women, who might not be allowed to work by their husbands. Yes, a cultural issue and one that needs addressing to some extent. But the same can be said of many strongly believing Christian or traditional households in Finland where the husband prefers the wife not to work and she agrees or acquiesces.

  81. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    Is it your view that Japan and South Korea have fully and adequately implemented the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention?

    Would you consider a similar standard of implementation, say, of the 1927 Geneva Convention on the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards to be full and adequate from the point of view of anyone doing business with a Japanese or South Korean company?

    Such a standard might mean, for example, that an application for enforcement of an arbitration award entered against such a company takes a decade to come to trial, that the application is heard in secret even from the applicant, that the applicant is permitted to be represented by counsel in the preparatory proceedings only if counsel for the other party agrees to this, and that a decision to dismiss your application is standardly issued with no statement of justifications (which entirely neuters the appeal process for any practical purpose).

    The funny thing about Finland is that when it makes a promise to the international community in the form of a legal instrument, then it also makes a genuine effort to keep that promise by providing for implementation of the associated commitments. In other words, it acts in good faith to pursue the objectives of the instrument concerned. How crazy is that?

    By fastening on the asylum and refugee policies of Japan and North Korea, you are not exactly identifying examples of known and recognised good practice in implementing international treaty commitments.

    Would you patronise a restaurant that implemented public health laws with the same degree of respect for the purpose of those provisions?

  82. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘But look, that is slightly less than 50% who are working, paying taxes, buying mortgages, shopping in Finnish shops, enjoying Finnish culture as well as their own and generally adding to the bon homme of the place. So, in answer to your previous question about what have Afghans, Iraqis and Somalis ever done to Finland, I think you’ve partially answered your own question.’

    Are you seriously implying that having over 50% unemployment rate for certain groups is somehow a success? What would happen to Finland if the unemployment rate was the same for native Finns? The country would collapse overnight. You seem to have conviently forgotten that the majority have their housing, health, food and general living expenses paid by the taxpayer so that more than counteracts the ones who are employed and paying taxes meaning a net loss for the country and a big burden. How you can ignore this fact tells a tale.

    -‘ And I assume that given an opportunity and developed skills, then the rest will work also.’

    Well you assumed wrong. A statistic told by Enrique (of all people) says that even after 20 years living in Finland the unemployment rate for Soamlis was still 30%. Truely shocking as no excuse such as language, culture, know how etc. can be used.

    -‘ However, if it’s 50%, we might assume that some of those who are unemployed are women, who might not be allowed to work by their husbands. Yes, a cultural issue and one that needs addressing to some extent. But the same can be said of many strongly believing Christian or traditional households in Finland where the husband prefers the wife not to work and she agrees or acquiesces.’

    So now because some Finnish women choose not to work that equates to the lack of women’s rights in Islam and Islamic culture. I think you will find that when it comes to the gender gap in society Finland is tied with Norway as the best in the world. Finland were the first to give women the right to vote.

  83. Klay_Immigrant

    Explain Mark how while Somalis fail so miserably even after decades in Finland others such as the Chinese who are economically, and in difference of culture in the same position along with being in Finland for much less time have their unemployment rate in the single digits?

  84. Mark

    Klay

    A success at under 50%? Well seeing as we started with you asking how Afghans, Iraqis and Somalis have benefited Finland, with the implication being that they haven’t, then I think that nearly 50% employment is a very good starting point.

    Actually, the native unemployment rate ran at 25% during the 90s recession, and many cutbacks were made, but the basic safety net of the welfare state was kept in place. Are you suggesting that we remove it for Afghans, Iraqis and Somalians because they are of less value as citizens than Finns?

    ‘Employment still at 30% even after 20 years’. I refer you to my earlier comment about the role of women in the workforce.

    Some Finnish women choose not to work and some are pressured into not working by their husbands. If the woman chooses not to work, it might be for the same reason that the husband might demand that the woman doesn’t work, because they believe in a ‘traditional’ household where the woman stays home and the man has the breadwinner (power) role. No it doesn’t equate directly with the lack of rights of Finnish women. But as PS have only 25% MPs and had only 33% female candidates, I don’t think that PS can exactly claim to be the saviour of women’s rights, now can they?

    Oh, another knucklehead going on about how Finland is doing so well with women’s rights, and taking all the credit for it, while supporting a party that suggests women should give up on their careers and stay home to have babies to make up for the falling reproductive rate. And women got the vote first in Finland. And over a hundred years later, over 58% of Finnish companies still don’t have a single woman on their board, and only one in ten company heads are women. Oh, this wonderfully gender equal Finland. I suppose you are going to tell me now that there is no gender discrimination in Finland!?

