It’s not entirely a surprise that in times of economic despair and when the end of the world is nigh, “facism” in the UK is seen to be gaining more of a following.
The BNP is a growing force in Britain. In May’s local elections it averaged 13.9% in the 612 wards it contested across the country, while in London it polled 130,714 votes in the London assembly elections. Locally, its results have been even more startling. It averaged 41% in the wards it contested in Barking and Dagenham in 2006, and this year it averaged 28% in Rotherham and 27% in Stoke-on-Trent.
Next year the BNP could win the Stoke-on-Trent mayoral election and has a strong chance of gaining several MEPs in the European elections, particularly in the North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber constituencies. Victory here, with the respectability and finances the job carries, will transform the BNP into a major political force.
What worries me is that the BNP was gaining popularity when the economic climate was good, in the “boom” years. It’s real moment of progress is yet to come.
It’s easy to take council elections for granted. They generally tend to be ignored, or populated with bizarre candidates or even stranger voters. And because of the low turn-out, you’re bound to see minority parties do well. It is difficult to really gauge the success of this far-right party from such results, but suffice to say they are bringing in significant numbers of votes.
So, should we not be concerned that the BNP has successfully marketed itself to the middle classes? The party might traditionally focus on immigration issues (that were once frequently in the news), and would in fact shamelessly lie about them while they were at it in order to gain votes. But in times where the two main political parties are two sides of the same coin, the BNP has gained success with voters who, quite accurately, don’t feel there is democracy anymore—not in the true sense. Middle class voters didn’t feel their voices were being heard. Then things like this begin to happen. And much of the nation was appalled when the BNP pushed for free speech as if they stood for all that was righteous and democratic. Their veneer of “respectability” has clearly being infecting more affluent areas over the past few years. It is a dangerous situation to be in.
Given the current and very blatant failures of capitalism, one can only be concerned that the BNP will develop their newfound cross-class appeal. As I said at the start, it is no surprise that, when the shit hits the fan, people turn to the extreme parties, perhaps. Given that this will add weight to the years of lying and negative propaganda, (here are some truths) on capitalizing on hatred and racial tensions in the news, and even going on tours to try to justify racism, the rise of the far-right in the UK is, disturbingly, far from at its peak.
A little education is in order for much of the population in the UK.