Thursday, November 01, 2007

Notes from the Northern Right

I noticed an interesting little story the other day about the True Finns party, Finland's populist rightwing party, or far rightwing party, depending on who you ask. Their leader, Timo Soini MP, had banned the party's youth wing from cooperating with the youth wings of far right parties from Denmark and Sweden. It doesn't name those parties and even though I've done a bit of sniffing around the story I haven't yet been able to confirm which they are, but presumably it is the Danish Peoples Party and the Sweden Democrats. These two parties are relatively bog standard European far rightists, not totally fascist perhaps, but definitely in that neighbourhood. The Sweden Democrats in particular have extensive historical links to the neo-Nazi movement in that country. The True Finns, whilst definitely not my political cup of tea (and clearly benefiting from and playing to a racist subsection of the Finnish electorate), are not cut of the same cloth. Soini in particular makes it clear that he is not a Finnish Jorg Haider or Jean Marie Le Penn, and if you can put politics aside, is generally reckoned to be a 'decent bloke' by people I know who have met him (although being a Millwall supporter will always be a bit sus to Brits of a certain age!). The True Finns come out of a tradition of rural populism and although that has always had an isolationist and xenophobic tinge to it, the Rural Party under Veikko Vennamo was in the 1960s and 70s one of the few parties that was not under Kekkonen's spell - Finland's all powerful president of 25 years, and a man for whom democracy was was expendable if it was to get in the way of his idea of what the national interest was. The Rural party might have been an uncouth voice of the angry countryside, but it was willing to go against the political status quo at a time when precious few others would in Finland.

I'm not certain why exactly Soini took the decision that he did, but presumably he wants to keep the party more in that tradition than going down the road that the Sweden Democrats have taken, the road as someone put it of a 197os British fashion and 1930 Germans politics.

All this take place at an interesting time, because the Sweden Democrats are at the centre of another storm. A "Civil War" (their term not mine) has broken out on the rightwing blogosphere and the Sweden Democrats were the cause. A conference was held in Brussels to launch the "Counter Jihad" movement, to defend Europe from its "Eurabian" fate where we are all going to be ruled by Osma bin Laden and his minions. What appears to have happened is that the ever strident Little Green Footballs blog pointed out the blatantly-obvious-to-every- one-else fact that a number of the people involved, notably from the Sweden Democrats and from the Flemish secessionist/supremacist party Vlaams Belang, are basically smartly dressed fascists. The accused hotly contested this saying that they are totally cool with Jews these days, and they only spread conspiracy theories about Muslims now. Some in the middle (and remember that's the middle of the hard right) said, "Ok, so they used to be Jew-hating Neo Nazis but they haven't been that for at least five years, so can't we all just get along?" The cynical out there might wonder whether the President of Iran might be allowed to join their little gang in five years time if tomorrow he states: "I was wrong! The holocaust did happen, and actually I really dig Israel! Can we just all go and kick some Sunni ass now? Please..."? One suspects not. Anyway, if Little Green Footballs realises the Sweden Democrats are dodgy, Mr. Soini's decision looks a wise one indeed.

It's a funny ole' world when I'm nice about the True Finns and LGF in one post. Keep on rockin' in the free world folks.


Anonymous said...

KGS said...

Please Toby show us where in the Vlaams Belang's party manifesto where there is something remotely anti-Semitic.

Then afterwards please fill us in on the stark warnings from the Jewish community in Antwerp about the VB.

Funny that the anti-Semitism exhibited by Finnish Leftists in Finland have not drawn calls for the SDP or Vasemmisto to distance themselves from such individuals lest the party becomes tainted.

No, quite the opposite, the anti-Semitic Leftists actually run for parliament, though fortunately didn't make it.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

The Vlaams Belang leadership may well not be anti-semitic, although clearly it's something they have had to work at, but they are a nationalist, anti-foreigner and an anti-immigrant party. Their social politics are also ultra conservative, such as stopping all abortion except on medical grounds and being against increased rights for gays (amusingly, according to Wiki, Pim Fortuyn called them "fascists"). And they sit with openly anti-semitic, neo-fascist parties in the European parliament

And the Sweden democrats? Are you going to defend them as well?

