Current Affairs Politics

YouGov Poll: 33% Of British Voters Support Radical Right Parties

A new survey of 5,420 voters in the United Kingdom carried out by the well-known polling company YouGov on behalf of Hope Not Hate, the anti-racism organisation, has shown soaring levels of support for hard-right and far-right parties in the country. While UKIP, the electoral standard bearer of radical British nationalism in the early 2000s, has seen a fall in popularity to just 5% this drop has been offset by the rise of Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party (BP), which now stands at 28%. The Faragists are expected to become the UK’s primary anti-European Union grouping in forthcoming elections to the European Parliament, drawing dissatisfied voters not just from the fringe UKIP base but from the mainstream Conservative and Labour parties too.

So far, the polling evidence points to significant levels of support for radical right politics in the north, south-west and south-east of England (for instance, in the South-West region the combined Brexit Party and UKIP percentages are greater than the combined percentages for the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem parties which is a surprising outcome in the usual triopoly of British national politics). That support for Nigel Farage and his coteries of hard Brexiteers is likely to grow, with predictions that a low turn out by voters in the European parliamentary elections and a lack of campaigning by disgruntled elements of the Conservative Party in key constituencies could play into the hands of the BP and maybe even UKIP if things truly hit rock bottom for the centre ground of UK politics.

However with its poll numbers falling, UKIP and its controversial leader Gerard Batten are probably placing greater faith in upcoming local government and mayoral elections in most of England, hoping that the party’s large slate of 1.400 candidates might bolster its fortunes. Which is not entirely outside the bounds of possibility in some of UKIP’s former north-eastern and south-western strongholds of England. Either way, it seems likely that the post-elections landscape in May will be dominated by acrimonious discussion and debate about the successful rise of the British populist right across England and Wales, even if it is the polls for Brussels that will be dominating the conversation.

25 comments on “YouGov Poll: 33% Of British Voters Support Radical Right Parties

  1. The Brexit Party has paid supporters not party members. Makes it easier to disown them if they come out with something racist. Nigel has learned from the mistakes of the past with UKIP. I would not want to be English when you look what you have to choose from.

    • True. BP has already gone through a rash of candidates, dumping the dodge ones as soon as something hits the media, so Farage is not messing about this time. UKIP are the ones looking proper looper by comparison. He’s determined to make a go of this though I’m surprised he didn’t try to get into the local elections as well.

    • I would absolutely hate to be English or even living in England at this point. And let’s face it, many to most of us are separated from the people of Irish origins living in England by random, dumb, blind, stupid, luck if ever there was such a thing. Sometimes it was as random as the Michael Herr accounts of the stupid things that differentiated who lived and died in war-or more so.

      I suppose this situation is particularly devastating because they have this system where if one party doesn’t have a majority a coalition has to be formed for them to form a government. (Bizarre system.) And than that group pretty much gets everything except the opportunity to grill and interrogate the Prime Minister during the whole “Questions Time”.

      Looking at even the Irish government is seems to have a lot of Semi-Presidential-like features, despite being classed as a Parliamentary Republic. Just the fact, you have the whole Dail vote for An Taoiseach, goes a long, long way to avoiding much of the insanity associated with the Westminster winner-take-all way of doing things. And even if The Irish President lacks many of the powers of a true Semi-Presidential one like that of France, Poland or some African and South American countries, I’d have to say the role is much, much better written out than it is in any other Parliamentary Republic I can think of.

      The President of most of the other Parliamentary Republics seems to be just a gutted, castrated and denervated, and lobotomized elected-Constitution Monarch with the offices hands tied behind its back. At least DeValera and Co. did a much better job of creating a sort of “referee” role.

      Anther thing that makes me feel a bit sorry of The English is the fact they are now the largest nation in Europe without their own Parilament- It sort of sucks.

      • Thankfully our PR STV system of elections has served us very well combined with a parliamentary system and guarantors in terms of the presidency and Supreme Court. A written if evolving constitution is the key here as well.

        The UK FPTP system of elections is awful and gives skewed results or pushes down smaller or new parties in favour of the bigger and long-established. And purposefuly so.

