Cultural Revolutions

Postwar Immigration

The British National Party (BNP), founded in 1982 by John Tyndall, a former chairman of the National Front, has consistently campaigned to reverse postwar immigration, to withdraw Britain from the European Union, to reintroduce the death penalty for serious crimes, to back Ulster’s Loyalists, to support the family, and to place greater restraints on big business.  Such policies were never exactly going to help the party secure the Nobel Peace Prize, and the BNP has never been treated kindly by the powers-that-be.  Yet under its new leader, Nick Griffin, a law graduate from Cambridge and, like his predecessor, a former senior figure in the National Front, official and semi-official harassment of the party has reached new heights (or plumbed new depths)—despite some softening of policies and improvements in presentation.

The reason is that the BNP, once widely viewed as morally outrageous but irrelevant, is now viewed as morally outrageous but increasingly relevant.  Victories in local elections since 2001 and creditable votes in the June 2004 European elections have given it important local council representation (mostly in northern England) and raised the outside possibility that it may even secure representation at Westminster for the first time in next year’s general election.  Had it not been for the sudden surge of the United Kingdom Independence Party in June—they went from 3 MEP’s...

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