No action over MP’s “pathetic assholes” comment

Vaasa-area politician Mauri Peltokangas posted the comment on Facebook over the weekend but has since deleted the post.

File picture showing exterior of Parliament, December 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

The Finns Party says it doesn’t plan to take any action over one of its Members of Parliament Mauri Peltokangas, after he wrote that Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and her ministers were “pathetic assholes.”

Peltokangas wrote the comments in a now-deleted Facebook post over the weekend.

In comments to STT Finnish News Agency, the Chairman of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group Ville Tavio says that he doesn’t think the threshold for any discussion of sanctions against Peltokangas has been exceeded.

Vaasa-area MP Peltokangas, 54, was apparently angry that government ministers had not condemned a recent attack on a Finns Party official in Central Finland in sufficiently explicit terms. The beating is being investigated by police as attempted murder, and

Some elements within the Finns Party initially sought to blame left-wing political opponents for the attack; some others blamed foreigners; while the assistant of a Brussels-based Finns Party MEP ask if the “EU elite” had ordered the “assassination.”

The Finns Party official who was attacked, Pekka Kataja, initially said he thought ‘Arab-looking men’ were responsible, but later changed his story and now says the attackers who badly beat him were Finnish, not foreigners, and could be connected to far-right elements. He has apparently now gone into hiding for his own safety.

Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho (R) gives a press conference on Saturday 14th June 2020 / Credit: YouTube

The Finns Party’s frequent racism and criminality

With 39 Members of Parliament, the Finns Party are Finland’s second largest group in parliament, however they were shut out of government by a progressive red-green alliance of five other political parties after the 2019 general election.

In recent years a number of their politicians have been convicted of crimes, or embroiled in racism scandals.

In June MP Ano Turtiainen was kicked out of the party after posting a racist meme online mocking the death of George Floyd in police custody in America.

Turtiainen is not the first Finns Party politician or party activist to face a public backlash for racist online posts. He’s not even the only one who posted offensive, racially charged or misleading posts this summer about racial tensions.

MEP Laura Huhtasaari posted a graphic claiming to show “interracial violent crime incidents 2018” which appears to prove a disproportionate instance of black-on-white violence and Hispanic-on-white violence, as the Brussels-based politician tries to demonstrate that white people are under attack from minorities in America.

The graphic Huhtasaari posted has been debunked as inaccurate and misleading.

That same month a Finns Party-aligned think tank published a book which included texts include blaming women for the phenomenon of grooming children for sexual exploitation; criticised the idea of punishing men for marital rapes; and also criticised Finnish women for having children with men from developing countries. Although the party’s leadership tried to distance themselves several days later, it seemed rather hollow since party leader Jussi Halla-aho had appeared at the book launch to endorse it (see picture above).

Also in June, in the aftermath of protests over statues in England, the Finns Party’s media chief Matias Turkkila equated events to the Taliban destroying Buddhist statues in Bamiyan – a narrative pushed online by British anti-EU politician Nigel Farage and other right-wing agitators.

In March the Finns Party scrapped its youth group after they had been de-funded by  ministries to the tune of tens of thousands of euros for posting racist messages on social media sites; and after one of the senior members declared himself a “fascist” at a far-right event in Estonia.

And a selection of their current crop of politicians includes Oulu MP Sebastian Tynkkanen who was convicted last October of posting anti-Islam messages on social media, who had his recent appeal against the conviction rejected, and who also now faces a third trial on incidement; MEP Teuvo Hakkarainen, previously convicted of a drunken assault on a female MP in Parliament, plastered xenophobic messages on his car during the 2019 election campaign. Finns Party Chairman Jussi Halla-aho has also  been convicted of race-bait crimes by Finnish courts.