Over at Comment is Free, Daniel Davies has an interesting piece on why the BNP are unlikely to win a seat at the European elections in the North-West.

Daniel’s argument is that, while the BNP got 13% in the council wards they contested at the 2008 local elections, this is unlikely to reflect their support across the country, since they will have put up candidates in the seats where their potential support was highest. It is only because their weaker areas had no BNP candidate to include in the average that the figure appears so high.

Daniel is almost certainly right on this front, albeit, probably that that right. My impression is that fringe parties don’t necessarily target the wards they contest that well, it’s often just the wards where they happen to have a keen activist willing to stand. Notwithstanding that, the swathes of rural Cumbria and Lancashire where there weren’t BNP candidates are not going to be as fertile territory as the white working class urban areas they did fight. The problem comes with trying to translate that into the level of support that the BNP will get at the European elections. Daniel looks at the share of the vote in each district that had elections in 2008, sees there are only Burnley, Bury and Tameside where they got over 7.5%, and concludes that even with their name on the ballot paper in every ward, there is no way they will match that support in all the other districts.

On the surface that sounds like pretty sound logic and a good reason to think that the BNP will only get around 3% or 4%. The problem is that if we go back to the 2004 European elections, the BNP received 6.4% of the vote in the North-West. If we look at the local elections in the North West for 2003, they in no way foreshadowed that.

Back in 2003, which had much wider local elections than 2008, the BNP only got over 6.4% in local elections in 4 districts: Burnley, Tameside, Pendle and Ribble Valley (which is, it’s worth noting, just the sort of nice rural Tory area we are assuming they can’t do well in). They barely showed their face elsewhere, and didn’t put a single candidate up in Cumbria. The point is, if we had done the same thing then as Daniel is doing now, we would have said their was no way they would get as high as 6.4%. The only thing we can conclude by comparing the BNP’s local election results in the North-West in 2008 with those of 2004, is they appear to be a lot more organised now.

How well will they do then, what can we look at that will give us a reliable guide? Well, the sad truth is not much. BNP support in opinion polls is difficult to measure because people are reluctant to admit to voting for racist or extremist parties. We can see some evidence of this by comparing telephone polls, where people give their answers to a live interviewer, and online polls, where they type them into a website. Back in 2006 after Margaret Hodge made some comments about how much support she was seeing for the BNP on the doorstep their support went up to 7% in YouGov polls, but ICM and Populus showed far smaller increases in their support, only putting them up to 3%. I suspect there is even some social acceptability bias in online polls, so even that might not necessarily give us a good guide to the level of support they’ll actually get (and that’s before we get to the issue of whether to prompt or not minor parties, which is a whole extra can of worms).


50 Responses to “Whistling past the graveyard”

  1. All countries have a group which supports far right wing parties; one notes the National Front and obviously Mosley in the 1930s. One sees, of course the KKK in America. They are not all equally right wing but they share a common position namely those on the bottom of the economic pile always look for someone to blame. And the first point of call for the least educated in these positions is that of race.

    It would be great if all such discussions noted that, excluding Mexico, according to the OECD the UK has more of its nationals overseas (3.2 million) than anyone else taking other country’s jobs.

  2. Anthony,

    The YouGov page seems to have been down all day, it’s not snow on the lines is it. I didn’t know network rail now ran the internet….

    Peter.

  3. I am not a member of, nor an apologist for, the BNP, but I do believe in fairness. They are always condemned out of hand so I thought I’d find out for myself. The following is an extract from their website, under the section Policy-Immigration:

    “On current demographic trends, we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years.
    To ensure that this does not happen, and that the British people retain their homeland and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.”

    While that is certainly a stronger line than that taken by other parties, it doesn’t strike me as racist. For one thing, there is no distinction made between white and non-white immigrants. They see to be proud of being British, but if that is racist, then most people in the world are racist, because most people are proud of their own heritage.

    On the polling side of things, I have a feeling that they might do better than expected in the European elections, and may well gain a seat or two. The “BJFBW” row seems to show that the mood may be changing in their favour. They were not far off gaining a seat in the Midlands last time round.

  4. The BNP are racist because they discriminate on the grounds of the colour of someone’s skin.

    A white Irish immigrant, first generation, can join the BNP, but the fourth or fifth generation Black or Asian British person can’t.

