Immigration not to blame for BNP votes: report
April 19, 2010
LONDON—Areas that see high levels of immigration are not more likely to vote for the far-right British National Party (BNP), a policy think tank report said Monday.
The centre-left Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that only one of the top 10 BNP voting areas, Barking and Dagenham, had higher than average immigration.
In fact, the IPPR said its study covering 150 local auhorities suggested “that where people have experience of living with migrants they are less likely to vote to the BNP.”
The report found that the main contributing factor to the increase in profile for Nick Griffin's controversial party was a sense of isolation felt in areas with low social “resilience” levels.
This is defined as the ability of an area to withstand shocks such as mass unemployment combined with low levels of education, high crime rate and an inability to influence local decisions.
The three areas with lowest resilience levels, Sandwell, Barking and Dagenham and Stoke-on-Trent are all in the top 10 for BNP votes.
Another major factor was found to be voter apathy which leads to low election turn out, increasing the minority party's share of the vote.
“Mainstream politicians need to work harder to build strong communities and strong education systems, and to rebuild trust and confidence in democratic politics so marginalised and vulnerable people do not feel so disconnected,” the report concludes.
“Doing so should allow them to serve the interests of these communities more effectively, and in the process, undercut support for the BNP.”