The True Finns and their “True Finland”

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

With about a month to go for the April 17 election, the biggest question still refues to reveal itself: by how many times will the True Finns multiply their MPs from eight now? Some reliable estimates place the number between 15 and 35.

For me as a Finn with a multicultural background, there is a lot riding in these elections if we consider that Finland’s demographic challenges will begin to accentuate especially in the next two decades. We are heading to become a society where the number of over-sixty-five-year-olds in the population will jump to 27% by 2040 from 17% in 2007, according to Statistics Finland.

If you want to see today what Finland will look like demographically in the next three decades, one has only to visit some rural towns where over 30% of the population is over 65 years.

There is nothing wrong with pensioners. The problem, however, is who is going to pay for all the expensive health care and social welfare costs to service this ever-growing age group?

Should we be worried that the True Finns are heading for a victory in the April election?

Yes because instead of Finland looking for effective answers to its demographic as well as a number of other challenges facing our country and society, a large number of Finns have chosen instead to be spooked by the rhetoric and populism of the True Finns.

We have only ourselves to blame for the rise of the True Finns in the polls. We have never really addressed racism and discrimination forcefully enough in this country since we have had so few immigrants among our ranks in the past. Instead of questioning our hatred for the Russians, some of us still feel the same way about our eastern neighbor as on the same day they unjustly  attacked us in the 1939-40 Winter War.

Instead of trying to rid our society of ills like racism, some politicians have used it for their own opportunistic political aims by instilling fear and claiming that our country will be overrun by Russians and foreigners.

On the positive side of things, it is good matter that many Finns who should know better than to peddle nineteenth-century racial “theories” are now in the public light. I personally believe that they have given us a good opportunity to challenge for good their distorted ideas that date back to the 1930s and to the writings of Rolf Nordenstreng and Eugen Fischer.

I refuse to believe that Finland, the country that is our dear home and which sacrificed so much to build a world-class educational system and society, will throw it all away for a few cheap populist soundbites from groups like the True Finns and politicians like Social Democrat Kari Rajamäki and Wille Rydman of Kokoomus.

The “True Finland” that the True Finns want to build is nothing more than a “False Finland” glued by populism and low self-esteem. We must all stand up against them, especially on April 17.

    • Enrique

      Wow, Tuomas! Thank you for this! I am certain a lot of people who don’t speak Finnish will be able to read what kind of a Finland the TF’s want. Thank you once again. I am going to post your link on Twitter.

    • Enrique

      Here is a part of the unofficial translation of the True Finns’ campagn manifesto: “Integration policy should begin with the principle of “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”, because it is advantage for both the immigrant and the receiving society. Primarily “when in Rome” refers to the Finnish laws, but also cultural norms are a part of our society. Despite the accelerated individualization of Finland, TF think that here still exists a”Finnish culture”, which is being emphasized by the ever-repeated demand for a more “multicultural” society. Nurturing Finnish culture and maintaining order in society are not racism.”

      Two matters strike out: (1) What is Finnish culture; and (2) why do they have to mention specifically that “nurturing Finnish culture” isn’t racist?

      The first question shows what the True Finns are made of: hot air. What is Finnish culture. What matters of that culture should we incorporate? Binge drinking? Low self-esteem? Bashing your wife? Of course we are speaking of some Finns and not generalizing. Why haven’t the True Finns asked the Roma and Saami to adopt Finnish culture? Why is it that some groups have a right to maintain and practice their culture while newcomers don’t? Is this how you are going to teach new immigrants the concept of Finnish equality? The second comment could be seen in light of the question “what is Finnish culture?” Unfortunately this type of comment may not be directly racist but it sure smells of ethnocentrism.
      In sum, these two examples show how thin this part of the campaign manifesto is. How can you build an effective policy with hot air?

      Here is a BNP publication that writes about the successes of the True Finns.

  1. Juan

    Unfortunately, the issue of immigration has taken the spotlight to an extent truly out of proportion with what is relevant in society today. Though this seems to be a common denominator throughout Europe, the obsession with immigration is like an ostrich burying his head in the sand. The whole of Europe is moving towards economic irrelevance and nobody seems to want to directly address the issue. Politicians have painted the picture of migrants leeching off the social system as the reason for increased hardship, yet their impact on welfare is really just a drop in the pan. The object of the government should be to create more jobs in the overall setting of a vibrant, globally-attuned economy. Finland is definitely not moving in that direction. Again, it is easier for politicians to point the finger at migrants than to address the economic realities.

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if the True Finns were given the economic and foreign affairs portfolios to manage. Not only would the economy be run into the ground, Finland would be the laughing stock in international circles with country bumpkins like Timo Soini, et. al. on display for the whole world to see.

    Oh well, if it gets really bad there’s always koskenkorva!

