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    Finland lurches

    very badly to the right. Final voting in the General Election has been today, and the counting is under way. With at least 50% of the count completed in all areas, the largest party is PS, Perus Suomalaiset, which translates literally as Basic Finns, but is usually translated as True Finns. Our equivalent of the BNP. This rabble were under the radar a decade ago, and at the last election polled a bit over 4%. At the moment they've 19.3% of the vote, taking votes off all the major parties. The SDP seem to be standing up best to them, and the biggest losers at the moment are Vihreät (Greens) and Vasemmistoliitto (Left Wing Alliance), the latter continuing their head long slide into political oblivion.

    I'm not looking forward to the final result.

    #2
    Finland lurches

    If the reports we're getting are right, they seem to have made most of their gains through opposing Portugal's bailout, also some anti-Swedish rhetoric which doesn't bode well if they enter government. Seems we also owe you an apology for converting their leader to Catholicism, he was on holiday in Kerry at the time.

    Comment


      #3
      Finland lurches

      No shortage of anti-immigration rhetoric either. PS have been building their support steadily over the last few years, thanks in no small part to the large and positive public profile of party leader, Timo Soini. He seems to have been given an uneasily soft ride by the media during this time, something that will hopefully change radically now he is in a position of responsibility.

      A bit over 97% of the vote is now counted, and the situation is not quite as catastrophic as I first feared. The counts from the large urban centres in the south are now in and the clear losers are Keskusta (Centre), the party leading the current government. PS are running in third, with the mainstream right wing party, Kokoomus, just edging SDP for first place. In fifth come Vasemmistoliitto and Vihreät and then the minor parties.

      It can be taken as certain that Kokoomus and PS will be in the new government, but I'm wondering and hoping that that's the start of their troubles. Keskusta, Vasemmistoliitto and Vihreät have all discounted themselves from governemnt (the last two wanting no truck with PS) and, even if all the minor parties could be persuaded into government, I think that they are still short of a majority. If this is the case, then this should leave the SDP in a very good bargaining position.

      It turns out it's not all bad news: it's taken a long time, but we've finally got rid of the egregious government minister Suvi Linden. Good riddance.

      Comment


        #4
        Finland lurches

        Can I just say that this Timo Soiini really looks like True Finn if there ever was one. Speaking of True Finns, what's the news on Jari Litmanen. Has he officially retired or is he going to do another year at Lahti? Was he in the last Finnish squad?

        Viking Line have two ferries between Helsinki and Stockholm. All the Finns take Viking Gabriella and all the Swedes take Viking Cinderella. I've been on both and I thought the Finnish boat was way cooler. The Swedish get very chavvy when they are drunk, whereas the Finns tend to get proper old fashined working class drunk, if that makes sense.

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          #5
          Finland lurches

          expand?

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            #6
            Finland lurches

            "true finns", you cannot be serious.

            timo reminds me of brian cowen.

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              #7
              Finland lurches

              How do you manage to win votes on anti-immigration issues in a country with a total non-white population of somewhere between 15 and 20 people? I mean, the Finns already have very strict immigration laws, don't they?

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                #8
                Finland lurches

                They do, and immigration wasn't really their key issue. There's a strong consensus to keep things as strict as they are or even tighten them up among all the major parties, although the True Finns are on the right of that consensus and employ the most strident rhetoric.

                The eurozone bailout and the four years of funding scandals affecting the other parties were more important, I think. The Centre Party got a right kicking, but Kokoomus and SDP lost politicians affected by scandals.

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                  #9
                  Finland lurches

                  Jussi Halla-aho (PS) has proposed himself for the position of Home Secretary. This is a man who has made his views on Islam (a religion for paedophiles) and Somalis (genetically pre-disposed to steal) clear, and been convicted for doing so. I can't imagine he'll be allowed near such a position, but should he get it, then we can expect even more restrictions on immigration. There's no consensus between PS and the other parties on this issue. Soini's a good leader (if he weren't, PS would be nowhere) and has the wit to focus on what can help him at the expense of his opponents, but he's going to have his work cut out keeping his party under control once they're in power.