    While I can’t understand anyone joining the BNP, the fact that they prevent British people who have a different skin colour from becoming members is racist, not nationalist.

  5. Peter Cranie,

    That is just the sort of thing that gets put about. Like Pete B, I am neither a member of, nor an apologist for the BNP, but I too believe in fairness. The BNP have had ethnic minority candidates in local elections. You may believe they were tokens, and they possibly were, but it does not square with your assertion that such people are not allowed to join the BNP.

    I would be interested to see a link to the BNPs website showing where they state that no ethnic minority can join the party. Until I see such a link I will continue to believe that you simply read this in the Mirror, Independent, or an organ of similar quality.

    On the insistence of people to say the BNP are right-wing – this is lie peddled by the BBC, and I am astonished that so many people are taken in by it. In what sense is an authoritarian, trade-unionist, collectivist party that believes in mass-nationalisation and is anti-free market, and steals all its votes from Labour, a right wing party?

    As for Oswald Mosely, he was a high-flying member of the Labour party in the late 20s and early 30s, a member of Ramsay MacDonald’s government. In what sense was he right wing?

    The BNP are an authoritarian, left-wing party – a nasty outfit. I can think of several reasons why I would never vote for them, but thinking that they are racist is not one of them, because I really don’t think they are. Of course I am, as always, open to correction.

  6. Oh yes, I see what you mean. I’ve just read their constitution. My comments on their electoral prospects still stand however. Not many voters will read the constitution, and those that do may or may not be deterred.

    (puts on Mike “The Oracle” Richardson hat)
    I predict that in the European POLLS, the BNP will gain two MEPs.
    (takes off hat)

  7. “Not many voters will read the constitution”

    Not many BNP voters can read….

    Peter.

  8. good points Anthony but I’d take issue with two things

    The only thing we can conclude by comparing the BNP’s local election results in the North-West in 2008 with those of 2004, is they appear to be a lot more organised now

    Do they? They had a massive schism in 2007, plus their most active NorthWest organiser (Smith) quit to lead the England First Party. The quality of the candidates they’ve been putting up has been horrendous since 2004 (Luke Smith in Burnley being only the most tragic case). I think they’ve just simply been bullying party members into standing and increasing the total number of wards contested without seeing any benefit in terms of percentage support. This sort of totally mindless flooding the ballot paper isn’t going to get votes out in May, and the resignations around the time of the membership list leak are going to put them back too.

    And second, they were polling 4% nationwide in 2004 per YouGov and are now polling 2%. They’re going backwards as far as I can see; not least as a result of the fact that some parts of the Labour Party at least have got their act together with regard to campaigning against them after the 2004 shock.

  9. I’ve got a bad feeling that the BNP are going to just eke out a seat somewhere or other, especially with the recession and the protests that are taking place, which certainly suit their agenda, and obviously if they are going to win a seat the North West is one of their best hopes, although Yorkshire and the Humber could be another area they do well in.

    I would tend to agree that Daniel Davies’ remarks are not all that helpful for the reasons mentioned, (which is that they polled 6.4% without any indication beforehand that they might reach that kind of level).

    Predictions on how well the BNP are going to do in Euro-elections have been spectacularly bad in recent times. I remember reading newspaper articles which were predicting a possible strong BNP performance in 1999, but in fact they had a truly dreadful result, polling less than 100 votes in a lot of the Westminster constituencies (which was the way in which the results were announced on that occasion).

  10. As to the BNP’s prospects – I think it is possible that they might just gain an MEP – I wouldn’t say two, but we could be surprised. I will not stick my neck out so far as to say where, but I think that some unhappy Lab voters will turn to them. Also the fact that local elections are on the same day will help them significantly.

    I have a post about opinion polls which gives the BNP’s prospects a passing mention. If you click on my name at the head of this post, you should find the link to my blog.

  11. Hi Daniel –

    I was actually trying to make a narrower point writing about organisation – if we concluded that places where they couldn’t scrape together a single candidate at the locals were a sign that they had no organisation at all on the ground there, then on that basis they now appear to be organised in more districts.

