Report studies 'BNP appeal'

A TEAM of academics from Essex University have compiled a report which aims to shed light on the appeal of the far-right British National Party for some voters.

A TEAM of academics from Essex University have compiled a report which aims to shed light on the appeal of the far-right British National Party for some voters.

The BNP, which is led by Nick Griffin, has been the most successful of its kind at the ballot box in Britain.

With plans to put as many as 600 candidates up for seats in local elections next month , the BNP is hoping to increase its standing from the 20 councillors it has nationally.

Published by a research consortium at the human rights centre of the Wivenhoe-based university, the report, “The BNP - the roots of its appeal”, warns that it is no longer “safe” to regard the party as a far-right marginal presence due to people's disillusionment with the mainstream political parties.


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It states: “Support for the far right does not come from places where the poorest and most deprived people in British society live. It seems that the BNP draws it support from areas with skilled or semi-skilled workers.

“There is no simple relationship between far-right support and racially mixed areas. The BNP do well largely in wards where white people live rather than where there are people from ethnic minorities. Nor does it do well in places with high numbers of asylum seekers.”

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There have yet to be any candidates to stand for the BNP in local elections in north Essex although the party did poll nearly 17% of the votes in Barking during last year's General Election.

“Our focus group evidence suggested that those who had voted for the BNP had tried different alternatives, such as switching between the three main parties and felt that these mainstream parties had failed them.

“A vote for the BNP was often seen as a wake-up call. Participants in the groups distrust the major parties, especially on immigration where people said they failed to tell the truth and 'fudged' the figures”, it states.

The report also calls on councils to strengthen community relations to help destroy “myths” about race policies which it claims the BNP can exploit.

But a spokesman for the BNP said: “For a report which should also be objective there are a surprising number of intemperate, subjective opinions, more suitable for the gutter press.

“The authors form a group called democratic audit yet they take every opportunity to sneer at the BNP's democratic activities and mock our supporters.”

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