For a while on Sunday night, it seemed that the immigration-patriot Finns Party, led by the Slavic languages scholar Dr Jussi Halla-Aho, was actually going to come joint-first in the country’s parliamentary elections. Ultimately, it took 17.5% of the vote and 39 sears, compared to 17.7% and 40 seats for Social Democratic Party.
Immigration patriotism is on a roll in Scandinavia (see here and here.) But nobody expected the Finns Party (Finnish name Perussuomalaiset—often translated as True Finns, although The Finns Party is now its official English-language name) to do so well, let alone to very nearly win. Even the notoriously cerebral and inscrutable Halla-Aho, long dismissed as a far-right fanatic who’d lead his party to electoral oblivion, couldn’t help but beam from ear-to-ear.
And if it were not for a careerist split from the Finns Party in 2017, due to Halla-Aho’s election as party leader, the Finns Party would have won the election. The “Blue Reform” splitters took an (albeit humiliating) 1% of the vote and all lost their seats, falling below the threshold to get into parliament.
The infamously emotionless Finns are feeling emotional and they’ve registered this at the ballot box. Almost equal numbers are livid about immigration on the one hand and the country’s collapsing welfare state on the other. The ascent of the SDP and the Finns Party, and the relegation of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Centre Party to a distant fourth with 13.8% of the vote and 31 seats, reflect two scandals that have shaken the snowy nation of 5.5 million.
The first scandal: Third World immigration.
This has been resented by a large portion of the Finns—who fought Russian invasion within living memory—ever since it began to a serious extent, in the early 2000s. At the 2015 general election Sipilä’s Centre Party won partly due to pledges to reduce the inflow, especially of the young Muslim “refugees,” gangs of whom now spend their days wandering round most of Finland’s town centres.
Sipilä formed a coalition with The Finns Party, who had come third, behind the free-market conservatives National Coalition Party, who were also in the coalition. However, as Prime Minister Sipilä spinelessly u-turned due to the supposedly unique nature of the September 2015 “Refugee Crisis” and permitted 32,000 “refugees” from the Muslim world into Finland in that year alone. This was the equivalent of some 1.9 million Muslims arriving in the U.S. [Overwhelmed by Refugee Flows, Scandinavia Tempers its Warm Welcome, by Arno Tanner, MigrationPolicy.org, February 10, 2016]
Gang rapes of under-age Finnish girls spiked almost immediately but rather than bring-down the treacherous government of which he was part, Finns Party leader Timo Soini collaborated in the invasion.
As a result, the Finns Party removed Soini in favor of the “hardliner” Halla-Aho. But the other coalition partners would not work with Halla-Aho. Governmental collapse was only averted by a minority of careerist and cuckservative party members breaking away to create “Blue Reform”—including all of Finns Party legislators with governmental positions, such as Foreign Minister Timo Soini. [Finland dodges government collapse after nationalists split, by Jussi Rosendahl, Reuters, June 13, 2017]
In December 2018, opinion polls (via Wikipedia) put the Finns Party on just 8% of the vote, in fifth place behind even the quasi-Communist Left Alliance . People were forgetting about immigration and its consequences, as other issues dominated the news.
But then something happened. An independent nationalist councillor and YouTube personality in Oulu in northern Finland, Junes Lokka, revealed that there was an Islamic gang in Oulu grooming and raping under-age Finnish girls, that one of the victims had killed herself, and that the Finnish authorities and lugenpresse were covering it all up. (See my Katie Hopkins And Local Patriots Expose Muslim Grooming Gangs In Finland). This became a huge national scandal, more and more cases were unearthed and much of the country were in stunned disbelief that “Rotherham” had arrived in “quiet” Finland.
The Finns Party support promptly sky-rocketed.
The last pre-election poll predicted the party might possibly even come third, though few believed this. But in reality, they almost came first and Halla-Aho himself garnered the largest personal vote of any candidate.
