Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Soini's Damascene road conversion on immigration, or is it...?

Timo Soini has embraced the status quo on immigration, Helsingin Sanomat reported today. The move sees Soini give his "full and unconditional support" to the prevailing government policy and practices. The shock revelation represents a complete U-turn for the anti-immigration, anti-EU demogogue. That is, if his statements last night to unnamed German media reporters are to be believed.

"I love immigration and the Finnish system is the best"

Soini proceeded to dismiss immigration as a major issue in the elections, and said his party has "very few" anti-immigrationists. He also distanced himself from "right-wing populism" and defined his political position as somewhere between the Social Democrats and the Centre party. Unconcerned by the recent poll numbers, Soini told the Germans to start preparing to deal with a world-embracing, multicultural and European True Finn party in government. Okay he didn't actually say that last bit but hes still sure to ruffle some feathers among the lunatic racist fringe of his supporters.

Blogger and popular racist Jussi Halla-Aho was quick to do some damage control among the more strident voices in the True Finn anti-immigration wing, writing in a forum post that Soini had given him a "personal reassurance" that his statements to the press had been falsified and misinterpreted. Soini has, according to him also said that he credits Halla-Aho for "inventing the immigration debate", "not being a racist"(lol) and "passing several laws for immigration reform." Halla-Aho of course has not been in a position to neither invent immigration nor pass any laws, being a member of Korkeasaari Zoo board of directors. It remains to be seen if Soini's "personal reassurances" are meant to be publicised anywhere or if they are just meant to appease the more virulent racist fringe among the True Finn voters.

In other news, the early voting for the 2011 Finnish parliamentary elections ended, with 31.2% of voters, around 1.3 million people having cast their vote. 29% of Finnish men and 32% of Finnish women voted, bringing the activity on this round of Early voting well above the elections in 2007 and 2003.