Join 3,442 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


BNP ftw?
August 3, 2010 7:28 AM   Subscribe

"Labour 51 BNP 0" Shouted the Guardian after the recent elections, as the BNP failed to return a single candidate who stood. Many felt this was the beginning of the end for the BNP, but how true was this? "The stark facts are these. Nationally, the Green Party's share of the vote actually went down 0.1% to 1%. In terms of vote share, the BNP (1.9%) and UKIP (3.1%) both did better than the Greens. Nearly twice as many voted BNP as did Green, while three times more people backed UKIP. The BNP almost tripled its support compared to 2005, while UKIP received around half as many votes again as last time."

In total the BNP won 563,743 votes, which is a massive improvement over 2005. Even taking into account the increase in candidates standing, the voters per candidate figure went up from 1647 to 1663. So (please correct me if I am wrong on this) does this mean that if we had proportianal representation, the BNP would have 3 times the MP's as the Green Party? This would depend on how much of the vote share a party would need to have an MP elected, but still it is a somewhat sobering thought.

And although they lost out in terms of overall MP's and even in terms of deposits retained, I agree with someones comment elsewhere, which said:

"The BNP were building in places for the future local elections. If seats were targeted for percent gains, then only 200 would have been contested.
The North East fielded two candidates in 2001, up to nine in 2005 not retaining a single deposit.
Then a full-slate of 29 in 2010 retaining 10 deposits."

So what helped Labour win in Barking? Well, they held the local elections on the same day as the national elections, which meant it was easier for Labour to get its message out. Also, the worry about a hung parliament meant a higher voter turnout. Further, Labour has more resources which to throw at the problem, so for e.g. it hired Blue State Digital (BSD), which used the latest internet technology to mobilise millions of people behind Obama in the US elections to help them get their message out.

Interestingly, This Londonist article talks about all the smaller parties doing badly across london. Just what is going on here, when we have supposedly lost interest and become disillusioned with the main political parties (those who are sometimes referred to as the "political elite").

And who did Labour stand as a Candidate in Barking? Margaret Hodge. If you want to argue that those who vote BNP are too stupid to understand the nuances of socio-political life, or are lacking in political knowledge, this just shows how deep that lack of knowledge runs: through all sections of Barking society.

So I ask, what can be done to help stem the rising tide of the far right in the UK?
posted by marienbad (51 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not sure what's happening in the world that things like the BNP are able to find support and even some degree of growth.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:34 AM on August 3, 2010


Interesting post, but does it HAVE to be all bloggy and end with a question? I thought that was considered bad form for a MeFi post.
posted by hippybear at 7:37 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nationally, the Green Party's share of the vote actually went down 0.1% to 1%.

The Greens did put basically all their energy into targeting the three seats out of 300 they saw as winnable, one of which they actually did win.
posted by permafrost at 7:38 AM on August 3, 2010


In total the BNP won 563,743 votes, which is a massive improvement over 2005.

Hardly the word I'd use.
posted by schmod at 7:39 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what's happening in the world that things like the BNP are able to find support and even some degree of growth.

I have a theory.
posted by generichuman at 7:42 AM on August 3, 2010


Interesting post, but does it HAVE to be all bloggy and end with a question?

Yeah it's fairly bloggy but I think there's enough here to ignore that.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:42 AM on August 3, 2010


So (please correct me if I am wrong on this) does this mean that if we had proportianal representation, the BNP would have 3 times the MP's as the Green Party? This would depend on how much of the vote share a party would need to have an MP elected, but still it is a somewhat sobering thought.

How people vote under a long-established system of first-past-the-post is no real guide to how they might vote under PR; many potential Green voters under PR will have voted for other parties this election simply because the others had the only realistic chance of winning. The same might be true of potential BNP voters, of course, but it's possible that they might be less pragmatic when it comes to directing their vote - we have no way of telling until a UK general election is run under PR.

And that won't happen for a long time, because no PR system is on the table for the foreseeable future. AV isn't PR, and it won't result in that many more small-party MPs in Westminster (excluding the Lib Dems from that category, because in vote share they aren't a small party).
posted by rory at 7:45 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Unite Against Fascism campaigned heavily in Barking, leafleting and running stalls for months in advance of the election.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:46 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what's happening in the world that things like the BNP are able to find support and even some degree of growth.

