Support for far-right organizations such as the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL) is at its lowest for two decades despite factors such as Islamic Extremism dominating the news and the on-going debate about immigration, according to campaign group Hope Not Hate.
In its annual report, Hope Not Hate surveyed 24 different groups, ranging from well-known outfits such as the BNP and EDL to smaller organizations like the fascist Racial Volunteer Force, which boasts a membership of 25 and describes itself as an organization dedicated to “preserving the Aryan race”.
The report found that despite “favourable” conditions such as the 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in southeast London and the shocking abuse of young white girls by mostly Pakistani men in Rotherham, there has been a gradual decline in the visibility and impact of far right groups, attributing it to factionalism and in-fighting within the organizations.
The introduction to the report states: “Despite these favourable circumstances, none of the groups was able to capitalise. They all had their demonstrations but they were relatively poorly attended and were overshadowed by violence as the various groups fought out their personal and political differences.”
The BNP which once boasted 58 councillors and two Members of the European Parliament (MEP) currently has two councillors and no MEP’s and has been in gradual decline since its leader Nick Griffin was sacked for allegedly trying to cause “disunity” within the party.
Meanwhile, the EDL, the report said, had the total support of “only about 200 – 400 people”.
Hope Not Hate also states that the decline in far right groups is partly due to the rise of the UK Independence Party, which it said was “not strictly a far-right” organization.
The report states that UKIP has, in recent months, managed to attract those voters who had previously allied themselves to the likes of the BNP and EDL.
However, the report warns that amid the general decline, a small but committed fringe of very young people are being drawn to extremist views, raising the risk of a “lone-wolf” attack.