The East London borough of Barking and Dagenham is witnessing a frenzy of election campaigning. At stake is the rise of the BNP, the British Nationalist Party. In an area synonymous with immigrants, including many from Pakistan, the rise of a fascist party whose manifesto includes the promise to repatriate non-white immigrants; one would easily jump to conclude that immigration explains the BNP’s rise.
However, a recent study published by the Institute of Public Policy Research argues that exclusion and marginalization from wider society, rather than immigration explains the raise of the BNP. The paper argues that socially resilient towns, who are able to withstand changes due to immigration, unemployment or unexpected events display features evident in areas with high levels of interaction. There is great communication between members of the community or unlike each other ethnically, linguistically, religiously, economically etc.
Similar studies conducted on the basis of the 2008 United States election results finds that in states such as Kansas, Kentucky and Arkansas where community members were ethnically, financially and educationally similar were more conservative and unlikely to vote for a black presidential candidate. Members of such communities had little or no interaction with people dissimilar to themselves.