You say this as though nationalism, racism and xenophobia are new things.
posted by loquax at 7:48 AM on August 3, 2010


Interesting post, but does it HAVE to be all bloggy and end with a question? I thought that was considered bad form for a MeFi post.

It is. Regardless, it is a very interesting post.

So I ask, what can be done to help stem the rising tide of the far right in the UK?

Perhaps you should first ask, "Why does their political philosophy appeal to some people and what does that mean?" Because announcing that they are a problem to be eradicated is never going to work.

Here in the US, Republicans and the Christian right have been playing the victim / martyr complex for years, even when they have clearly been in the majority. The "we're under attack and have a right to defend ourselves" tactic attracts those who feel obliged to defend underdogs.
posted by zarq at 7:48 AM on August 3, 2010


So (please correct me if I am wrong on this) does this mean that if we had proportianal representation, the BNP would have 3 times the MP's as the Green Party?

Depends on the system. If you were using the New Zealand system the BNP would get no seats (won less than 5% of the vote) but the Greens would get about 5 or 6 (proportionate to share of vote: won less than 5% of the vote, but won an electorate).

Under other systems, probably neither party would get any seats, but I'd have to look into that in more detail, whereas I know the NZ system pretty well.

Rory's comments are on the money, as well.
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:51 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


BNP Fuckers.
posted by seanyboy at 7:51 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


thanks for the comments so far. just to answer a few points:

Bloggy: er, i am not shure what you mean by this. i wrote it as well as i could. Haven't made a massive amount of mefi posts, so you will have to bear with me a bit re: posting ettiquette.

"In total the BNP won 563,743 votes, which is a massive improvement over 2005.

Hardly the word I'd use"

I use the word in terms of the BNP, i personally do bot think it is an improvement - My first comment after i posted was deleted for some reason ;) but lets just say it was not nice to griffin. i think maybe it was deleted for the use of the C word, but then, in england, the C word appears to be more acceptable.

"Perhaps you should first ask, "Why does their political philosophy appeal to some people and what does that mean?""

Interesting way to phrase things. The working classes who are voting BNP are probably the people who used to vote labour, and feel disenfranchised by Labours actions (bank bailout, iraq war etc). In the first, they probably Labour has given their money to the rich, in the second it is the sons of the poor who are dying.

To TJ me own thread: if i was to GMOFB, what would be the best way to go about it, so i could post stuff like this up? would i be best to get a domain and google ads, use wordpress or blogger or what? I am an ametuer in this regard, so please be gentle
posted by marienbad at 8:00 AM on August 3, 2010


I don't even know where to start with what zarq said.

I get that you're not from the UK, and don't really understand the issues here, but conflating the BNP with the republicans is pretty ridiculous. If you want to make a comparison, then you need to make it with someone like the KKK.

Also it's pretty well understood why people vote for the BNP. Because they're racist and they're scared of brown people. You might get a few people trying to convince you that it's something to do with poverty in the underclass, but this is bullshit. This is just an excuse normal people use in order to justify why they're voting for an obviously racist organisation.

Everyone in this country knows the BNP are racist. That can't be repeated enough.

Also, also - They don't tend to play the underdog line that strongly.

And finally - The "We must eradicate them" tack worked pretty well with the NF. They're still around, but they're a lot smaller than they used to be. The same can arguably be said to be happening to the BNP, though I worry that BNP supporters are currently leaking towards the bastard EDL.
posted by seanyboy at 8:03 AM on August 3, 2010


marienbad: That "disenfranchised labour voter" line is a lie propagated by the BNP in order to give people an excuse to vote for them. I just can't believe it's got so much traction in left wing circles.

I'll say it again. If you vote for the BNP, you're a racist motherfucker. You can try to convince me otherwise, but it aint washing. People are not that stupid.
posted by seanyboy at 8:07 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Perhaps you should first ask, "Why does their political philosophy appeal to some people and what does that mean?"

Do I have a book for you
!
posted by jtron at 8:07 AM on August 3, 2010


It's times like this when I really wish I could tell you the piece of awesome BNP gossip that burns in my little head. But I can't.
posted by seanyboy at 8:14 AM on August 3, 2010


It's times like this when I really wish I could tell you the piece of awesome BNP gossip that burns in my little head. But I can't.

If we guess right can you cough or something?
posted by ericthegardener at 8:15 AM on August 3, 2010


does this mean that if we had proportianal representation, the BNP would have 3 times the MP's as the Green Party?