        I quite agree. England needs devolved or “national” government and representation. The problem is, the UK is England and England is the UK. The rest are just add-ons. Or accrued territories as London argued at the time of the Scottish independence referendum.

        • I understand that the history of England is not equivalent to that of Scotland, Wales, or above all Northern Ireland (or even the whole Ireland when it was labeled as “one of the four nations”). When it comes right down to it……does that mean the English should be denied their own government for all times? (I’m assuming they’d want a Parliament rather than a Congress, Assembly, Council, Diet, “Think” or something else, but I’ve been wrong before.)

          I don’t think it does justify eternally denying English people a government. If anything that seems like the kind of punishment that doesn’t fit the crime, but could prevent the nation from changing.

          There are other related things. Like listening to arguments for keeping or getting rid of the monarchy and one thing that comes up repeatedly is “The Monarchy brings in tourists.” Not only am I skeptical of that (I know a lot of people who’ve traveled to Britain, but Buckingham and the Royals aren’t usually a major reason.), but I think it would be an immense drag to have “tourist dollars” as a major argument for sticking with the status quo. Maybe there are arguments for keeping the monarchy I don’t appreciate, but tourist money as one of them? That just sucks!!!! I’d be mad at the world if that was my country.

          There seem to be a lot of bizarre rules against what the English can and can’t do based on the history. I saw something about how celebrating St. George’s Day (a lot of countries honor St George!!!) as England’s Patron Saint is considered a politically incorrect no-no……but compared to a lot of things that DO go unchallenged? It struck me as both uneven and unfair.

          • I agree that England should have its own parliament. But again, in effect, that parliament already exists and is called the House of Commons. Giving England a parliament and government sitting in London raises all sorts of constitutional complications. Which is why the UK political mainstream avoids it.

            The UK is England writ large, everyone else is just along for the ride 😉

            • Would one solution be to put any English Govt outside of London? Perhaps in a city like York? Leeds? Manchester? Ok maybe not Manchester giving the football team it’s associated with. But you get the idea.

              • Probably. I have heard of cities in the midlands and north of England being suggested as a capital, as well as references to Winchester (for historical reasons). All these seem unlikely. London would be the big contender and the politicos would be loath to leave it. Arguably, of course, the capital of the UK is sorta-kinda the City of Westminster, which is within London. So London could be the English capital. But I’m not sure that many would appreciate the difference.

            • It would seem to me that putting an English government in or too near The UK government in London would half defeat the purpose. And it would intensify the problem of any such project competing with The UK govt.

              It seems obvious to me that for England to get the fresh start she desperately needs at this point, that the project would have to have a meaningful physical distance from London and its establishment.

              I also assumed that it would be populated by a different “crowd” of English politicians, from The London establishment. That you’d get a strong majority who were not privately educated and very few who have aristocratic titles-or what they call “posh accents”.

              Otherwise I don’t see how it can really provide for much more than a redundancy.

      • Well…..I just wrote down my own views on PR further down. That’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about is an extremely low opinion of “Westminster Model” Parliamentary systems no matter how they are elected. I personally believe that Presidential and semi-Presidential governments are generally better choices.

        The Irish Republic despite being classed as a Parliamentary country, has a number of features that make it resemble and behave like a semi-Presidential and/or like its own unique system much of the time. This particularly regards the nomination process for Taoiseach and a President with the right to act like a real referee. Most other former British colonies, sadly copied Westminster considerably more than Ireland did.

        If Britain were to adopt a an electoral system like yours tomorrow, it would not change the fact that small regional parties like The DUP, could be empowered to utterly dominate larger parties likeThe Tories to the point where they are dancing to a choreographed beat as The DUP orders all the music. That has to do with The Winner-take-all nature of their Parliamentary procedure, not the electoral piece. Indeed your STV system could make the situation with small extremist British parties even worse than it already is.

        I support the right of smaller parties to have their seats at the legislatures, and if the demand exists for them to grow and evolve into larger more established parties. What I not only oppose, but find absolutely horrifying is that a tiny, extremist, regional party can get away with what the DUP has.

  2. EU elections flatter such right wing parties as the PR system of voting is used while in the UK straight past the post system is the norm which acts to help divide the right wing vote Farage tried 7 times to get elected as an MP for instance without success . There has always been a hard right element in UK politics, look at Mosley’s Black Shirts in the 1930’s for instance.

