Timo Soini and the PS do it again: usual sound bites and no accountability

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* leader Timo Soini published this week a book about himself and the growth of the anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam party. In the book, Peruspomo, he candidly gives his opinion about the party, of some PS MPs and reveals some of his health issues. 

In a nutshell, Peruspomo gives us the same message, or lack of accountability, about the party that is hostile to migrants and anyone who doesn’t fit in their narrow world of imagined and real enemies.

After three years since the 2011 parliamentary elections, when the PS scored their historic victory, is Finland politically a better place to live? What we have seen since then is greater polarization, scapegoating of migrants and more hostility to our cultural and ethnic diversity.

Considering the intolerance and hostility that Soini helped bring to parliament, it’s pretty odd that the media continues to let him off the hook by not connecting him with racist statements and policies of his members and party. Migrant Tales has written about Soini’s good-cop-bad-cop strategy.

Politicians and the media, who are white, underestimate the threat of a party like the PS that bases its politics on social exclusion of some groups. As long as this is the case, we will not only be robbing opportunities entitled to others, but weakening our own values in the process.

To forget what Soini and PS represent is an exercise in self-deceit. It’s believing his usual sound bites and sugar-coated words, like “I don’t support racism and hate speech,” which act like candy. They give you a temporary rush but leave you hungry and empty.

The PS has insulted so many migrants and minorities in this country that it has effectively stunted its chances of ever becoming a “normal” party in Finland. The PS show that some Finns like right-wing populism. This can be seen with the Rural Party of the 1970s and the PS today. It’s pretty certain that after the demise of the PS, other suitors will appear to entertain the masses.

Of MP James Hirvisaari, who was sacked from the party in October for taking a picture of a friend who made a Nazi salute in parliament, Soini claimed in the book that he claims he was surprised when that he got elected and that this meant trouble.

Another PS MP he doesn’t speak highly of is Jussi Halla-aho, whom like Hirvisaari has been sentenced for ethnic agitation. “His best qualities aren’t in leadership,” he writes. “His background is a bit tragic. His parents divorced…and was viciously bullied at school.”

The Euro MP elections of May and parliamentary elections of April 2015 will be make-or-break elections for Soini and the PS.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language 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.