Tango with the Perussuomalaiset party of Finland and you’ll let loose an ogre

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Brexit is not only a good example that if you stoke the fires of nationalism you’ll get burned but if you try to play the same game as these populist anti-immigration groups you’ll let loose an ogre. This is what happened to former Prime Minister David Cameron and the United Kingdom last week. 

Finland has tried to play ball with the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, our Ukip, but it has only served to poison the air and reinforced an us-and-them divide. Migrants and minorities are the biggest victims of such discord fuelled by the PS and the silence of other parties like the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP).

Even if most of  our media and the political establishment see the PS as “moderate populists with whom they can play ball,” they are anything but that when it comes to immigration policy and cultural diversity.

On immigration issues and cultural diversity to name just a few, the PS is a far-right party.

There are many examples in Europe about the rise of anti-immigration parties that offer simple solutions to complex challenges. The rise of such parties and their ever-rude messages are like a contagion inflicting hatred and hardship on Europe.

William Keegan highlighted this in a recent column in The Guardian:

“We know the shallow, indeed base, rationalisation: he was worried about the electoral threat from Ukip, and made the mistake of thinking that, by conceding a referendum, he could also silence, or at least calm down, the vociferous anti-Europeans within the Conservative party itself.”

Poet Antoine Cassar of Malta shed light on the ogre that is haunting the United Kingdom today:

“Theresa May as next UK prime minister? May is responsible for thousands of deportations and the separation of cross-border families. her husband is a major shareholder in G4S, which makes huge profits from detention centers and those same deportations. And she has repeatedly stated that the UK should withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, thus making deportations even easier to carry out.”

Should we be surprised that the PS, which saw their popularity nosedive in the polls, is keen on capitalizing on the fallout from Brexit?

Näyttökuva 2016-6-28 kello 22.50.03
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Even if the NCP’s new leader, Petteri Orpo, is no friend of migrants and cultural diversity, he did stand up to PS calls for a possible Brexit-style referendum.

“I consider this referendum discussion irresponsible,” he was quoted as saying in YLE News. “Every time we talk like this in Finland and it comes from the ranks of a governing party, it impacts negatively on our outlook, development, fragile incipient economic growth and investment decisions. It’s because of this that I believe that we shouldn’t have this kind of talk.”

Considering that the NCP shares power with the PS with the Center Party, it’s difficult to discern how serious Orpo is concerning the PS.

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.”