We cannot afford to be complacent about the far-right

UKIP is not a far right party, but that doesn't mean its voters don't hold far right sympathies.

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UKIP is not a far right party, but that doesn’t mean its voters don’t hold far right sympathies

Anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate published a report yesterday stating that ‘The British far right ends 2014 in its worst state for almost 20 years’.

They base this conclusion on the fact that the two main far right groups, the BNP and the EDL, have suffered embarrassing leadership crises over the past few years that have caused them to splinter.

They point out that rallies and marches organised by the remnants of these groups and others like them in response to ISIS atrocities and the Rotherham sex abuse scandal were poorly attended, and indicate a lack of support for Islamophobic rhetoric.

But this isn’t a simple happy ending. The rise of UKIP, and the emergence of tiny but growing extreme right groups such as National Action,shows that the sentiment that saw Nick Griffin elected to the European parliament in 2009 has not gone away.

It is simply finding new outlets to express itself – whether in the less controversial form of UKIP, or in more militant groups that promise tougher changes than the collapsed BNP and EDL can currently offer.

UKIP is not a far right party, but that doesn’t mean its voters don’t hold far right sympathies. With the choice of a failing BNP and a strong UKIP, it is not surprising that people with strong anti-immigration views are willing to compromise with a party that has more power if less vehemence.

Ukip is part of the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD), which includes representatives from the Danish People’s Party, the True Finns Party, the Dutch SGP and the infamous Italian Lega Nord.

These groups all describe themselves as ‘Eurosceptic’, but are best known for views which have little to do with Europe and more to do with Muslims and Africans.

YouGov found that almost two-thirds of UKIP voters don’t mention Europe when they are asked what they feel are the most important issues facing Britain. UKIP’s founding objective has been eclipsed by its stance on immigration by its own supporters.

Most people do not like to think of themselves as racists. They usually have a list of legitimate grievances that have led them to hold prejudiced views, rather than simply a rabid hatred of people who are different.

Nevertheless, the end result is the same, and UKIP offers a voting option with less stigma attached to it than groups like the EDL which have become synonymous with violence. Furthermore, UKIP is a party with a chance.

Hope Not Hate’s report describes the conditions for racism this year in the UK as ‘favourable’ – a child sex abuse scandal in a town that was formerly a BNP stronghold, with mainly Pakistani Muslim perpetrators – but says that the far right has failed to capitalise on this.

But the Paris massacres have shown that current events are still being used to recruit people to the anti immigration cause; Nigel Farage spoke on LBC last week saying:

“We in Britain – and I’ve seen some evidence in other European countries of it too – have pursued a really rather gross policy of multiculturalism and by that, what I mean, is that we’ve encouraged people who have come from different cultures to remain within those cultures and not to integrate fully within our communities.”

The choice of language is watered down, but the tactic is the same: incite fear, unite people against minorities.

We cannot afford to be complacent about extremist views, whichever form they take. Changes in mood can be sudden and unpredictable; according to a poll by YouGov UKIP supporters in Feb 2014 comprised just over half a million former Lib Dems and 400,000 who voted for Labour last time.

Research by the Guardian found that BNP and UKIP supporters tended to come from a similar demographic; older, white working class voters who have few or no educational qualifications, and share the sense that ordinary people are being betrayed by politicians.

The report also highlights the rise of antisemitism, a problem which has received little coverage over the past few years, and shows how clandestinely hate movements can grow.

Hope Not Hate also admits that the size of a far right following does not necessarily decrease the risk they pose, pointing out the recent trend for uncoordinated ‘lone wolf’ attacks’.

In Germany this week, tens of thousands of people joined an ‘anti-Islamisation’ rally with the far right group PEGIDA. In the wake of the Paris murders, with fear and suspicion rife, we need to be more vigilant than ever about the recruitment tactics of the far right.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

34 Responses to “We cannot afford to be complacent about the far-right”

  1. swat

    The Far Right has very strong links with Football hooliganis Many of the facists have found a natural home in UKIP.

