By Vexen Crabtree 2016
The British National Party (BNP) was founded by Tyndall in 1982 from a faction of the violently racist National Front organisation1. He had led the NF at times and was involved in several Neo-Nazi groups. It gets its support "largely from poorly educated, white, working-class men, concentrated in ex-industrial towns [...] Membership is open only to 'indigenous' Britons"2. Its policies fall into two main camps; aggressive anti-foreigner rhetoric, and simple one-liner reactionary politics in the area of social justice - "its platform includes [...] withdrawal from the EU and the restoration of corporal and capital punishment"2. Its most famous leader, Nick Griffin, along with several others, had criminal convictions, in Mr Griffin's case for inciting racial hatred. At the party's height in 2009, they had 12,600 members3 but many of its core staff and many supporters switched to UKIP. By Dec 2013, they only had 4,2003 and Griffin was replaced by Adam Walker. Since then membership has dropped to 5004.
The National Front (NF), the British National Party (BNP), and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) are three well-known anti-immigration and anti-foreigner parties in the UK. They nestle alongside like-minded groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) and horrible thugs such as Combat 18. Leadership and membership swap between all these organisations relatively freely with most of them being offshoots of one-another. Some are merely drinking clubs for racists and who get an inordinate amount of attention from the media, whilst others (such as UKIP) have had genuine impact on the populace of the UK. They all have anti-EU policies. Their policies are dangerously shallow and single-minded. They appeal to nationalists of the most hateful and simple kind. On account of the long-term damage such parties do to the UK and to other European countries, Russia has been quietly and effectively supporting right-wing parties5 in order to further its own interest in a fractured Europe.
The average age that supporters of these parties left school is significantly lower than for other parties: 55% and 62% of UKIP and BNP supporters (respectively) left school at or before the age of 16; nearly double the average rate of the 4 main parties (at 32%). Possibly linked is the employment status of UKIP and BNP supporters which show an outstandingly high number of manual workers and unemployed, and the lowest proportion of professional and managerial workers.6”
The BNP was specifically successful in Yorkshire and Lancashire2. It appeals to those who are fed-up with the status quo, to those who wish to take simple and powerful steps against commonly perceived problems in society, but, normally on issues that are complicated, using solutions that are simplistic. For example "its platform includes [...] withdrawal from the EU and the restoration of corporal and capital punishment"2.
Of the 15 headings on their "What We Stand For" page on the BNP website (2006), 6 directly refer to putting "British People First" and "time to say enough" to immigration. They want to end immigration and yet simultaneously state that they will spend more on pensions for old people. But with a population that is ageing, they will soon find that they have rather a lot of pensioners and not many workers. Two more of their policies aim at increasing our military and cracking down on crime. Their stated opinions on the military are impossibly naive - leaving NATO and not doing any more peacekeeping are the same steps towards insular nationalism that led to previous world wars. Military co-operation and worldwide peacekeeping are essential roles of developed countries. The BNP's other 7 items include a few politically central ideas such as "a cleaner greener future" (although worryingly Griffin also argued that climate change is a hoax). The party also campaigned for making homosexuality illegal up until 2005, after which it was dropped from the manifesto but continued in practice. They represent trash culture in being racist, homophobic, hateful and un-educated on real political issues.
The BNP have enjoyed only inconsistent growth; an initial decline was halted by the adoption of a slightly less obnoxious veneer; as of 2009 "in public the BNP now eschews the crassest racism and claims to disavow violence"2. The outlawing of hate literature has made many of their previous campaigns now fall into the red, not just the grey, of legality. They present themselves as "rational", with literature that is calm and decent-sounding, but which still is squarely concentrated on only one issue: foreigners. Many European far-right nationalist parties have already been presenting themselves as more mainstream. Such uneducated nationalism, especially of the more secretive kind as we are now seeing, represents one of the most feared threats to modern democracy.
The BNP struggle to attain serious support outside of their key poverty-stricken ex-industrial homegrounds. In 2009 elections "the party flopped in London (a failure Mr Griffin attributes to Labour activists 'ferrying Africans who can't even speak English' to polling stations)"2. But with spokesperson's as ineloquent as Mr Griffin, who needs detractors?
In 2014 the party was torn apart by factions and in-fighting and Nick Griffin was declared personally bankrupt. Adam Walker, a failed teacher, came to take charge of the party. It doesn't appear to be in any better hands: Adam Walker has also spent 6 months in prison and attained a "12-month driving ban after he admitted dangerous driving".
“Mr Walker, who had recently been appointed the BNP's deputy chairman, was struck off the teachers' register for life in 2013 after he admitted verbally abusing three pupils and slashing their bike tyres with a knife. [...] In a speech to a party audience  November, Mr Walker claimed that white Britons were facing a process of "ethnic cleansing" and ... accused the leaders of the three main political parties of turning Britain into a "multicultural shithole".”
The Independent (2014)
I feel it necessary to end with some kind of more realistic approach to immigration, so here's the chapter menu for my page The Benefits to the UK of Immigration:
Current edition: 2016 Oct 23
Originally published 2013 Mar 267
Parent page: United Kingdom: National Successes and Social Failures
All #tags used on this page - click for more:
The Economist. Published by The Economist Group, Ltd. A weekly newspaper in magazine format, famed for its accuracy, wide scope and intelligent content. See vexen.co.uk/references.html#Economist for some commentary on this source..
The Independent. UK newspaper. See Which are the Best and Worst Newspapers in the UK?. Respectable and generally well researched UK broadsheet newspaper.