    I’m never tried to look into their schisms and splits (reading comments on stormfront feels so unclean!) so you may well be right about it being illusionary and their organisation actually being less healthy these days, though their performance in local by-elections of late suggests they are effective in at least some areas (granted, that’s an impression from London, where they would have to outdo their assembly performance by a significant amount to stand a chance. It doesn’t follow they aren’t a total basketcase elsewhere.)

    If the polling figures you quote are right, that does suggest a fall (I’m slightly wary of any polling figures about the BNP – are changes due to changing support, or changing perceptions of how social acceptable it is to admit it? – but all things being equal, going down is a bad sign for a party.), but I’m not certain they are right.

    YouGov certainly have them between 2% and 3% now, but I can’t find any pre-euro election figures from 2004 on the website (I’m at home, so I can’t badger Peter Kellner for the actual figures). Looking at YouGov’s overall trends for the period, others are in total only at 6% to 7% in early 2004. It seems unlikely (albeit not impossible) to me that over half of that is BNP – and that’s when we should be comparing, not with the much higher “others” figures a few months later when it has been boosted by the publicity from local elections. (If the BNP were at 4% in the first few months of 2004 then apologies, you would be quite right!)

  12. I turned up this via the google cache which had them on 4% with likely voters in June 2004; total others there was 13% so there is a big difference between general levels of support and euro elections. I think I’m being too optimistic in saying 2-3% though, as they were at 4% in the euro-election-specific Telegraph poll you posted recently (5% specifically in “North”).

  13. I normally enjoy Cllr Peter’s informed comments, despite being a Tory and a Unionist. I do think he’s let himself down with the comment that ‘Not many BNP voters can read….’
    What ever happened to freedom of speech? Love them or hate them – they have the right to be heard, rather than sneered at.

  14. Oh – sorry, I was thinking about general election polls . Yep, they were at 4% in the June 2004 Euro poll, and 4% in the recent one.

    That said, I’m not entirely certain they are comparable. The recent Telegraph poll included all the minor parties in the main question prompt (normal YouGov polls only include the main ones) – this tends to artifically boost fringe parties. I’m not certain the same was the case with that 2004 poll – if that is the case the 4% now would actually imply less support than the 4% then, though countering that, the other poll was late in the campaign which might aid the visibility of minor parties.

  15. SDCDUBAI,

    The central Philosophy of the BNP is that we have some innate or cultural superiority to others and that it is under threat and most be defended even up to an including the imposition of restrictions on others..

    As a Scot, whether it be “We awe Jock Tamsons Bairn’s” or ” A Man’s a Man for awe that”, I adhere to the view that their is a strength and virtue to common humanity and that regardless of race, creed or orientation what we all share vastly out weighs the differences between us.

    The SNP embraces civic nationalism where what we share are universal values, like free speech and freedom to each live or lives as we wish. A democracy where the means and the ends are one and the same. We welcome anyone that wants to preserve and build that.

    Overwhelmingly those who have come from other countries to Scotland have supported and embraced that and the tiny minority that haven’t aren’t a threat to security or culture.

    We see no reason why a Muslim that agrees with that can’t come here and live work and bring up his family in a country that is happy for him to practice is faith as he likes, able to adopt as much or as little of our culture as they choose.

    There are 5 million people in Scotland and anything up to another 25 million with Scottish connections of some sort world wide.

    Those Scots abroad have gone to every corner of the world and have been accepted in different societies because they see the people in those countries as just like us.

    It is when you treat people coming to your country with suspicion or distrust or when you go abroad and feel that those there are inferior because they are different, that you create the problems.

    The more open and welcoming you are to other countries and their cultures they more accepting they will be of yours.

    I see no need for a “Cricket Test” because what matters isn’t who someone cheers for but that they are free to cheer who they want without fear of reprisals or feeling that they are under pressure to do what others think they should.

    I’d rather the Scot for abroad beside me shouted for his old country than he shouted for mine because he was scared not to.

    There is a joke about the two people who meet on the road and one asks the other;

    “What’s the next town Like?”, the other guy answers;

    ” What was the last town like”, to which the answer is;

    ” It was terrible no one was friendly and I couldn’t stand it”. So the reply is;

    ” Oh you’ll find the next town just like that too”.

