A few months ago a friend of mine was doing some kind of a financial tour of Europe for work, and he told me expected a big xenophobic, anti-immigrant backlash as the economy there circled the drain. Here we have it:
President Nicolas Sarkozy, running from behind for a second term, has veered sharply to the right in the final days before Sunday’s runoff in the French presidential election, increasingly appealing to nationalism and anti-immigrant fears to gain support from the far-right National Front.
The rise of Wilders in the Netherlands is a cautionary tale for a continent in the midst of a debt crisis and where painful recessions, soaring unemployment and rising apathy among youths are fueling the strongest swell of support in decades for anti-immigrant nationalists.
I told him he was prescient about this and he replied “I wonder if there has ever been a crisis in Europe where immigrants or a different religion hasn’t been scapegoated”.