In HBL’s Christmas edition (of 24.12.) there was on the DEBATT pages 12 and 13 a piece by one Samuel Sjövall (titled “I trygga sannfinländska händer”) plus an I DAG column by Nicolas von Kraemer (in which he was in a way celebrating nationalism). I intend to concentrate mostly on the text by Samuel Sjövall.
Sjövall claims that “Sannfinländare [är] det enda parti som realistiskt och rationellt jobbar för att bibehalla välfärden …” and explains later on that “Sannfinländarnas politik driver i grund och botten inre solidaritet inom nationen, bibehåller Finland som en högutbildad nation, vördar historien och värnar om finsk gemenskap.” This, after having mentioned immigration as a problem (and ONLY a problem). And I think that this may in fact be a rather realistic description of a usual Sannfinländares view of the political situation. The idea is that everything will be fine if we Finns just stick together, keep foreigners out, but look well after each other. Not “America first!” but “Finland first!”. And, among others, not any real idea how to earn the money by which to keep up the public welfare.
And what could one now try to explain to a person who cultivates such opinions … . Perhaps one could begin by pointing out that Finland is importing quite a number of things to which people have meanwhile got used (same as they have used to, e.g., the travel south during the dark time of the year), and that Finland will have to keep up quite a rate of export in order to pay for all that. And in order to keep up that export it may not be enough to rely on the good old products which are derived from Finland’s “green gold”, but that there has to be done development work and research in order to keep up with the international competition. And just Sannfinländarna have so far not become known as supporters of new ideas, research and similar, especially not as supporters of the development of environmental technology (which might be quite an opportunity for earning some money to benefit Finland). Nor have they come up with special ideas how to get unemployed Finns back into working life: one might think that some more psychology and social support might be helpful in this context, but also there are seemingly no ideas just from their side. This may fit with the Finnish tradition (where Finland IS bad in matters of psychology and psychiatry), but it will certainly not help with the upkeep of public welfare.
And then there are the dangers which arise from the attempt to establish a community of just and only Finns. We have seen that in German history. The attempt is inviting ideas how to define what a “real” Finn is in contrast to somebody “un-Finnish” (which usually results in further attempts to exclude those non-Finns from “the community of the people”). Who would be accepted as a “real” Finn? A Swedish-Finn? One of those reindeer herders of the North? One of the Helsinki Tatars? How welcome will foreign specialists feel (who may be NEEDED for the upkeep of the welfare system)? And what about foreign students and researchers? What about homosexuals? There is again the German example: Up to Hitler, Germany was culturally and scientifically the leading nation in Europe (perhaps the world), and then came Hitler and was kicking out and/or scaring away the best heads (even before the war, which resulted in Germany becoming a rather mediocre society in most aspects). And Halla-Aho’s demagogy will not help in this context: How was it recently when he told a Green parliament member that she should “not lie, even though being Green” (which just would imply that Green ones are in the habit of lying), about a matter which, as it turned out later, Halla-Aho had got wrong. But it has not been reported that he had said he was sorry about his error … .
Altogether, the Sannfinländarna may be right with their demand that usual people should be more considered in the doings of a government, but their contribution to solutions of the involved economical and other problems has up to now been extremely poor and their intentions to re-define who belongs to “the people” (and who not) have been proven very dangerous already earlier in history (and they do not give any indication that hey had considered this historical experience and learned from it). Nor seems Nicolas von Kraemer to have given any thoughts to the problem how to overcome the dangers of nationalism (from which, as we know, the EU is seriously suffering). In this context I have already earlier suggested (and still think it a good idea) that all European countries should agree on one language which should be taught at all schools as the first foreign language (I should, even after brexit, suggest English, because it is the language of science, and science is THE European contribution to the progress of the world). And that this should include a canon of literature (in English or translated into it) which would be essential for the understanding of the PRESENT and URGENT problems of the world (instead of the usual celebration of the glory of the various nations’ own history, literature and culture).