The National Front in English Politics
The NF was the latest in a long line of extreme right political movements which can be traced back to the BBL in the early years of the present century, through the various Fascist and Nazi movements of the interwar period and to the NF’s immediate predecessors, the LEL, BNP, NSM and GBM. Unlike most earlier movements, the NF was not content to remain on the fringes of the political system and made a sustained effort to contest elections and win popular support. It was encouraged to do this because, in 1972–73, it won some support among whites who were concerned over the admission of Ugandan Asian refugees into Britain. The circumstances in which this took place were almost exactly those described by Lipset and Raab1 as being characteristic of the emergence of extreme right groups in the United States. Many members of a ‘dominant’ group, the ‘white’ English, felt ‘threatened’ by a new group, the ‘coloured’ English or coloured immigrants, who, it was thought, were variously destroying their cultural and national uniqueness, or competing unfairly for resources, particularly employment and housing. The depth of feeling among whites, as Studlar2 has shown, varied little between the late 1950s, when the opinion polls first began asking questions about the ‘race’ issue, and the mid-1970s.
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