Finnish elections use open list proportional representation within 12 large electoral areas. In the Oulu region, the two Finns Party candidates who had been most involved in joining Lokka to highlight the grooming scandal leapfrogged over established Finns Party MPs to enter parliament for the first time, taking the most votes of any of Oulu’s Finns party candidates.
In a cruel twist, Halla-Aho would not allow Lokka to stand as an independent on the Finns Party list, regarding him as too extreme. Perceived as a wasted vote, Lokka was thus not elected himself, even though he is, in essence, the reason for the Finns Party’s extraordinary success. Had he been on the Finns Party list, he possibly would have allowed the Finns to win a further seat and thus come joint-first.
The second scandal provoking Finnish fury was epitomised in the abuse of the elderly. It came to light a few months ago that there had been many cases of very elderly people being assaulted, mistreated and severely neglected at old peoples’ homes, resulting in a number of deaths. [Police investigating 30 allegations of elder care neglect across Finland, YLE News, February 19, 2019]. With Finland seeing itself as a Nordic Welfare state that looks after everybody from cradle to grave, this scandal particularly horrified the country. It resulted in fevered debate over the broader decline of the Finnish welfare state—austerity, benefit cuts, an underfunded and overcrowded health service, and growing class sizes.
Support for the Left had long been growing—the SDP hadn’t won an election since 1999—but care home abuse was a boon. The final election polls correctly predicted the SDP’s victory.
Part of the reason for the SDP’s success is the appeal of its leader. Former Trade Union lawyer Antti Rinne is well to the right of his largely feminist, multiculturalist party. The thrice-married heart disease sufferer [Antti Rinne palaa eduskuntaan 1. maaliskuuta, By Timo Haapala, Ilta-Sanomat, August 23, 2018], who physically resembles a truck driver rather than a lawyer, overthrew the childless, feminist, vapid, young and clearly over-promoted female SDP leader Jutta Urpilainen in a coup in 2014. Rinne claims to be a “feminist” only insomuch as he believes in equality of opportunity for both sexes. Rinne has expressed concern about Finns’ declining birth rate, which led to one SDP Member of the European Parliament to insinuate he was a Nazi [Antti Rinne kutsui suomalaisia “synnytystalkoisiin” - Jaakonsaari: “Tuo mieleen kansallissosialismin,” By Riikka Nyman, Ilta-Lehti, August 23, 2017] He also wants to make doctors’ visits free; currently you must pay 20 euros.
Rinne is now tasked with forming a coalition, which he will likely to do with National Coalition, which took 17% of the vote and 38 seats, and one or more of the smaller parties, such as the Swedish People’s Party, who represent Finland’s 5.4% Swedish-speaking minority. But Rinne is likely to have a rough time when he assumes power.
Finland is polarizing. The election also saw an increased vote for the SDP and also for the Left Alliance and (leftist) Greens. The Finns Party, who are left-wing in terms of welfare and economic policies, saw their vote come back from the dead. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that the National Coalition, free market conservatives, was within a percentage point of the two leaders. They would likely have received a further 0.8% had one of their MPs—entrepreneur Harry Harkimo, who hosts the Finnish version of The Apprentice—not broken away to form his own party. This election marks an overall shift to the Left and to the Right and away from the centre.
Nobody expected a socially awkward, eccentric-looking intellectual such as Dr Halla-Aho to do so well. But he has confounded expectations.
True Finns’ former leader Timo Soini was effectively regarded by the Finnish political Establishment as “one of them,” even if looked down upon him as their portly, outspoken jester. They were prepared to work with the clubbable Soini. They shun the intense and Sperg-ish Halla-Aho, whom they have fined under Finland’s repressive speech laws for claiming that Prophet Mohammed is a pedophile and that therefore Islam sanctifies paedophilia; and for asserting that robbery and mooching off Finnish taxpayers are “cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of Somalis.”
Sunday’s election, however, suggests that this repression may not work for ever.
Harri Honkanen [Email him] is a student of Scandinavia.