  2. Jaakko

    OK, so True Finns wins maybe 19% of the votes, then what? There still are three other big parties with nearly equal shares, and the Green party can even grow its support. How the hell will a single party having one fifth of the votes rule the entire country. Even if True Finns really wanted to turn Finland into North Korea, cut all foreign affairs and exterminate immigrants (which they don’t), they couldn’t. National coalition party has most seats at the moment but Finland still has progressive taxation, doesn’t belong to NATO and has a strong welfare system. All True Finns can do is to break consensus politics, offer different opinions and make the other politicians listen to the people again.

    And you shouldn’t look only at the number of senior citizens but the ratio of dependants per workers. At the moment only 1/3 of the immigration happens for working related reasons, other is for humanitarian and family reasons (actually most of the family reason based cases are also humanitarian). There are 1.3 dependants per one worker at the moment in Finland, therefore immigration needs to have <1.3 ratio.

    "Why haven’t the True Finns asked the Roma and Saami to adopt Finnish culture? Why is it that some groups have a right to maintain and practice their culture while newcomers don’t? Is this how you are going to teach new immigrants the concept of Finnish equality?"

    Maybe because the Roma and the Sami have lived here for centuries, Roma since the 1500's and the Saami since the end of ice age. They can be concidered indigenous people, that existed way before the Finnish state. They are small minorities, this has been their land since ages and multicultural earth is a richness. But when people now arrive to a new country they know exactly what they sign up for when they decide to become citizens, to adjust to the society. Besides the culture of the Roma and Sami doesn't really differ that much from the majority. But maybe you would have said to the Xhosans and Zulus in the 18th century that Boers have as much right to practice their culture in southern Africa as they do. Or same thing to Aboriginals in Australia. Or Indians of Caribbean islands. Or people of Tibet. Finland is a small nation, Finns are a small minority of Europe, a tiny culture, a tiny language group. It is colonialistic and racist to move to Finland saying 'Fuck your culture, I'll keep mine, no exceptions'.

  3. JusticeDemon


    One thing that comes across very clearly is an extraordinarily high degree of voter ignorance. Most of the electorate cannot list all of the political parties in the present governing coalition. Most cannot confidently name more than three government ministers or explain the administrative responsibilities in each government department (some questions: which government department is responsible for monitoring the weather in Finland? Which department measures earthquakes? Which one is responsible for safety at nuclear power plants? Which one inspects health and safety at work?). Very few voters can confidently explain the concrete policy differences between the main political parties. It is largely because of this that PS can release a manifesto that insists on the urgent need to change the Aliens Act so that it will be … exactly the same, but can nevertheless claim to have radical ideas in this field.

    This opens up real scope for the armchair sports fan to argue that his granny could do a better job than Jussi Jääskeläinen in goal for Finland. In a country that knows nothing about football, this opinion is just as good as anyone else’s and you can even get people to vote for it in the name of “breaking the consensus”.

    The Sámi are an indigenous people: the only one in Finland. By the logic of many of the more rabid nationalists on this board, they ought to resist the occupation of their land by the Russians, Finns, Swedes and Norwegians. Both PS and some sections of Kokoomus have voiced proposals to reduce the cultural subsidies that the Sámi enjoy so that Finland can concentrate on promoting “Finnish culture”. This amounts to taxing the Sámi to pay for Finnish cultural subsidies. Of course neither party wants to discuss their proposals in these terms, and the more ignorant and unthinking sections of the electorate will not insist that they do.

    Part of the populist approach involves cultivating urban myths for political gain. This is why we hear over and over again that immigrants are work shy benefit shoppers who get more benefits than the host population. Anyone who understands how the welfare system works can see that this cannot be true, but the myth is too valuable to abandon. It is an inconvenient fact that no decisions have been made to cut the benefits of immigrant jobseekers who refuse work or training. Such decisions are unheard of. Now this either means that Finnish public officials are breaking the law on a massive scale or it means that the myth of the work shy immigrant benefit shopper is quite untrue.

    The welfare system is specifically designed to be objective and impartial, meaning that a family in certain circumstances will be eligible for certain benefits regardless of its background. One consequence of this is that a five-person Vietnamese Buddhist family with a disabled child will appear better off than a comparable five-person Finnish lumpen proletarian family. Abstinence from alcohol, a vegetarian diet and an otherwise frugal lifestyle already guarantee this. Lack of impartiality and objectivity in individual welfare decisions would again be lawbreaking by the Finnish officials concerned. However, the myth of inequitable welfare provision is again too valuable to give up.

    I agree with your observation at the very end, but in my [fairly considerable] experience immigrants who behave in this manner tend overwhelmingly to be migrant workers or foreign spouses from first-world backgrounds. I cannot say that I have ever encountered anything like this attitude in humanitarian immigrants or spouses from developing countries (to their credit, I find that USAmericans in Finland do seem to want to engage with the culture and language of their new surroundings). I am most concerned about the situation of first-worlders who settle and put down roots in Finland but fail to invest in gaining a firm appreciation of the surrounding culture. These immigrants are highly vulnerable in the event of common misfortunes such as involuntary unemployment, divorce, disability and old age. Socially they can easily wind up in a position that is far less enviable than that of a third-world immigrant who has diligently invested in social skills and acculturation.

