The recent electoral win by the Sweden Democrats has raised a firestorm of speculation here in Finland over what to expect in Finnish politics. Is there room for a Sweden Democrat-like party here in Finland, and don’t we have one already in the True Finns?
Following election night in Sweden, True Finns party spokesman, Timo Soini, was literally assaulted with questions as to whether he’s happy about his “brother party’s” electoral success in the recent elections for the Swedish Riksdag. Being put on the defensive, as well as from political considerations, Soini declined to be associated with the Sweden Democrats in very clear and forceful language.
In all honesty, what could be gained politically in doing so? Nothing. It should be noted that he didn’t call the Sweden Democrats racists nor echo the calls for them to be ostracized from political power, (though he did mention that they had an odious past) but again, he didn’t rake them over the coals.
The Tundra Tabloids understands the SD’s disappointment with such a tepid response from the True Finns party, but if the tables were turned, and they were posed to see their polling, electoral gains and credibility take a serious hit for mentions of solidarity with a neighboring country’s political party which has a pariah-like status, would they? The TT can’t judge whether they would or not, but this is the stark reality of the situation.
Through the True Finns’ efforts, the majority of the parties in Finland have assumed the TF’s talking points on immigration, with even a politician from the SDP party switching sides. The Tundra Tabloids can’t say how wise it is for a relatively new party to fracture in such a way as it’s doing presently, with the emergence of the Freedom party and Muutos 2011, but only time will tell. As in all politics, but especially in European social democracy parliamentarian politics, numbers matter, and to get any measure of ones poltical platform codified into state law, you’re going to need every number you can get.
The TT has yet to make a decision on the Freedom Party, and hopefully in the very near future it will be given the opportunity of interviewing the heads of these two new immigration/Islam critical parties KGS
The Freedom Party, which is trying to obtain status as an official party, accused the True Finns party as being too slack in their attitude towards immigration. Freedom Party chairman, Kalevi Helo, who’s aiming for Parliamentary elections, says that the True Finns shun any such criticism of Islam. True Finns take the newcomer’s rhetoric calmly.
True Finns have been following the other parties rigid positions on immigration with amusement: its own agenda has broken through. True Finns however, are happy to present themselves to be the genuine and original critic of immigration. The hardened attitudes of the older parties, are described with a little bit of contempt by True Finns supporters, as “neo-critics of social mobility.”
Now there’s a meme materializing in the political playing field, that the True Finns are themselves wimps scared of talking straight. Founded last year, the Freedom Party association (Vapauspuolue-yhdistys), for example, would like to protect Finnish residential areas from immigration and ban the construction of mosques.
– We want tougher immigration policy than the True Finns. In addition, we are an Islam-critical party, the True Finns are not. Timo Soini, has avoided taking a position on the whole issue. There is an emerging Soini-bubble: nothing can be talked about and still you should vote for Soini, says the president of the Freedom Party Association, Kalevi Helo.
Competitors are not worried
The Freedom Party association left its party’s registration at the Ministry of Justice on Monday. The new intruders in the ranks do not concern the True Finns.
– I’ve have been involved in politics for nine years, so I know what the work of political is all about. There are inexperienced forces still at work here, states Vesa-Matti Saarakkala of the True Finns deputy bureau.
Another official party emerging is the movement, Change 2011, which also seeks changes to immigration policy. The leadership of Change 2011 says it’s received messages, according to which, criticism of immigration is worth channelling through the True Finns to its own project instead.
There is also something else about these newcomers, Change 2011’s chairman is a former True Finn, Jiri Keronen. Vice-Chairman of the True Finns Saarakkala refuses to be annoyed by defectors.
– There are a few gone, and it may be better that way. We do not want to be single-issue group. If there are other matters of disagreement, it is better to be outside than to mess our matter up.