    We welcome everyone who comes here openly and hope that they find a country and a culture that they can become part of and accept that regardless of how much or little they integrate that it’s their free choice and that there is nothing wrong with that.

    The BNP don’t say much about the SNP but it’s mostly negative seeing us a danger to Scotland’s traditions and culture who will make the Scots in to a mongrel race.

    We don’t even accept that there is such a thing as a mongrel race and even if there was it wouldn’t bother us.

    From their narrow perspective based on trying to create a myth about their superiority and fearful of change or contamination the values we promote and the policies we pursue are dangerous.

    From our perspective their views are backward looking divisive and bigoted and they should be opposed by argument not force, but more that that pitied.

    So like it or not I do sneer at people would pick on others to preserve a false sense of superiority, who would deny others freedoms because they feel they are entitled to them and others not or who would impose their will on people who are different and force them to adopt a common set of values.

    There will always be small minorities who want to change the system to impose their views on us all and we are stuck with them.

    Where as the BNP point to Muslims who want Sharia law as a threat, we see danger in those who want to impose laws on the majority whether they be islamist’s or the BNP.

    They both believe that there particular brand or philosophy should dominate and that those who don’t adhere to it should be made too.

    We believe that we all share a common humanity that transcends our differences and that those who don’t agree with that are free to do so without persecution or coercion to change their views.

    The BNP do have a right to be heard but they can still be sneered at in the same way that people who believe the world is flat shouldn’t be silenced but can still be laughed at….

    For all the polish of the modern BNP what still shines through is their arrogance, conceit and pomposity.

    Peter.

  16. I should point out that, once Northern Ireland is excluded, the most strongly correlated factor with BNP membership per capita is the % of GVA accounted for by agriculture. Nice rural Tory areas? Possibly not so much. And that was based on data for EP regions.

  17. Alex,

    That was about the worst use of ‘statistics’ I’ve ever seen employed to back up an assertion!

    It’s as mad as saying 4% of the population burnt their fingers on their toast this morning so that makes them the 4% of BNP voters ‘cos the numbers match?!

    I hope you were kidding.

  18. A couple of factors to keep in mind. In comparison to last time the numbe rof Euro seats to be elected has droped by 1. In the case of the NW from 10 to 9 MEPs. The effect is to increrase the % of votes needed to get elected to nearly 10% (100/9+1) – wasted smaller Party votes.

    Secondly the last European Election stood alone. This depressed the turnout. This time they co-incide with County Council, new Unitary and many Metropolitian Council Elections. This is likely to increase the turnout of the more traditional Party voters as those Parties battle to win/hold marginal seats on local authorities.

    None of the this is meant to lull people into any sense of complacency over the BNPs chances of winning a seat. I simply want to inject some extra objective analysis into the discussions.

  19. Yes, Alex, that was sucky. Do you have any evidence at all for the rural vote going to the BNP? My impression is that the BNP is strongest in rundown industrial towns. Rural Britain seems more Tory than anything.

    @ Peter Cairns – that was a bit of speech there. Sounds like you’ve given it many times before.

  20. Liam – the second half of that isn’t true. In 2004 the local election date was moved to co-incide with the European elections in the same way as this year. Obviously, since it’s on a four year cycle and the Euro-elections are on a 5 year cycle it was different elections – this time it is largely county elections, in 2004 it was Metropolitan boroughs, Welsh unitaries and some districts – mostly those that elect by thirds.

    It’s hard to say what difference the county elections on the same day will make, since we don’t actually know what turnout for country elections is likely to be, the last time elections to county councils were held without there being a general election on the same day is way back in 1993, when turnout in general tended to be higher than it is these days.

    A more relevant difference on the turnout front is that in 2004 the European elections in the North-West (and, if I recall correctly, Yorkshire & Humberside and the North-East) were all-postal trials. This time it will go back to being a normal election with polling stations.

  21. I’ve been looking at the past European electoral results for minor parties and I would guestimate that such a party needs about 5-6% of national support or so to get a seat somewhere in the UK. On that basis 3-4% is quite a bit short – it might not sound a lot, but 1-2% is a really quite considerable change in support for such a party.

    However, things do get a bit fiddly with national polls when we consider such small parties. I can’t remember, is there such a thing as regional polling for euro elections?

