Ukip is not a rightwing extremist party, but on the doorsteps of voters it is often pushing the same message as the extreme right, and this is reflected in our results. Almost half of the Ukip affiliates in our survey ranked either immigration or Muslims in Britain as the most important issues facing Britain today. Over half (51%) rejected the suggestion that Britain has benefited from diversity. Almost two-fifths (37%) backed the idea of repatriating immigrants back to their country of origin, and irrespective of whether they had broken the law. Over three-fifths (64%) would feel “bothered a lot” by the presence of an Islamic institution in their community, which is over twice the national average (31%). And 85% of them disagreed with the suggestion that Islam does not pose a danger to the west, while the equivalent figure among the BNP group was only three points higher.
Nor does this perception of Islam as a threatening religion appear confined to our sample of self-identified Ukippers, as Farage might suggest. At various points, Ukip elites have voiced concern over Muslim “breeding”, party organisers have referred to “Muslim nutters”; UKIP candidates have described Islam as “degenerate”, suggested Britain forcibly repatriate Muslims and endorsed Wilders’ description of Islam as a “retarded ideology”.
Matthew Goodwin, co-author of the new study From Voting to Violence? Rightwing Extremists in Modern Britain, replies to critics.