The Extreme Right in English Politics, 1902–67

  • Stan Taylor


The term ‘extreme’ refers to location on the outer boundaries of a scale or series of scales. Lipset and Raab1 suggest that ‘extreme’, as opposed to non-extreme, political groups in the Western democracies may be defined as those whose ideologies can be classified by a common location on four scales. Firstly, the extent to which ideologies are ‘monistic’, or ‘pluralistic’. The former involve the notion that there are fundamental ‘truths’ about man and his environment which do not admit to question. Doctrines which advance other ‘truths’ or make no claim to the existence of ‘truths’ are pernicious and wrong. ‘Pluralistic’ ideologies are based upon an acceptance, indeed an encouragement, of diversity of values, and no claim is made to absolute truth. Cleavage and ambivalence in society are regarded as legitimate in ‘pluralist’ ideologies, but as illegitimate and unacceptable in ‘monist’ ones. The second criterion is whether or not the ideology is ‘simpliste’ or ‘complex’, whether complex phenomena are ascribed to single causes and single remedies advanced, or involve a more sophisticated, multifactoral approach. The relationship between this and the third scale, the extent to which the ideology is ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘discriminatory’ in moral terms, should be obvious.


Race Relation Local Election Union Movement Conservative Party Electoral Support 
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© Stan Taylor 1982

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  • Stan Taylor

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