Almost half of voters could back a far-right political party that did not promote violence and nearly two-thirds of white Britons say immigration was bad for the UK, a survey has found.
A significant minority want immigration to the UK halted until the economy recovers
According to the poll, 63% of white Britons, 43% of British Asians and 17% of black Britons believe immigration has been a bad thing for Britain.
But it is British Asians who are most likely to say it should be halted – at least until the economy is back on track.
This view was supported by 38% of the British Asians polled, 34% of white Britons and 21% of black Britons.
The political class has been warned.
Labour MP Jon Cruddas
Overall, just over half (52%) agreed with the statement “Muslims create problems in the UK” and just under half (48%) would consider supporting a far-right party if it did not promote “facist imagery” or violence.
The Searchlight Educational Trust said the report “paints a disturbing picture of our attitudes towards each other and the unknown”.
It “throws down a challenge” to mainstream political parties to better understand what is happening in the body politic, the Trust said, warning “dangers” lie ahead if these issues are not addressed.
While director Nick Lowles said there were positive findings – for example young people are more open to living in an ethnically diverse society – anti-extremism campaigners have “nowhere to hide”.
Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas says a new language of identity needed
“The harsh truth is we are in danger of losing touch with the public on race, immigration and multiculturalism,” he added.
Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham who has campaigned against the British National Party, wrote the forward to the report, entitled Fear And Hope – The New Politics Of Identity.
“Put simply, unless political parties step up and provide a new language of material well-being, of identity and belonging, then these political forces might refract into more malign forms,” he wrote.
“As such, the political class has been warned.”
Prime Minister David Cameron recently gave a speech criticising “state multiculturalism” and calling for the UK to have a stronger national identity and take a tougher stance against Islamic extremism.