We have been writing for years about the fact that any European who expresses skepticism about the wisdom of mass immigration is immediately branded “far right,” no matter what his other views may be. This has had the unhealthy effect of driving voters toward parties that, in some cases, have indeed been unsavory. But it was probably only a matter of time before “mainstream” parties would see the writing on the wall.
That is happening in Denmark, currently governed by a conservative, immigration-skeptic coalition. With an election around the corner, the front-runners are the Social Democrats, who are stealing the right’s thunder on Islamic immigration:
The 41-year-old [Mette Frederiksen] has all the momentum, with her left-of-centre bloc starting with an eight percentage point lead, and few doubting that she will become Denmark’s youngest-ever prime minister after the election on 5 June.
A victory for Frederiksen would be a boon for Europe’s social democrats as they gaze across the continent at a dispiriting political landscape. But it would not be without controversy, for under Frederiksen the party has been ruthlessly reshaped: dragged to the left economically – and sharply to the right on immigration.
“For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes,” she wrote in a recent biography.
Donald Trump couldn’t have said it better. But the Social Democrats go much farther than Trump’s administration in drawing a line against mass immigration:
Under her leadership, the SD have called for a cap on “non-western immigrants”, for asylum seekers to be expelled to a reception centre in North Africa, and for all immigrants to be forced to work 37 hours a week in exchange for benefits.
She has reached out to the populist Danish People’s party (DPP), doing a series of joint interviews with its leader, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, and discussing cooperating with them in government.
But it is the government policies her party has supported which have been most alarming for her allies in the left-of-centre red bloc. These include a law allowing jewellery to be stripped from refugees, a burqa and niqab ban, mandatory handshakes irrespective of religious sentiment at citizenship ceremonies, and a plan to house criminal asylum seekers on an island used for researching contagious animal diseases. In February, she backed what the DPP has branded a “paradigm shift” – a push to make repatriation, rather than integration, the goal of asylum policy.
In a democracy, the voters will eventually get what they want. And Danish voters have made it clear they are not interested in becoming Libya North.