The report by Matthew Goodwin and Professor Jocelyn Evans, ‘From voting to violence? Far right extremism in Britain,’ is available to read here.
The report was launched at an event hosted by Chatham House yesterday.
The report points to attitudes among the memberships of the BNP and UK Independence Party towards Muslims finding that “large majorities of both BNP and UKIP supporters appear absolutely convinced that Islam poses a serious danger to the West.”
On attitudes in the BNP towards violence the report concludes that there is “clear evidence of an inner core of activists who are both expecting, and endorse, violence.”
From the report’s executive summary:
“While BNP and UKIP supporters in our sample exhibit distinct profiles, they are driven by a similar set of concerns. Foremost, BNP and UKIP supporters are concerned about immigration. Despite a global financial crisis and economic stagnation, in their eyes immigration is the most important issue facing Britain. Following their second issue of concern (the economy), both groups identify Muslims in British society as the third most important issue facing the country (an option that is not routinely given in standard surveys).
“Both groups also express high levels of anxiety over Islam, and its religious institutions. Both BNP and UKIP supporters would feel bothered by the presence of a mosque in their local community, but again to a much higher degree amongst BNP supporters. Such views appear to stem from the way in which large majorities of both the BNP and UKIP supporters view Islam as a serious danger to the West. Over three quarters
of BNP supporters and almost two thirds of UKIP supporters strongly disagree that Islam does not pose a threat to the West. In fact, less than one out of every ten BNP and UKIP supporter in our sample endorsed the suggestion that Islam does not pose a serious danger to the West. In short, large majorities of both BNP and UKIP supporters appear absolutely convinced that Islam poses a serious danger to the West.
“A key difference between supporters of the extreme and radical right-wing is the intensity of their feelings about immigration and Islam. BNP supporters in our sample are overwhelmingly concerned about immigration and Muslims, and almost to the exclusion of other issues.
“Large numbers of BNP and UKIP supporters in our sample endorse the view that violence between different ethnic, racial and religious groups in Britain is largely inevitable, but with much stronger agreement amongst the BNP group.
“Beyond preparing for conflict, we also find evidence of support within the BNP sample for armed conflict, when defending the British way of life, with twice as many BNP supporters as UKIP endorsing this as always or sometimes justifiable. Similarly, twice the proportion of BNP supporters than their UKIP counterparts in our sample agreed violence may be needed to protect their group from threats.
“Within the BNP group, there is clear evidence of an inner core of activists who are both expecting, and endorse, violence. By disaggregating supporters into five distinct types, from core to periphery, those at the core of the BNP are far more likely than the more peripheral party’s supporters to expect and endorse violence.
“While we cannot compare these findings with a sample of the national population, they suggest that large majorities of the BNP and UKIP supporters in our sample are expecting relations between different groups to deteriorate into violence. BNP supporters are most likely to consider the strategy of preparing for group conflict justifiable with almost half the sample of BNP supporters considering this always or sometimes justifiable, compared to less than a third of UKIP supporters. Much greater endorsement of violence never being justifiable is evident amongst UKIP supporters.”
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