    • Enrique

      As far as the bubble of the True Finns is considered, we have to analyze it from a number of angles. One is the passive response to the onslaught. How is it possible that a group of people in Finland can resurrect far-right ideas from the 1930s? How is it possible that they speak of culture and different ethnicitices as in the nineteenth century today? The slow reaction of at least the big parties is one factor. Instead of confronting the threat, they preferred to play ball with it. In Sweden they they did the right thing: shut out the Sweden Democrats from debate. Swedish parties said they would not listen to a party with neo-Nazi roots. Here, in Finland, everything is different. It suffices to be an Islamophbist and belong to an association that reads Alfred Rosenberg/David Duke for some media (check out the HS cultural news section) to consider you as an “expert” on immigration. Even though the big three are playing catch-up to the True Finns, I believe that Soini’s bubble has already started to deflate. I have said it before: If the True Finns get under 20 seats it will be an upset for Soini.

  4. Toni

    True Finns are proud to tell that a lot of changes have been made to immigration laws during this season. Without True Finns none of them would have been made. First we were accused as racists, then populistic but now the main parties have done a lot what we asked.

    Latest news are that our main parties (Kokoomus&Keskusta) are hoping even more tight immigration policy for next season. “More tight laws are needed…” Thats what they tell todays news, only 3 days before the election day. Is that populism??

    News today (14.4.2011):

    • Enrique

      Hi Toni, thank you for your comment. Why do you think that tightening the immigration law is good if we need immigrants to move here?

      –True Finns are proud to tell that a lot of changes have been made to immigration laws during this season.

      Yes, right, what would Finland be without the True Finns…

  5. JusticeDemon


    Perhaps you could tell us what specific proposals that news item refers to. PS have indeed been saying this kind of thing again and again, but when it came to preparing their manifesto and setting out their policy position there were no concrete proposals at all. Only a lot of very familiar guff about the need to reduce application processing times. Every political party and every administration since the time of Eila Kännö has declared the importance of reducing processing times.

    The article in today’s HS focuses on family reunification and suggests an evident desire to discourage it in the name of reducing immigration and making Finland a less attractive destination for humanitarian migration. Now holding fast to the principle of non-discrimination, how precisely do we justify measures that explicitly aim to separate children from their parents? As you answer, please also bear in mind that huge sums of public money are spent on maternity, paternity and parental leave benefits, and on other special measures seeking to prevent such separation from occurring. Where is the consistent and non-discriminatory policy line here? Can any political party that opposes family reunification claim to respect the family as an institution?

    It is this logical impasse that forces the debate down to the gutter level of claiming that there is substantial abuse of the family reunification system. This brings to mind the cold shower suffered by the old Directorate of Immigration when the option of DNA testing was introduced. The first round of tests showed that in over one hundred cases the Directorate had turned down applications because it had chosen not to believe the claims of applicants to parenthood of their biological children. Again this does not sit well with the principles governing acknowledgement of paternity in Finland, which is almost always based solely on a formal declaration of parenthood.

    These are genuine problem areas in public policy and vague generalisations about the need to “tighten” the rules are of no help whatsoever.

    It’s worth pondering that each new constraint introduced into an administrative procedure increases the time required for that procedure, so the aims of “tightening” conditions and reducing processing times are mutually inconsistent.

  6. Toni

    Erique, the question is why do we need them. Not if.

    So, why do we need to bring immigrants here? We have 300.000-500.000 people unemployed here. And every year 50.000 young people graduate and look for work. And they tell unemployment among young people is rising.

    We have 30.000 immigrants working in constructions, about none of them are payed according to the law (=they are illegal labour), and at the same time we have 20.000 finnish construction workers without work.

    Skanska tried to import (cheaper) foreign construction workers to North Finland but all the uneployed construction workers prevented that. Skanska told that finnish workers are too expensive to use.

    And most important, if we have work to offer here – the educated people from, let’s say Portugal, will come here to work if we need them. We don’t need to bring them here before we have work to offer.

    In the world history the people have been moving to places where the work is. We welcome people who will come to work here. And pay taxes!

    It is not what Finland would now be without True Finns but what it will be in near future. Do we want to copy the same problems Sweden, England, France and other countries have with immigrants?

    JusticeDemon, I understand that without PS and Halla-Aho the discussion about problems in immigration would still be racism and allmost not existing. Few years ago, if you tried to bring up these problems to discussion, you would have been labeled as a racist at once. Last year it was called immigration critisism. Today it is realism.

    Many members of our parlament has now told similar demands about immigration as PS did years ago. There are members from Kokoomus, Keskusta, Vihreät and even our former president Ahtisaari who demand changes and tighter policy. They want similar policy as in Canada, Australia and many other countries.

    -If two people apply to same job and they are equal with skills and education, which one will get the job? The answer is, the immigrant. That is how the official rule is now here. It is called “positive discrimination”. Isn’t that racism?

  7. Toni

    Why should we advertise for illegal immigration if it brings us more troubles? With DNA we can check who is a child or a parent. Now 90% of family reunification applications are false as 90% of development aid “kehitysapu” goes somewhere else than to the target and to people in need.

