UK Prime Minister Teresa May just called a snap election for June. As a British satire site put it:
Everywhere in Europe, mainstream social-democratic political parties are quickly collapsing. This may be the most fundamental change in the European political landscape since World War II. This should be getting much, much more attention than it is.
And the evidence points to immigration being one of the most important causes -- if not the most important cause -- of this development. The argument is simple:
(1) Europeans care a lot about immigration right now;
(2) they are overwhelmingly opposed to mass immigration; and
(3) they simply do not trust social-democratic parties to do anything effective to stop it.
There are other causes, for sure, but many commentators actively try to downplay the embarrassing fact that mass immigration, instead of leading to a multicultural paradise, has fundamentally strengthened the political extremes in Europe.
New Labour, in the late 1990s, introduced policies (or, as the case may be, failed to introduce them) that led to a massive jump in net migration into the UK:
A Guardian piece concludes:
Between 1997 and 2010, net annual immigration quadrupled, and the UK population was boosted by more than 2.2 million immigrants, more than twice the population of Birmingham. In Labour’s last term in government, 2005-2010, net migration reached on average 247,000 a year.
This was New Labour's massive social experiment. According to one former official, it was an intentional attempt to force a change toward multiculturalism in the British mindset. The detailed Guardian piece quoted above -- entitled "How immigration came to haunt labour: the inside story" -- paints a more nuanced picture:
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has made capital out of his claim that the Labour government embarked on a deliberate policy to encourage immigration by stealth. Ukip often cites an article by Andrew Neather, a former No 10 and Home Office adviser, who wrote that the Labour government embarked on a deliberate policy from late 2000 to “open up the UK to mass migration”. Yet where Farage sees a political conspiracy behind the numbers, others veer towards the theory of history identified by the great 20th-century historian AJP Taylor, who always stressed the significance of chance events.
Even the most ardent defenders of the New Labour government acknowledge that such a wave of immigration was not purely down to chance.
Regardless of whether it was conceived as a social experiment, it was one. The results are in: it failed. Britons didn't like it. Not one bloody bit. Here are the summary results of a study on British public opinion by the Oxford Migration Observatory, hardly a right-wing group:
Immigration is currently highly salient and in recent years has consistently ranked in the top five ‘most important issues’ as selected by the British public.
Approximately three quarters of people in Britain currently favour reducing immigration.
Concern about migration applies to both EU and non-EU migration.
The study goes on:
Existing evidence clearly shows high levels of opposition to immigration in the UK. In recent surveys, majorities of respondents think that there are too many migrants, that fewer migrants should be let in to the country, and that legal restrictions on immigration should be tighter.
Figure 2 shows that a large majority in the 2013 British Social Attitudes survey endorsed reducing immigration. Over 56% chose ‘reduced a lot’, while 77% chose either ‘reduced a lot’ or ‘reduced a little’. The same question yielded similar results on the British Social Attitudes survey in 2008, adding confidence that these are reliable estimates.
Most Britons want fewer immigrants. Labour is the party that made the numbers so high. Instead of a clear mea culpa and policy change, Labour politicians still emit an ink-cloud of bullshit and waffle on this issue. The party will not give the voters what they want: a clear promise to end mass immigration. Period. If they go down to ignominious defeat in June, we'll know why.
We'll also get confirmation of a fact that so few Germans understand: mass immigration is a dangerous experiment which causes unpredictable long-term changes in the social and political structure of a country. Right now, Germany seems to be handling the mass influx of foreigners its politicians intentionally created in 2015 without too many disruptions, but the situation five or ten years from now may be very different indeed.