Toxic Politics Shake Up British Parties

Stephen Castle, New York Times, May 21, 2009

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Here in northwest England, disenchantment could deliver a first European Parliament seat to the British National Party, a fierce critic of Islam that wants to pay non-Britons to leave the country, clamp down on immigration, restore capital punishment and take Britain out of the European Union and NATO.

{snip} In France, Greece and Germany the far-left is gaining ground, while in the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium, nationalist, anti-immigration, and anti-Muslim parties have the chance to prosper.

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Over lunch in a Carlisle pub he even suggested that a western economic and energy crisis might bring the far-right into government. “The horrible possibility is that one comes to power elected to solve a totally unsolvable problem,” [Nick Griffin] said.

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On the other hand, a good showing in the European elections would bring the B.N.P. closer to respectability, giving it more access to the news media, and funding–“a totally different ball game,” Dr. Goodwin [Matthew Goodwin, research fellow at Manchester University] said.

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