    How do you compare maternity / paternity leave to this? When immigrants are selected they should select the whole family that is trying to come here. It is cheating to select only one member of a family and then, a year later, demand the rest of the family (parents, and 10 sisters) to join afterwards. It is not how it goes. That is cheating… And then it appears that those 10 sisters are not real sisters and they demand their parents and sisters must be brought here as well… That is how it goes now!!

  8. JusticeDemon


    We have plenty of these immigration critics coming on this blog, but their criticism does not even concern immigration. I gave you a couple of examples of the difficulty of formulating an immigration policy that meets the constraints of consistency and non-discrimination, and I’m not at all surprised that you have chosen not to grapple with these questions.

    Instead of engaging in constructive discussion, our immigration critics try to characterise immigrants as work shy illiterate criminals who interpret all adversity as racism. It doesn’t matter what term you use for this approach. No amount of spin doctoring conceals the point that the aim is to demonise a population group in order to justify inequitable treatment. This is precisely the mentality of the colour bar, and if that’s how immigration critic is used, then that’s what immigration critic comes to mean. From ample evidence in this discussion, the term immigration critic simply means someone who attempts to justify inequitable treatment of minorities by negatively stereotyping them.

    On the subject of “positive discrimination”, I am aware of no such “official rule” applied anywhere in Finland. Perhaps you can refer me to the Act of Parliament that includes or enables any such rule. More generally, the conditions for positive discrimination are set out in paragraph 4 of Article 1 of ICERD. At least in my view, the wording of this provision strongly implies that any such policy will be explicit and not informal.

    The only measures of this kind that I know of in Finland concern positive discrimination with a view to achieving gender equality.

  9. JusticeDemon


    When did the children orphaned by the Finnish civil war become members of the families that adopted them? You are now attempting to demonise people from a war zone for taking in the children of deceased relatives and then seeking to ensure that these children do not suffer separation from their families a second time.

    The public policy point is that it is arrant hypocrisy to claim concern for family life and the best interests of children in one policy area (family-related leave and social policy) but then to deny these values in another policy area. Hypocrisy aside, the Convention on the Rights of the Child imposes constraints on public policy and practice where children are concerned.

    Selection of entire family units is a feature of refugee admissions under the UNHCR resettlement programme (known as the quota system in Finland). This is not possible in the case of spontaneous humanitarian population displacement, because civilian families seldom escape from civil war zones as a unit. Most commonly the family members most at risk will leave first, which generally means males of fighting age.

  10. Toni

    >I gave you a couple of examples of the difficulty of formulating an immigration policy that meets the constraints of consistency and non-discrimination, and I’m not at all surprised that you have chosen not to grapple with these questions.

    Perhaps I did not uderstand your questions… you use so difficult words. I use more time tomorrow… please repeat your question, but short and simple.

    >On the subject of “positive discrimination”, I am aware of no such “official rule” applied anywhere in Finland.

    Here some: “hire the immigrant even if he/she is not as skilled as a finn”:
    -Helsingin kaupunki on täydentänyt rekrytointiohjeistustaan virastoille. Ohjeistuksen mukaan työhönotossa voidaan ottaa huomioon hakijan etninen tausta palkkaamalla tehtävään työmarkkinoilla aliedustettuun ryhmään kuuluva henkilö, vaikka tämä ei olisi aivan yhtä pätevä.
    – Yhdenvertaisuuslaki sanoo, että jos on kaksi tasaveroista hakijaa, vähemmistöryhmään kuuluvaa suositaan. Jos miesvaltaiseen työyhteisöön on tasaveroisina hakijoina mies ja nainen, naista suositaan, hän vertaa.
    Helsinki harjoittaa työhönotossa niin sanottua positiivista erityiskohtelua, kertoo maahanmuuttoasioiden johtaja Annika Forsander
    Ohjeistus tekee mahdolliseksi sen, että maahanmuuttajaa suositaan rekrytoinnissa, jos hakijat ovat tasavahvoja.

  11. JusticeDemon


    OK this was news to me. Once again legislation has advanced more rapidly than I anticipated.

    These reports concern measures adopted under a formal equality plan formulated in accordance with section 7 of the Equality Act. They are licensed by ICERD.

    Such measures are already familiar from the field of sex discrimination, and this is where the most practical experience has been gained. Section 9 of the Sexual Equality Act (609 0f 1986) permits väliaikaisia, suunnitelmaan perustuvia erityistoimia tosiasiallisen tasa-arvon edistämiseksi, joilla pyritään tämän lain tarkoituksen toteuttamiseen. This specific wording took effect on 1 June 2005 (compared to the corresponding changes in the Equality Act dating from 1 December 2008).

    Equality plans and associated disparities in treatment have been commonplace in the sphere of sex discrimination for many years. For example the sex ratio in government committees should not exceed 60:40 meaning, for example, that men must/should be appointed instead of better qualified women under certain circumstances.

