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Poor education leads to BNP support

Barking and Dagenham Civic Centre

A study by the Institute of Public Policy Research has found that British National Party supporters are more likely to have lower level educational qualifications, and are less likely to have experienced living with migrants.

The IPPR carried out a study of 150 local authorities and found that it was not immigration but alienation and an inability to overcome social challenges such as isolation and low skills that are the main drivers for BNP support.

Nine out of 10 of the local authorities with the highest proportion of BNP votes had lower than average immigration.

It refutes the claim that immigration has led people to join the far right party.

The east London borough of Barking and Dagenham, being defended by Margaret Hodge and Jon Cruddas respectively, were the only anomaly in the study findings where there has been increased support for the BNP. However this has been put down to a focus by the BNP to campaign in the area.

The IPPR found that social cohesion appears to matter – where people believe the population of their area tend to get along despite differing backgrounds, they are less likely to vote BNP.

Commenting on the findings, IPPR Co-Director Carey Oppenheim, said:
“This research provides solid evidence for the need to take seriously the slow-burning mixture of frustration, isolation and sense of powerlessness people are feeling in some communities. These are the triggers which make the siren call of extremist parties so compelling. What our findings can finally lay to rest is the mistaken popular belief that it is experiences of immigration which leads to people voting for the BNP.”

One Response

  1. We came across a related comment to the above:

    The report indicates that those areas with more diverse populations were least likely to be concerned about immigration. In looking at 150 local authority areas the report concludes that social exclusion, alienation, poor education and low levels of voter turnout are much more important environmental factors in explaining the rise of the BNP.

    Furthermore, those areas that are considered BNP strongholds tend on average to have less diverse population than other areas of Britain.

    It remains the case that poverty, long-term unemployment and deep social exclusion feed racism, rather than issues of immigration. What is required is urgent Government action to tackle these root causes rather than stoking the fires of popular racism with talk of immigration.

    There is a real danger that political parties will continue to mislead the electorate by identifying immigration as the key issue rather than admit their collective failure at national, regional and local authority levels to tackle long term poverty and unemployment. The strong temptation will be to mask their own failures by playing the proverbial ‘race card”.

    What this report demonstrates is that strong resilient communities are confident and do not feel the need to scapegoat black communities. The focus should be on building decent schools, good quality housing and providing real jobs. Isolated and dejected communities with little diversity are being targeted by the BNP intent on spreading fear by whipping up hysteria on the issue of immigration. If they are supported by mainstream politicians keen to mask their own failures we will all be much worse off as a result.

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