Immigrant issues in Europe

This is an interesting development. From the Washington Post:

Paula Mitchell, cutting fresh flowers in the Gale Street Florist shop in east London, said she’s voting for candidates of the British National Party in local elections on Thursday — but she hopes they lose.

“If they got in, I’d be absolutely horrified,” said Mitchell, 38, who described her planned ballot for the vehemently anti-immigration BNP as a protest against what she sees as out-of-control immigration to Britain.

“We’re against people coming in and taking our jobs, taking our school places, getting priority in housing,” said Mitchell. “Everyone is fed up, and we want to make our feelings known.”

The BNP declares itself “wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples.” It seeks to restore the overwhelmingly white makeup of Britain before 1948; its leader has called Islam a “wicked, vicious faith.” Support from people like Mitchell, a white mother of three whose political views otherwise appear generally mainstream, illustrates rising anti-immigration sentiment in Britain and across Europe.

Parties long dismissed by many as the racist fringe have become increasingly popular as governments that once freely accepted immigrants question how many more their nations can take.

“It should be a worry for all Western democracies,” said Nick Lowles of Searchlight, an anti-racist group that publishes a magazine in Britain. Lowles said many voters were turning to extremist parties to vent anger at their political leaders. “People are shouting out,” he said, “and they want to be heard.”

In France, a public opinion poll last month showed that more than a third of respondents believed the anti-immigrant National Front, led by the outspoken Jean-Marie Le Pen, was in line with “the concerns of French people.” Numbers like that could make the party a power in presidential elections next year.

The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party in Denmark and Progress Party in Norway, meanwhile, both reached record levels of the vote — 13 and 22 percent, respectively — in elections last year.

Will this sort of shift take longer in the US, given our country’s size?

I really find the idea of British people secretly voting for an obviously racist political party intriguing, and scary. I understand why they’re doing it, but ick. What if that happened here in the US…can you imagine the riots?

(Living in “flyover country” ;P, I might not have to deal directly with something like that, but it would still have an impact on me emotionally, and probably economically.)