    Would you say that the long-standing policy to combat sex discrimination is improper? This amounts to a rule that we should hire a man even if a woman is better qualified for a job in a sector where women are already over-represented. If this is an acceptable arrangement for achieving a social objective, then what is the difference of principle when hiring an Iraqi bus driver instead of a Finnish (or Estonian) bus driver with more experience?

    The point on which I disagree with Annika Forsander is in referring to maahanmuuttajat as a specifically disadvantaged group. This depends a great deal on the kind of immigrant and the type of work. The broadcasters who read Yle News in English are a case in point.

  12. Toni

    Can you explane what is that “disadvantaged group” as immigrants? Why they are disadvantaged group? Why they are more disadvantages than finnish? Who puts their disadvantage higher than other disadvantaged groups?

    Aren’t our children more disadvantaged than those who come here as adults and then send all the money to their relatives? That’s why tens of millions of euros disappear from Finland every year…

    What makes foreing construction workers disadvantaged group? They don’t pay taxes here, they just get the money and take it back to home. That’s how again tens of millions of euros disappear from Finland every year and half a billion euros tax money is missed. And half a billion euro is paid to our own unemployed construction workers.

    The broadcasters who read Yle News in English are hired because of their skills, not because they look foreign or exotic. Any other reason would be racism.

    So racism is good when used for “acceptable arrangement for achieving a social objective”. What is that objective? Why not to look what that kind of problems that positive racism creates? Or at least, why don’t they explane to us why is that positive racism so important…

    • Enrique

      –What makes foreing construction workers disadvantaged group? They don’t pay taxes here, they just get the money and take it back to home.

      Toni, I have never seen any figures on how many foreigners don’t pay taxes. As I mentioned before, the problem when we start labelling groups we label everyone. How many Finns don’t pay taxes? This is a constant smear campaign without anyone providing any concrete cases. Is it a HUGE problem? Can you substantiate such a claim?

  13. Toni

    Sorry, I missed this part at the beginning of my previous message:

    I see NO point on hiring a man if a woman is better qualified for a job in a sector where women are already over-represented. I don’t understand that if we live in a world that sex doesn’t count but skills do. They keep talking about sex equality but they use force and rules for us to execute it. It’s not equality but discrimination. Positive discrimination creates problems. It is not fair. It is not equality.

  14. Toni

    Keskusta party and Katainen have been telling us that if we don’t support Greece and Portugal we will loose our pension money. Today the news tell (president of the pension company Lasse Heiniö) that Katainen has been lying. Our pension funds have only very little money in Greece and Portugal and loosing that money has no effect at all.

    Katainen is using “fear populism”, he creates fear by lying.

    Katainen’s Bluff Exposed:

    I have to ask: Who is the biggest populist here?

  15. Toni

    Tens of thousands foreign construction workers and none of them paid what law orders, according to union:

    “Tällä hetkellä yksin rakennusalalla työskentelee kymmeniä tuhansia ulkomaisia lähetettyjä työntekijöitä maksamatta veroja. Alipalkalla, jopa räikeällä alipalkalla, työskentelee käytännössä jokainen ulkomailta lähetetty ulkomaisen yrityksen palveluksessa oleva työntekijä. Yhtään sellaista tapausta, jossa palkka olisi ollut valmiiksi lain ja työehtosopimuksen mukaisessa kunnossa, ei Rakennusliiton tarkastuksissa ole vuosien varrella tullut vastaan. Myös sosiaalivakuutusmaksut jäävät yleensä hoitamatta.”

    Sure there are a lot of Finns too who don’t pay all their taxes, but that problem is much smaller? I have seen no news about that being a big problem.
    Now I see it is a big problem, I found a news about it:

    But still, that money has usually been spent in Finland… The problem is similar and something should be done. But I would put it as a lower priority, different “disadvantaged group”.

    • Enrique

      –“Tällä hetkellä yksin rakennusalalla työskentelee kymmeniä tuhansia ulkomaisia lähetettyjä työntekijöitä maksamatta veroja.

      Then there is defintely a problem that the authorities must take a stand. Do you know if they have? Or is it only the union that is sounding the alarm?

  16. Toni

    I know Soini and PS is talking about the problem and offering some solutions.
    Keskusta and Kokoomus are talking about it but not doing anything to the problem because it benefits the rich when they have slave labour to use… Even the construction union has offered some solutions but Kokoomus & Keskusta have denied them.

    But that is how China, Saudi Arabia, USA and other “rich” countries operate: They use slavery meaning cheaper labour (=immigrants). That is silently accepted as long as unemployment numbers are not too high.

    • Enrique

      Toni, if matters are this serious how is it possible that there is nothing in the media and that the authorities have not taken action? I think that is a surprise. I doubt that the authorities don’t want to do anything. It’s not the way things are done in this country. So somebody may be exaggerating the case. Or what do you think?

  17. JusticeDemon


    It sounds like you are opposed in general to special measures seeking to counterbalance structural disadvantage in society, so this has nothing in particular to do with immigrant minorities.