  2. damon

    Being opposed to ongoing mass immigration isn’t ”far right”.
    But it’s probably the feeling of at least a simple majority of the country.
    In that other thread on ethnic minority people in political parties, it was said that the demographic make up of Edmonton in London was 73% ethnic minority. Where did all the white people go?

    A few years ago, Dagenham was said to be a last stronghold of the BNP in London as there was resentment at the area becoming like nearby Newham. But I don’t think that will have stopped the demographic change happening, as it was one of the cheaper areas left in London. So before long Dagenham will probably have an ethnic profile more like Newham or Edmonton.
    The thing is, you can’t make everyone like that or welcome it. They might get used to it over time if they stay there, but many will move further out into Essex if things are squeezed there.
    All this talk of ”the far right” and fascists is a bit OTT in my opinion.
    It sounds like what’s most important is to derail any organised voice the ”lumpen prolateriat” might come up with.

  3. Gary Scott

    There’s no place for complacency. UKIP presents itself as the acceptable face of the far right. Despite an ever-smiling Farage being ultra reasonable and distancing himself from the racist, Islamaphobic, Anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobes who populate the party and their elected ranks – those ARE the people who vote for the party and who represent the party. The party IS one of racism. Britain First, a dangerous group trying to promote themselves as acceptable are close to UKIP and have, as we know, recommended voters to side with UKIP to get their agenda across. The times when the National Front or BNP had high support were not the most dangerous. NOW is the time to be afraid, when UKIP is represented by former BNP officials and members, members and voters are racist and disaffected Tories along with disaffected voters swell their ranks, this is when they have a real chance at power. Imagine a Conservative and UKIP coalition at the next parliament! Many Tories are UKIP Sympathisers and would happily join forces and allow their true feelings to surface. Such a scenario is entirely feasible and one which should fill any right thinking voter with dread. I am not exaggerating when I say it makes me fear that Britain could be a fascist country within a few short years.

  4. Northeus

    I think HnH’s analysis is outdated. Might have been accurate a year ago but the tweets I’m seeing from Ukipists are dripping with hate this week in the wake of the Paris attack. The whole lexicon has shifted among Ukipists and the mantras all sound very familiar indeed. BNP circa 2008. Now that it has absorbed the BNP, it is essentially a rebranded version of it. There is a soft-antisemitism about it, a loathing of Muslims and has a propensity to stoke up new fears without outright lies and misinformation.

    Farage was always bad but the demagoguery has reached epic proportions and now he doesn’t even try to hide his ignorance because his followers will believe anything he says. It’s a personality cult and it’s becoming more fascist by the day.

    That said, it’s not working out for them because a split is developing and there’s no way a post-Farage Ukip can hold together. It will have a bloody civil war and whichever faction wins will be left with an unelectable shell of a party. It’s already tanking in the polls and more and more people are waking up to what a disgusting little tribe it is, mostly as a result of their unhinged and deeply disturbed activists.

    The hyperventilation over Ukip is a bit unnecessary though. It’s going nowhere and will never break through the glass ceiling. If there was any danger of it becoming a serious party I would be very worried indeed, but that would require them to be more talented and organised than they could ever hope to be. It is a party of pathological losers.

  5. sarntcrip

    ACCORDING TO WHO IS UKIP NOT A FAR RIGHT PARTY,ASK A DISABLED PERSON THEY’LL TELL YOU OUR CURRENT GOVERNMENT IS FAR RIGHT GIVEN THEIR HECTORING, BADGERING & BULLING OF DISABLED PEOPLE WHO CAN’T WORK THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN

  6. sarntcrip

    SPOT ON NORTHEUS

  7. sarntcrip

    A TORY UKIP COALITION COULD HAPPEN IN MAY THE PERFECT STORM FOR IMMIGRANTS, DISABLED AND OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS FRAGE SAYS HE WON’T BACK CAMERON I DON’T BELIEVE HIM, HE WOULD MAKE CLEGG LOOK GOOD

  8. sarntcrip

    NOBODY SAID BEING OPPOSED TO MASS IMMIGRATION IS RACIST PARANOIA EH UKIP ARE WAY WORSE THAN JUS THAT

  9. damon

    Using block capitals makes you look like you’re shouting.

