It’s been interesting to read how some Perussuomalaiset (PS) party members suddenly feel overwhelmed by the most recent racism scandal to rock the party. PS MP Tom Packalén asks in tabloid Iltalehti what should be done? Answer: For a start, why not sack them?
The other option is to defect from the PS like Kontiolahti councilwoman Mirva Hyttinen did on Sunday. She defected from the party after PS councilman Mika Hiltunen slandered refugees on Facebook by labeling them as social bums and rapists.
“I meet foreign people at work on a daily basis, and I cannot accept this type of intolerance,” she said.
How would any sensible person react if somebody labeled and victimized refugees as rapists that should chemically castrate such people as PS Uusimaa regional board member Kai Haavisto suggested? What about if like PS MP James Hirvisaari claimed that gang rape in South Africa was a genetic trait and a national pastime?
Here’s the million-euro question: Why doesn’t the PS sack those members who are openly racist (and there are many of them)?
The answer shouldn’t surprise us: Racism and nationalism give the PS its political strength. How do you think they rose from nowhere to become Finland’s third-largest party in parliament?
Do I believe that the PS regrets what Haavisto and Hirvisaari wrote? If they did, they’d sack both of them from the party.
But this won’t happen because sacking racists from the PS would be synonymous with committing political hara-kiri.
Even if the PS uses rape statistics to justify its racism, it forgets that one of its party heavyweights, Matti Putkonen, was sentenced to eight months in prison in 1990 for rape.
Racism, xenophobia, and intolerance are powerful political forces in Europe these days. PS head Timo Soini understands this perfectly well. That is why he will not sack Haavisto and Hirvisaari from the PS. If we look at Soini’s track record on racism, we’d see a very long trail of broken promises and outright deceptions.
Remember when Soini said that any party member sentenced for hate speech would be banned? Remember when he played down racism in the PS to “one, two or three” cases? Remember when he scolded the foreign media, especially from Sweden, for giving the “wrong” picture of the party?
So many scandals have hit the party since the April 2011 election that we’ve lost count on Migrant Tales. And so have many others.
The PS reveal a lot of things about Finland. For one, it exposes racism as a much bigger problem in this country that some have wanted to believe.
If we are fair, all Finnish parties have their fair share of racists. Even so, no party has capitalized and given a platform to racists as the PS.
Even after the Kai Haavisto-James Hirvisaari blows over, we’ll be back to square one: nothing will happen.
Because the PS will not commit political hara-kiri.
* 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.”