ColourbarbiglogoThe last few days have seen a flurry of stories about the BNP:

  • In last week’s Spectator – in an article entitled The Scream of the Forgotten Voter – Peter Oborne went canvassing with the BNP in Dagenham and the local Labour MP told him that the extremist party could pick up six council seats.
  • Yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph revealed that Labour minister Margaret Hodge believes that eight-out-of-ten white voters in her Barking constituency are threatening to vote for what the newspaper called "the far-Right party".
  • Today, on BBC Online, there is news of a Joseph Rowntree report which finds that up to 25% of people would consider supporting the BNP.

Why is this happening?

Here are a few possibilities:

  • A leader in The Sunday Telegraph puts the BNP’s reported rise down to Labour’s failure to control immigration
    and a perception that Labour favours immigrants.  The leader concludes:
    "The problem is that these people have not been consulted about the
    vast social experiment in which they have been forced to participate.
    Nor can they discuss their anger without being labelled "racist". Until
    the Government – and the opposition parties – confront the issues
    raised by immigration, directly and honestly, the poison of the BNP
    will continue to spread."
  • With the Cameron-led Conservative Party turning down the volume on
    the immigration issue disgruntled voters have no champion amongst the
    establishment parties.
  • A shortage of affordable housing for young familiers in places like Dagenham and Barking.  [The Adam Smith Institute today publishes a report that recommends the redevelopment of 3% of farmland over ten years, in order to yield 950,000 new homes.]
  • Iain Duncan Smith, interviewed on the Today programme, pointed to a
    collapse in the quality of life in very poor areas.  Labour was
    spending money on these "difficult communities", he said, but the money
    wasn’t tackling the poisonous cocktail of drugs, crime, graffiti and a
    shortage of manual jobs.  There were no short-term fixes, he warned.
  • The BNP is carefully targeting these "difficult communities" and
    there’s also a new reasonableness from their spokespeople.  Dr Phil
    Edwards was interviewed by Jim Naughtie on Radio 4 at 7.50am this
    morning.  He and the BNP hold the same noxious policies but they have
    learnt to speak more moderately and persuasively than in the past.
  • If the BNP is successfully targeting white, working class areas the
    political establishment has largely abandoned them.  That is certainly
    IDS’ view.  He told Today listeners that the sophistication of the main
    political parties during General Elections and the way they targeted
    hundreds of thousands of voters in marginal seats had led to the
    political abandonment of communities that were now prey for the BNP.