  22. Actually, what my data shows is that essentially nothing in the way of a socioeconomic indicator is at all predictive of BNP membership. This supports the Crazification Factor/Authoritarians/Bunch of Wankers theory – that there is a small percentage of any population who are set up like that, they are evenly distributed, and it’s a matter of pure chance what their nonspecific extremism gloms onto.

    But the strongest of a group of very weak correlations is, in fact, agriculture as a percentage of the economy.

    BTW, a lot of BNP areas are those small market towns-gone-industrial-gone-postindustrial you get in West Yorkshire and East Lancashire. Colne. Keighley. Burnley. Places like that.

  23. Interesting that the Greens won 2 seats in 2004 with a national share of 6.3%, while the BNP failed to win any with 4.9%.

  24. ‘Andy Stidwill

    Interesting that the Greens won 2 seats in 2004 with a national share of 6.3%, while the BNP failed to win any with 4.9%.’

    That’s called the problem of getting your vote out where it matters, not BNP / National Front paranoia. It’s equally fair / unfair to all parties.

  25. None of the this is meant to lull people into any sense of complacency over the BNPs chances of winning a seat. I simply want to inject some extra objective analysis into the discussions.

  26. My point wasn’t that the BNP somehow deserved to win a seat. Actually it was to point out that it would be easy for the Greens to drop to zero seats, and also that the BNP could win a seat with only a small increase in their share, (since if they win 6% of the vote that would probably give them a seat somewhere or other).

  27. James,

    No i’ve never made it before but it is what i believe. If i have a weakness it’s that i can’t let it pass if i think someone is misrepresenting the SNP.

    One consequence of that is that the BNP is a bit of a red rag issue as from time to time some people equate the BNP and SNP as in some way similar, a sort of confusion between National socialists and nationalists who are socialists. I like many in the SNP are left of centre with regards to social policy.

    So if it seems a bit over the top it’s because it matters to me to point out just how unlike the BNP we are.

    Peter.

  28. If ever the BNP rise to the sort of popularity in the UK like the National Front have in France – it will be the comments by left wingers who drive people in that direction because they have’nt got a voice in this country to express their feelings.

    Just the ridiculous rantings in the media recently about comments by the Royal Family and now Carol Thatcher about what someone can say is a terrible indictment of the state of this country after 11.5 years of total control on independent thinking !

  29. Andy Stidwell – interesting point. Yes, things can change very quickly for minority parties like the BNP because the difference between zero representatives and one/two/three representatives may be a matter of only one/two/three percent of the vote.

    In order to be meaningful though they need to keep increasing their vote share. I suppose the recession could produce more support for the BNP, especially as Prime Minister Mandelson seems to have borrowed Gordon’s tin ear. We’ll see.

  30. The rule of thumb for STV is;

    100/(C+1),

    Where C is the number of candidates to be elected.
    Thus if it is a six member constituency the threshold to get 1 elected is 14% of the vote. ( 100/ 6+1=14.28).

    In the Uk there are 12 regions with between 3 and 10 seats, which makes the threshold anything from 9% to 25%. For a small party to win a seat it needs to be strongest in the big regions. In this respect the three largest regions in the UK are all in England;

    South East (10), North West (9) and London (9). The two current Green MEPs are one each from the South east and London. I don’t see the BNP getting someone in London because of it’s diversity with about 40% of the population not natural BNP supporters.

    Where they seem to be strongest in regions with 6 seats where they need to get almost a 50% higher share of the vote that one of the big constituencies to get a seat.

    Where I think we might see a change is with the Tory UKIP vote where the BNP might well pick up from either, most likely the UKIP to boost Tory seats.

    Be absolutely clear I am not accusing either UKIP or the Tories of being anything like the BNP, but if people have an issue with immigration in the recession and turn to the BNP blaming Europe, then they are more likely to be people who have an issue with Europe in general, and that isn’t likely to be LibDems.

    Peter.

  31. Mike,

    I read the situation in almost exactly the opposite way to you. I think it shows how far our country has progressed that we won’t tolerate racism even when it’s uttered by ex-prime-minister’s children or members of the Royal family. That’s partly why support for racist parties is lower n our country.

