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Far right electoral and other activity: the challenge for community cohesion

March 2011


Type of publication: Reports

Theme: Preventing extremism, Tension monitoring / community safety / conflict resolution

The Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo) has consistently scrutinised support for far right movements in order to stay abreast of community tensions and as a measure of the way people think about diversity – the far right remains implacably opposed to a Britain based upon multiple heritages.

The Institute’s principal focus has been on UK elections where parties such as the British National Party (BNP) have enjoyed growing success over the last ten years. While much of the far right’s activities fall within the democratic framework, they inevitably stir up hatred towards minorities, with little concern for the fear and divisions that develop within and between communities. The legitimate far right parties are also often accompanied by an illegal fringe element whose activities are often of a criminal nature and cause even greater concern in communities.

However, in the last year or so, the English Defence League (EDL) has become very active and with a particular focus on the Muslim community. The EDL has little interest, as yet, in electoral activity and rather concentrates on protesting and campaigning at street level. In this sense, they are a much bigger threat to community harmony and create a high level of fear and anxiety in minority communities, especially amongst Muslims.

We therefore have to think about the far right in broader terms: how we measure their support and how we respond to the challenge they pose to community cohesion.


Far right electoral and other activity: the challenge for community cohesion [876 KB]