Timo Soini and his broken vision of Ireland
2018-06-15 11:26:56 -
Opinion
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By Panu Höglund
 
  The political party that is playing the part of extremist right wing in the theatre of Finnish politics — ie the Finns Party — was founded by Timo Soini in the early 1990s. 
 
  At that time Soini was just a slim young man who had written his MA treatise in political science about Veikko Vennamo, the grand old man of populism and demagoguery in Finnish politics, who had died a couple of years earlier. 
 
  Under the weight of governmental responsibility, the Finns Party split under Soini’s wide behind. He is still the minister of foreign affairs, but it is difficult to say whether he is still able to take care of foreign affairs, or any affairs of state.
 
  Back in the day, Soini was known as a great friend of Ireland and the Irish people. Visiting Ireland, it occurred to him to leave the Lutheran Church of Finland, which he found too liberal, and to join the Catholic Church, which is in Finland perceived as a foreign church – even the Russian Orthodox denomination is stronger among Finns. 
 
  Basically, Soini grew fond of Ireland because he saw the Irish as nationalists and loyal Catholics, and part of this was the fact that abortion was banned. Not that it is completely free in Finland, either: after the first three weeks of pregnancy it is allowed only for weighty medicinal or social reasons. This has been the law for almost 50 years, and it has not been found necessary to change it since.
 
  If Soini was a friend of Ireland, he had only fallen in love with Ireland as a conservative. Similar to those American conservatives who came to Ireland to convince the Irish not to vote ‘Yes’, Soini wasn’t able to create his anti-abortionist utopia in his own country, and had to try to keep it alive in Ireland. 
 
  When two-thirds of the people voted ‘Yes’, Soini’s love for Ireland ended, and in his blog he vented his anger on Irish people who wouldn’t be his servants any more. 
Soini actually was so much out of order that some ministers of the cabinet found it necessary to make it public that the foreign minister’s opinion did not reflect government policy.
 
Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish
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