Immigration Poll

The Englishman points at a Guardian article on attitudes to race and immigration in Britain. Apparently, "Huge numbers of Britons would support an anti-immigration English nationalist party if it was not associated with violence and fascist imagery", according to a new poll.

Taken at face value, that supports the claim I made recently, that "if fascism had appeared twenty years ago, without the baggage of history, it would now be popular enough across Europe that it would probably have taken over most of it".

It is also, in practical terms, meaningless. Any anti-immigration party is automatically associated with violence and fascist imagery, whatever the views of its founders and supporters, so there is no possibility of such a party becoming genuinely popular.

Taking any opinion poll at face value, however, is unwise. This poll was commissioned by Searchlight Educational Trust, and is the basis of a report to be published in full tomorrow. Whether the report's primary aim is to directly discredit anti-immigrationists, or else to rally support to the anti-fascist cause, is not immediately clear. It may become more obvious when the report is published.

Incidentally, the language of the summary is revealing; Searchlight is nominally anti-fascist, but it highlights as dangerous the finding that 48% of the population would support a non-fascist anti-immigration party. If they were genuinely anti-fascist, rather than just pro-immigration, that would be good news.