                  (By the way, BC is quite correct in saying that immigration was not a key issue. I mentioned it as an extension to DR's comment about anti-Swedish rhetoric.)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Finland lurches

                    A bit off the wall maybe, but what's PS' position on the likes of the Karelian question?

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                      #11
                      Finland lurches

                      Innocent enough question; we didn't know the answer, but after a bit of research found this. The headline reads Soini's "minister": Karelia back, as in "we want". The "minister" in question is Jussi Niinistö, very much Soini's right hand man. I can only guess as to whether this is official PS policy, but this is a senior PS party member speaking publicly just six weeks ago.

                      The article goes on to say that Soini and Niinistö discussed which Ministry the latter would like, and the reply was "Defence". I really am not making this up. The whole question is plain bonkers anyway; the Russians are never going to hand it back.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Finland lurches

                        Meanwhile up here in Oulu, the new parliament's youngest member, Olli Immonen (PS), is of the opinion that the existing laws restrict the freedom of speech too much. He would remove, for example, the clause that prohibits agitating against ethnic groups.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Finland lurches

                          How do you manage to win votes on anti-immigration issues in a country with a total non-white population of somewhere between 15 and 20 people?
                          I've often thought the same about Tory Councillors in the West Country, but it works for them.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Finland lurches

                            Muukalainen wrote:
                            The headline reads Soini's "minister": Karelia back, as in "we want". The "minister" in question is Jussi Niinistö, very much Soini's right hand man. I can only guess as to whether this is official PS policy, but this is a senior PS party member speaking publicly just six weeks ago.

                            The article goes on to say that Soini and Niinistö discussed which Ministry the latter would like, and the reply was "Defence". I really am not making this up. The whole question is plain bonkers anyway; the Russians are never going to hand it back.
                            Bloody hell!

                            It was something that sprang to mind as a possibility (that they'd at least raise it as an issue), given that they're nationalists, but that sounds plain scary.

                            This is pretty timely in a personal sense, as I was talking to someone only last week or so about how Tarja Halonen is probably one of the more 'liberal' heads of state in Europe on social issues. Have to confess I don't know Finnish parliamentary politics particularly well, so this is all quite a surprise.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Finland lurches

                              Belhaven wrote:
                              How do you manage to win votes on anti-immigration issues in a country with a total non-white population of somewhere between 15 and 20 people? I mean, the Finns already have very strict immigration laws, don't they?
                              Don't forget, Finns are extremely white, almost transparent. A Finnish girl could close her eyes and you'd still be able to tell what colour eyes she has. Even myself, with my pasty grey Irish skin, looked positively tanned in Finland.

                              The Swedes took up fake tanning long ago.

                              At the moment I am in Germany. When the ferry arrived the German announcer made some normal announcements and it was all so harsh that I thought he was telling us to abandon ship. Then the Bundespolizei had a good long look at my passport. The Irish aren't very popular in Europe anymore. Why not default if they are going to hate us anyway? The Finns seem to have made their mind up too.

                              We don't want the bail outs, they don't want to give them to us. What's the problem...

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Finland lurches

                                via vicaria wrote:
                                Bloody hell!

                                It was something that sprang to mind as a possibility (that they'd at least raise it as an issue), given that they're nationalists, but that sounds plain scary.
                                The question of the return of Karelia simmers, mostly quietly, in the background the whole time. There's even a public movement supporting it, but only the nutters take it seriously. Stalin took care to evict almost all the Finns living there, and re-populate it with Russians. Most of those displaced have since died.

                                SDP, Keskusta and Kokoomus policy is clear: no change to our borders. PS may posture over it, but they can't do anything about it. I do wonder though, whether they'll test the water by asking for the return of Petsamo.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Finland lurches

                                  I would imagine that the return of Karelia would only put you in a Latvia-style situation of having a sizeable Russian minority living in Finland. Also I don't know if it's the case, but the economy can't be nearly as good/advanced on the Russian side of the border.

                                  Do you think the Russians would ever hand back Petsamo/Rybachi? I forget the name of the Eastern region (begins with an 'S') - I would imagine the more sparsely populated areas like that would be PS targets if they were to agitate.

