‘A man of ill repute as an MEP’
2019-06-01 13:39:03 -

By Panu Höglund


As I write, the results of the European Parliament election in Finland are being announced. The Finns Party did not have the expected success, but in any case two of their candidates were voted in: Laura Huhtasaari and Teuvo Hakkarainen.


Huhtasaari is an ex-schoolmistress who acquired her university credentials fraudulently, as was found out when she became a member of our parliament. As regards Hakkarainen, he entered the hall of fame — or infamy — even earlier, for he is the most notorious example of the complete moral bankruptcy of the demagogues and hate-mongers who are called ‘nationalist conservatives’ in today’s jargon.


We often hear that Hakkarainen is a ‘sincere sawyer’, a simple working man who says what he thinks with no regard for the politically correct crowd. Actually, this is just so much propaganda: he is no sawmill worker, but the son of sawmill owners, and he has never been forced to work in his whole life. Instead, he has spent his time mostly drinking: once he stole a chalice and other silverware from the local church in order to buy more booze. This is just an example; Hakkarainen has stood trial several times since reaching adulthood.


The ill repute of the Finns Party is based on racism, which has only grown more intense recently. When the old-school populist Timo Soini left the helm of the party, the new leaders didn’t bother to camouflage their purely racist ideas about the ‘natural inferiority of the black race’ by calling themselves ‘critics of immigration’ anymore.


It is obvious that Hakkarainen is imitating the big words he has learnt from the big shots of the party, but at the same time it is difficult to say whether he is interested in anything other than drinking and strip clubs.


Everybody in Finland has already heard about his adventures there, and not to mention his company-keeping with one-percenter motorcyclist clubs. It seems that many members of the party have friends in that particular milieu, and that the party also gets a lot of votes from professional criminals. Nothing unexpected there, but it is more of a surprise that this is never mentioned by journalists. Quite the opposite: newspapers are rather obliging towards the hate-mongers, accepting that they are just a ‘patriotic’ political faction.


As regards Hakkarainen’s ‘patriotism’, it is easily summarised with the picture that shows him in a brotherly hug with Johan Bäckman. Who is Johan Bäckman? Nothing more and nothing less than the most odious pro-Russian propagandist in Finnish public life, who has already been convicted for fomenting online lynch mobs to intimidate people whose criticism of Russian policies he dislikes. You can hardly call Bäckman ‘patriotic’ in the traditional sense of the word — or maybe you can call him a Russian patriot, but never a Finnish one.


All said and done, it’s probably not Hakkarainen’s biggest sin that he is a drunkard or a racist. His biggest sin is that he is such a fraud. He says that he has bettered his ways and found religion – and then he is spotted groping the breasts of a striptease girl, dead drunk. He says that he is not a racist but a patriot – and then he is photographed chumming with the worst domestic enemy of all traditional patriots of Finland. That’s the kind of man Teuvo is, and he is now going to be one of the voices of our country in Brussels.


But at least he’ll be happy with the life he’ll lead over there. After all, Belgium is a country of beer, and when our man has had his fill of that stuff, he’ll doubtlessly experience great solidarity with Manneken-Pis.


Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish. His newest publication is the anti-racist thriller Tine sa Chácóin.

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