  10. Leon Wolfeson

    Why would they go post-Farrage for, well, decades? It’s a party based around one person, they never tend to go well after the Dear Leader’s gone.

    Also, while the British far right are clowns, they can at times be dangerous clowns.

  11. Guest

    Nope, but the majority of those making a noise about it are far right.
    You are making up nonsense about “simply majority” to support your minority party.

    Of course you can’t make everyone not be afraid of a black face.

  12. damon

    You’re funny. I don’t have a party. I don’t vote because I don’t support anyone particularly.
    Having 250,000 extra people coming to the UK every year is pretty unsustainable.
    You’d have to build an awful lot of houses to house all those.
    Although some people I know and respect are for totally open borders and unlimited immigration.
    I’ve never quite grasped how it would work in practice, but I’m not that fussed either way.
    What are you on about black face for ffs? Is this a place for grown up debate or not?

  13. robertcp

    I am actually more concerned that the mainstream parties are moving in an anti-immigrant direction.

  14. JoeDM

    All UKIP members have to sign a decalaration that they have never been members of the BNP or EDL

    It is a pity the other parties don’t do the same thing.

  15. JoeDM

    Almost everyone except the extremists who support the terrorists are “dripping with hate” and quite right too.

  16. Mike Stallard

    Nobody likes mentioning religion, but, believe it or not, Islam is a religion. It is a warrior religion for warriors who are promised paradise, women and dignity if they submit to the will of Allah. Hence the war cry – Allah is the Greatest!
    The far right is a protest group against the gradual take-over of several of our cities by followers of this very religion. Not surprisingly, there are clashes.
    The government, of course, prevaricates because in a way it rather likes the dependent culture which Muslims need for their way of life (Imams and sheikhs do not work any more than clergy do. Warriors often do not do well at school and warriors do not like working on the check-out at Superstores serving women.) And there is now also the fear of losing votes in large chunks of Britain’s cities too.
    Solve that one please without resorting to the use of swear words like “diversity”, “fascist”, hooligans”, “multicultural” or “racist”.

  17. Shocker

    “The choice of language is watered down, but the tactic is the same: incite fear, unite people against minorities.” Haha. That’s exactly what I’d say if I couldn’t directly respond to what he said. Love the way leftists just translate what their opponents say into something they have a ready answer for. Integrity be damned, eh

  18. Leon Wolfeson

    The other parties don’t appeal to exactly to the same people, and don’t need to guard against BNP and EDL politicians from taking positions away from your own leadership. Moreover, several people on the leaked BNP membership list are UKIP members.

    Moreover, people can in fact change in view. Ray Hill being one example, you’d exclude him from other parties because of your exclusionary views.

  19. Keith M

    R ember what happened in Germany when they flirted with the far right!

  20. Guest

    Keep pretending, as you spout the UKIP line and demand the economy be unable to support the British, as you ignore the real housing issue of insufficient house building since 1980, etc.

    You don’t “grasp” what we’ve never had, as you try and wave away your fellow travellers views – that is grown up debate, seeing who is standing hand in hand with you, politically. Not kidding yourself because you can’t bring yourself to admit that you’re peddling a political line of fear and hate.

  21. Guest

    Ah yes, don’t use the truth. The truth may not be used. You must be able to censor the language to defend your thugs, and to blame the Other entirely.

    It’s you who is trying to take over our cities, and to have the same kind of separate communities as France, at a minimum. France, where Jews are fleeing rapidly because of persecution.

    No surprise you spew crap about “ways of life” and “dependent culture” too. Social Darwinist rubbish.

  22. Guest

    But you can respond, instead you choose to accuse others of your tactics.

  23. Joe Bloggs

    I think that the last published stats about incomers to the UK, was around 4,000 a DAY!
    All of them need to be housed, their kids schooled, and get registered with a doctor (etc)
    The cultural Marxists we see writing for this site, or waving placards, can’t seem to be able to see the disaster that uncontrolled immigration is for us all. As a former Socialist, am I now “right-wing” for even mentioning the trouble ahead?