Not necessarily. The very fact of having PR might potentially change who people voted for. In business terms, it depends on the 'stickiness' of the voters concerned. That is, how likely are they to change from/stick with their vote under the current system and with the current factors? It is possible that many people would like to have voted green but felt that it would be a wasted vote and tuck with mainstream parties where they perceived there was no chance of getting a green candidate. This might also apply to the BNP. It may be that some people vote BNP as a protest against what they perceive to be the lack of meaningful representation by mainstream parties, but that this is less likely where they think there is a real chance of the BNP being elected. Of course it may be that more people turn out to vote against the BNP where they think they might get in, which is why they lost council seats, in which case PR could increase BNP representation.

So no, we shouldn't assume that the votes of the last general election are indicative of what we might end up with under a PR system. BNP and green votes could both go either up or down in such a system, even with their variables fixed, the system itself influences the intentions of voters. Personally, I do not see this as a bad thing, rigging the voting system to prevent certain sections of the electorate from being represented is a disgrace in any system which purports to be a democracy. This does not mean I approve of the BNP but that it should not be within the purview of the state - and of the dominant parties - to disenfranchise anyone, especially where this is clearly in their own interests, since doing so will reduce the ability of all to be properly represented.
posted by biffa at 8:16 AM on August 3, 2010


Seanyboy: i am not sure about that. I live near an ex-pit village, an area that was staunchly labour for a long time. it is now BNP. Maybe it is a one off though. So who, in your opinion is responsible for their rise? why are so many people willing to vote for them now? murdoch and the mail?
posted by marienbad at 8:17 AM on August 3, 2010


You say this as though nationalism, racism and xenophobia are new things.

No, but they are publicly unpopular things. White people tend to think that 'racist' is the worst word you can call someone.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:18 AM on August 3, 2010


@seanybaby - is it the griffin is gay thing?
posted by marienbad at 8:18 AM on August 3, 2010


Some people really are that stupid.

Earlier this year there was an EDL rally in my town that generated a lot of talk from people who usually avoid politics altogether, it's those people that are being won over. People who like things that seem to be common sense but wouldn't be if they thought about it for a second. A lot of them have it all mixed up with supporting returning soldiers.

They see everyone piling on the BNP and think they're some sort of underdog, the BNP and EDL don't even have to play it that way. UAF didn't play the whole thing very well either, sad to say. This is as much a complete failure of the left as it is a victory of the right. Last time the BNP tried this in my area in a major way we pushed back well, I'm not sure how we're screwing it up this time but we are.
posted by shinybaum at 8:30 AM on August 3, 2010


So I ask, what can be done to help stem the rising tide of the far right in the UK?

Rising tide? The BNP got 1.9% of the vote. Your ankles aren't even wet and you're worried about the rising tide?

This is exactly the kind of manufactured crisis and fear-mongering tactic that the far-right uses to garner support. Rupert Murdoch would be proud of this post. It fits his style perfectly.
posted by rocket88 at 8:33 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


@marienbad - no it is not.
@ericthegardener - No. The possibility of innocent people being really hurt means I can't say.

On the "disenfranchised labour" thing. I live in an area that's seen BNP councillors get in. And people continue to trot out the "they're getting back at labour" line like it's gospel. But it can't be. Everyone knows what the BNP stand for. Everyone knows that they're a smarmy corporate face on the bulldog racism of the 1980's.

On top of that you've a raft of proper old labour independents. You've got the socialist party, the respect party, the greens, UKIP and a raft of other marginal parties that haven't seen half the rise that the BNP have seen.

People know what the BNP are. They just won't admit it.
posted by seanyboy at 8:34 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


The "We must eradicate them" tack worked pretty well with the NF. They're still around, but they're a lot smaller than they used to be. The same can arguably be said to be happening to the BNP, though I worry that BNP supporters are currently leaking towards the bastard EDL.
posted by seanyboy at 11:03 AM on August 3


True. I was around for the notorious NF marches as a student at the University of Leeds in the late 70's (er, I was on the ANL side, in case anyone's wondering) and those times showed us that sustained, assertive (oh, okay, occasionally violent) counter-protest eventually saw them off, more or less. However, this does not mean they disappeared. It does not mean the ignorant racists who supported the NF went away. Indeed, some of them went on to form the BNP.

