James Delingpole James Delingpole

Meet Finland’s answer to Vaclav Klaus

‘Finland, Finland, Finland — the country where I want to be. Po-ny trek-king or camp-ing. Or simply watching TV.’ But Monty Python got it wrong. Finland is more than just a cold, comedic nowheresville near to Russia. Not only is it the land of Nokia, bear pâté, the Moomintroll, and one of the few countries in the eurozone still doing business (one of only seven with an AAA credit rating) — but it may also save the world from the approaching euro armageddon.

For this last, we must thank an implausible hero named Timo Soini: implacable Eurosceptic, leader of Finland’s fastest-growing political party (the True Finns) and a diehard fan of Millwall Football Club. We meet in Eastbourne, shortly after he has given a rapturously received address to the Ukip conference.

Here are some of the lines that so delighted the punters.

‘You are so lucky to have the pound. You are so lucky — keep the pound!’

On the illegality of the bailouts.

‘This crisis has turned us into criminals. Who will respect politicians anymore after this? Who will trust the law if the law is not obeyed by us? We should be governed by the rule of law and by the members of the parliaments who we have ourselves chosen.’

‘These bailouts are immoral. We are pouring our money to the bad guys: to the governments that cheated us and to the bankers that made huge profits by taking reckless risks… It’s outrageous. I say, it’s outrageous!’

Yes, of course this is the sort of thing his mate Nigel Farage does very well too. But there are several key advantages Farage is lacking. He’s not built like a 1,500lb grizzly bear; he doesn’t have bull walrus jowls, stubble that makes Desperate Dan look like a L’Oréal ad and a Reg Varney quiff; he doesn’t support Europe’s roughest, lairiest football team.

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