Socialist Worker

Leaked membership list reveals middle class base of the fascist BNP

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2129

Looking at where the people on the British National Party (BNP) list live – and the kinds of jobs they do – tells us a lot about the nature of their support.

In some areas where the BNP has done well electorally, there are relatively high numbers of supporters.

So, Lancashire has 861 names on the list. West Yorkshire has 858. Yorkshire as a whole has more than 1,600 BNP supporters, including 164 in Kirklees, 190 in Bradford and more than 100 each in Barnsley, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Essex is up there with 670-odd names, including 73 in Barking and Dagenham.

Those on the list are slightly more likely to be in areas that have either average or above-average levels of deprivation.

However, despite the fact that 22 percent of those on the list live in areas with above-average deprivation, some 16 percent live in well off areas.

So there are more supporters on the list who live in Surrey than in Birmingham – 192 compared to 187.

The West Midlands as a whole has more than 580 – suggesting the Nazis can build bases on the outskirts of big cities and in small towns.

Immigration

The BNP list contradicts the idea that supporters live in areas with high levels of immigration.

Only 5 percent of people on the list live in areas classified as having higher than average Asian populations, and just 2 percent in areas with higher than average African-Caribbean communities.

Some 18 percent of supporters on the list come from traditionally working class white areas.

About a quarter of the 2,166 postal districts on the list had only one member. Only 20 had 30 or more.

The postcode with the highest number people on the list, with 48, is NG16 – in north west Nottingham.

This is not a particular wealthy area although it does have higher levels of employment and income than the regional or national average.

Backing up the general trend, it also has a lower number of ethnic minority residents than either the East Midlands or UK average.

There are 285 members in Nottinghamshire overall with 52 of them being women. There are three BNP councillors.

In total Leeds has 263 on the list – but they are not spread evenly across the city.

Multicultural

In Chapeltown, one of the most multicultural parts of Leeds, there is no one on the BNP list. In Harehills, another multicultural area, there are four.

However in the more leafy, predominantly white suburbs the numbers grow.

The parliamentary constituency with the most people on the list is the Leeds constituency of Morley & Rothwell – with 90 names.

Morley has around 10 percent more people in work than the rest of Leeds, and has significantly fewer people from ethnic minorities.

The current Morley & Rothwell constituency has been redrawn and will be known as Morley & Outwood at the next election. Schools Secretary Ed Balls will contest it at the next election.

While there is a high proportion of retired people on the list, it is difficult to tell how many younger people are supporters of the BNP.

This is partially due to the habit of the BNP patriarchs signing up their entire families for membership, which slightly skews the figures. There are at least ten students identified on the list.

The list contains four former Labour councillors, 11 former Tory councillors and two former Green candidates.

Descriptions next to the names gives a snapshot of the kind of people who back the party.

In Surrey, for instance, someone is described as a “retired accountant. Fellow of Inst of Chartered Accountants/ Management Accountants. MA (Oxon). Hobbies: military history, ethnology/anthropology, carpentry/cabinet-making. Ex-serviceman & TA Capt. Former district councillor. Letter writer”.

In Gloucestershire there is a “Business owner (antiquities). Public speaker. Has two suits of 14th- & 15th-century armour and can joust for rallies”.

There are over 110 “ex-servicemen” and 16 serving soldiers. Over 20 are described as former members of the police and Territorial Army.

There are another 25 working in “security”, from doormen to close personal protection.

Witches

The list includes five current civil servants, 15 teachers, several ministers of religion (not counting the two witches) and a columnist with the Tory magazine the Spectator.

It is possible to draw some conclusions from the descriptions.

For instance, there is a remarkable preponderance of company and shop owners on the list.

If we add publicans to this group, we get 13 percent of the list making up what Marxists describe as “petty bourgeois” or the middle class.

In addition 7 percent are managers and 9 percent are professionals – on a narrow definition, including occupations like accountant and solicitor.

The chart doesn’t offer a full view of the type of occupation that people on the BNP list have, but it does provide an indication of the social makeup of those who sign up to the Nazis.

While there are people on the list from all types of jobs it is notable that the most significant groups are from the middle classes.


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