You simply do not get rid of that hardcore of racist fascism that exists in most countries. What you do is you keep it under constant surveillance and counter-attack, and you keep the bastards stressed. You call 'em what they are and you do not let them spout their bullshit without robustly challenging it. Ever. You make it a shameful thing to be a supporter of these goons. That way you minimise the number of not-very-bright dupes who fall for their carefully-softened line. And yeah, those people do exist. The BNP support isn't just from the out-and-out, foaming-at-the-mouth racist types. We need to recognise that.
posted by Decani at 8:37 AM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Rising tide? The BNP got 1.9% of the vote. Your ankles aren't even wet and you're worried about the rising tide?

This is exactly the kind of manufactured crisis and fear-mongering tactic that the far-right uses to garner support. Rupert Murdoch would be proud of this post. It fits his style perfectly."

Thanks for that incisive comment calling me a right wing nutter. So you think we should do nothing, just sit back and let it happen then?

This link shows the increase in support over the last few years. Hardly falling now is it?
posted by marienbad at 8:40 AM on August 3, 2010


The BNP support isn't just from the out-and-out, foaming-at-the-mouth racist types.

It may not seem like it, but I agree with this.
I just think there's a whole section of quite racist types who need to be made aware that we know what they are.
No excuses. No bullshit. No "it's the fault of industry leaving these green and pleasant lands."

Sometimes times are hard, but if you allow those hard times to give you an excuse to hate based on race, then you're a racist.
posted by seanyboy at 8:43 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


"I live in an area that's seen BNP councillors get in. And people continue to trot out the "they're getting back at labour" line like it's gospel. But it can't be. Everyone knows what the BNP stand for."

Well yes, but then there are people who aren't going to vote labour because of things the labour party has done (war etc as mentioned) and aren't going to vote tory as they are "the posh" and clearly don't represent their interests.

This 2yrs out of date grauniad article talks about the "grassroots" stuff the BNP did in Stoke to win support. Clearly they did badly at the recent elections, but then both the main parties went all out to win, and they have massive budgets for this stuff, which the BNP doesn't.
posted by marienbad at 8:51 AM on August 3, 2010


It is possible that many people would like to have voted green but felt that it would be a wasted vote and tuck with mainstream parties where they perceived there was no chance of getting a green candidate.

Precisely. It was certainly the case for myself and a number of other potential Green voters I know who reconsidered in the light of the post-debate LibDem surge meaning that electoral reform was a real possibility and that a Green vote would thus hold much more weight in the future.

Which makes it all the more depressing to consider that should next year's AV vote fail then in all likelihood real chance of electoral reform will be off the table for at least a generation.
posted by anagrama at 8:56 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get that you're not from the UK, and don't really understand the issues here, but conflating the BNP with the republicans is pretty ridiculous. If you want to make a comparison, then you need to make it with someone like the KKK.

Also it's pretty well understood why people vote for the BNP. Because they're racist and they're scared of brown people. You might get a few people trying to convince you that it's something to do with poverty in the underclass, but this is bullshit. This is just an excuse normal people use in order to justify why they're voting for an obviously racist organisation.

Everyone in this country knows the BNP are racist. That can't be repeated enough.

Also, also - They don't tend to play the underdog line that strongly.


Ack. I looked them up online and have been educating myself. Cearly they're far, far worse than I had understood them to be. White nationalists.

Thank you very much for clarifying.
posted by zarq at 9:00 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I was around for the notorious NF marches as a student at the University of Leeds
> in the late 70's (er, I was on the ANL side, in case anyone's wondering) and those
> times showed us that sustained, assertive (oh, okay, occasionally violent)
> counter-protest eventually saw them off, more or less.

Everyone in Bradford has everything crossed that this won't be the tactic for the planned EDL march in August. We are beyond fscked as it is, we can do without another summer of riots.

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/StopTheEDL
posted by vbfg at 9:04 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's also not an absolute given, from an anti-racist/pro-electoral-reform standpoint, that having a handful of far right nutters in parliament (inside the tent pissing in, etc) is necessarily a terrible thing.

Whatever the exact mindset of BNP supporters, BNP candidates tend to be rabidly ideological and strikingly incompetent, so exposure to the reality of having to try to be an MP might prove their swift undoing. I think that was part of what happened in their routing on Stoke council this last election. Plus, real PR would lead to a bigger voice for their staunchest opponents and break the power of the racism-fanning Murdoch press. Of course this is all irrelevant in terms of actual PR happening any time soon.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:06 AM on August 3, 2010


(To clarify, what I mean is, the presence of BNP support is not necessarily a good argument against electoral reform. Obviously, it is terrible that anyone supports the BNP in the first place.)
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:09 AM on August 3, 2010


This link shows the increase in support over the last few years. Hardly falling now is it?