I'm glad you would point out anti-semitism on the part of anyone who was running for an elected position, but I just believe we shouldn't be selective in the bigotry that we condemn.

The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

KGS said...

It's not selectivity on my part Toby, the facts are there, the Jews of Belgium are under no illusions just where the threat lies, and it's not with the Vlaams Belang.

If any community has its ear to the ground concerning where any potential exestenial threat may be coming from, it's the Jewish communities.

The traditional Leftist umbrella of inclusion is not interpreted as being extended to Jewish communities as it once did. As the Socialists use immigration of low schooled Muslims as a means to bolster their base of support, (read buying votes) it has come at the expence of turning the blind eye to the mayhem the Shabab has caused in the streets of Europe.

The 2004 EU report on anti-semitism was shelved after it was learned that it noted the overwhelming percentage of anti-semitic attacks were being perpetrated by Muslims.

The later report "massaged" the numbers a bit so that the Muslim communities wouldn't have something to "rage in the streets about", and that the EU beurocrats wouldn't be forced to address.

If I am being selective in condemning bigotry,(I have been on record saying that certain issues with the VB & SD must be addressed) what does that say about the SDP and Vasemmisto who haven't (to the best of my knowledge) distanced themselves from noted Finnish Leftists who have used disgusting anti-semitic sterotypes and motiffs, as well as the Kanasan Uutiset's publishing of bigoted op-eds about Jews?

There is a lot of "rot" out there for sure, and both the VB & SD must come clean of everything, and for the most part it appears that htye have been making real efforts to do so, but the Left....nio such luck.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Those are fair points Kenneth, except for you aren't joining a platform with those leftwing anti-semites! Doesn't it make you feel, at least, slightly uneasy that you are being pushed into a position where you are having defend people who are at least as questionable as Vlaams Belaang?

And secondly, it is unfair to suggest that the Belgium Jewish community are united in support of Dewinter's attempt to woo them. They clearly aren't united, as the Haaretz reporting on VB suggests.

Have you got a covering a snow yet up your way? It's been snowing here all day, but it's only settling on the grass and its all rather soggy and wet.

KGS said...


I apprecriate your candor, and as always, I take to heart the points you raise.

The issue is of course a complicated one, and no one response alone is enough to convey the seriousness of the situation, nor explain away every troubling aspect of some of these parties, that IMHO, are trying their best to make ammends and distance themselves from their odius past.

If I can be a part of that process, then so be it. The Socialists (those who live and rule within a state that has robust Islamic communities) have proven themseleves to be unable to validate their liberal/progressive attributes, with their pandering to un-democratic tendancies within the Islamic communities.

So if one cannot align themselves with the Left, that is increasingly anti-Israel (and anti-US for that matter) who can one align themselves with?

I look at the renounciation of bigotry and anti-Semitism by the VB & SD as very positive signs. Much more postive than the European Lefts penchent for pandering to well known UNREFORMABLE entities like the Hamas and Hezbollah.

WHO HAVE NO TROUBLE IN WORKING WITH THEM, in spite of the fact that could never reform themselves without no longer being what they are, religious supremacist bigots, fighting the holy (dirty) terrorist war against the Jewish state for the golry of the whole Ummah.

As for Finland, our situation is much better, with a social indentity being more intact than in the Netherlands and in Belgium. The latter being a fake entitey if there ever was one, and therefore not a good example of a state that lost is cultural identitey. It never had it to begin with.

Sorry to hear about the "soggy and wet white stuff", we haven't been hit by it yet....and I got a bet going with the wife on it, and so far, I look to be on the winning side. I've got till midnight. :-)

I usually end up losing my bets with her,,,so it might be that we will get hit as well.