Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alistair Clark
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In recent years, small political parties have considerably increased their representation in British political institutions, particularly, but not exclusively, in local government. Understanding these parties is important since they play a key role in setting the boundaries of debate through the often radical demands they make on the political system. This article therefore assesses the trajectory and ideological underpinnings of two of the most controversial of these small parties, the British National Party (BNP) and Respect. At first glance, both parties would appear to be diametrically opposed. It is however commonplace in the European literature on minor parties to acknowledge similarities as well as differences between parties on the political fringes. This article will therefore argue that a number of similarities can be identified between the BNP and Respect, albeit similarities not necessarily found on the left–right or material-post-material divides. It goes on to examine the implications of this for our understanding of radical minor parties and in particular draws out the ‘populist’ nature of their approach to politics, before proceeding to highlight the limitations of such a strategy.
Author(s): Clark A, Bottom K, Copus C
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: British Politics
ISSN (print): 1746-918X
ISSN (electronic): 1746-9198
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
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