No, but therein lies the conundrum of extremism - in order to move into the mainstream, you need to appeal to ever-increasing numbers of people who may have a problem with one or more positions you take. So the BNP drops the antisemitism to look less like holocaust deniers and appeal to Jews. Fine, but you lose the hardcore anti-semites. You say you actually have no problem with Hindus and Sikhs to broaden the tent somewhat, but you lose the people who have an issue with Hindus and Sikhs. And so on until by the time you can even hope to approach, say, 10% of the popular vote, you've repudiated the vast majority of all your previous "core beliefs" and look more and more like a regular old political party (albeit one with a dodgy past and leaning more to the right, or whatever). The BNP is not convincing people to be more racist, it's sliding down the scale and compromising to attract the less racist, hence the bump. The 1.9% of people that voted for them this time, on average, is likely less "abhorrently racist" than the lower numbers that voted BNP in the 90's.

Not that it excuses any of it, but it's an explanation of why support is nominally increasing. They opened the doors to closet racists, old people and fools, not just the hardcore neo-nazis and skinheads.
posted by loquax at 9:10 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know how they've managed it, but they've twisted the conversation away from their main platform, race. Even on the left people are talking about fat cat politicians and how disconnected the underclass is and how we can fix it. It's infuriating, if we'd focus on the main issue we could push back much better. Getting people to completely ignore their sole underlying position has been genius.

I think parts of the media, and to some extent everyone, just don't like accusing BNP voters of racism. It's like when we agree with the EDL that they are worried about sharia law - no they aren't, not even a little bit. They're worried about too many Muslims. If we'd stop debating on their terms it would be lovely.
posted by shinybaum at 9:12 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


BNP falling apart? smear campaign in leadership challenge?
posted by marienbad at 9:19 AM on August 3, 2010


This 2yrs out of date grauniad article talks about the "grassroots" stuff the BNP did in Stoke to win support.

A very interesting article. It seems to boil down to: "The major parties (Labour in particular) take us for granted and ignore our concerns but the BNP listens." You can see this same sentiment in the Tea Party rhetoric. They feel their voices aren't being heard, so they embrace the simple, direct "You're getting screwed" message. Now you can debate if these people are actually getting screwed or not but they think they are and the BNP is feeding off of that. Amazing what bellying up to the bar lending a sympathetic ear can do.
posted by MikeMc at 9:21 AM on August 3, 2010


Just to add a bit of evidence to vbfg's link.

Was at a pro-Palestine thing a few weeks ago. The usual thing. Lots of talk about peace, wacky not very good bands. That sort of thing.

The EDL decided that they'd parade around the event waving Israeli flags. They don't care about Israel. They were just looking for trouble. Luckily, they didn't get it.

This is the sort of thing that they do. They're looking for trouble, and they're looking for a fight. I'm hoping that they don't get that fight in Bradford.
posted by seanyboy at 9:21 AM on August 3, 2010


"So I ask, what can be done to help stem the rising tide of the far right in the UK? "

You've gotta step up, in your own community, and say not here please. The line is holding rather well down here in East London.

Of course nobody should be complacent; I know they're conducting lots of organisational activity in private homes in the East End. Small groups, half dozen or so at a time. We had the KKK where I grew up, and I recognise the recruiting tactics; recruit the poor and the poorly educated, convince them their plight is NOT THEIR FAULT. Some of the literature they've pushed through our mail slot is amazingly distasteful.
posted by Mutant at 9:25 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone in Bradford has everything crossed that this won't be the tactic for the planned EDL march in August. We are beyond fscked as it is, we can do without another summer of riots.

In Bolton we got letters sent out through schools asking us to let kids follow on twitter instead of going into town. UAF was cordoned off straight away. Then the EDL turned up several hours late and proceeded to behave annoyingly well (after the Manchester PR disaster) while my side had a few arrests before they even showed up. Result was much better than Manchester but local opinion of bussed in anti-EDL protesters wasn't fabulous.