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                                    #18
                                    Finland lurches

                                    You're right on both counts regarding Karelia. A sizeable Russian population to be dealt with and a colossal bill to be met, all for what? Viipuri plus a load of forest that some Finns call their spiritual home. I'm not sure about the Russian attitude towards having a border so close to St. Petersburg, but that may also be a factor.

                                    Petsamo is less problematical in all the aforementioned factors, but produces a lot of minerals (chiefly nickel, I think) that Moscow is unlikely to want to relinquish.

                                    Salla, on the other hand, is a smallish parcel of land in the middle of nowhere. Somehow I completely forgot about it.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Finland lurches

                                      Just in case there is any doubt about the levels of immigration in this country, here are the government's official statistics. Even for a small country with a population of about 5.3 million, they make sober reading.

                                      The table entitled Turvapaikanhakijat ja pakolaiset (Place of Safety Applicants and Refugees) is the most relevant. The first row shows the total number of Place of Safety applicants. These are then divided into categories, the first being Turvapaikkapäätökset (Place of Safety decisions), with the note indicating that these were made by the Ministry of Immigration. The first row shows the number of successful applicants[*], the second row shows the number of residence permits granted (these are not permanent and have to be re-applied for at intervals, and also mean you do not have full access to Social Security benefits though I don't know the details), and the third row shows the number of rejections.

                                      The second category, Perheenyhdistäminen, is about uniting families. The next two rows show the number of positive[*] and negative decisions respectively, with note 3 indicating that each decision may affect more than one person(!) Kiintiö is our quota agreed with the UN[*].

                                      The penultimate row shows the total number of successful applicants, these coming from the three groups I have marked[*], and the final row shows the running total of successful applicants since 1973.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Finland lurches

                                        Four years on and another general election. A return to power for Keskusta (Centre), coming in first after dropping to fourth at the previous election. PS are now second, fucking hell, one seat ahead of Kokoomus. This really is not good news. The mainstream left wing party, SDP, slipped badly to fourth place. A small crumb of comfort is that Vihreät (Greens) made good their losses from four years ago. Vasemmistoliitto (left wing alliance) continued their decline. It's hard to imagine that they were one of the major parties (their parliamentary strength was about what SDP's is now) just a decade or so ago.
                                        I think it's true of both major left wing parties that they have not been able to replace their hugely effective leaders (Suvi-Anne Siimes for Vasemmistoliitto and Paavo Lipponen for SDP) from that time, and both have struggled as a result.

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                                          #21
                                          Finland lurches

                                          True Finns actually lost a seat and went from 19% to 17.5% of the vote, so it's not all bad.

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                                            #22
                                            Finland lurches

                                            Flynnie wrote: True Finns actually lost a seat and went from 19% to 17.5% of the vote, so it's not all bad.
                                            It looks highly possible that Timo Soini will be foreign minister, so despite the loss of voting share the True Finns will have their feet under the table.

                                            Expect a few state visits to the New Den.

                                            And a couple more appearances on the David Hasselhoff show.

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                                              #23
                                              Finland lurches

                                              What, they're actually going to bring him into government? What the fuck?

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                Finland lurches

                                                Flynnie wrote: True Finns actually lost a seat and went from 19% to 17.5% of the vote, so it's not all bad.
                                                I'd like to be able to take some comfort from that, but I can't. It's the fact that they're the second largest party that's significant.

                                                Soini for government? For sure he won't be slow to propose senior positions for himself and his cronies. The question is what Sipilä (Keskusta party leader) is willing and/or able to do about it. PS were in a similar position four years ago and made similar proposals. At first (and as I wrote four years ago) it seemed certain that PS would be part of the government, but a combination of factors, not least their own brash arrogance, meant that they spent parliament in opposition.

                                                This time, however, the results are different and the three largest parties could form a government on their own. PS won't hesitate and I'm pretty sure neither will Kokoomus; the question is what Keskusta will do.

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  Finland lurches

                                                  And so it seems that Soini will indeed get a cabinet post...

                                                  PS are to enter into a coalition with Keskusta and Kokoomus in a distinctly right of centre government.

                                                  To put it mildly.

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