Peter Hoskin

Still no room for complacency about the BNP

Still no room for complacency about the BNP
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It's an odd one is today's ICM poll in the News of the World.  Most of it makes for sobering reading for the political class: it finds that two-thirds of voters think the mainstream parties have no "credible policies" on immigration, and that one-third agree with a core BNP policy on removing state benefits from ethnic minorities.  The Tories will be disappointed to see that only 20 percent of respondents think that their plan to cap immigrant numbers will work.

But there are also some findings which support Alex's thesis that we shouldn't be unduly troubled by the levels of support for the BNP.  For instance - and despite all of the above - 26 percent say the Tories have the best policies on immigration, compared to 21 percent for Labour and 13 percent for the Lib Dems. The BNP are on 6 percent.

I guess it all depends on how you want to see things.  Is that 6 percent a discouraging figure for a party which is based around issues of race, religion and national make-up?  Or does it show, worryingly, that BNP immigration policies have half the level support as those of one of the three main parties?

My take remains that the mainstream parties can't afford to be complacent about the BNP threat.  There's a clear sense that their previous unwillingness to discuss immigration has created room in which Griffin's party can operate.  And that will be worsened by revelations like Andrew Neather's claim that New Labour immgiration policy had a political purpose.  These concerns need to be addressed, lest support for the BNP's policies - or policies like them - swells beyond that 6 percent mark.