[Previously by Rafael Koski: The Sweden Democrats—Alone Against Establishment Extremists]
In the Finnish parliamentary elections to be held on Sunday, April 17th, the nationalist, immigration-skeptical True Finns Party has a chance to become the largest party. It is currently polling at 18 to 22 %. This development—a formerly minor party has become a major player in national politics in just a few years—is historic, with implications for every country facing an immigration disaster.
The True Finns have benefitted from several converging circumstances.
Politics in Finland for the last three years have been tainted by election finance scandals and corruption charges, compared to which he True Finns seem a fresh force.
Even more important, Finland is part of the Euro zone, and the bailout of Greece and Ireland that Finland is going to end up paying for has been very unpopular, contributing to a revival of Finnish nationalism. And there are the current government's policies towards the environment—and immigration.
The leader of the True Finns party is Timo Soini. He is a political entrepreneur who experienced the bankruptcy of the Rural party of Finland in the early 1990s. He decided to make a comeback. Soini has rebranded himself as a Euroskeptic man of the people. The True Finns party was remained under 5% in opinion polls until 2009, but since then, everything has gone right for him.
The True Finns have been taking votes from left, right and center, by exposing the incompetence and arrogance of the ruling elite. True Finns have gained a lot of votes from the Social Democratic Party, which has abandoned its traditional focus on fighting for the economic improvement of workers and adopted the crazy-left focus fighting against reality. (cf. U.S. Democrats.) The other two parties, the centre-right Center Party (rural population) and National Coalition (city bourgeoisie), are Europhiles and have been losing their nationalist voters to the True Finns.
Soini is particularly threatening to the Green party. Finland's economy relies a lot on energy-intensive industries, so unemployed workers know jobs will not come back if the Greens push through their plans to fight "global warming"—a non problem in Finland, which spends four months of the year buried in snow. Greens have lost their cool and started throwing personal insults at True Finns.
Another group uneasy with True Finns' right-wing populism: the Swedish People's Party Of Finland. Finland was part of Sweden until 1809 and the ruling classes were still mostly Swedish until the beginning of the 20th century. Swedes in Finland, about 5 % of the population, are still seen as pretty well off, and have been guaranteed their own schools and institutions. But Swedish politicians have begun to play identity politics, screaming oppression if their wishes are not followed and favoring immigration and the dilution of a Finnish national identity. The Swedish minority in Finland has no Holocaust as its ace in the hole and this posturing is mostly ridiculed, but it gives extra motivation to Finnish nationalists.
True Finns are habitually accused of extremism and rejecting "modernity". Recently, when the party published its political program, its section on culture proposed that the state should only support art that embodies national values, leaving artsy postmodernism to private funding. This outraged some so-called intellectuals, who took the opportunity to proclaim how wonderful and innovative life in Finland has become .
Timo Soini has been a good leader for this Finnish right-wing populist revival. He is a Catholic convert in a country which traditionally has been almost exclusively Lutheran Protestant. His Catholicism means that he can be skeptical about the European Union but can't be accused of anti-European bigotry (for Finns, Europe begins
south of the Baltic Sea). And Soini can also defend traditional family values without having to take sides in fights about the Lutheran state church, which appointed its first female bishop and took a step towards accepting gay marriage in 2010.
There is widespread fear in Europe that the rise of the True Finns will jeopardize Finland's commitment to the Euro. Financial Times has reported [Finland holds key to eurozone 'grand bargain', March 21, 2001]To support the Greek government a year ago, Eurozone countries developed a $400 billion bailout fund. This means that the countries with the best credit ratings give loan guarantees to back the less disciplined ones ones—previously banned by the European Union's own rules. So far Greece and Ireland have used this "stability fund". Portugal is the next in line. The Eurocrats' plan is now to create a larger $700 billion bailout fund to support ever larger eurozone countries like Italy and Spain—the whole group is lovingly known as the PIIGs—in this never-ending fiscal debacle.
The True Finns see little point in trying to shore up the Euro. Soini has called the Euro a political project that doesn't make economic sense. He has pledged that his party won't support further financial aid to eurozone countries and any compromise would threaten the whole party. Electoral success for the True Finns means that Finland could be one of the first to leave the Euro. This could encourage the Dutch and German opposition to the bailouts of the PIIGS.
Immigration is not a big issue in Finland—right now. The country has remained relatively untouched by the kind of mass immigration seen by its Western European neighbors. But in the last five years, immigration by welfare seekers has increased markedly. Maybe one percent of the inhabitants of Finland are from the Middle East or Africa now, a completely new development. And, ominously, "multiculturalism" has been Finnish ruling elite policy for the last decade or so. See The Finnquisition And VDARE.COM, May 13, 2008
Nevertheless, simultaneous with rise of the True Finns Party, there has been forming an anti-immigration movement of mostly younger men, who know how bad the situation is in Western Europe and want to avoid it in Finland. This movement has its own heroes and maintains the most active political discussion forum in Finland. In this parliamentary election, it is providing many True Finn candidates.
The most prominent figure among the younger generation of nationalists: Jussi Halla-aho, 39, who has a Ph.D. on Slavic languages. Interestingly, Halla-aho acquired his original support with witty and sarcastic essays on immigration and multiculturalism on his own blog, Scripta. [VDARE.com note: see also his gun rights essay, in English, here.]After being elected to the Helsinki city council in 2008, he achieved national prominence when his Green party opponents arranged a law-suit on him for blasphemy—against Islam. (as with Geert Wilders in Hollland).The litigation continues.
Halla-aho has turned this witch-hunt to his own advantage. This is an advertisement paid by him that says: "Vote for me. Just to f**k with the Main Stream Media".
(This is a normal picture of him.)
Dr. Halla-aho was nearly elected four years ago. He is almost certain to enter the parliament this time. His electoral success could entitle him to a ministerial post in any government in which the True Finns participate.
In an exclusive interview with VDARE.com, Halla-aho says that inexperience of the party's average future member of parliament is the biggest threat to its success. But if the True Finns do participate in the next government, the party can reward its supporters by restricting Third-World immigration and keeping the Green away from power. He sees the Green as Finland's main enemy—a dedicated group of activists who can promote their crypto-leftist agenda without significant opposition from the milquetoast bourgeoisie.
The greatest risk for Finnish nationalists at this point, says Halla-aho, is that they show weakness after having provoked their opponents. He warns of situation where the wanna-be Eurocrats who rule the other big parties in Finland decide to "rub the True Finns' noses in diversity", as Labour did in the U.K. after Tony Blair's election, and let in an irreversible flood of immigrants to "elect a new people". This also happened in neighbouring Sweden in the early 1990s.
Halla-aho believes the principle of the nation-state still enjoys support among Finns. He wants to bring the concept of national interest, as opposed to European Union-style post-nationalism, back to politics.
This is especially important because the European financial crisis and the possible future breakup of the European Union could occur amid chaos, including problems in the supply of energy and other natural resources. In this kind of a crisis, Halla-aho argues that the nation-state is the only effective political remedy.
Timo Soini has said that politics is about enduring discomforts: The more serious your support, the more vehement your opponents become.
It cannot be said that Soini or anyone else in the True Finn party knows how to solve the European fiscal crisis, or actually has a clear program to restore the nation-state. They are not even going to attack the corrupting welfare state, mostly claiming to support it against foreign threats.
But the True Finns show the courage that can lead to results. Continuing success for the party means that Finnish nationalists have a base on which to build further.