It's the immigration, stupid!
6/3/2002 12:00:00 AM - Pat Buchanan
"As waves of immigration from the Islamic nations of North Africa and the Mideast, and black nations of sub-Sahara rise, crest and crash into Europe, the immigration issue will become more explosive." So I wrote only months ago in "Death of the West," as I made a prediction: "Major parties will seize the issue from the minor parties, or the minor parties will become the major ones."
Rarely has any prediction of this author's come to pass with such startling speed. Mainstream European parties are today in total panic over the sudden surge of the Populist Right. Not to be left behind, they have begun to echo and ape the Populist Right, even as they denounce it.
"Is Europe preparing to haul up the drawbridge?" asks Jill Lawless of The Associated Press on May 29. "Across the continent, right-wing parties have surged at the polls by exploiting fears of a rising tide of immigrants and refugees -- and mainstream parties are echoing their concerns and their rhetoric."
Edmund Stoiber, the conservative candidate for chancellor of Germany, is making immigration his issue. British Tory Iain Duncan Smith now says of illegal aliens, "Not one ... should be allowed to set foot in Britain." Prime Minister Tony Blair is pirouetting wildly on the immigration question.
Reports The Washington Times: "The government of Tony Blair, unnerved by the political rise of hardline anti-immigration parties at home and across Europe, is considering stiff measures to protect itself politically by cracking down on asylum seekers.
"A policy document leaked to the Guardian ... advocated such measures as mobilizing Royal Navy warships to intercept refugee traffickers in the Mediterranean Sea and the use of Royal Air Force transport planes to carry out mass deportations."
Blair's government is considering making British foreign aid to developing countries contingent on their taking back illegal aliens who had made it into Britain. What has caused our deeply principled Third Way pol Tony Blair to suddenly manifest concern over asylum seekers is the cloud no bigger than a man's hand now hovering over his prospects for a second term -- the immigration crisis.
Now only was Europe stunned by Jean-Marie Le Pen's defeat of Prime Minister Jospin in the first round of the French elections, weeks later, after the assassination of populist Pim Fortuyn, his party scored a smashing success and entered the Dutch government.
The populist Danish Peoples Party is already in the government, and there are rising tough-on-immigration parties in Belgium and Switzerland, as well as Jorge Haider's Freedom Party in Austria.
What must have jolted Blair is the 20 percent showing by the British National Party in Burnley and other Midland towns ravaged by race violence last summer. Voters moving to the BNP are working-class Brits who are the political base of Tony Blair's New Labor.
"We're not advocating a 'Fortress Europe,'" says Blair, "but what we are saying is there's got to be some order and some rules brought into the system." Standing beside Blair as he made his remarks was the Spanish prime minister, whose country is being invaded from North Africa.
Writes Lawless: "Aided by an international network of people-smugglers, thousands of migrants from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia try to enter Europe each year. They come by boat, train and truck -- from Africa in overloaded boats across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain; from Turkey across the Aegean to the Greek islands; over the Adriatic from Albania to Italy.
"In March, a shipload of almost 1,000 Kurds landed in Sicily, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency."
Blair and his trendy friends deny they want a Fortress Europe. But if they do not build one, Europe becomes a Third World continent.
For Europeans are diminishing in numbers so rapidly that 169 million immigrants will be needed by 2050 just to keep Europe's labor force at its present size. If Europe wants to maintain its 5-to-1 ratio of working-age folks (15 to 64) to retirees and elderly (65 and over), Europe must import -- fasten your seat belts! -- 1.4 billion people from Africa and Asia by mid-century.
Blair's crisis today is George Bush's tomorrow. If Karl Rove does not persuade the president to get off his "amnesty-for-illegals" kick, he is risking creation of a single-issue "Defend Our Borders!" party, which could siphon off enough votes to sink Bush in 2004. To paraphrase Carville, of a decade ago, "It's the immigration, stupid!"