Poor education, weak communities and low turnout rather than immigration are the real reasons for the rise of the BNP, according to a think tank.
Research by the influential Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) into 150 local authorities concluded alienation and an inability to overcome social challenges such as isolation and low skills are the main drivers for BNP support.
The report challenged the claim that immigration is to ‘blame’ for pushing voters into support for the BNP.
The IPPR said: ‘The findings suggest that areas which have higher levels of recent immigration are not more likely to vote for the BNP.’
Nine out of 10 of the local authorities with the highest proportions of BNP votes had lower than average immigration.
But the group singled out Barking and Dagenham, where BNP leader Nick Griffin is standing for a Parliamentary seat, for having the lowest level of resiliance.
Education was pinpointed as a core issue: low average levels of qualifications mean people struggle in today’s flexible, knowledge-based economy.
The report concludes: ‘If the Government can find ways to build stronger, more socially cohesive communities, these increases in social cohesion should sap support from the BNP.’
Exploring the Roots of BNP Support - (click for PDF file of the report)
By Chris Smith