Rallying intolerance in the valleys: Explaining support for the extreme right in Wales

Goodwin, Matthew J. and Harris, Gareth (2013) Rallying intolerance in the valleys: Explaining support for the extreme right in Wales. British Politics, 8 (4). pp. 433-456. ISSN 1746-918X. E-ISSN 1746-9198. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1057/bp.2013.7) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://doi.org/10.1057/bp.2013.7

Abstract

Until its decline at the 2012 elections, the British National Party (BNP) was the most electorally successful extreme right party in the United Kingdom. Yet, although the party’s electoral growth in England has attracted attention, individual and contextual drivers of BNP support in other areas – namely, Wales – have been ignored. The lack of research is puzzling, given that the party has actively campaigned beyond England and attracted some support for its ethnic nationalism amidst a resurgence of support for Welsh nationalism. Drawing on a range of data, we examine the socio-economic, political and demographic drivers of BNP support in Wales. At the aggregate level, we find the party performs strongest in economically insecure and urban areas that have large social housing sectors, high deprivation rates, low education levels, large numbers of residents in precarious occupations, and which have experienced the largest increases in unemployment rates since the onset of the financial crisis. Politically, our findings suggest that the BNP has also rallied votes in areas where turnout is low, and where support for Labour has traditionally been strong. Individual-level analysis of ‘core’ and ‘soft’ supporters reveals that although they share a similar profile – less-well educated and middle-aged men who tend to be skilled workers – soft sympathy appears more widespread among women and younger citizens. Foremost, and despite a broader context of comparatively low migration and ethnic diversity rates in Wales, both groups of supporters are driven to the extreme right by concerns over immigration, which appear to be tied strongly to broader feelings of political abandonment. In contrast to results in England, our findings suggest that immigration-related concerns do not stem from the actual presence or proximity of immigrant and/or minority groups. Rather, it appears that structural economic disadvantage, political disenchantment and the perceived negative impact of immigration provide a more convincing explanation for the limited electoral appeal of the extreme right in Wales.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Matthew Goodwin
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 13:08 UTC
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2016 12:16 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/54384 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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