One of the most startling comments heard from politicians like Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Anna-Maja Henriksson of the Swedish People’s Party (SPP) is that they were ignorant of the Perussuomalaiset’s (PS)* racist posts and comments on social media.
The claim by the head of the SPP left a lot of political analysts with open mouths.
SPP Education Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson claims that her party would have never entered government negotiations if the racist writings of Riikka Purra and Wille Rydman would have been known. Source: STT.
Probably what Henriksson is saying is that if she’d known that the racist writings would have caused such a scandal, the SPP would not have entered into government negotiations.
But why didn’t the SPP, Orpo, the media and others take the duck test: If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.
Denial of the PS’ racism problem and how it has spread in our society still runs deep. We know that it exists, but we do little to challenge it. Let’s just ignore it.
Even the daily of my hometown of Mikkel, had local PS politicians claimed that “racism has no place in the Perussuomalaiset party” and that the scandals are a media fabrication.
Everything isn’t lost and there are some encouraging signs. The fact that the media has exposed the racist writings of high-ranking politicians is not only welcome but vital if we are to live in a society where our Nordic values, enshrined in human rights, and the rule of law are respected.
Some journalists that I can mention, and there are many of them, is Iltalehti’s Lauri Nurmi, who wrote in an editorial about how the PS is a threat to press freedom.
“The [PS congress] invitation to the media ends with a special request: ‘We appeal to all the editors to please leave the archaeological political hacking in your offices coat racks and focus on the decisions made at our congress and political policies.’
The Perussuomalaiset [party] is trying to censor the media and limit what questions they can ask [at the congress]. The invitation from the PS could be seen as obstructive. The demand by it is unprecedented and dangerous in Finnish political journalism, but the reason for making [such a request] is obvious.”
While the Finnish media and society have hopefully awoken to the threat of the PS, we can only blame ourselves for putting ourselves in harm’s way. The process of uncovering and rooting out the cancer will continue despite the denials, media spin, and erasing racist social media histories.
Better late than never.