Well-groomed politicians and making racism in Finland “normal”

by , under Enrique

In general terms, there are two types of politicians in Finland that spread intolerance: those that let it all hang out and another type that speaks to you politely and is well-groomed. In the latter group, you’ll find PS MPs like Jussi Halla-aho, Juho Eerola, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Juho Eerola, even Timo Soini; James Hirvisaari is a crude example of the former group. 

These types of politicians, who inhabit as well the National Coalition Party, Center Party, Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Greens, Swedish People’s Party and the Left Alliance, believe it’s perfectly fine to attack immigrants and refugees in this country.

If you took away the rhetoric and double-speak of their so-called impeccable well-groomed arguments, you’d end up with two embarrassing revelations: intolerance and anti-cultural diversity.

These types of politicians hate immigrants, but especially Africans and Muslims.

How they manifest their hatred and racism is the trick. They have to figure out how to sanitize it. In other words, how to make their racism look “normal.” Wearing suits and flashy ties help give their message more credibility.

Eerola, the PS MP who admitted to be attracted to fascism, is a case in point. Before Eerola’s election, he sometimes looked like a poorly dressed hippie with a beard but then cleaned up his act.

One of PS MP Eerola’s many images.

Image plays a crucial role for any politicians, never mind his or her political message. If you look like a slob, your message will lose strength.

Another important matter you must learn as well is the language of institutional racism and political correctness. It’s like learning manners at the table. You can be a slob in real life, but at a public table you have to know the fine art of etiquette.

Immonen, in a recent column on Uusi Suomi, an online newspaper that has become a platform for the PS, wrote that he’s against Africans and Muslims applying for asylum in this country.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-10-22 kello 15.12.48
Note PS MP Olli Immonen’s tie and nicely folded handkerchief.

Using PS leader Soini’s twisted logic, it’s fine for Immonen to attack immigrants as long as he says publicly that he’s against hate speech and not a racist. The person defending, or spreading hate speech, is naturally wearing a suit and a tie.

Sometimes matters take a turn for the worse irrespective of our well-groomed public image. Soini, a devout catholic, went through a scapegoating ritual this month when he sacrificed Hirvisaari and fed him to the political dogs.

The PS leader is now keen to tell us that the party doesn’t have any longer any issues with racism.

Like a person learning etiquette at the table, the PS is learning how to appear “normal” but without changing. It’s still the same party with the same message of hatred, same loathing for immigrants, especially Africans and Muslims.

When I was Colombia bureau chief of a U.S. news agency, I was responsible for the people I hired. My boss in New York used my hiring abilities to assess my performance as a manager. If I hired the wrong person, I’d be the first to hear about it from my boss.

Soini is directly responsible for the racism in the party for taking on board the Hirvisaaris, Halla-ahos and Hakkarainens.  Even if he claims to object to racism, he’s just as responsible.

Alex Andreou gives a great quote on a Guardian opinion piece about how the far-right. Apart from changing form constantly, “the far-right throbs and expands, blooms, then folds into itself and subdivides like an amorphous but sentient blob from a 1950s B movie.”

While part of the PS’ convoluted ideology and make up has far-right elements, it is clearly an anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party. A B horror movie can make us laugh or put us to sleep but it can never match the treachery and devastation that a political movement like the PS can inflict on others, like immigrants.