    As I indicated above, the most important target of special measures in Finland is sex discrimination. The longest history of special measures, on the other hand, concerns people with various disabilities. Braille libraries and disabled access ramps are examples of selective investment that seeks to boost the opportunities of disadvantaged groups. Special needs teaching at school is also an example of this.

    Are you advocating a perfect meritocracy in which the disadvantaged are left to seek their own remedies? People can be disadvantaged for many reasons, and disadvantage is strongly context-dependent. If you are lost in a dark cellar, for example, then your best choice of leader is probably a blind person. Sickle cell anaemia is a debilitating disease, but it significantly improves your life expectancy in parts of the world where malaria is endemic. In strongly class-bound societies it is a disadvantage to have the wrong social background. Gender and racial prejudice also result in specific disadvantage for individuals of a particular sex or extraction. We have plenty of contributors on this blog who claim that Somalis as a group are work shy criminals. This perception damages the job prospects of every Somali quite irrespective of the character or qualifications of the individual. It is therefore a disadvantage to be a Somali in Finland.

    Special measures must be formally linked to a measurable social objective, and must not be continued after that objective has been achieved. A child receives special needs tutoring at school only up to the point where she can keep up with the rest of the class without this extra assistance. It was once a disadvantage to be visibly Jewish in Finland, but nowadays the general perception is no longer so strong as to justify special measures to advance the prospects of this group, even though some degree of antisemitism has continued.

    As noted above, I think it is incorrect to identify immigrants as a disadvantaged group per se, although a huge majority of immigrants are linguistically disadvantaged in most forms of work or other participation.

  18. Toni

    Sorry, what matters you mean is not in media? Immigartion, populism, problems of foreign construction workers or what?
    Sure there are news about problems in media. How else would I known about them?

    You don’t know the way of the politics. It is complicated. Policians work for people who have helped them to be a policians. Why would Finland be any different than other countries?

    Allmost anything may be possible, even exaggeration, that I have learned in life.

  19. Toni

    Disabled acces ramps are not away from anyone. They even benefit others, like old people. Special needs teaching at school is organized that other kids don’t need to slow down. Those, who disturb or slow down others, need to be elsewhere. They are given a choise but they need to work harder…

    We all seek our own possibilities in life. Some of us have more options that others depending on our skills. Sure we try to offer everyone some options, but it must be within reason.
    It is like health care: It is made so that people who work and pay taxes get better health care in privat doctors. It would be nice if everyone had the best doctors, but as it is, we need to “select” who gets what. Those, who have skills (less disadvantaged), have more options to develope themselves.

    It is not a disadvantage to be a somali in Finland. We don’t know if african man is from Nigeria or Somaly. We can’t tell. Everyone is on the same line at the beginning. But if you can’t read and write and have no skills, then it is adisadvantage, no matter where you are from.

  20. Toni

    >We have plenty of contributors on this blog who claim that Somalis as a group are work shy criminals.

    Talking about them. Here one somali complains why they need to use public healt care:

    “Eriarvoisuus näkyy myös terveydenhuollossa. Etenkin hyväosaisia suosiva eriarvoisuus on kasvanut. Lääkärissä käynnit jakaantuvat Suomessa selvästi suurituloisia suosivasti. Hyväosaisilla on kolminkertainen mahdollisuus saada julkisin varoin kustannettuja lääkäripalveluita: yksityislääkäriltä, työterveyshuollosta ja terveyskeskuksista. Vähäosaisten, etenkin työttömien maahanmuuttajien täytyy tyytyä jonottamaan rappeutuvissa terveyskeskuksissa.”

    That is so funny… they want their own more modern health care system? Who pays it?

  21. JusticeDemon


    All of those special facilities that I pointed out are financed from the public purse. If you are against any of them in principle, then you must be opposed to all of them. This is a consistent position, but it puts you in the very small minority of people in Finland who are opposed to the idea of public services allocated according to need. I don’t think any recognisable political party in Finland takes such a position.

    If, on the other hand, you accept any publicly financed special facilities that are allocated according to need, then you must either accept all of them, or show precisely why some are acceptable and others are not. You seem to be arguing that special measures to rectify disadvantage based on skin colour or national origin are unnecessary, because you deny the disadvantage. We can focus on this if you like, but you will have to separate it from the ideological position of opposition to all public services allocated according to need.

    Are you saying that job interviewers don’t know the national origin of a Somali candidate? Or are you perhaps recommending blind job applications to ensure that such factors are not known until after the appointment has been decided?

  22. JusticeDemon


    You just did precisely what you claimed doesn’t happen. Zahra Abdulla happens to be a Somali, and you highlighted that entirely irrelevant fact as background to a remark that could have been written by almost any politician, concluding that “they” want something that “we” will have to pay for.

    If you cannot see past her origins when considering what she says, what makes you think that a job interviewer will do any better? Evidently it is a disadvantage to be a Somali in Finnish political life, as at least one reader judges the content of the message according to prejudices about the national origin of the writer. You would not have remarked on this view if the writer had been someone like Rakel Hiltunen.

