Margaret Thatcher’s New Right and Finland’s Perussuomalaiset party

by , under Enrique

As Perussuomalaiset (PS) leader Timo Soini promises that his party will become the biggest party in next year’s European parliamentary elections, which would give him a spring-board to score a similar election victory as in 2011, it’s still too early for the party to reveal how it would deal with its usual enemies like the Greens, homosexuals, immigrants, visible minorities, left-wingers and anyone it arbitrarily labels as “unpatriotic” or anti-PS. 

What is scarier about the PS? Is it its bravado and political saber-rattling taking place now or what it’s keeping under wraps in the stuffy closet: Do not let out until after the 2015 parliamentary election?

What isn’t surprising, and what few political journalists have failed to analyze, is how similar Soini’s political world view is to Margaret Thatcher’s New Right ideology, when she ruled Britain with an iron fist between 1979 and 1990.

Writes Owen Jones: “Thatcherism was a national catastrophe, and we remain trapped by its consequences. As her former Chancellor Geoffrey Howe put it: ‘Her real triumph was to have transformed not just one party but two, so that when Labour did eventually return, the great bulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversible.’”

Can the same happen in Finland if the PS are victorious in 2014 and 2015?

One post, published on Migrant Tales by Jenny Bourne of the Institute of Race Relations, highlights many similarities.

Like Thatcher, who ”was, without doubt, a xenophobe, an unapologetic imperialist with a natural penchant towards the far Right,” according to Bourne, Soini and the PS are without doubt “xenophobic, unapologetic racists with a weakness for the far Right.”

There are differences, however. While Thatcher was bent on destroying the power of the unions, the PS aims to build a “workers’ party without socialism.”

A workers’ party without socialism sounds more like what fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini founded in Italy. During his reign (1922-43), Mussolini wielded power with the help of powerful unions. The same model was copied during 1946-55 by Argentinean former strongman Juan Perón with disastrous consequences.

Another clear example of the New Right spirit of the PS is their economic policies. Part of these were revealed in January  by EuroMP Sampo Terho and PS strongman Matti Putkonen, who suggested how Finland could save 3.15 billion euros. While the usual culprit of development aide was mentioned, it was surprising that Terho and Putkonen suggested raising VAT, a PS policy no-no.

Thatcher’s suspicion of the outside world, nationalism and xenophobia are generously shared by the PS.

One recent example is the embarrassing revelation where the National Bureau of Investigation as well as Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen have had to apologize for the mistake in adding Russian President Vladimir Putin to a list of criminal suspects. It didn’t take long for PS MP Tom Packalen, a former police commissioner, from stating in a blog that there was no wrongdoing in placing Putin on such a list.

While the former prime minister admitted that if four million people from the new Commonwealth or Pakistan moved to England in the 1980s, she admitted that people were going to react in a hostile manner to those moving there.

Many PS and anti-immigration groups in Europe and elsewhere speak of “uncontrolled” immigration, which is only a synonym for permitting people to react in a hostile manner towards others.