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British people fear fascism is spreading across the world in wake of Donald Trump victory, poll finds

Exclusive: study shows half of Britons believe fascist views are on the rise in the US, UK and Europe

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Sunday 01 January 2017 01:07 GMT
An English Defence League (EDL) march in central London, 2013
An English Defence League (EDL) march in central London, 2013 (Getty)

A deep-seated fear of the rise of global fascism has taken hold of the British public in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory, Brexit and the spectre of the far-right in mainland Europe, an exclusive survey for The Independent has revealed.

The study by BMG Research showed that a majority of British people now believe the dark shadow of fascism is spreading across the Unites States following Mr Trump’s shock win in November.

It also revealed showed that most people think the number of individuals holding fascist views is increasing in the UK and on the continent as well.

There were surges of hate crime in the US following Mr Trump’s victory and in the UK after the Brexit vote, not to mention the brutal murder of MP Jo Cox by a man with far-right links.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd also recently proscribed a far-right organisation for the first time in the UK, making membership a criminal offence.

BMG pollsters asked participants whether they thought "the number of people with fascist views in the United States of America is increasing, decreasing or about the same?"

Protests against the release from internment of Oswald Mosley in 1943 (Getty)

A majority of 53 per cent said they believed it is growing, just three per cent said they thought the number of people is decreasing, while 20 per cent said it is about the same.

When the same question was put in relation to the UK almost half, some 46 per cent, said they believe the number of people with fascist views in Britain is growing, with three per cent saying it is decreasing and around a third believing it is about the same.

Looking at Europe the figures were broadly similar, with 48 per cent saying they believe the number of people with fascist views is growing.

BMG Research Director Dr Michael Turner said: "With age comes experience, which may explain why our polling shows that it's older Britons who are most likely to feel that fascist views are on the rise, particularly in Europe."

He added: "Remainers are much more likely than Leavers to feel that fascist views are increasing at home. Around six in ten, 59 per cent, of those who voted to stay in the EU feel that fascism is on the rise in the UK, whereas just four in ten Leavers, 41 per cent, feel the same.

"However, both Remainers and Leavers are much more united on the view that fascism is rising on the continent, with some 57 per cent of Remainers and 52 per cent of Leavers saying so in our latest poll for The Independent."

Findings from the Southern Poverty Law Centre showed some 900 incidents of hate crime occurred in the US in the 10 days following the Mr Tump’s shock victory. In Michigan alone hate crime increased by a factor of 65 after Mr Trump’s win.

The President-elect was endorsed by the Ku Klux Clan and has been forced to defend his chief aide Steve Bannon, founder of the right-wing Breitbart media organisation, against claims of racism and anti-Semitism.

At a conference of white supremacists in November, people chanted 'hail Trump' while performing Nazi salutes.

In December British neo-Nazi group National Action became the first far-right organisation to be banned by Home Secretary Amber Rudd under terror laws.

Last month neo-Nazi killer Thomas Mair was handed a life sentence after murdering Labour MP Jo Cox at the height of the UK’s EU referendum campaign.

Thomas Mair jailed for life for the murder of MP Jo Cox

Official Home Office statistics have, as in the US, revealed an equally worrying hate-crime spike in the UK since the vote to quit the European Union.

In July there was a 41 per cent increase in the number of racially or religiously aggravated crimes recorded by police.

They correlated with earlier figures which showed the number of alleged racially or religiously aggravated offences rose by 58 per cent in the week following the June Brexit vote.

In 2017 elections in France, Germany and Holland are expected to see far-right parties make stronger bids for power than at any moment in recent history.

In March Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom is expected to challenge mainstream groups in the Netherlands, while Marine Le Pen is expected to make it to the second round of voting in the French presidential elections later in the year.

The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party is expected to gain seats in parliament for the first time when the country goes to the polls in 2017.

Source Note: BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,507 UK adults online between 1st & 5th December. Data are weighted. BMG are members of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules. More details at

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