    What have you personally done to champion the cause of women’s rights? (I have been active in profeminist groups for over a decade). And yet you think that Finland’s successes (not yours) gives you the right to slag off the rights records of Islamic countries.

    There are many good reasons to criticise women’s rights in Islamic countries–and some have very good records of women in power and politics, such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Kyrgyztan, which have all been led by women recently, while other Islamic countries do not–but jumping on the issue just to justify a racist-based approach to immigration is not one of them!

    Likewise, PS have advocated that Finnish women not bother with education and careers, but stay home to have babies so as to solve the falling reproductive rate. Again, not exactly championing the rights of women are they? But maybe you are different. In which case, you will recognise this as a cultural problem that is quite different

  85. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘Some Finnish women choose not to work and some are pressured into not working by their husbands. If the woman chooses not to work, it might be for the same reason that the husband might demand that the woman doesn’t work, because they believe in a ‘traditional’ household where the woman stays home and the man has the breadwinner (power) role.’

    This happens in every country in the World in some households and will always continue so it’s not unique to Finland but you will find that the extent of this is much less in Finland than other countries including Western ones.

    -‘Likewise, PS have advocated that Finnish women not bother with education and careers, but stay home to have babies so as to solve the falling reproductive rate.’

    Where does it say this on their manifesto or which True Finn poilitician said that. This is about as accurate as calling Timo Soini the next Hitler.

  86. Mark

    So, you are holding this Somali case up as an example of the terrible treatment of women throughout the Islamic world? Well, things differ from one Islamic country to another. In Indonesia, the employment rate is currently 52% for women, while in Pakistan, it’s 16%. These are cultural differences.

    I don’t know about the historical situation in Finland, but in the UK in 1900, the employment rate for women was under 25% and in the US, it was as low as 19% in some regions. In 2000, the employment rate in the UK for women was 53%. Now are you saying that British and American cultures at the turn of the century were so horrible that in retrospect you wouldn’t have allowed any Brit or Americans to emigrate to Finland?

    Culture takes time to change. Sometimes it takes generations. However, if you are going to talk about the Somali women who don’t or are pressured not to work, then you must also talk about the 10% of Finns who for various reasons also find it difficult to find a job, some of them for decades too! That is the point – it’s about seen and treated equally.

    These kinds of problems exist, but they are not different in kind to problems we already face in Finnish society with ‘ordinary’ Finns. So if you are going to attack sections of the immigrant community for having these problems, then you must attack also members of the native Finnish community. That brings balance and proper equality to the discussion. Moreover, you cannot use the difficulties of some members of the immigrant community to negatively paint the entire community.

    That, Klay, is called a racial slur! Or do you think such things don’t exist?

  87. Mark

    Scary stuff Enrique, scary stuff.

    In any normal political party, a line would be drawn on fundamental values and idiots like that would be thrown out. Simple as!

    • Enrique

      I agree Mark. One of the problems with Finland is that some don’t even know what racism is and therefore spew their questionable “racial theories” as valid arguments. They are the Eugen Fischers and Rolf Nordenstrengs of 2011. They speak of social equality but deny others that right by outright exclusion. They treat otherness as if it were an illness when, in fact, they should start seeing a shrink. They want to do a sales job on us by stating that this “is normal” Finnish thinking.

  88. Mark

    What’s worrying too is that even debating these issues is seen as normal. That shows the decline in the public understanding and acceptance of certain political values. I was quite shocked to see Soini paired with the Prime Minister during the televised debate – that was raising their profile beyond what they deserved. It’s a difficult balance for mainstream parties, because if they openly debate and engage extremists, they give credence and publicity to the arguments, thereby legitimising them. But if they don’t debate, they easily come across as being ‘out of touch’, because these populist groups are claiming to represent issues the people are concerned about.

  89. x

    You lost, Enrico. Pissed much?

    A great victory for nationalism, a massive defeat for the enemies of the native White European people. I wish other White Europeans are further encouraged to begin taking their countries back.

    • Enrique

      Am I pissed, x? Of course not. But please spell my name correctly. Its Enrique not Enrico. What’s your name? Oh right… I get it…

      –A great victory for nationalism, a massive defeat for the enemies of the native White European people. I wish other White Europeans are further encouraged to begin taking their countries back.

      Thanks anyway for revealing the true face of the you-know-whats. Are we going to have a race war in Finland? Oy vey!

  90. Mark

    X

    Is that the snowy White of the Scandanavians, or the pinky White of the French and Brits, or the magnolia White of the Czechs , or the oliver White of the Spaniards & Italians etc?

    And what happens during the summer when half of us go red or brown, do you hide yourself in a white room until winter?

    What kind of brainless twit decides his life’s values based on a fucking colour, and a colour that isn’t even consistent from one person to another, let alone from one European nation to another?