Juha Sipilä and Petteri Orpo: The sad Finnish tale of spineless politicians

by , under Enrique Tessieri

In the United States, a lot of Republican politicians who should know better still haven’t withdrawn their support for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump despite his ultranationalistic, racist and misogynistic comments. The latest row involves Trump insulting the parents of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim who was killed in Iraq.   

Writes The Guardian: “Donald Trump’s attacks on the family of the army captain Humayun Khan, who died in combat in Iraq in 2004, have inflamed the candidate’s already poor standing with the Muslim American community, with many saddened and frustrated by his recent remarks.”

While some leading Republicans have denounced Trump’s disgraceful comments of the Khans, they fall short of withdrawing their support for his candidacy. A good example of the latter is Senator John McCain of Arizona, a decorated Vietnam War hero, who criticized what Trump said to the Khans but fell short of taking away his support for him.  

Even if politicians like McCain are painted by the media as the voice of moderation, he’s anything but that.  Let’s not forget that when he ran against President Barak Obama in 2008, his running mate was Sarah Pailin.

Some may ask how is it possible that a person like Trump can get the nomination for the highest office in the United States and why, in Europe, far-right politicians like Marine Le Pen of France and parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* of Finland grow thanks to their vengeful and racist narrative?

The only answer to the latter that I have is spineless politicians. Those that have helped extremist populist parties to power aren’t voters per se but politicians from mainstream parties that have permitted with their silence for such parties to grow.

When you ask sensible people in this country why a populist party in Finland like the PS is in government today, they’ll mention that the rise in popularity of such a party was a protest vote against traditional parties that had turned their backs on them.


But what on earth does voter frustration have to do with scapegoating? Are Finland’s migrants and minorities to blame for our democratic crisis and why traditional parties have failed some voters?

Certainly not.

If anything, the latter shows that we are a country that is in deep denial about our racism, which is a much bigger problem than we want to admit.

Remember only a year ago when PS MP Olli Immonen declared war on our culturally diverse society with the following Facebook posting below? Even if some MPs expressed outrage, the PS continue to share power with the Center Party and National Coalition Party today.

Näyttökuva 2016-8-3 kello 5.37.47

This posting by PS MP Olli Immonen was an open declaration of war against our culturally diverse community. No heads rolled. the PS continues to be a member of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government.

In the same way that spineless Republican politicians in the United States fall short of removing their endorsement of Trump’s candidacy, the government of Prime Minister Sipilä and Economy Minister Petteri Orppo, chairman of the NCP, continue to support the PS and their racist outbursts with their near-silence.

Below are just a few examples of the latest racist comments made in July by PS politicians.

You judge for yourself. Are the racist outbursts worse this year than the same month last year?

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”