Still, it was no Oldham and thank goodness for that. Hopefully their attempts to smugly behave well will continue, I prefer it to when they try to start a fight. The worst thing they did in Bolton was seig heil and wave a couple of swastika flags about, the usual.
posted by shinybaum at 9:26 AM on August 3, 2010


...the conundrum of extremism - in order to move into the mainstream, you need to appeal to ever-increasing numbers of people who may have a problem with one or more positions you take.

The assumption there is that peoples' "positions" are independent and unchanging. But a movement doesn't just grow by recruiting people who already agree with it: it grows by persuading people to adopt its positions.

Some describe the restricted spectrum of socially acceptable opinions as the "Overton Window". But this isn't set in stone, it changes. It's possible to shift the window by bringing new ideas into it, or restating old ideas in new language.

If the BNP becomes more mainstream, its spokesmen popping up on TV, its opinions propagated online and in the media, the Overton window is likely to move in its direction, and existing BNP core beliefs to become more mainstream.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:35 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Saidie Graham the supposed leaker of the BNP membership list, Speaks out against the leadership of the BNP

(Apols for DM link!) She makes an interesting and thoughtful case against the party leadership:

"The problem is the leadership or lack of it, there is no party structure, no shadow cabinet, regional, national organisation and accountability are extremely poor, basically the Party is not moving and growing as it should be now. It should be every true nationalist’s role, both within and outside of the Party, to do all that they can to remove Griffin from the position as Chairman. This is the only way to secure the Party’s future, so that a pro-democratic and anti-corrupt structure can be formed in his place...I truly believe that there has never been a political leader in this country so hated by his own people..."
posted by marienbad at 9:36 AM on August 3, 2010


Contrasting the BNP with the Green's seems fairly pointless and desperate to me.

It seems obvious that if you are a single issue party racism is where the easy votes are. There's a lot of quietly racist people out there and it being a rather unsavory political ideology these days there aren't many parties pushing it. Everyone is all over environmentalism though, your support base is immediately fractured by the mainstream parties.

Yes. The BNP probably should have more seats. I don't see that as a bad thing. I do see the racism that inspires people to vote for them as a bad thing, but fighting the BNP doesn't solve that.
posted by public at 9:55 AM on August 3, 2010


The EDL need watching. While I'm usually the first to get annoyed when people conflate racism with anti-religious sentiment that's precisely the card the EDL are playing to try to hide their racism. They spout a lot of anti-Muslim stuff and try to suggest that their concerns are "cultural" but as usual with these twats they're just not smart enough to hide their racism. If it wasn't so dangerous it would be funny to see how often and how easily they forget that line, and let the racism that's really behind it show through.

That Guardian expose of the EDL made it pretty damned obvious just who those blackshirted bastards are. I don't see too many of their members that fall into the "dupes" category.

Yeah, this takes me back. I'm afraid some of you youngsters are going to have to do this shit over again.
posted by Decani at 10:00 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's ok Decani, we are the ones with the armed autonomous quadrocopters. The EDL don't stand a chance.
posted by public at 10:14 AM on August 3, 2010


I'm not sure what's happening in the world that things like the BNP are able to find support and even some degree of growth

This is easy. It's lots of factors.

- The hard right found its voice online. I've seen countless blogs that don't describe themselves as BNP but basically peddle similar talking points.

- Labour disenfranchised lots of voters - particularly in traditionally Labour areas of the northwest. If you don't want to vote Lib Dem or Conservative, the BNP is one place to go.

- Labour underplayed a hot button issue in the face of higher than historical levels of immigration. Whether you think that is a big deal is a matter of taste, but it became a focal point of the election.

- Margaret Thatcher's government sold a lot of council housing stock. It's in short supply, sufficiently so in some places to feed the lie that immigrants get bumped up the queue.

- London got attacked. Twice*. Glasgow got attacked. By brown people. Who were brought up here. In addition, there have been several race-related flashpoints and telegenic incidents of home-grown muslim extremists shouting down "our boys". That narrow selection of events fits a classic BNP narrative.

- Lots of workers from Eastern Europe genuinely did come over and take a bunch of jobs. Lots left in 2008 when the £ crashed, but while lots of people celebrated a plethora of skilled, cheap tradesman and cheery, hard working adults, some sections of society didn't.

- There has been an ongoing evolution of a me-first generation. It's not restricted to potential BNP voters, of course. But as the economy tanked, the number of people demanding that public services serve people like them (the old, the wealthy, the poor, the young, tax payers, the unemployed etc etc) rose. The BNP has the luxury of being able to claim it can solve lots of problems in the firm knowledge its dodgy economics will not get a chance to be tested any time soon.

