The think-tank Demos have published a report into the English Defence League.
There report is here. They say:
While leaders of the EDL claim they are a pluralistic, liberal movement that is fighting Islamic extremism, chants heard at demonstrations and the vitriol frequently posted on the EDL’s chat forums suggest otherwise. It is in this context that we have undertaken the first ever large-scale empirical study of the EDL, which comprises responses from 1,295 sympathisers and supporters, and includes data on their demographics, involvement in EDL activity, political attitudes and social views. The results show that, although the EDL is usually understood as an anti-Islamic or anti-Islamist demonstrating group, the reality is more complex.
Supporters are characterised by intense pessimism about the UK’s future, worries about immigration and joblessness. This is often mixed with a proactive pride in Britain, British history and British values, which they see as being under attack from Islam. Although their demonstrations have often involved violence and racist chants, many members are democrats who are committed to peaceful protest and other forms of activism.
That sounds about right to me.
The report also destroys the myth that EDL people have usually defected from the left; in fact most have right-wing sympathies:
Who would they vote for?
BNP – 34% (public: 2%)
UKIP – 14% (3%)
Conservative – 14% (36%)
Labour – 9% (29%)
Lib Dem – 3% (23%)
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Filed in: Race politics