It has been quite a rough two weeks for the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party after the May 25 EU parliamentary elections: accusations of being far-right in the company of neo-Nazi parties like the Golden Dawn of Greece; and speculation by a senior Finnish official in the Financial Times that it was unlikely that the PS would join the European Conservatives and Reformists group of the European parliament because the party is xenophobic.
To add to the PS’ image problem, the Financial Times headlined the following story on Wednesday: “MEPs with criminal records join Tories’ euroceptic group.”
The two MEPs with criminal records are PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho and Morten Messerschmidt of the Danish People’s Party, who was convicted in 2002 for claiming that cultural diversity was linked to rape, violence and forced marriages.
The membership of the PS and DPP in the ECR reveals that UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his fellow conservative apparently consider shoplifting a worst crime to have on your political record than ethnic agitation.
Certainly the PS, which has tried its hardest to change its anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam image, wasn’t too happy about what the foreign media wrote and launched on Friday a witch-hunt to find the anonymous senior official that was quoted on the Financial Times.
PS party secretary, Riikka Slunga-Pitsalo, gave an ultimatum in a statement: “We expect an answer and clarification [from the ministry for foreign affairs] by Monday. We’ll consider what steps will take after that. The smear campaign of Finland’s third-largest party by the foreign media must end.”
Intended for mass consumption and portray the party once again as being unfairly victimized by the media, it’s clear that the anonymous source that the PS wants to lynch in public will never be uncovered.
Another interesting matter to watch after the EU elections is whether Marine Le Pen’s National Front will succeed in forming a new group in the European parliament. For that, the National Front needs at least 25 MEPs from 7 countries.
Members of the far right are, however, optimistic that they’ll succeed at forming a new far right anti-EU group, the European Alliance for Freedom.
“We hope to get more than seven member parties,” a source was quoted anonymously by EurActive.com. “This would reduce the pressure, for instance, if one party leaves. We’re soliciting the same MEPs or parties as the Europe for Freedom and Democracy [EFD] and even the European Conservatives and Reformists group.”
Another interesting group to watch from the anti-immigration and anti-EU perspective is if UKIP can get enough members to form the EFD.
The former home of the PS, the EFD, looks like a sinking ship with former members defecting to the ECR or EAF camp. Read full story here.
Even if the PS has tried to make itself appear more “mainstream” by toning down its anti-immigration rhetoric, voters should not forget that it was anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam rhetoric that the party used shamelessly to lure voters.
We don’t have to waste our time accusing individual politicians of being racists. What should be done is never to forget the racist comments they’ve made in the past. That is evidence that will follow and haunt them throughout their lives.
Another matter we shouldn’t forget is that the PS can, like the UKIP did in the EU elections, metamorphose into a ever-hostile anti-immigration party. Considering their ability to ditch their campaign promises depending on the political winds that are blowing at the time, it would be wishful thinking to believe that the party wouldn’t ratchet its anti-immigration and anti-Islam rhetoric to secure votes.
In my opinion, it is the disgraceful political record and the PS’ chicanery that has estranged many voters from politics.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names 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.