BBC: Viewpoint – What are BNP supporters really like?

When I asked Sharon why, despite all of these consequences, she carries on there was little hesitation: “Because doing nothing is not an option. I am fighting for the survival of my people.”

Many people believe the far right has only irrational, isolated supporters and could never succeed in the UK. They’re wrong, says Matthew Goodwin.

About seven years ago, when I was a PhD student, I got into my clapped out Nissan Micra and trundled down to the south-west of England to interview a lady about why she had got involved in politics.

Sharon was in her early 50s, and reminded me a bit of my mum. Over the next few hours and cups of tea, I listened to her story.

Sharon was born and raised in the local village. She knew everyone, and devoted much of her spare time to helping the Residents Association. She was never really that interested in politics. Her husband was a Conservative, but she only went along to the meetings because she liked the sandwiches.

But then, over the years, things began to change. For Sharon, it seemed as though the way of life she had become accustomed to was under threat.

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