It was another weekend of creeping signs that Europe is coming unglued.
First in the UK, the ruling Conservative party saw a second Member of Parliament defect to UKIP, an anti-EU populist party whose popularity seems to be surging.
The defection, by MP Mark Reckless, comes about a month after another MP, Doug Carswell, left to UKIP. The UK is having its next national Parliamentary election next Spring, and the pressure is on the conservatives to fend off the UKIP surge.
Meanwhile in France, history has been made in a way that’s ominous for the ruling elites: For the first time, a member of the ultra-right National Front has been elected to the Senate. The National Front now has two seats, as the popularity of its leader Marine Le Pen (daughter of the infamous Jean-Marie Le Pen) continues to surge. France’s next election won’t take place until 2017, but as of now, the popularity of President Francois Hollande is in the toilet — he has just a 13% approval rating.
Meanwhile in Spain, the head of the Catalan region Artur Mas has signed a decree to hold an independence vote for the region on November 9 despite the objections of the central government in Madrid, which says that such a vote would be illegal. Some kind of clash is coming.