Finnish politicians should smell the coffee of far-right extremism

by , under Enrique

After over a year of following countless scandals, fines for hate speech, racism and exposures of their far-right ideology, a question begs an answer of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party: Who is Timo Soini? 

If we asked Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, a social democrat, his answer would be moral weakness and opportunism.

Tuomioja writes a day after PS MP Jussi Halla-aho got fined by the Supreme Court for hate speech:  ”Now Timo Soini, who three years ago threatened that anyone charged for racism had no place in the party, has [now] eaten all of his words. This could be best understood if Soini openly supported Halla-aho’s opinions. In light of the [municipal elections], it shows instead a party leader giving in to opportunism and being morally bankrupt.”

I would go further than Tuomioja and claim that in principle Soini does agree with Halla-aho on a number of points concerning the perceived threat of our ever-growing culturally diverse society. A column by Soini reinforces the latter.  The big difference, however, between the PS chairman and the anti-immigration extremists of the party is diplomacy. Soini knows how to sugar-coat his words and play the good-cop role. How long will it take for mainstream politicians in this country to step up to the plate and admit what we’ve been saying all along on Migrant Tales: The PS is a racist, anti-immigration, anti-Islam and anti-EU party. In addition some members of the PS like Halla-aho want to turn the political clock of Finland back to the 1930s.

The sooner we understand the dark elements lurking inside the PS, where the far-right anti-immigration extremists are gaining strength over an embattled Soini, the greater our chances of saving our country from far-right nationlism.

One of the reasons why some still believe they can live with far-right extremists in parliament, who mock at our laws and institutions like Halla-aho did concerning the Supreme Court fine for hate speech, is because the PS isn’t still seen as a threat.

Why should they feel threatened by the PS? If you are a white Finn and have a stable job, the PS isn’t a threat because it is a party that excludes and victimizes immigrants and other minorities in Finland.

That’s now, but tomorrow may be a more perilous story if we don’t smell the coffee of  far-right extremism.

  1. Mark

    I think JD summed it well the other day in a comment, that PS are not one bit interested in immigration as an actual administrative or legislative issue, but only as a vote-catching policy issue. In that sense, they don’t want to get to the bottom of issues of cultural diversity, or of assimilation: Instead, they want to feed off national sentiment, a sense of grievance, insecurity, and simple dichotomies like ‘our culture – their culture’.

    If they ‘solved’ the immigration issue, the votes would start to dry up. In fact, like JD pointed out, the campaign debate ended with Soini actually endorsing the current legislation and making absolutely no actual precise legislative amendments.

    How can you have a genuine interest in an issue and not actual make concrete proposals? The other side of the coin is that those within the party that WOULD like to make concrete proposals are the Suomen Sisu branch. Now THEIR proposals are exactly the kind that will allow their political opposition to really get their teeth into the extremists, so they are kept ‘back-stage’.

    Soini manages to mobilise the political force by allowing these more articulate fascists to achieve political positions while insisting that they keep their activities separate – save the detailed political debate for the Suomen Sisu type forums, and keep the PS party machine at a much more superficial level.