  23. Toni

    >If you are against any of them in principle, then you must be opposed to all of them.

    Now I am lost. I am against what? I thougt I was favoring them all…
    We have to choose what to finance and what not. There is not money for everything. It is called a budget.
    I can pick up good oranges or good apples from a pile in a grocery store. I can oppose those I don’t want to have.

    I believe the need of a nation is more important than the need of an individual, generally spoken. That is why not everyone can be doctors or bus drivers. The target is that everyone gets what they want or need. But if that is not possible, then how to solve that problem? Who gets what?
    One need is the need to keep workers working. That need must be fullfilled also.

    Those, who are benefitical to nations, must get better care if everyone can’t have the same. A choise must be made. They are the ones who pay everyones health care. We have 100.000 very sick people and 40.000 doctors. Should we put all the doctors to help the sick ones and those who work and pay taxes are left without health care? How long it takes that tax payers start to become sick, health care becomes more expensive and at the same time tax income gets lower? It is best interest for every nation to keep the working people working.

    I don’t think we know who is a Somali and who is a Etiopian or Kenyan by looks. Can you tell who is from Finland and who from other skandinavian country?

  24. Toni

    >You just did precisely what you claimed doesn’t happen. Zahra Abdulla happens to be a Somali

    Yes, it is mentioned on his page. It was the explanation why she wrote what she did.

    >and you highlighted that entirely irrelevant fact as background to a remark that could have been written by almost any politician, concluding that “they” want something that “we” will have to pay for.

    Only Somali can write something like that. They have asked bigger houses for free, they have asked many other things like that one. No-one else has.

    >If you cannot see past her origins when considering what she says, what makes you think that a job interviewer will do any better?

    I was not trying to see past but to understand her motives.
    Sure there are some characteristics that you can identify sometimes someone’s origin. But a civilised job interview won’t let that disturb. His job is to find if one is good for the job. I don’t care if one is Somali, Estonian or from Turku city when I meet one.

    >Evidently it is a disadvantage to be a Somali in Finnish political life, as at least one reader judges the content of the message according to prejudices about the national origin of the writer.

    It is a disadvantage of a person if she thinks everyone should have expensive private doctors… Again, no matter where you are from. The nation just can’t afford that.

    >You would not have remarked on this view if the writer had been someone like Rakel Hiltunen.

    Yes I would have. I would have wondered what is her motive. Why she thinks that way. With Somali I think I know why…

  25. Toni

    >Are you saying that job interviewers don’t know the national origin of a Somali candidate?

    Are you trying to say that Somalis don’t get jobs because job interviews reject them here in Finland when they find out their origin? That is so racist thinking.. and so not true.

  26. JusticeDemon


    I wonder if you recall the Timo Harakka chat show from a few years ago when the presenter made a couple of telephone calls to a landlord who had advertised an apartment to let. In the first call Harakka gave a Somali name and very convincingly assumed the accent of a Somali speaking fluent Finnish. He was told that the apartment had already been let. Then in the second call a little while later he gave a Finnish name and dropped the Somali accent. He was then given a time when he could come and view the vacant apartment.

    I’m afraid the balance of anecdotal and statistical evidence weighs heavily against your position. In fact the key prejudices that underlie that evidence are readily apparent in your own writing. As you put it yourself, Only Somali can write something like that. This is patently untrue. Many politicians highlight inequities in access to health care due to income disparities. How about this extract from the manifesto of Helsingin Vihreät?

    Suomalaisten terveyserot ovat kasvaneet. Tähän tulee puuttua panostamalla perusterveydenhuoltoon ja ennaltaehkäisyyn. Terveydenhuollon sekavaa, monikanavaista rahoitusta on selkeytettävä.

    Was that written by Somalis?

  27. JusticeDemon

    Here’s another one that “must have been written by a Somali”:

    Peruspalveluiden laatua ja saatavuutta pitää parantaa.Terveyseroja on kavennettava, terveyspalveluihin on lisättävä henkilökuntaa ja terveydenhuollon rahoitus on nostettava eurooppalaiselle keskitasolle.

  28. Toni

    If I had an apartment for hire, I would not rent it to a somali, serb, romani, russian, young finnish man or a man with low voice. And I have the right to select to whom I rent it.
    When I was renting my last apartment the owner had to see me in person first, talk to me and to see my latest pay check. Then he called few days later to say I was selected. That’s how I got new place to live.

    Those manifestos you quoted are different. First one is good, second one is weird. I understand our health care budget is about biggest in Europe and we have more doctors per capita than others. And if asking such a demand, one should also tell where to get the money for it…

  29. JusticeDemon


    It helps in a discussion if your rejoinders are relevant to the subject of the original claim and answer.

    The point of Harakka’s experiment was to illustrate the very prejudice that you previously claimed does not exist. Whether expressions of such prejudice are or were actionable in law is a different point, as well you know.

    Similarly your dismissal of a manifesto position based on the national origin of the author was prejudice. It’s interesting as such that you praised the extract from the manifesto of Helsingin Vihreät, as this is Zahra Abdulla’s political party. The segment of her campaign leaflet that you quoted is simply a more long-winded way of expressing some of the ideas in that manifesto.

