New research has found that UKIP, Britain’s self styled ‘fourth political Party,’
is doing little more than battle for the far right vote rather than take on the big boys of mainstream British politics.
A report by the independent race and refugee news network shows that UKIP's ‘let's get our Country back’ attitude is striking a cord with the far right.
The research found that in the 2004 European elections in London, the British National Party (BNP) and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) vote doubled from previous years. Moreover in 2004, 45 per cent of Londoners said in a survey that they would consider voting for either the BNP or UKIP.
Professor Peter John of Manchester University, pointed out that in London, the wards where the BNP did well were also the wards where UKIP did well, suggesting that both parties were appealing to the same mindset. 'With the decline of UKIP', he asked, 'will these votes now switch to the BNP?' One in five UKIP voters put the BNP as their second choice in the London mayoral elections in 2004.
Nick Lowles, of the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, predicted at the launch of the research "The Far Right in London: a challenge for local democracy?, " that support for the BNP in London would grow in the future as the economy weakens, the Conservative Party takes a more moderate turn, UKIP continues its demise and the BNP becomes more strategically sophisticated.
Whereas research among voters in northern towns found that until recently, the BNP attracted votes from young people and from some former Conservative Party supporters in wealthier wards, in London it remained older, working-class voters who had turned to the far Right, after becoming dissatisfied with the Labour Party.
The research suggests that the main issue which is driving rising support for the far right in outer east London is immigration, although this issue has acted as a symbol for a host of other dissatisfactions, such as poor housing and education.
Source: independent race and refugee news network