Daniel Trilling has produced an exceptional piece of research which looks at the the rise of the fascist British National Party (BNP) and other far right trends, such as the English Defence League (EDL). Almost uniquely among such accounts, Trilling thoroughly debunks the myths propagated by the mainstream media: that an excess of immigration and the "failure" of multiculturalism drove the rise in the BNP's support, that supporters of the far-right are not racist but have legitimate grievances which should be taken up by mainstream politicians. Rather, Trilling spells out how "tough talk" and reactionary policies, and especially Islamophobia, pursued by Labour, Tory and the Lib Dems alike, have legitimised the extremism of the far-right.
While the book omits a thorough discussion of anti-fascism in the present day, implicit in its argument (particularly the discussion of the defeat of the National Front in the late '70s and early '80s) is the understanding that the far-right can only be defeated by a combination of grassroots organisation, militant confrontation when fascists mobilise, and the articulation of a progressive alternative to the mainstream consensus of cuts and scapegoating, an alternative that must exist not simply at the ballot box but on the streets and in strikes. Trilling is at pains to point out that the threat of the far-right has not receded (witness the mobilisations by the racist EDL in recent years) and that the idea that "it couldn't happen here" is a dangerously complacent position in the midst of a global economic crisis: The rise of the openly fascist Golden Dawn, from less than 1 percent in the polls to the third-highest polling party in Greece in less than a year, should be warning enough of that.
Based on years of research and reporting on the far-right for the New Statesman magazine, Trilling's book is an essential read for anti-fascists, activists and academics alike.