This interview/debate concerns the recent FB post by Finns Olli Immonen criticizing multiculturalism.
VS old time anti-Israel hack marxist Mr.Yellow Teeth Erkki Tuomioja
H/T: Vasara Hammer
Olli Seuri [OS] Yle Radio One now Ykkösaamu, a journalist Olli Seuri. Good morning! (Theme music) First Morning topics of today: the MP gets to say and what kind of private thinking of the parliamentary groups may be allowed. Jussi Halla-aho and Erkki Tuomioja are in a YLE1 morning debate in a minute.
The Finns MP Olli Immonen’s Facebook post against multiculturalism has dominated the public eye in recent days. Now, to identify where the boundaries of parliament freedom of speech, or of a suitable action. Good morning to Seinäjoki, to The Finns Party MEP Jussi Halla-aho!
Jussi Halla-aho [JHA] Good morning!
OS: And good morning, to SDP MP Erkki Tuomioja!
Erkki Tuomioja [ET] Good morning.
OS: Jussi Halla-aho, you’ve already written on Facebook THAT YOU agree with Olli Immonen that multiculturalism is an ugly bubble. As is well known, the definition of the concepts is important in this. What is it in multiculturalism that you object to?
JHA: This is a very good question, and these concepts, of course, are confused in the debate quite deliberately. Multiculturalism can be understood as a state of affairs in which … for example, in the same society a variety of cultures, linguistic, and ethnic groups live, and that is how Finland has always been, throughout the ages. But multiculturalism, which has been under discussion for the last twenty years, in which immigration has been a topical issue in Finland, so it is intended more for this kind of ideological approach to immigration: it is seen that immigration, especially exotic immigration from the third world, is seen as valuable and worth pursuing because it increases a multicultural society, and that this … this is considered like a matter worth pursuing and ignore – quite naively and in a Pollyanna-kind of way – the problems that such … such encounter of cultures in all Western societies has produced. Such as Alexander Stubb summed up in his comments on this Immonen-brouhaha, he said that “multiculturalism is an asset, and nothing more.” That this kind of multiculturalism, is the multiculturalism that Olli Immonen and I, and in my opinion The Finns party examine with a very critical eye.
OS: Then there’s another essential question: How well does the talk of battle or soldiers which has been interpreted as aggressive fit in this context, as many, however, experience multiculturalism, as either as part of their own identity or ethnic background?
JHA: Well, now we need to bear in mind the fact that battle (‘taistelu’) – and ‘fight’ (kamppailu’)-words have always been part of political rhetoric. Finland does not have a political party or politician who would not have some connection with declared to be fighting for a cause, for, say, gender equality or human rights …
OS: What about, Jussi Halla-aho, that one however, justified context was Olli Immonen’s activities as chairman of the Finnish Sisu and his presence with Finnish Resistance Movement members, in which case the text is interpreted in this context? Shouldn’t it too be taken into account?
JHA: Finnish Sisu is a perfectly legal, nationalist organization which I am a proud member of myself, and …
OS: Yes, what’s in question is probably not the legality, but rather the fact (JHA: But) how well such a debate tone is suited for talking about multiculturalism?
JHA: Yes, well, the question just a moment ago related to the fact of how well this fits in the Finnish Sisu context, and I answered the question just a moment ago.
OS: Yes, but I did not ask anything related to the legality, but rather that the context is taken into account. When this aggressiveness is brought up, then it is taken into account, in the Finnish Sisu context, and with the presence of Finnish resistance movement members.
JHA: Well, this occurrence with the Finnish members of the resistance movement was now rather a mistake, because it was an open event, in which there was a group photo. Olli Immonen did not know who these people were. I did not know. I might very well have happened to myself …
Erkki Tuomioja (ET): But he put that picture up on Facebook himself! And hasn’t removed it from there! Yes, I must, I’m sorry now that I’m talking about this, but … this is indeed a question that on the outskirts a Nazi-minded gang is twirling … of course, everywhere and perhaps elsewhere than in Finland Sisu circles can such activities be seen, which raises very unsavory associations, and recalls a very violent and… and anti-diversity ideology.
OS: So, Erkki Tuomioja. Indeed, you mentioned this Nazi spirit: that kind of language is not used without warning. Why should it be, or why is it time now to use it in your opinion?
ET: Precisely because of the Finnigh defence movement openly does not in any way deny that it is a Nazi movement in the least. On the contrary,it prides itself on it. And yes, I think if a MP appears in the same picture with them, so yes it is a very clear message, and the message is also read abroad, in such a way that “Aha, here is this kind of Nazi outfit”. And even in True Finns sister parties elsewhere in Europe, such activity would be addressed. So far, no one in The Finns party has addressed it.
OS: Jussi Halla-aho, please answer briefly.
JHA: Well, while abroad no one came to speak to me about any Nazi sympathising. I think that, yes, Member of Parliament Tuomioja himself as a foreign minister and acting with his pro-Russian, views, and with a general anti-American ideology has caused a lot of resentment and more attention. This, I have heard in conversations abroad with foreign colleagues.
OS: Erkki Tuomioja?
ET: Now Halla-aho really went low under the belt. Ah, I don’t want to continue with this kind of a discussion with him. But I will say only that the country (in question) four years ago, when the True Finns won an election victory, were greatly concerned, asking what this means, what it is about. I told them then that this party can not be compared in any way with that of the French Front National or Swedish Democrats, because it has a background in the old center populist party. But I continued, that the party is organized this day, as a right-wing extremist, nationalist and even racist wing. The party leadership has not dared nor wanted to intervene in situations and that there may come yet … may still be difficulties, and now we see what the difficulties are.
