The Threat from the BNP

In the wake of the leaking of the BNP’s membership list, it is sobering to note that in the 2007 local elections they won a total of 300,000 votes for 754 candidates.  They now have 55 councillors on 22 different councils. 

Writing in Our Kingdom blog, Stuart Weir of Democratic Audit comments that while their overall share of the vote is only 1 – 2% nationally they have been successful at exploiting geographical concentrations and using electoral strategies modelled in part on the Lib Dem’s pavement politics to achieve unparalleled levels of representation.

Stuart Wilks-Heeg, who has recently updated earlier work on the BNP, is quoted a saying that their breakthrough represents a stark warning about the “advanced state of decay of local representative government in England”.  Apparently, in Burnley local representative democracy is sustained by a core group of activists who constitute just 0.1% of the town’s population!

At a time when Government nationally has palpably failed and when government locally is starved of resources, the danger local discontent leading to a major breakthrough are very real.  Certainly my sense is that outside of ‘planet politics’ the pressure is building fast.  Either mainstream parties channel it to useful ends or it will blow.

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