  32. What hasn’t been mentioned (and I apologise if it has and I have missed it) is the issue of turnout. A minority party with engaged supporters can do disproportionately well when turnout is low. My guess is that June 4th (if it does does coincide with a GE) will see something like a 35% turnout. If all of the 6% for the BNP turnout it will equate to something like 18% of the actual vote – more than enough in some regions.

    One of my roles as a Labour activist will be to encourage people to vote.

  33. Steve Wheeler – some sections of the media “won’t tolerate racism”. I’m not convinced that’s at all true of society-at-large. Golliwogs are still produced and sold in some shops – I saw some on sale just last year.

  34. “…because they have’nt got a voice in this country to express their feelings.”

    Yes Mike-that’s it in a nutshell.
    It’s the reason anyone votes-to try & get their problems & worries removed.

    Telling people who are concerned about the effect on their lives & communities, of a rapid influx of immigrants , that they are being “racist” is arrogant & pointless.
    It both fails to address their problems, and dismisses them as somehow unreasonable & unacceptable.

    Any Political Party which steps forward into such a vaccuum will obviously get votes.

    I really thought we had got rid of the use of the word “racist” as a weapon of Political Correctness, and Orwellian Ungood Newspeak.

    Not at the BBC it seems, who are tying themselves in so many PC knots, whilst insisting on the virtues of “edgy” comedy in the form of gratuitous insults from J Brand & J Ross, that they have become a joke.

  35. I’m not sure the BNP actually want to be elected. Do they want to copy UKIP who fell apart once they actually had Euro MP’s,
    BNP councillors haven’t exactly been models.
    The BNP are having much more success with the anti-foreigner strikes especially when ‘socialists’ are saying no no it’s not racist to be anti foreigners.

  36. I’m not sure about that – I think they’d certainly like Nick Griffin to be elected.

    Of course we wouldn’t be talking about this unpleasant subject if first-past-the-post had been retained for Euro-elections, where the chance of the BNP winning any seats would be absolutely zero. The problem is a lot of people wanted to give a chance for left-wing parties like the Greens to be elected but of course doing so also enables the far-right to have an opportunity as well.

  37. Andy,

    “Of course we wouldn’t be talking about this unpleasant subject if first-past-the-post had been retained for Euro-elections, where the chance of the BNP winning any seats would be absolutely zero.”

    and if we abolished all elections no one we didn’t like could ever be elected.

    Peter.

  38. I don’t understand Peter’s last comment. Supporting first-past-the-post and abolishing all elections have nothing in common with each other. In fact both main parties in the UK support first-past-the-post and they don’t advocate abolishing all elections.

    I think PR which relies on a list system is pretty undemocratic. When Labour MEP for the East Midlands Phillip Whitehead died recently his replacement was selected with zero consulation of the electorate. What could be more undemocratic than that.

  39. ANDY-I think you have indeed misunderstood Peter.

    His remark was a response to your preference for a particular voting system because it would ensure that BNP would never win a seat.

    I think Peter feels that all legal Political Parties should have a chance of representing their supporters -and so do I.

  40. Andy,

    There are issues with the list system in it’s current form with Party ranking.

    The SNP supports open list STV where all the candidates are on one list rather than ranked by party. We have never been that happy with the two types FPTP/regional list system adopted for holyrood.

    Under the current system for the Scottish parliament someone is replaced by the next person on that parties list and the party ranks it’s own candidates.

    The SNP rank their candidates by OMOV, while labour do it be a central committee.

    Open list means not only that the ranking is done on the basis of the votes cast but that candidates from the same party are effectively competing against each other so that the public get to effectively rank within party.

    No system is ideal but replacing one person who can’t continue with the next person who would have got elected rather than having a by-election does have some merit in that it means that when we do have an election the public get to weigh up all the candidates on offer for all the places not just one place.

    Having said that in Scottish councils we do have a by election if a ward member can’t continue even though the wards are of three or four members.

    As Colin says there is no perfect system but to rule out PR because it allows small parties to get a foot hold and some of them may be a bit unsavoury doesn’t in itself undermine the system.

    Certainly I think a single chamber PR parliament works and I’d rather put up with Tommy Sheridan than pay for the House of Lords to keep check on a FPTP parliament that can have a party with a minority of the vote wielding close to total power.

    Peter.

