There is no bounce, but no room for com­pla­cency

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - PETER KELL­NER

that he was now a friend of the Jews who be­lieved in the Holo­caust and backed Is­rael’s ac­tions in Gaza. By a mar­gin of five to one, the Bri­tish pub­lic re­gard him as “still at heart a Holo­caust de­nier”, rather than as some­one who “has gen­uinely changed his mind”. And just over half the elec­torate think Jews would “have rea­son to be fear­ful” if the BNP gained sig­nif­i­cantly in strength.

It is not sur­pris­ing that more peo­ple, 72 per cent, think Mus­lims would have rea­son to be fear­ful, for Grif­fin has fre­quently pro­claimed his hos­til­ity to Is­lam. But the fact that so many also con­sider him hos­tile to Jews shows that, for most peo­ple, his at­tempts to present a more nu­anced face of the pathol­ogy of prej­u­dice have fallen flat.

We should not, how­ever, be com­pla­cent. Far more peo­ple sym­pa­thise with large parts of the BNP’s po­lit­i­cal agenda than would ever vote for the party. Im­mi­gra­tion is not pop­u­lar, and YouGov re­search has found that mil­lions share the view that white Bri­tons have been let down by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments. The BNP brand is tainted, but some of the BNP’s causes strike a chord with many.

Which is why YouGov’s fig­ures should pro­voke only guarded op­ti­mism. For the BNP to “suc­ceed” — that is, to be­come a se­ri­ous, di­vi­sive force at the heart of Bri­tish pol­i­tics — it does not have to win ma­jor­ity ap­proval. It sim­ply has to crank up its sup­port from the two to four per cent it nor­mally en­joys, to, say, 10 per cent — the kind of fig­ure fre­quently achieved by far right par­ties on the Con­ti­nent. It is just pos­si­ble that Nick Grif­fin took a small step to­wards achiev­ing this goal, even as he made the great ma­jor­ity of view­ers loathe him more in­tensely than ever. Peter Kell­ner is Pres­i­dent of YouGov

NICK GRIF­FIN FAILED in his at­tempts on

Ques­tion Time last week to per­suade the Bri­tish pub­lic

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