    Thus the manifesto begins Suomalaisten terveyserot ovat kasvaneet, whereas Abdulla says Eriarvoisuus näkyy myös terveydenhuollossa. Etenkin hyväosaisia suosiva eriarvoisuus on kasvanut. This merely explains the meaning of “terveyserot”, after which Abdulla goes on to give concrete examples of health disparities and inequitable health service provision.

    By making the statement that you condemned, Abdulla is merely toeing the very party line that you praised. The difference to you is merely that Zahra Abdulla is a Somali immigrant. That is precisely the kind of prejudice that you claimed does not exist. QED.

    . I understand our health care budget is about biggest in Europe


    This is a surprising claim. At least going by 2007 figures, per capita healthcare expenditure in Finland is lower than in any other Nordic country, and also lower than in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.

    … and we have more doctors per capita than others.

    Again this is inconsistent with statistics that are readily available online. Mainly based on figures from 2003, Finland comes 46th in the world ranking table physicians per 1,000 people, behind Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.

  30. Toni

    I don’t agree that “terveyserot” have (much) growed between rich and poor.
    Our health care costs are allmost too high. Many years they have been telling that soon the costs will grow to be too big to handle. At same time some people tell it is lowest in EU.

    Smaller costs are in Greece, Italy and Spain according to this:
    This tells again little different (last page):

    Some countries have (tens of) thousands of illegal immigrants so the real cost for people living in are smaller… We have only few illegal immigrants.

    Yes, our public healt care cost may seem small, but does it also count private health care costs?

    We have 300.000 people working in health care. An other 300.000 are working as “omaishoitaja”.
    So, from our 5,3 million people 11,3% works in healt care. What other country has more?
    We have 24 502 registered and active doctors. That is one doctor for every 216 people. What other country has less people for one doctor? The costs of our health care is difficult to calculate because part of it is included in taxes we pay. That way even the poorest people can have the same quality health care as any other. What other country has as good health care for the poor? I would say only very few.

    And they tell we have so modern healt care that even David Beckham comes here for a surgery. If it is so cheap how can it be so good, one of the best in the world? Because it is not cheap. It only looks like it.

  31. Juha

    It is so easy to accuse TF´s for being evil of the world. People in Finland are tired of this policy and want the change. This election result was expected and it was unevitable. Something must change. I, personally, being a father, working-class man who tries to make living for his family, couldn´t see any other choices than TF. Now we at least have an opportunity to have something different. And when it comes to immigration policy…: Yes, I wholeheartedly support TF´s program. Why it is so hard to understand that people who are ready to get an education, are trying to get work, are welcome ? We don´t need people who are not willing to integrate to Finnish society, who don´t get education of any kind and even avoid getting employed. For me, future seems hopefull after a long time.

    • Enrique

      Hi Juha and thank you for dropping by.

      –People in Finland are tired of this policy and want the change.

      You seem to forget that 80% of the voters gave their thumbs up to the traditional parties and their values.

      –Yes, I wholeheartedly support TF´s program.

      Have you ever read our immigration laws? What in it would you want to tigthen even more?

      I personally see our tougher immigration stance as a much deeper and scarier thing. When you start to see the world as a threat and use exclusion by ecouraging bigotry you lose sight of many things. One of them is history. You reinforce distorted and exclusive views of your group. It becomes easy to discriminate on those that live here and who have made Finland their home. The other matter is that the bigotry of a group spills over on the WHOLE immigrant/minority community in Finland. You just can’t go around bashing one group and saying you will have stricter immigration policy (don’t we already have?) and think it won’t affect others. Such statements are made on the assumption that immigrants are (1) social bums, (2) out to use the system and take advantage of us and (3) suspicious. So all immigrants are held in contempt.

      So, Juha, the matter goes deeper than just having a group that want to defend us from “immigrant hordes.”

      i believe the PS does not have any workable solution to some of the major challenges facing our society. One of those challenges is definitely not immigration. It is as you know the financing of our welfare state and ensuring future generations of Finns can live in the same type of country like us. It would be unfair to blame immigrants for this as well.

  32. Toni

    >–People in Finland are tired of this policy and want the change.

    >You seem to forget that 80% of the voters gave their thumbs up to the traditional parties and their values.

    But the number of that group grows… and at the last days Kokoomus temporarily changed their policy a lot.

    • Enrique

      –But the number of that group grows… and at the last days Kokoomus temporarily changed their policy a lot.

      What did they change? Is it because of the 2.9% immigrants that live in this country? Doesn’t Finland have more pressing problems?

  33. Toni

    >Is it because of the 2.9% immigrants that live in this country?

    I don’t know why Kokoomus lied.

    >Doesn’t Finland have more pressing problems?

    Yes it does, but Kokoomus doesn’t talk about them.

    • Enrique

      –Yes it does, but Kokoomus doesn’t talk about them.

      So, if it isn’t immigration or refugees, what are the big problems facing Finland today?