Europe finally has its own Tea Party. Or something like it.
Last weekend, citizens of 21 nations elected members of a new European parliament. The result? An outpouring of rage.
Angry voters across the continent and Britain cast ballots for protest parties, mostly on the far right, which doubled their number of seats and now account for close to one third of the parliament. French Prime Minister Manuel Vallis called the vote “more than a news alert . . . it is a shock, an earthquake.”
What were the voters angry about? Well, everything. The parties that made big gains were anti-Europe, anti-common currency, anti-integration, anti-bureaucrat and anti-politician. They were also anti-immigrant. Angry voters were protesting immigration from within the Common Market (mostly by Eastern Europeans, who have the right to work in any European country) and from outside Europe (mostly by Muslims).
Anything else? Yes.
“This is a bad day for the European Union when a party with such an openly racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic program gets 25 percent of the vote in France,” the president of the European parliament said after it became clear that the far-right National Front led the polling in France.
In Britain, it was the first election in more than 100 years when one of the two major parties did not lead the polls. First place went to the UK Independence Party (UKIP) whose charismatic leader, Nigel Farage, wants Britain out of the European Union and immigrants out of Britain. British Prime Minister David Cameron once described UKIP as “a bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.”