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from The Great Debate:

Meet the Tea Party — European edition

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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.”

palin -- leeWhat 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.

Time for the people to decide on Britain’s democratic future?

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Britain’s embattled political class are falling over themselves to modernise parliament, but given we have fully embraced the Internet age the proposals have a rather tame feel about them.

Gordon Brown’s latest proposals for “democratic renewal” — the reform of MPs expenses and an elected House of Lords to name but two — could hardly be described as Parliament 2.0.

The BNP bends ears in east London

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“I am not a racist, I am a realist,” said Bob Bailey, the leading London candidate for the anti-immigration British National Party (BNP), after ascertaining my British credentials.

Bailey was campaigning in east London for next week’s European elections, keen to show that the party often reviled by the media for its right-wing views and rejected by much of the electorate up to now, was not a two-horned monster.

The BNP at Buckingham Palace

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The British National Party (BNP) says its leader Nick Griffin is planning to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next month, hosted by the Queen.

All members of the London Assembly have been invited, and since last year they include the BNP’s Richard Barnbrook. He wants to bring Griffin as his guest.

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