A report from The Times

Austerity Britain: Why the far right is finding converts in Barnsley

Outside a large, modern pub on the edge of Barnsley, penned in by police, 150 demonstrators chant “Nazi scum off our streets” and “String ‘em up like Mussolini”. Inside, Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, is whipping up 300 white, working-class supporters — men and women, young and old — with a speech tailor-made for these days of deepening recession, rising unemployment and profound disillusion with expenses-fiddling mainstream politicians.

“This country is full. It's time to shut the doors and look after our own people,” he declares from a platform adorned with a huge Union Jack. Britain should leave the European Union so it can stop the “huge swamping wave of mass immigration from places like Poland which has put hundreds of thousands of our people out of a job.” Instead of bailing out “greedy, corrupt, incompetent banks”, Westminster's “scumbag, thieving politicians” should be using those billions to rebuild British industry.

Mr Griffin expresses sympathy for the 1984 miners strike, triggered by the closure of the Cortonwood colliery in Barnsley. He denounces the Government's privatisation programme. He accuses Labour of crushing ordinary people to ensure maximum profit for its corporate financiers. “It has sold out,” he thunders. “The old Labour Party is dead. Long live the new party for British workers — the BNP.”

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