  41. We still have a fair number of people claiming that the BNP are a right wing party. We even had somebody (I think it was Peter!) claiming that they would be most likely to take votes off the Conservatives or UKIP! Can anyone provide anything to back up either of these absurd claims? (Articles from the Guardian, or the Independent which say the BNP is right wing without any back up do not count)

  42. Neil – I don’t have a list of banned topics of conversation on here, but if I did, that would be on it. It always leads to a silly partisan slanging match of “the BNP are more like you”, “No, the BNP are more like you”.

    Don’t go there.

  43. Well said Anthony, apart from anything else my party share two initials with them so we’d be right in the firing line.

    Peter.

  44. I am quite happy not to go there. It was not me that started to go there, I was simply responding to the people who insisted on claiming that the BNP were right wing when they plainly are not. It was them who “went there”, not me.

    If you want a discussion on this topic, click on my name above.

  45. Neil,

    I must have a stronger constitution than Anthony (years of pies and Irn Bru) because I decided to have a look at BNP Scotland.

    Cherry picking some of there xenophobic economic policies that are really about their sad fixation with keeping Britain ethnically pure to claim that they are therefore not right wing as they aren’t for laze faire economics stretches credibility.

    Page after page, article after article, this is dreadful twisted stuff.

    Peter.

  46. Did anyone on this site watch the Sky documentary called BNP Wives.( with an advert for the Daily Mail in the middle). . Usual cliches , there were protests about mosques and thieving Jamaicans and people don’t like politicians.But they came across as reactionaries rather than revolutionaries. Of course Hitler was just another raver until German big business backed him up ( all that steel needed for tanks).

  47. Many on this thread have expressed interest or opinions in the BNP’s socio-demographic base, and whether this suggests they are right wing or left wing or neither.

    I’m undertaking some research on BNP support currently, using the largest dataset of declared BNP supporters ever compiled. The evidence from this is that the BNP’s base is strongly working class, particularly older and less educated working class voters. They do better in the North, and particularly well in Labour dominated industrial areas. The evidence strongly suggests they are picking up disillusioned Labour voters in Labour strongholds.

    The BNP thus look much more like left-authoritarian rather than a right-wing party, a hunch strongly confirmed by even a casual reading of the literature on their websites. Free marketeers they ain’t.

  48. Rob,

    “Free marketeers they ain’t.”

    Little Englanders they are.

    In this respect I think that the core of there Ideology ( if they can even spell that let alone put a coherent one together) isn’t left or right but rather everything view through the prism of defending those elements of British identity that they see as under threat, be it sovereignty, culture, heritage or indeed race.

    As such it isn’t really a set of beliefs that can be seen as principally economic, but rather economic policies are chosen on the basis of there ability to protect those things they feel are threatened.

    Therefore their economic policies with regards to protectionism or nationalisation although largely associated with the left are adopted because they are deemed to protect Britain from perceived threats rather than as part of a right or left economic orthodoxy.

    Peter.

  49. Peter, what is your fixation with insisting that no BNP supporter knows how to spell. I’m sorry; I have come to respect you as a good debater, but this simply makes you look like a deeply sad loser.

    Rob Ford has a good point, BNP support is distinctly working-class and left wing. Peter, just because you are a left winger yourself, doesn’t mean you have to accept that you are like the BNP because they are left wing too. I can accept that the SNP are very different from the BNP, although both parties are leftist, and although I am at variance with both. If the BNP were right wing, I could accept that and still call myself a right winger without thinking of myself as being like the BNP. Why do you have a hang-up about this?

  50. Neil,

    What makes you think the working class are left wing, many of them often vote Tory.

    The working class like every class vote with the party that they think best serves them and that will vary depending on which issue is of greatest concern.

    For many right now the issues is jobs and with a lot of migrant labour in the UK that has become mixed up with immigration. That has made them more receptive to some of the policies of the BNP.

    Where as some here have tried to view the BNP in principally a left /right context I don’t see it as that , because that’s not what drives the BNP.

    In the same way it is simplistic to see class in Britain as AB=Tory/Right CD=Labour/Left.

    Be it people or parties, you can’t just put people in to boxes like that and if you do you get GiGo…. Garbage in Garbage out.

    Peter.