A Dutch Tea-Party


The elections in the Netherlands seem to me to be a wake-up call. Holland has fared remarkably well in the Great Recession, but even there, the rise of the populist far right is unmistakable. If you put Mark Rutte's fiscal austerity party with Geert Wilders' anti-Islamic party, you have the Dutch tea-party coalition:

A campaign that many thought would focus on immigration and Afghanistan instead seemed to turn on economic issues, with voters apparently embracing the Liberal Party’s message of austerity and spending cuts but no tax increases to reduce the expanding budget deficit.

But reaction to immigration was never far below the surface, with even the Liberals taking pages out of Mr. Wilders’ policies and vowing to keep immigrants from getting social benefits for 10 years.

Wilders does not hide his beliefs: his beef is not just with Islamism, but with Islam itself.

(Photo: Party for Freedom (PVV) anti-immigrant leader Geert Wilders reacts in Scheveningen after winning the most seats in the Dutch parliament after national elections in the Netherlands on June 9, 2010. By Robin Utrecht/Getty.)