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Filling the void: Burnley and the everyday politics of the BNP

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Abstract:

The political advances made by the BNP since 2001, have garnered significant media and political attention, contradicting the view that while the far-right made noticeable gains across Western Europe during the last two decades, Britain was a place in which extremist parties were unlikely to succeed. The BNP has primarily risen to significance at the local level, with its electoral successes generally concentrated in a limited number of areas, principally, Barking and Dagenham, Stoke-on-Trent, Epping Forest, Sandwell, and Burnley. The story of the party's breakthrough in Burnley is indicative of the trends that underpin the BNP's electoral gains. Drawing on interviews with BNP voters in Burnley, it is argued that, through moderation of its external image and a commitment to localised community-based politics, the BNP has sought to fill the voids created by de-industrialisation, the decline of class-based politics, the disengagement between Labour and its traditional constituents, a broader disaffection with mainstream parties, as well as capitalising upon the racist attitudes that remain part of the fabric of everyday life.

Keywords: BNP; BURNLEY; CLASS; COMMUNITY POLITICS; DEINDUSTRIALISATION; LABOUR PARTY; RACE; RACISM

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3898/136266210791036881

Publication date: March 25, 2010

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