SDP Heinäluoma’s populist anti-immigrant “roll”

by , under All categories, Enrique

The Social Democrats are on the populist anti-immigrant roll: SDP strongman Eero Heinäluoma stirred passions on Saturday in an HBL interview (in Swedish) by stating that Finland should not be too enthusiastic about bringing labor immigrants due to high unemployment among Finns. UPDATED (25.4.) Some dailies such as Ilta-Sanomat asked if Heinäluoma believes that immigrants will take “our women” as well.

Heinäluoma’s comments have been condemned not only by Center Party Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, but by the chairman of the Young Social Democrats, Teemu Hirvonen, who is concerned by the party’s ever-growing populist stand.

Echoing fears that part of the Social Democratic leaders have stiffened their stances on immigration to get votes in the 2011 elections, Hirvonen said that the party should stick to its values and not allow anti-immigrant groups like the True Finns to control the ongoing debate.

UPDATE (25.4) Another incredible snow job hurled at the public by Heinäluoma is that since labor immigrants “will take away jobs from Finns,” this will lead to racism. So, in essence, Heinäluoma is telling us that it is ok to be racist because “foreigners are taking away our jobs.”

This low ebb in SDP politics in Finland is a slap in the face to those immigrants who have lived in this country for years, paid taxes and work hard to make a living. Heinäluoma doesn’t appear to care about them because it is not the example he wants to give about immigrants. It won’t win his party a lot of votes.

If we did not know that Heinäluoma is a Social Democrat, some of us would think he belongs to an anti-immigrant party like the True Finns. And, please, who says that more immigrants will fuel racism? Aren’t they offering a service to this society? Doesn’t their work and tax-euros count? Is Heinäluoma afraid that his party is having the same problems adapting to the real world as the Center Party did before EU membership in 1995 with respect to the agricultural sector?

Some believe that one of the mentors behind the anti-immigration wing of the SDP party is former interior minister, Kari Rajamäki. I once attended a panel in October with him and guess what: The True Finn representative and Rajamäki were in full agreement about “the threat of refugees” to Finland.

Taking into account that EU citizens have the right to work in any member country, what did Heinäluoma mean by his statement? (Updated 27.4)  Who ARE those foreign workers that Heinäluoma warns us of? It seems pretty incredible that he does not even give us a clue of where the “threat” is coming from.

Was it another xenophobic trick by the SDP to lure voters from the True Finns?

True Finns’ chairman, Timo Soini, thinks so. He was quoted in Helsingin Sanomat as stating that the SDP adopted the True Finns’ policy labor immigration.

Folks, the show will turn more tragic-comic when the SDP and True Finns start to fight each other in public to prove which party has the toughest stand against immigrants.

  1. hannu

    “He then was quoted as stating apparently in the interview that immigrants “take our women,” according to Ilta-Sanomat.”

    Please dont lie when you clearly know people who read this blog can read finnish.

    • Enrique

      When you use the term “lie” Hannu it is a very strong accusation. It is almost the same as “huijari.”

  2. hannu

    No shit sherlock, i use term lie because you lied.
    That article doesnt say, imply or give impression that Heinäluoma have said “take our women”. So you blatantly lied or you have hard time to understand written text what i have hard time to believe since you work as writer.

    • Enrique

      So what did HE say? That since foreign workers get married to Finns it will increase racism and therefore it isn’t a good matter? You naturally agree with this sad part of the SDP party. You should watch out the way you accuse others. A debate can happen in a civil manner even if you or I disagree with each other. Fair deal?

  3. hannu

    There is no debate when you blatantly lie, Haukiluoma didnt mention womans AT ALL. I would like to know what kind of version you read since all i find is that he talked about that bringing foreign workers in current work situation will annoy hell out of people.

  4. Sunatic

    The Ilta-Sanomat article you linked is a comment from Mika Koskinen, an editor of Ilta-Sanomat. The sentence “take our women” is his reading between the lines of what Heinäluoma said. I’ll translate the relevant part of Koskinen’s comment:

    “”They’ll take the jobs of Finns” is the most basic rhetoric to be heard in immigrant discussions, right after “they’ll take our women”. It’s the kind of talk usually heard in suburbian pubs and usually from those who have already lost their own will to work.”

    So, Heinäluoma didn’t mention women, but he might just as well have – all the “they’ll take our _____” arguements come from the same source, xenophobia and racism.

    • Enrique

      Hi Sunatic, thank you very much for clearing this up. That is why I used the term “apparently” in the story. With sad examples of politicians who should know better. Heinäluoma and Urpilainen with the advice of Rajamäki I am certain, are taking a populist gamble. They think that by stiffening their rhetoric on immigrants and refugees will win them votes. It looks like Kokoomus has a commanding lead and the Center Party is not doing so poorly either despite the scandals that have hit the party. Support for the SDP and True Finns has not rocketed as a result of their xenophobic stances. This means, in my opinion, that the majority of Finns won’t fall for these cheap campaign tricks by some Social Democrats. There are also many SDP members who are as outraged as many of us about this new stance.
      Heinäluoma says that it isn’t racism to be against labor immigrants only “sensible.” By statements like that and by emphasizing “us” and “them,” he maintains a climate of suspicion and racism that exists in some circles of this country. Would this be a good example of Finnish-style racism? Hence, an argument looks sensible from a nationalistic viewpoint but it helps maintain old concepts, stereotypes and prejudices. In sum, it does nothing to promote any sort of “integration” within Finland. This type of attitude is not a new phenomenon. It has been used to exclude the Roma from Finnish society for decades…

    • Enrique

      Hannu, this site is a bad joke. Either you or him have no idea what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany. The whole issue of that period is how the Nazis made up fairy tales (like some groups today) about other cultures and how incompatible they are.
      By showing me this website you are trying to give some credibility to a politician like Heinäluoma who has stuck his foot deep down his mouth and throat. You, and the whole Hommaforum and PS thing, conveniently forget that there are tax-paying, hard-working people from other countries living in this country. There are also many who are without work just like the Finns. This vilification of immigrants, refugees and certain ethnic groups is shameful in my opinion. You know what? Our society will not go the way of Muutos 2011, Hommaforum or the PS. One day we will look at these times and wonder how people thought in such a fashion. This is what happened in the US. Sometimes we see bigots and racists from the 1950s speak as if discrimination were normal. It is truly an ugly sight, believe me.
      People should speak with facts NOT by spreading unfounded lies about a whole community. Immigrants living in this country have a right to be pissed off at politicians using the immigration-bashing card to further their opportunistic careers. It is, in my opinion, the worst hour of Finland when politicians revert to such lowly tactics.