OS: Erkki Tuomioja, what kind of private thoughts can a MP have as a hobby? This is somewhat a matter of principle – but in this case, however, it’s clearly connected.
ET: Free speech and freedom of expression belongs to everyone, and then, as in Finland, also, everywhere else, there are limits to it. If these limits are exceeded, then it’s the right thing for the authorities to intervene. I do not interfere in it. But, of course, the rest of us also have our own freedom of speech to comment, and we express very clearly that we can not accept this kind of speech, this kind of hate speech and such activities. The question is, of course then, is that of his party, which is now currently a government party, do you want this party to have an image, which allows, and approves of this kind of thinking and activity.
OS: So, you wrote on Facebook, that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini should understand this in the foreign context. However, Soini has held you responsible in the Iltasanomat that “foreign policy should not be taken as a weapon for internal policy advantage points, those times have long since come and gone.” How do you respond?
ET: (thinks) It’s his decision to respond to the queries which come from other sources, those writings, which are then presented in the rest of Europe on this issue. But yes, I am, of course, concerned that what kind of image we want to give of Finland the world. That is, is this a turning of the back towards Europe and the rest of the world, are we trying closure and isolation, which would be a loss to our economy and the vitality of our culture.
OS: Jussi Halla-aho, when you act as an MEP, how does Finland field these questions even in Brussels?
JHA: Well, migration-related issues are very topical throughout Europe and thus also in Finland. Now you have to remember that the political development in Finland has been quite similar to those elsewhere. Sweden is not worth watching; it is not a good example, because as a political culture it is a completely sick society. What we have witnessed in attitudes towards a democratic Party, that is, Sweden Democrats, in the Reichstag. In Norway the immigration critical party is in government. In Denmark, the government has … worked, in practice,being dependent on the nationalist and immigration critical Danish People’s Party, and continue to do so. I would say that the debate is in many European countries considerably more rough around the edges than it has been in Finland. In Finland…
OS: But is it a good thing?
JHA: Of course it is a very necessary thing, because immigration is a very … very … it is therefore, precisely unsuccessful immigration policies and uncontrolled immigration has a very negative and irreversible effects on European societies. The question has to be brought into the democratic process, and the The Finns Party is, fortunately for Finland, doing that in Finland.
OS: Erkki Tuomioja, is it a good thing that somewhere else immigration is spoken still more sharply than in Finland? How do you see that?
ET: The shocking act of violence in the Nordic country of Norway has been four years, in Breivik’s massacre … this action sate massacre, and its racist-ideological basis, which is very closely related to Immonen and Halla-aho’s thinking. And this is I think it’s the greatest danger, and I do not want in Finland this kind of government, that would underpinned by such a crowd in the least way.
OS: […] Jussi Halla-aho. Party colleagues’ message seems to be that the matter will now be dealt with in a parliamentary group and the representatives seems to be waiting for Olli Immonen to be possibly repentant, but at least promising to amend his behavior. Soini’s words would be that Immonen “tread with care.” What is your message to your former parliamentarian group?
JHA: (thinking) So, in this kind of situation, which is of course been seen before in the history of The Finns, and in the parliamentary group’s history, some people will be tempted to maybe leave … leaving to beg, or to try to collect points for himself by taking to stoning the displaced colleagues who were in the eye of the storm. This is not sensible in my opinion, and should be refrained from, and critical discussions should be held within the group face to face, not through the media – with the understanding that the media is really not our friend. It is quite true that more self-clarification from Immonen and support for his writings are desired, but even before that it ought to be made clear, that what is precisely is at question. No one will be surprised by the fact that Olli Immonen opposes multiculturalism and has negative attitude towards humanitarian immigration, and I think this is the whole party line.
OS: Lets talk about James Hirvisaari incident that was an example for your group last season. He was therefore expelled from the parliamentary group, because his guest made a Nazi salute in the Parliament’s public gallery. Now also, a way will be outlined to the limits of appropriate action. How should Olli Immonen change his behavior when such a requirement has been made?
JHA: Well, it’s hard for someone to tell the other, what kind of rhetorical means, he should convey his views, if those views are already agreed upon. Sure Immonen’s Facebook update was … was quite pathetic and bathetic in tone, but I think that the context will not be an issue at the forthcoming party congress, but the fact that it was sent in the middle of the night. That it may be able to then draw conclusions from the fact that how … how weighty a political statement, this was now.
OS: What conclusion should be made of the time of day?
JHA: Well, it’s always been worth to react, in my opinion, with small … small reservations to Facebook updates, which come in the early hours of the weekend.
OS: And finally, Erkki Tuomioja. Timo Soini is thus created his party to be worthy of being in government and on the other hand has allowed the party’s immigration critical wing to come along. How do you see how these fitting together in the future? When you look at it from being in another party?
ET: Yes,this will form, yes maybe a crucial step, how Soini intends to manage this in the future. I’ve always said that he is either weak or an opportunist to let such an organized extremist wing into their own party, and now he has the same problems with it what the Communist Party (SKP) once had with their organized old guard minority. Yes, it is, of course, monitored by other parties, and specifically when it comes to the party in government, so … We are not a government party, but I wonder if the other government parties are of the opinion that, yes, this is ideal, such an occurrence will continue … to bring to Finland’s image. I thought it was a bit pleasant Halla-aho’s assertion that it would be good to deal with it internally, when maximum publicity for such an occurrence was sought, then, however, it shouldn’t not be dealt with. But I’m of the same opinion with Mari Niemin: I am exceptionally pleased that a very strong reaction to this occurrence has occured and that … at least as early via social media for more than ten thousand people have signed up within two days to this improvised protest event in Helsinki today.
OS Thank you very much for the interview, Erkki Tuomioja, and Jussi Halla-aho!
JHA Thank you.
ET Thank you.