European versions of the Tea Party are sprouting among, and due to, the continent's troubled economies
warns (sic) The Economist
. "Warns", because that is mainly a bad thing, according to the London newspaper.
In May voters across the 28-member European Union will elect 751
deputies to the European Parliament. Polls suggest that the FN could win
a plurality of the votes in France. The United Kingdom Independence
Party (UKIP) has similarly high hopes, as does the Freedom Party (PVV)
in the Netherlands. Anti-EU populists of the left and right could take
between 16% and 25% of the parliament’s seats, up from 12% today. Many
of those votes will go to established parties of the Eurosceptic left.
But those of the right and far right might take about 9%. And it is
they, not the parties of the left, who are scaring the mainstream.
There are numerous problems with this simplistic put-'em-all-in-th'-same-barrel view.
For instance, France's National Front should in no way be assimilated to
the Tea Party. As No Pasarán and Le Monde Watch have reported numerous times
the Front National's Marine Le Pen criticizes privatization and "extreme" free market policies, holding that France needs "a strong state", while one of her top aides speaks of taking advantage of the fears engendered by globalization and surfing on insecurity and on social suffering.
When told "that in the U.S. she would sound like a left-wing politician", she went as far as telling the New York Times's Russell Shorto
that Barack "Obama is way to the right of us”!
is perhaps more on the money when the Fox News reporter says that "the
often stale British political system is being rocked by its very own Tea
The UK Independence Party (UKIP), formed in 1993 opposing Britain’s
entry into the European Union, failed to make an electoral dent for a
long time. However UKIP has built up steam in recent years and is
spearheading a seismic shift in the British political spectrum.
In this year’s local elections – the British version of midterms --
UKIP took a stunning 23 percent of the vote, up from the 3.1 percent
they won in the 2010 national election. Their leader, Nigel Farage, is
buoyed by their recent success.
“We want to take back our country, we want to take back our
government, and we want to take back our birthright,” Farage told
FoxNews.com in forthright language rarely seen in British politics.
… It is here where UKIP spied an opportunity, adopting an
anti-establishment, populist platform that argues for lower taxation,
privatization, smaller government and getting Britain out of the
… “The sense of frustration the Tea Party feels about the remoteness
about the bureaucratic class of the Washington beltway is similar to our
frustration with being dealt with by Brussels,” said Farage.
Many experts agree. Andrew Russell, Head of Politics at the
University of Manchester, told FoxNews.com that the comparison between
the Tea Party and UKIP is an accurate one, and that he believes that
UKIP could take the 2014 elections by storm,
“UKIP will do well in the 2014 European elections. They may even win
them in terms of the popular vote. This will increase the pressure on
Yet instead of reaching out and finding middle ground, the Tories have
snubbed UKIP. In 2006 David Cameron dismissed the newcomers as full of
“fruitcakes and loonies and closet racists,” and top Tory Kenneth Clark
recently branded them as “a collection of clowns.”
… As a right-wing libertarian, populist movement, there are many
comparisons to be drawn with the Tea Party, yet Farage argues that there
are differences too, particularly that UKIP wants to take votes away
from the Tories, not to reform them.
It is here that could make them bigger in Britain than the Tea Party
in America – UKIP is making inroads as a party, not just through
What remains to be seen is how UKIP will capitalize on their situation, and in that the next year will be vital.
“Like the Tea Party UKIP might have a profound effect on their
closest neighbors politically,” Russell told FoxNews.com. “But like the
Tea Party they might repel the crucial section of support needed for
that party to win.”