The decision by the Perussuomalaiset (PS) parliamentary group to choose Pirkko Mattila to be the new chairwoman of the administration committee of parliament is welcome news. Considering that her challengers, Juho Eerola and Ismo Soukola, lost by wide margins bolsters PS chairman Timo Soini’s influence in the party.
It shows as well that an ever-growing number of PS MPs aren’t happy with the anti-immigration Suomen Sisu wing led by MP Jussi Halla-aho, who was forced to resign last week as chairman of the administration committee.
If we look at the latest polls, it’s clear that an ever-growing number of Finns are turning their backs on the PS due to the numerous scandals that have rocked the party and its failure to get anything done in the opposition.
You cannot spread prejudice and racism about immigrants and visible minorities indefinitely and get away with it. Even if anti-immigration sentiment has been a key factor in turning the PS into one of Finland’s largest parties, it can be a double-edged sword and put Soini between a rock and a hard place.
If the PS is challenged to address Finland’s problems, Halla-aho and his Suomen Sisu followers are even more in the dark about what to do about our ever-growing culturally diverse society. They have no other political purpose other than whine and slow as much as possible society’s acceptance of people of different backgrounds.
Anti-immigration rhetoric is like the PS: It is a wonderful political punching bag that you use to let out steam but that’s all.
It’s a good matter that the PS chose Mattila over Eerola to chair the administration committee. Even so, it still has a long way to go before it can be accepted as a “normal” mainstream party by Finns.
For immigrants and visible minorities, this acceptance may take an eternity.