Half of Britons could vote for the far-right
by Daily Express | Monday, 28 February 2011 | Click here for original article
NEARLY half of voters would back a new Right-wing party promising to tackle immigration and Islamic extremism if it shunned violence and "fascist imagery", a ground-breaking study shows today.
The poll, one of the largest of its kind, found there was widespread unease across Britain over immigration.
Anti-racism campaigners said their findings also revealed new factors such as economic insecurity underpinned people's concern.
Mainstream politicians had failed to keep up with the trend of public opinion and must act urgently to stop unhappiness turning into hatred, they stressed.
Populus polled more than 5,000 people for the Left-wing Searchlight Educational Trust and its report, Fear and Hope: The New Politics of Identity.
It found that 48 per cent of people would consider supporting or would definitely vote for a new far-Right party.
Nearly two-thirds of white Britons thought immigration had on the whole been bad for Britain. Some 43 per cent of Asians and 17 per cent of black Britons also held that view. The report identified six social "tribes". The "confident multiculturalists" and "mainstream liberals" made up just 24 per cent of the population. They were most likely to be graduates and were happy to think that Britain had benefited from immigration.
At the other end of the scale, "latent hostiles" made up 10 per cent.
Likely to be older and working-class, they were pessimistic about their own and Britain's future and believed immigration had undermined the country's culture and services and their own economic prospects.
A further 13 per cent were in the "active enmity" group, more likely to be unskilled and unemployed, most remote from traditional politics and most hostile to immigrants, often believing violence is acceptable.
But 52 per cent were in the middle, broadly classed as "mainstream". They included a significant proportion of people who were most likely to be working-class and less financially secure.
The report will be launched today by former Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Left-wing MP Jon Cruddas.
Searchlight said the poll "painted a disturbing picture of our attitudes towards each other and the unknown".
The report says: "Much of the recent political discourse has been concerned with politicians accepting the rising importance of immigration as a political issue, and the sense that we increasingly lack ‘cohesion' or ‘integration'.
"But political elites are already behind the curve. Political parties have struggled and failed to catch up with the development of a broader and more fundamental politics of identity."
Searchlight Educational Trust director Nick Lowles said: "This report throws down a challenge to the mainstream political parties.
"The harsh truth is we are in danger of losing touch with the public on race, immigration and multiculturalism."