    • In terms of electoral politics it seems likely on the basis of this poll that the Faragists will out perform the BNP and UKIP spikes of the last two decades. But you’re probably correct that this won’t translate to Westminster elections.

    • I think that’s a complex argument Paddy T. I know Mr. Seamus here is a huge proponent of PR.

      My issue is that a wide variety of set-ups are classed under the label PR. In my book they aren’t all even remotely created equal.

      Closed list Party Lists like the Israeli Knesset strike me as absolutely ridiculous. It seems to give too much power to party leaderships. I don’t like it.

      I suppose an open list system can work well for some smaller countries, with very high levels of social cohesion and few extremist or fanatic elements.

      Otherwise I think the three best options would be:

      1) Constituencies with an Alternative Voting/RCV system (much like how The Irish President is elected.)

      2) Pooled Constituencies of 2 or MAYBE 3 candidates elected by STV. Much like The Dail but I think it’s optimal to have 2 candidates per district rather than 3-5 (or just one for that matter!!!). In these scenario some special regions might have only 1 or maybe 3 or even more. In this case geographic realities or special situations associated with a particular community.

      3) For some national contexts it might make sense to combined options 1 or 2, with an open or semi-open party list. Possibly with earmarked positions for women or ethnic/religious minorities in the list system. Pakistan has single member constituencies combined with 70 part list seats for women and minorities. In Mexico’s “Camara de Diputados” or their lower house they have a mix of single member constituencies and national PR lists. I was just talking to some Mexican feminists who DO want the PR lists to have large quotas for women and for minority ethnic groups.

  3. Which part of crapping all over the white working class for decades don’t you get? Tommy Robinson arose because the left failed. Oh, do an article on Vox.

  4. As the Brexit Party’s ONLY policy is to leave the EU without an agreement, it can’t really be called “radical right” – some of Corbyn’s tankie and Trot chums would go along with that. If it stands at a general election as anything but a protest vote, it’ll have to come up with some actual verifiable policies, but until then it’s just the Monster Raving Farage Party.

    • Maybe but most of the candidates and a lot of the former Trots in the party fall to the right of the political spectrum, whether reactionary right or libertarian right.

      The Spiked crowd seem to be fans.

    • Single issue parties are notoriously problematic no-matter where they fall on the limited left vs right spectrum.

      Whether a “tankie” (pro-Stalin?) can be considered liberal is debateable at best. Theoretically a Stalinist argued for “left-winged” communism, but Stalinists were also authoritarians who didn’t believe much in human rights or any kind of freedom. I believe Stalin and the earlier Soviet Civil War were much like Trevelyan’s govt, also responsible for their own “Great Famines” in Russia and Ukraine.

      Trotskyism is also not necessarily as different from the far right, as some would have your believe.

      Indeed there is a very cogent argument that says colonialism and communism despite deploying different rationales for their actions, and falling on the “opposite” ends of an imperfect left-right spectrum were in fact very, very similar when it came to what they actually *did* when in power-in terms of authoritarianism, forced mismanagement, and a ghoulish history of terrible famines.

      I don’t trust either Communists and “Trots” for much the same reasons I don’t trust Laissez Faire capitalists and Ayn Rand disciplines. Both “pure” capitalism and socialism or communism are abstract models, that provide some utility for thinking about how society works, are also pared down simplification that no living and breathing society can actually conform to…..And trying to force societies to conform is predictably going to travel with authoritarianism, famine, and bizarre extremes.

  5. john cronin

    I do not think Farage or either of his parties can be described as “far right” but then an sionach seems to think all small c conservatives are “far right” UKIP’s dep leader Geoffrey Bloom was Jewish, he had black Asian and Irish members ad specifically banned ex BNPers from joining.

    • I think that UKIP most certainly has fallen into the far-right category, and long before its current leader. Its views are hardly distinguishable from those of parties in Europe that the British press habitually labels as far-right.

      As for the Brexit Party, it is certainly populist-right, and like its European counterparts it has the atypical members and representatives it can point to to obfuscate its true identity. Having a few ex-Trots around the place does not lessen its hard-right and regressive nationalist credentials.

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