Watching weekly Thursday’s question-and-answer session between the opposition and government can cause nausea. With parliamentary elections six months in April, expect opposition parties like the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) to increase their attacks against ALL migrants.
The truth about the PS and Kokoomus, the biggest and second-biggest opposition party, respectively, is that they have declared hostile and open warfare against migrants and minorities in Finland.
Making up fear scenarios and copying the success of the Sweden Democrats in September’s elections in Sweden is what the PS and Kokoomus want to convey to their prospective voters.
Kokoomus must look a bit worried about the elections in Sweden. The open support of their sister party, the Moderates, enabled the Sweden Democrats to become the biggest right-wing party.
The lesson we learn repeatedly is that right-wing parties that support far-right ones lose support. Why would you vote for a party that is a lighter version of the real xenophobic thing?
Below are some of the hostile soundbites by PS and Kokoomus MPs on Thursday.
An important note: Gang-related youth violence has not increased in Helsinki and we are still a far ways off what is happening in Sweden. Read the interview with youth worker Mahad Sheikh Musse here.
Kokoomus’ MP Heikki Vestman:
“According to the president of the Finnish Police Association [union] there are beyond a doubt 11 street gangs operating in Finland. Ninety percent of them aults, according to him, and of foreign origin. It is clear that gang activity is linked to a failed immigration policy…[T]he National Coalition Party wants to tighten the conditions for permanent residence permits. In addition to trustworthiness, [the migrant] must have sufficient language skills and a history of study and work. My question fo the minister of the interior: Do you support these Kokoomus proposals to tighten the conditions for permanent residence?”
And how could we not forget PS MPs Riikka Purra and Jani Mäkelä, who have made xenophobia their bread and butter.
PS chairperson Purra:
“The high level of violent crime or gang-related crime (sic!) are not the only problems, but those caused by immigration on the streets, in schools, and among young people that are not made public. [Purra and the PS are always making these matters public like now]. They [problems] may be discussed in the neighborhoods’ Facebook groups, but not here [sic!]. And why [aren’t they discussed]? One reason is that people are discouraged to talk about the problems of immigration and accuse [such] people of being racist, when, for example, they bring up these problems. [Interjections from the left] But immigration to Finland is indeed causing these problems, causing our society to become more underdeveloped. I ask you, Mr. Government: How are you going to save Finland from burning cars?”
“The government has resolutely turned a blind eye to the serious phenomena of harmful immigration and denied that immigration has any connection with the rise in gang crime. However, harmful immigration has significant effects, which the PS has been warning [the country] for about decades [sic]. According to the police, violence has become more commonplace, and violence is increasingly used by gangs. The phenomenon is spreading from larger cities to the whole of Finland. Gang violence is expected to intensify, internationalize and grow. However, young people suspected of committing crimes are more likely to be immigrants or have parents who have moved to Finland from other countries. Prime Minister, when will the government admit that we are on Sweden’s path and address the real root cause, namely the level of harmful immigration?”