Is there such a thing as a “new” and “old” Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party? If you ask Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Minister Petteri Orpo there is. But if you are a migrant, asylum seeker or minority in Finland, it’s doubtful that you would make such a difference.
Here’s the question: Why was Sampo Terho, who holds the same ideas about migrants like Jussi Halla-aho, is more “acceptable?” Why Soini versus Halla-aho?
We have called this phenomenon at Migrant Tales the good-cop, bad-cop syndrome.
If we are candid with ourselves, Halla-aho, Soini and Terho are bonded by the same goal: To keep Finland white and Christian. Migration and cultural diversity, especially from non-EU countries, are seen as threats.
From left to right: Jussi Halla-aho, Timo Soini and Sampo Terho. Source: YLE.
If their brand of politics is toxic especially towards migrants and cultural diversity, does it come down to how you market yourself as a populist politician and how the media interprets and wants to see you?
It’s clear that one of the biggest challenges of countries like Finland is challenging its denial of racism, bigotry and discrimination. The fine balance of being an “acceptable” anti-immigration politician in Finland is by mastering code.
It’s all about status quo as well – you maintain and support all those toxic opinions about migrants and minorities that don’t change the status quo or structural racism.
While Halla-aho fails miserably in how he spreads his racist opinions, Soini and Terho have mastered the way their anti-cultural diversity message is fed and interpreted by the media, public and politicians.
Halla-aho reveals clearly some of our most shameful aspects and social ills about our society.
Is there then such a thing as the “new” and “old” PS or is the same party?
Your answer hinges on your ethnic background and how much of a threat the PS is to you.
* The official translation to Finnish of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is the Finns Party. In our opinion, it is not only a horrible translation, but one that is misguided. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Such terms like the Finns Party of True Finns promote as well in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and thereafter the acronym PS.