  24. Joe Bloggs

    Good, glad that they are seeing sense at last.

  25. Joe Bloggs

    There are plenty of black & asian faces in Ukip, or perhaps you need to go to Specsavers.

  26. Guest

    Ah yes, the magical marxists. As you call the black faces a disaster.

    And you’re evidently far right, having abandoned every single ideal you once held, lying about immigration and I’m sure you’ll cause trouble.

  27. Guest

    Ah yes, the “sense” of bigotry and of hate. Of forcing out the Jews. Of riots. Murders. Terrorism.

  28. Mike Stallard

    Was it not Humpty Dumpty who wanted the world to be what he wanted it to be? As a Western Liberal, of course, you assume that Muslims are Western Liberals.
    I merely ask this: when were you personally invited to a meal with a Muslim family in their home?

  29. damon

    I’m not pedaling anyone’s line, but the thing is I’m guessing Leon is that you are one of these little leftie student types who accuse anyone who has a different view to you as being a fascist or a Ukip supporter or whatever. I did say I wasn’t particularly fussed one way or the other about immigration numbers, but stated that a rising population would cause all kinds of logistical problems. Just building large numbers of new houses isn’t so straight forward. Where will they go? We can’t build loads of houses in flood plains for example. Just shoehorning in extra units of housing into already existing neighbourhoods can have knock on negative consequences. Like increasing traffic congestion for example. Or taking away open land on the edge of existing communities. The very places that people enjoy as a resource for normal living. Where their children play and they walk their dogs. Build a hundred new houses on this land and some people will have something taken from their community.
    In theory, you could increase population density and actually enhance the built environment.
    But that’s not the way things are actually done in reality. So many of our new housing developments are done on the cheap without proper planning to integrate them properly into what is already there.
    And the numbers coming to the UK are just too big to keep up with demand.
    So what we are seeing is an increase in the houses of multiple occupancy and ”bedsitland”.
    And the neighbourhoods where this takes place in the highest numbers end up looking shabby and run down. Just look at any of the most diverse boroughs that have high numbers of new poorer immigrants.
    Places like Tottenham, Newham, Wembley, Tooting. New people go straight to those places and just have to squeeze in. The idea that more and more places in England need to look like East Ham is something that has people who live outside those areas, voting for Ukip etc.
    It doesn’t mean I support that Leon, lt’s just an observation.

  30. Joe Bloggs

    We hear a lot about Ukip and its “Far Right: policies, though the writer of the piece replied to has said it isn’t.
    We should realise that Ukip has support where immigration is not an issue; the recently retired head of the National Trust, for instance, has said that Ukip is the only hope for saving the countryside.

    There are sensible policies separate from immigration which appeal to those who want the unnecessary HS2 project abandoned, but there are more.
    Refer to this link:

    http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people

  31. Shocker

    My response is this : Farage was saying that he thought multiculturalism as an approach to immigration/integration has encouraged the worst responses from immigrants. That doesn’t imply that people should be afraid or blame immigrants. It pretty straightforwardly blames the politicians who’ve taken that approach. The writer construes it as an attack on immigrants without any good reason. One could say ‘the language is not watered down, and the tactic is the same : incite fears, and unite people against those who fail to submit to the left’

  32. treborc1

    They are….

  33. Guest

    You’re peddling UKIP’s line as ever, LordBlagger, as you try and sterotype me because of your nigotry.

    You, personally, have your views, not anyone else. You. Your attempts at deflecting to “anyone” shows your dishonesty.

    You want to cause problems, and the Other is your excuse. Your opposition to any house building is clear, of course, as you frantically fight against it, making excuses.

    You 100% blame the Other, clearly, and as you demand that existing housing be destroyed, even, right, I get it – as you blame the poor for existing and want them on the streets.

    You call for action along your goals, then say it’s an “observation”.

  34. Alan59

    I will still be Voting Ukip .

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