By IBD Editorials
Change: A political earthquake rocked Europe Sunday, as anti-EU parties swept elections, foremost in Britain and France. It's a wake-up call for Europe's elites that big government and zero accountability don't work anymore.
Nowhere were the results as stunning as in the United Kingdom, where the much-maligned Nigel Farage and his UK Independence Party delivered a powerful blow against both the socialist Labour and conservative Tory parties, and swept out the mushy Liberal Democrats.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and newly elected Member of European Parliament, celebrates in a pub in central London on Monday
UKIP took 27.5% of the votes while Labour won only 25.4%, the Tories 23.9% and the Liberal Democrats 6.9%. Farage called it "the most extraordinary result" in 100 years, one that underlines that voters are fed up with the European Union and the parties that enable it.
Amazingly, it didn't just happen in Britain.
France delivered a similar political shockwave, with Marine Le Pen's National Front winning 25% of the vote, leaving the traditionally conservative UMP with just 21% and the socialists a mere 14% of the vote.
"We are witnessing the total rejection of the system," Le Pen told Le Monde. "This is a kind of patriotic revolution."
Voters "wanted to give mainstream politicians a bloody nose," Daily Telegraph Paris bureau chief Anne-Elisabeth Moutet told the BBC.
There were also strong showings of anti-EU parties in Denmark, Finland and Austria, and an astonishing appearance of similar sentiment in Germany, where an anti-EU party popped up and took 7% of the vote.
It goes to show that voters — left, right and center, and particularly in the flyovers of Europe, where the voting strength showed — are fed up with the EU's overly powerful, overbearing, big-spending bureaucracy.
It has sought to regulate every aspect of their lives while taking away much of their sovereignty, including the sovereignty of their borders and who can live within them.
Anti-EU parties are often billed as racists in the crude race-card hurling style of U.S. politics by Eurocrats and the parties that enable them, but it's telling that the independence parties that did best in the elections were those that explicitly rejected racism, as UKIP did.
These victories set the stage for more political earthquakes in the next few years, as both Farage and Le Pen vow to win general elections in their home countries.
And they might just succeed. Because the true heritage of Europe is not to take orders from an unaccountable, overpaid bureaucracy in Brussels but to function as a laboratory of different democracies, each acting in its best interests and those of its citizens.
It's not just political sovereignty these voters long for but economic freedom — a freedom denied them by the beltway bureaucrats of Brussels.
With Britain and France historically the most stable pillars of Europe, the move to reassert sovereignty may just be what is needed to keep Europe out of the stagnation and inevitable bankruptcy that comes from having an unaccountable, bloated, centralized government with no national legitimacy whatsoever.