27 February 2011

Not sure what to make of this far right poll

A front page story in the Observer today was that "48% of the population would support an anti-immigration English nationalist party if it was not associated with violence and fascist imagery", according to a Populus poll for Searchlight.

I have huge admiration and respect for Searchlight and Hope Not Hate, but I guess there is a real question as to what a far-right nationalist party not associated with violence and fascist imagery. If this means a mainstream party that is anti-immigration, large sections of the Conservative party (and some of the Labour party) meet that criterion already. (Remember Phil Woolas?) If it means a new party that focuses on immigration pretty much exclusively, how is this different from the BNP? Officially the BNP doesn't advocate violence and it doesn't use specifically fascist imagery (it uses the Union Jack a lot but then so do the Tories.)

A far-right party couldn't avoid being associated with violence because it will be challenged by the left at every turn - as the BNP is. And it would be labelled fascist, just as the BNP is.

So I'm not sure what this possible new non-violent far-right party would look like. A greater danger is that the Tory party drifts into an explicit right-wing authoritarianism rather than the strange liberal/authoritarian hybrid which the current Conservative-led administration seems to be going for.

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