The roots of the BNP’s appeal

“When employment minister Margaret Hodge said eight out of ten white voters might vote BNP in Barking, it was linked by many in the media to a new report called The BNP: The Roots of its Appeal. This report is produced by Democratic Audit, an academic research unit based at the University of Essex, and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

“In fact the report is far more sober and nuanced in its assessment of the BNP threat than the media spin would suggest. It mentions polls in London in 2004 that found 23 percent of respondents said they ‘might vote’ for the BNP, as opposed to those who ‘could never vote’ for them. But it also cites poll data that 64 percent of people across Britain expressed a strong dislike for the BNP. This ‘seems to confirm the existence of a large majority of voters for whom extremist parties advocating racist ideas are an anathema’, the report’s authors write….

“The authors explain how important it is for the BNP to be able to repackage racism in terms of defences of ‘free speech’ or attacks on Islam. ‘It is this stance that allows them to campaign viciously on race and especially against Muslims while retaining an outward air of respectability,’ they write.”

Anindya Bhattacharyya in Socialist Worker, 29 April 2006

See also “Livingstone slams claim that 1 in 4 Londoners support BNP”, UAF news report, 25 April 2006

For the Democratic Audit/Rowntree Trust report, see (pdf) here