Are BNP voters racist?

Rise_FestivalThere’s an informative YouGov opinion poll on the Channel 4 website which provides a useful basis for an assessment of the BNP vote.

Unfortunately, the analysis in the accompanying article by Peter Kellner is deeply flawed. Kellner plays down the racism of BNP supporters and claims that “depending on how the term ‘racist’ is precisely defined, our survey suggests that the label applies to only around a half of BNP voters”.

But the poll itself demolishes this assertion. It found that 94% of BNP voters thought “all further immigration to the UK should be halted” – way ahead of supporters of other political parties, with the exception of UKIP. 79% of BNP voters agreed that “even in its milder [sic] forms, Islam is a danger to western civilisation” – again, far higher than Labour, Tory, Lib Dem or Green voters.

Kellner sees it as a positive result that “just 44 per cent” of BNP voters “agreed with the party in rejecting the view that non-white citizens are just as British as white citizens”. However the question didn’t concern all British citizens, but rather “British citizens who were born in this country”. If the question had included people born abroad who have come to the UK and subsequently acquired citizenship, the percentage of BNP voters denying that non-white citizens are “just as British as white citizens” would undoubtedly have been even higher.

In that connection, it’s worth noting that 81% of BNP voters disagreed with the proposition that “Britain has benefited from the arrival in recent decades of people from many different countries and cultures”. Only 8% of BNP voters agreed with this proposition, compared with 63% of Green voters, 55% of Lib Dem voters, 53% of Labour voters and even 31% of Tory voters.

What the poll reveals is that racist attitudes exist among supporters of all political parties (which is what you would expect, given the migrant-bashing, Muslim-hating propaganda that pervades the popular press) but that people who vote for the BNP are much more racist than those who vote for mainstream political parties.

Yet, bizarrely, Kellner states emphatically: “most BNP voters do NOT subscribe to what might be described as ‘normal racist views’.” This is in line with the analysis of other pundits, who have strenuously denied that the majority of BNP voters are racists.

It is of course true that the vast majority of BNP voters are not fascists and that they would be shocked by the neo-Nazi views that Griffin and other BNP leaders actually hold. But the majority of BNP voters certainly do hold racist views, and if we’re to develop a strategy for resisting the BNP it serves no useful purpose to deny that fact.

Indeed, it was precisely in order to combat the racist ideology on which the BNP feeds that the annual Rise festival was held in London. And that is why Boris Johnson’s decision to cancel Rise was so utterly irresponsible.