If the past few years are anything to go by the it is highly likely that the BNP will target wards with large numbers of disadvantaged, white working class families and under-performing children in the run up to this May's London Assembly and local council elections.
The disturbing truth is that raising such issues in particular wards in particular parts of Britain could well be fertile ground for the BNP. As a group, white working class boys are falling further behind their black and Asian classmates in public examinations. White British boys from poor families perform worse at GCSE than almost any other racial group. Official figures show that only 24% of those entitled to free school meals gained five or more good GCSEs last year, compared with 65% of the poorest Chinese boys and 48% of poor Indian and Bangladeshi boys. Some recent research by Manchester University has confirmed that poor white pupils really are losing out in the battle for funding. The research centred on a detailed case study in an unnamed, deprived inner-city, which received a "disproportionate" level of funding to tackle inequality. Money was being targeted at pupils with English as an additional language, but "white learners from highly disadvantaged backgrounds were reportedly often overlooked", the report said. One local authority officer told researchers that other much more disadvantaged white areas were losing out because, "white poverty and underachievement aren't as headline grabbing or sexy".
In the past three years, the proportion of poor white British boys attaining top-grade GCSEs has risen by 7% yet the proportion of impoverished boys from other ethnic groups reaching the same target has risen faster. For example, the number of poor Bangladeshi boys achieving five top grades rose by more than 12% while for Pakistani boys results rose by almost 10%. Black Caribbean and black African boys improved their scores by more than 9%. The Manchester research has revealed that poor white children may also be losing out because they are not playing the admissions system. "A trend found especially in white working-class areas was for parents to send their children to the local school, even where it had been branded a 'failing' school," the report said. What is striking, looking at the figures, is the fact that this is not just about being poor. While poverty makes little difference to the achievements at school of some groups, it makes a huge difference to white British children - and particularly to boys.
One reason for the recent growth in support for the British National Party in some parts of the country has been its ability to respond to and exploit genuine local grievances. They often have success on the "forgotten" white areas, where people feel no one is listening to them. It is also true to say that the BNP often finds support in a context of significant problems: high unemployment, deprivation, lack of educational achievement, high crime rates, drugs, and people of different ethnic backgrounds living apparently separate lives which encourages the growth of myths and rumour
The BNP tactic will be to use this information to focus on people who traditionally have voted for the Labour party but who know feel neglected and ignored by the present and previous Labour governments. What some people in our movement are finally waking up to is that many of Britain’s tradition white working class communities feel that at election time they have only two places they can go. One is not to vote, the other is to vote for the far right.