*three times if you include the failed bomb outside Tiger Tiger in London. Security services have also muttered darkly about foiling several other plots
posted by MuffinMan at 10:46 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what's happening in the world that things like the BNP are able to find support and even some degree of growth.

Really? Economic turmoil of course. That's all this is. When economic conditions worse, Right and Left leaning fringe groups gain support and attention. When those same conditions improve, their fortunes wane.
posted by spaltavian at 12:04 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Searchlight on the appeal of the BNP. And an interesting comparison with the NF.

'These factors are not present today. David Cameron is desperate to divest the Conservative Party of its right-wing image but is widely disliked by the type of working-class Tories who flocked to Thatcher in 1979. The left is considerably weaker than in the past and less involved in the lives of working-class communities. The vacuum, on the left and the right, is now being occupied by the BNP.'

New Labour's shift to 'middle England' at the expense of the working class vote has opened up something of a gap which the far right has moved into. Electoral turnout tends to be much lower in Labour heartland seats compared to the country as a whole, and this is one reason why.
posted by plep at 12:36 PM on August 3, 2010


And that won't happen for a long time, because no PR system is on the table for the foreseeable future. AV isn't PR, and it won't result in that many more small-party MPs in Westminster (excluding the Lib Dems from that category, because in vote share they aren't a small party).

IMHO the UK needs to elect the House of Lords over the entire country (or at least break it up into England, Scotland and Wales) with PR using AV.
posted by Talez at 5:41 PM on August 3, 2010


The BNP vote has, largely stagnated. They, at least their leader, expected that they would breakthrough into the mainstream at this election. They didn't and there is no sign that they ever will.

The party is even more chaotic than usual - and that is from a low base line indeed. On the day of the election, their webmaster took their website down and replaced it with an angry rant that included very serious allegations about finances etc.

Griffin came out badly, having elbowed aside Richard Barnbroke as candidate for the Barking seat, and then being humiliated at the poll. Elsewhere they bombed.

Since then there has been a revolt in the party membership. Griffin was forced to announce that he will step down in 2013, but he is being challenged for the leadership. He's trying to put this off by a canmpaign that included booting out a large section of the party activists, conducting smear campaigns, on hate blogs as well as a leaflet delivery campaign where the ex-webmaster lives.

Two stooge candidates are also standing.

The result is that many members have also decided to leave, and a significant amount are only staying in for the present to support Eddy Butler's challenge to Griffin's leadership.

One aspect of the leadership challenge, is over party finances including their dealings with Jim dowson, who effectively, owns the party.

To be honest, this does look like the last days of the party.

UKIP didn't have a good election. Their new leader, Lord Pearson, angered activists by openly canvassing for Tory candidates and appeared completely out of his depth. In one major interview, he admitted that he hadn't read the party's 16 page manifesto, and to the laughter of the presenters said, "I only skimmed through it".

The party strategy was to steal votes from the BNP. To this end they introduced a wide range of policies, although none had any depth, but the flagship one was the banning of the burqa. AQnother one was climate change denial. Some in the party were upset about this strategy, feeling that they should aim for broader support.

The election was a disaster for UKIP. They remain a single issue pressure group. Since then they have moved 'Lord' Monkton, a highly eccentric climate change denier as deputy leader. It is considered likely that there will be a lot of discontent at the party conference. However, they do have one asset, Nigel Farage.

I don't like talking about both parties together as there are real differences, but they have one interesting similarity. They both campaign heavily against the EU, but their MEPs do seem to really, really enjoy their time in Brussels. Their membership, having heard all about the gravy train, are envious that their leaders are living in a guilded cage, whilst the activists trudge around in the rain, trying to deliver leaflets.

I think UKIP will survive, at least while Farage is there, he basically is the party, most of the rest are, well, undistinguished. They do have a core message that has support, although almost entirely amongst the elderly.

The BNP appear to be devouring themselves. They have a core vote - and only 30% - 50% are dyed in the wool racists, but have not broadened their support. Their activists are more old school and very pissed off. Griffin is the face of the party, but is a liability. The other would be leaders all have the same skeletons in the cupboards.
posted by quarsan at 11:38 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


« Older “Several of you told me that I was “going to die” ...  |  Face your pockets.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments