Coffee House

Many BNP voters’ concerns are legitimate and should be recognised as such

24 February 2010

4:55 PM

24 February 2010

4:55 PM

Frank Field was characteristically forthright on the Today programme this morning. “I don’t believe, given the strains (on the economy), we will be able to maintain an open door policy without serious unrest on the streets,” he said, and this brings me to a Sunny Hundal article on the media’s approach to the BNP.

Hundal is extremely eloquent but his premises are ill-conceived. He aligns the BNP exclusively with racism and immigration, because it follows that a racist is illegitimate and can be consigned to irrelevance. He writes:

‘If you want to vote BNP and think people of different cultures and races are scary, why not just say so? Every modern interview with a BNP voter is prefaced with: "I vote BNP, not because I’m racist but … ", which inevitably leads to a diatribe on why immigrants are leading the country into hell in a handcart. It has been repeatedly pointed out, even in most tabloids and broadsheets, that the BNP is a racist party. It is tearing itself over the issue right now. Surely it should be obvious to most what it stands for by now?’      

[Alt-Text]


No doubt, the party leadership is racist. Most have convictions for inciting racial hatred and connections with White Supremacists across the globe. It’s an open and shut case. Are the million who voted BNP also uniformly racist? Emphatically not. Research by Nothing British indicates that BNP supporters are not defined by extreme racial attitudes. 14 percent of the British voting public reject the contention that there is no difference between the intelligence of the average black Briton and that of the average white; 69 percent of BNP voters agree with the contention. Perpetuating the lazy analysis that working class concerns about immigration are informed by the working class’ inherent racism sustains Griffin and whatever lunacy he dreams in private.

The BNP is legitimate, distasteful but legitimate. Its voters concerns should have been addressed by mainstream politics. Xenophobia and racism may lead 31 percent of BNP voters to oppose immigration; the remaining 69 percent have specifically economic grievances. The BNP’s nationalism is in part inspired by the government’s prejudiced distribution of resources. Housing is allocated according to need, not race, but a family of seven takes precedence over a family of four, and migrants tend to have larger families. This policy has fostered resentment and a sense of betrayal, all too easily exploited by malign influences. Housing should be allocated according to residency and citizenship, especially as it is in such short supply. That requires an active curb on economic migrants and perhaps asylum seekers. The main parties pussyfoot towards that conclusion; they must move faster and louder.

BNP voters have been frozen out of mainstream political debate because they have been excluded from, to pinch a phrase, the proceeds of growth. Globalisation has brought prosperity to the many and misery to the few. The explosion of migrant workers under this government, not imported as part of some sinister plot (this government is too incompetent to have implemented something so intricate), but because many of Britain’s working classes were unemployable in a changed, globalised economy. John Redwood has written persuasively of the need to stimulate manufacturing; he is right. The BNP’s success in Dagenham can be ascribed to job losses at the Dagenham car plant. Skilled manufacturers made redundant in middle age (most BNP voters are male and around fifty) find few other opportunities. They fall into the benefits trap and worklessness begets worklessness. It is telling that many BNP councillors in Barking do not turn up because attendance would make them ineligible for the full range of benefits they claim (more on that later).

Perhaps I do Hundal, Peter Hain, Mehdi Hasan a disservice, but their collective intransigence, their insistence that the BNP is a racist party and that the right-wing press unintentionally sustains Griffin, is a reflection that many BNP voters are former Labour voters, radicalised by Labour’s indifference to their concerns. So often of the same tongue as their opponents, the Conservative leadership is equally culpable. BNP voters will not be re-integrated into the mainstream unless the mainstream accepts that those voters at least have a point.


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Show comments
  • James from Berwick

    Never voted for the BNP before but with everything that’s gone on from immigration to the expenses scandle to the banks. I don’t think they can be worse than the self serving idiots we’ve got now. If anything a good shake up is whats needed

  • Stuart Seacole Smith

    I certainly welcome this article, and the heartfelt discussion it triggers. It’s patently obvious that many people in the UK (and in Western Europe more generally) have deep seated and legitimate concerns about the direction our societies seem to be headed.

    It’s equally clear that there are precious few politicians ready to address crime/ benefits/ immigration/ religion/ race issues. In fact, the very politicians who should be handling these problems are often actually directly responsible for exacerbating them. Think of that git J-J-J-J-Jack Straw – a man whose head belongs on a spike if ever there was one.

    While I’m all in favour of open debate on all issues, and harsh measures where needed, there’s one line of thought in the article and comments that I think should be treated with extreme caution – the point on white-black-asian average IQ. Remember: variation within races is massively greater than between races.

    Anyone who thinks “black = thick” is saying more about their own IQ than black IQ. In any case, I don’t think average black vs white intelligence is a relevant or worthy point of political debate. The Nothing British statistic regarding 31% of BMP supporters thinking blacks less intelligent (vs 14% of the general population) only serves to undermine them, and draws attention away from the real issues.

  • Bouchard

    As of today it seems the tories have lost last weeks lead in the polls they had ,apparently it is now only 2% lead over labour from about 30% last month in one poll, the media and all the main parties cant seem to work out were all these potential votes have gone , BNP perhaps ???

  • St Bruno

    I must congratulate the Spectator and David Blackburn for, at least, mentioning the BNP without adding some words like ‘goons’ , evil, thugs, you get the drift, but rhetoric still persists.
    I suppose in this venerated organ of Tory propaganda I must be careful and pick my words with due diligence. For that is what it boils down to, choice of words, semantics.
    The PM Gordon Brown is running scared at the prospect of loosing the next election. Why ?
    Can he see a bleak future for himself and his family in multicultural Britain when he is ‘only’ a MSP back-bencher. Or will he be loosing his divine mission to change the world and Britain in particular. He’s had a good go at changing things so far hidden agendas or not, Britain has changed and not for the better in my opinion.
    If you are over seventy could you ever imagine this is the way Britain should be?
    Many people have worked hard all their lives, saved, paid taxes, NI, paid the mortgage and seen a future for their children and grand children, to see it today as nothing but a massive con trick giving it all away to ‘Johnny foreigner’. It’s a real shame on the elected people who were trusted with the heritage of Britain. Britain was once a rich and powerful collection of countries, made rich by leaders who were trusted and a people who were hard working and believed in the future.
    It’s unbelievable that people accepted the policies of a Scottish Marxist Warrior Gordon Brown when he forced himself on them when he took over from Mr Blair. Tell us Mr Cameron what you will do next, if you please, go on, go on, say something we can believe and trust.
    I well remember Mr Brown on BBC TV after the BNP victories in the EU Elections looking red faced and close to tears, on rising from his seat to say ‘ something must be done about the BNP’. Could the situation today have anything to do with this muttering? What is that but bullying? A million people have not voted for me or a righteous party, how dare they, they must be stopped this cannot go on! I’ll summon up the forces of hell, I know, how about Trevor Phillips he’s a good lad and will do what he’s told, I pay him and his gang enough, £80m should do nicely.

    Let’s face it in the eyes of the vested interests there is only Red, Blue and Yellow where voting is concerned. They are to be trusted with the future of Britain and will not do anything to endanger our way of life. Trust is the word: can the people of Britain trust them any more? Are the people of Britain to be re-educated to accept multiculturalism because they are all thickies if they say NO more immigration from the Islamic countries or from the teeming masses of Africa with murderous dictators and hate for Britain and the West?

    Vox populi. The day when one journalist stops quoting another journalist as if it is the real core of the matter rather than expressing some original research and opinions will be the day when one branch of British politics reaches maturity. Without doubt much safer than being branded sympathetic with the voice of the BNP or not as the case maybe.

  • radgie gadgie

    michael@Feb 25th, 2010 2:24pm raises a point which doesnt get much (any? mainstream media coverage). The issue of Child Benefit being paid (directly into bank accs no questions asked thank you very much) for children who arent actually in the country.

    This is a massive ongoing fraud which MPs and the benefits agency are not interested in as, I guess, a investigation or campaign against it would be inherently discriminatory.

    In my old stamping ground of Walthamstan (East London) it can work like this; I’m a muslim who, despite claims by the Govt that it doesnt happen, has leapt the queue for local authority or association housing. I have kids (averaging say,4). and apply for and benefit which can be done on-line. At some point I think “I can send my kids back for a ‘proper’ education (usually Mirpur) or just to live very comfortably on the £60 basic CB I get” No checks are ever made to ensure that the children are still resident. Meanwhile I sublet my accomodation (bonus!!) to some safe person(s) from the same village or area of my dual (i.e main) nationality. Any visit from any authority will be met with real or faux incomprehension (no speak English) so stalling any investigation. Repeat as required up to 4 times (per wife) because in recent years local authorities now accomodate the requirement of multiple wives as regards housing and CB.

    This leads on to (inter alia) issues of local authority housing – but maybe another time. Remind me again why a vote for any big 3 parties would change any of the above?

  • Marcher Baron

    “The explosion of migrant workers under this government, not imported as part of some sinister plot (this government is too incompetent to have implemented something so intricate) …” The government is, indeed, incompetent, but the reasoning behind unlimited immigration clearly IS a plot to destroy the indigenous culture according to Neather and MigrationWatch. Where have you been?

  • Soultime

    I am sorry that Inigo Jones had his or her propertydefiled with BNP slogans. As a member of the BNP since 2000 I can be almost certain that the vandalism experienced was NOT inspired by them or their active supporters. On the contrary, 99% of the members I have worked with have been decent folk fed up with the foul mess that Britain now is. All thanks to the lack of respect for others that pervades our once respectful society.

  • inigo jones

    Thank you DALEMAN ;Feb 24th, 8.55pm for passing on that brilliant piece by the Botswana journo re the Black Countries’ response to the earthquake in Haiti. Well said, that man! As for the BNP, my only experience of them [apart from TV] was the gang of hooligans who sprayed stupid graffiti on the side of my house. I won’t be voting for them.

  • michael

    Positive discrimination, in Bradford this means peace on the streets at any price.
    Just check old T&A court files.
    As discriminatory leniency becomes harder to justify a policy of leniency for all is taking over, with subsequent lawlessness.
    The fear of renewed race riots too scary for just punishment.
    The economic price of these fears include child benefit for children resident in Pakistan.
    £20,000 grants for Asian families to improve the frontages of their homes…canny families have a Westminster style his and hers.
    a plethora of unofficial moratoria on civil misdemeanours…unlicensed driving no insurance etc.
    Discriminatory business grants
    and the list goes on.
    People are pissed off… BNP fodder.

  • Leeds Ian

    Why are there so many comments supporting the BNP ?
    Why is there so much interest in what BNP stands for ?
    Why are all on-line forums full of BNP support ?
    It’s called DEMOCRACY – the voice of the electorate calling, shouting, begging to be heard.
    If only the press would look a bit closer at the BNP, without the ‘nazi racist’ blinkers, then maybe we all could have a proper, sensible dialogue about the issues that matter in the coming election.
    The BNP – (frightening though it may seem to some) is not the problem, but it just could have some of the answers.

  • Andrew

    It’s been a long while since I’ve posted to the Spectator.
    It was about the BNP then too. I was very much in the minority as I supported some (but not all) BNP policies and had to endure repeated insults of racist, Nazi, fascist ….the lot. I knew these things wern’t true and also imagined that someday soon many more would join me in voting BNP. Well, it now looks like that time is fast approaching and whilst the BNP may not be picking up that many votes they are certainly gaining sympathy. So to all those who insulted me at the time (and you probably know who you are) and to the Spectator who refused to allow me the right to reply to those insults I would like to accept your apologies but doubt that you would be gracious enough to offer them. To those contemplating support for the BNP, I would say this. Think about the children/grandchildren and do what YOU think is right for your people. Don’t listen to the bleeding hearts, think of you and yours.

  • djw2009

    >djw2000 – you may wish to distinguish between intelligence and specifically IQ; different test versions have more or less cultural/educational component, and differences seem to vary by age of test.

    There may be other types of intelligence than are tested for by IQ, but someone who has no idea how to even begin answering the simple questions on an IQ test is not very mathematically or verbally competent – and it is precisely this kind of intelligence that is needed in modern society. It may have been the case in the 1950s that IQ tests contained an element of cultural knowledge, but this is not the case nowadays. There are various tests around, including the Culture Fair test accepted by Mensa. Why retail this argument six decades out of date? You could argue that IQ only tests for certain types of intelligence, and you could argue that flaws in black culture are contributory to their low scores. You may not argue that the tested scores do not reveal a racial gap.

  • Bouchard

    I am a ordinary Englishman born in the 50s into a working class family, as a boy I used to help my dad in his job , fixing his old Car in the street at weekends and help him get ready with his army uniform when going to TA meetings , like many fathers of the 40 and 50s his was ex regular soldier who had served in Italy, north Africa and Dunkirk fighting the Nazis, our teachers were all ex soldiers or serviceman from fighter pilots to ex navy men who had served and as such had a common bond together that they had saved their country from a ruthless evil tyranny with dogmatic ideas, anti Semitic polices, bent on world domination, a belief that their version of the truth was the only acceptable one and that any dissent from this was punishable by death, any criticism of the creed marked you for execution, not being a party member marked you as expendable, any images making fun of the Fur her was punishable by death, any jokes or cartoons depicting the regime as evil or humorous carried at the least a trip to court in which you received a 5 min verbal battering from a deranged madman in a long cloak and black hat before being if lucky just imprisoned for 6 months .
    That, my father’s generation believed with pride that they had fought against and won.
    Does the regime described above sound somewhat familiar.
    Lets face it , its not about the BNP or the other parties , its not even about black people or indian people although if most white English/British people had a choice between mass Polish or Russian immigration to this country few would object, because in a few generations they would be integrated totally into the host population, its really about Islam the fact that most Muslims are brown and of arab heritage only makes it worse ( imagine if all the Muslims were white and fair haired) the fact that there belief system is international and not national makes it impossible for them to become truly patriotic and identify themselves as British first and Islamic 2nd, the fact that Koran rules the lives of even the most moderate Muslims makes them reject western values wholesale, the tragedy that this creed is unchangeable , backward medieval and resembles the aforementioned regime only serves to polarise are resentment and yes hatred of it as in its extreme form , ( something we have seen a lot of in recent years) its is totally opposed to all the English values that we and are ancestors in this county right up to my father’s generation fought so hard to preserve, a struggle that runs from Magna carter to Winston Churchill.
    Islam is the problem and the sooner any party ( and I believe they are all very much aware of what is panning out in this country) legislates against, re educates the Islamic population from birth taking this education out of the hands of the imams, bans religious symbolism such as burkers and other garb which separates communities from interacting and helping each other, stops giving public funding to the building of places of minority ethnic worship of all types worship, bans exclusive Muslim schools and indeed any religious education in any school, then there will be no peace , people will vote BNP in droves as the problem gets worse and Islam doubles its population size in this country over the next 20 years, racial violence will become an everyday occurrence, segregation will follow and in 40 years unchecked , civil war and yes even partition as in India in the last days of the raj ( mainly caused by Jenner and his insistence on a separate Muslim state, no action now will result in the same deal with a sovereign Islamic state probably in the north and mass white flight to the south as this happens.
    This is not doom mongering unfortunallly this will happens and my fathers generation will have been betrayed by their very own children and grandchildren.

  • David Bouvier

    djw2000 – you may wish to distinguish between intelligence and specifically IQ; different test versions have more or less cultural/educational component, and differences seem to vary by age of test.

    Also since 14% of the population have an IQ of 84 or less perhaps we shouldn’t take too much note of their opinions.

  • julie

    Is Hundal ‘eloquent’ – his ‘articles’ are juvenile and made up of endless links and throwaway words to illustrate he’s been to journalist school too. He’s lazy and bigoted (‘waycist, waycist’) like a lot of his collegues and not a very good writer to boot.

  • J walsh

    I am a ordinary Englishman born in the 50s into a working class family, as a boy I used to help my dad in his job , fixing his old Car in the street at weekends and help him get ready with his army uniform when going to TA meetings , like many fathers of the 40 and 50s his was ex regular soldier who had served in italy, north africa and dunkirk fighting the Nazis, our teachers were all ex soldiers or serviceman from fighter pilots to ex navy men who had served and as such had a common bond together that they had saved thier country from a ruthless evil tyranny with dogmatic ideas, anti semitic polices,bent on world domination, a belief that their version of the truth was the only acceptable one and that any dissent from this was punishable by death, any critisiem of the creed marked you for excecution, not being a party member marked you as expendable, any images making fun of the Furher was punishable by death, any jokes or cartoons depicting the regrime as evil or humerous carried at the least a trip to court in which you recived a 5 min verbal battering from a deranged madman in a long cloak and black hat before being if lucky just imprisoned for 6 months .
    That, my fathers generation believed with pride that they had fought against and won.
    Does the regrime described above sound somewhat familier.
    Lets face it , its not about the BNP or the other parties , its not even about black people or indian people although if most white english/British people had a choice between mass Polish or Russian immigration to this country few would object, because in a few generations they would be intergrated totaly into the host population, its really about Islam the fact that most muslims are brown and of arab heritage only makes it worse ( imagine if all the muslims were white and fair haired) the fact that there belief system is international and not national makes it impossible for them to become truly patriotic and identifly themselves as British first and islamic 2nd, the fact that Koran rules the lives of even the most moderate muslims makes them reject western values wholesale, the tradedy that this creed is unchangable , backward medievil and resembles the aforementioned regrime only serves to polarise are resentment and yes hatred of it as in its extreme form , ( something we have seen a lot of in recent years) its is totally opposed to all the English values that we and are ancesters in this county right up to my fathers generation fought so hard to preserve, a stuggle that runs from Magna carter to winston churchill.
    Islam is the problem and the sooner any party ( and I beleive they are all very much aware of what is panning out in this country) legistlates against, re educates the islamic population from birth taking this education out of the hands of the imans, bans religous symbolism such as burkers and other garb which separates communities from interacting and helping each other, stops giving public funding to the building of places of minoriy ethnic worship of all types worship, bans exclusive muslim schools and indeed any religous education in any school, then there will be no peace , people will vote BNP in droves as the problem gets worse and islam doubles its population size in this country over the next 20 years, racial violence will become an everyday occurence, segegation will follow and in 40 years unclecked , civil war and yes evem partition as in india in the last days of the raj ( mainly caused by Jenner and his insistence on a separate muslim state, no action now will result in the same deal with a soveriegn islamic state probally in the north and mass white flight to the south as this happens.
    This is not doom mongering unfortunallly this will happens and my fathers generation will have been betrayed by their very own children and grandchildren.

  • Austin Barry

    Dystopistan. We’re almost there.

    I do hope the Civil Contingencies Act and the strategies developed over the past five years by the Crisis Response Committee in fraught meetings in Whitehall’s Conference Room ‘A’ will be able to properly address the coming disorder. But I suspect not.

    Thank you New Labour.

  • Jane

    I worry for the Country future.

    I dont i can take anymore of the lib/lad/con.

  • 2trueblue

    When the Tories went to the electorate under M Howard with immigration they were slaughtered and Liebore labeled them racists. When they went to the electorate with protecting the £ and the country against the EU the country were not interested. Frankly the electorate deserve what they got, Liebore.

    Liebore great at calling anyone who disagrees with they ‘racists’ or whatever. When your child goes to a school where 150 languages are spoken that is not progress. When we have to employ translators for people who live here, and have lived here for a number of years we are not helping them, we are doing the opposite. Liebore have disenfranchised the very people they say they wish to help live better and more fulfilled lives. They call it freedom.

    At the same time we have lost more freedoms since Liebore came to power than under any government ever. There is no other government in the developed world who have treated their own population with such contempt. They have feathered their own nests and presided over the most corrupt parliament of our time, and they dare to label anyone as prejudiced?

    If they lose seats to the BMP on the immigration issue then it is because no other party is addressing the matter in a grown up way. We are being bullied by our present government and the EU who our dear Liebore signed us up to. Fantastic. Is it any wonder that people are turning to others?

  • djw2009

    >>14 percent of the British voting public reject the contention that there is no difference between the intelligence of the average black Briton and that of the average white;

    Interesting. But the difference in IQs between people of different races is an empirical fact. You could discuss the causes, but not the fact of the empirical difference. So that just means only 14% of British people dare think outside the multicultural framework so dishonestly promoted by our political elite.

    You claim that people who agree there is a difference in intelligence are “xenophobic and racist”, but it is only realism to accept empirical facts. To be quite honest, it is the left who are motivated by hatred, not the right: their desire to tear down our culture is hatred pure and simple. It is nonsense to claim that anyone who knows the facts relating to IQ differences is motivated by hatred – for the record, I oppose the immigration of high-IQ groups from outside Europe too, because I believe in a society united by a culture, so the IQ level of immigrants from other cultures is not the precise reason why I oppose immigration. Although, of course, the lower IQ the ones getting in, the greater the problems with issues such as crime.

    By your argument, anyone recognising that East Asians have a higher IQ on average than Europeans can only be motivated by “xenophobia and racism”. and yet that is what the facts show – and I see no reason to try to deny them. There has never been any IQ test anywhere in the world that has produced any other results than that East Asians are higher IQ and Africans are lower IQ and Europeans falling in between the two.

  • djw2009

    >>14 percent of the British voting public reject the contention that there is no difference between the intelligence of the average black Briton and that of the average white;

    Interesting. But the difference in IQs between people of different races is an empirical fact. You could discuss the causes, but not the fact of the empirical difference. So that just means only 14% of British people dare think outside the multicultural framework so dishonestly promoted by our political elite.

    You claim that people who agree there is a difference in intelligence are “xenophobic and racist”, but it is only realism to accept empirical facts. To be quite honest, it is the left who are motivated by hatred, not the right: their desire to tear down our culture is hatred pure and simple. It is nonsense to claim that anyone who knows the facts relating to IQ differences is motivated by hatred – for the record, I oppose the immigration of high-IQ groups from outside Europe too, because I believe in a society united by a culture, so the IQ level of immigrants from other cultures is not the precise reason why I oppose immigration. Although, of course, the lower IQ the ones getting in, the greater the problems with issues such as crime.

    By your argument, anyone recognising that East Asians have a higher IQ on average than Europeans can only be motivated by “xenophobia and racism”. and yet that is what the facts show – and I see no reason to try to deny them. There has never been any IQ test anywhere in the world that has produced any other results than that East Asians are higher IQ and Africans are lower IQ and Europeans falling in between the two.

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