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The BNP is Finished as an Electoral Force

Writing in the Guardian Comment is Free, Dr Matthew Goodwin offers his assessment of what the local elections reveal about support for the far right.

Published inBritish PoliticsThe Far-Right & Extremism


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    Have you ever considered that the rise of the BNP and the attraction towards such politics is primarily due to the lack of credible representation from mainstream politicians?

    Most people do not join the BNP because they are racist, extremist or “far right” most people join from a temporary reactionary position due to factors that have affected them in their everyday life. Once involved in such groups its actually the mainstream media, hostile opposition groups, mainstream ignorance towards the political and social perspective that further isolates and radicalises members and groups within the “far right”.

    In my experience a large majority of members of the BNP are more likely to fall into the category of ex-labour supporters and have more socialist perspectives than they care to admit. The BNP has failed in the main to reach disillusioned Conservatives even after many repeated attempts.

    There has been a tremendous amount of time, effort, resources and awareness offered to sections of our communities and a complete lack of understanding and hostility towards others. This is bound to create resentment and offer the opportunity of growth towards more radical views.

    The problem for many regarding the future is once you have been involved with any of the groups or parties it is extremely hard if not impossible to move back into the mainstream political groups without being “exposed” somewhere further down the line. This leads people into the position of either shut up completely, which is highly unlikely once you have become a political activist or to move back towards other groups that will accept you.

    The problem lies in the fact that there is an ever decreasing parameter in what is classed as an acceptable view point and the ability to voice opinions in a democratic manner has been reduced. This will lead to further disenfranchisement and recruitment for more radical parties in the future.

    In many ways the mainstream parties have moved to such as rationalist perspective that they refuse to accept even the existence or validity of an empirical outlook.

  2. Anyone who’s ever drunk in a public bar will recognise the right wing nature of many of Labour’s traditional voters. Ally that to the unreconstructed (I’m being kind) nature of many local councillors and sometimes the far right seems not too much of a leap. Fortunately, there are still enough skinheads and Horts Wessel singers around to deter the Mailites of Southern constituencies but a barrier consisting of “they’re not People Like Us” can look a little fragile.

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