Rushanara Ali, Labour PPC for Bethnal Green and Bow has argued for a political re-engagement with working class voters in order to combat the rise of the Far Right.
Speaking at the 'Challenging Extremism: What's fuelling the rise of the Far Right?' breakout session at the Fabians' New Year Conference, Ali explained that disillusionment with the political system is a significant factor in the rise of the BNP:
"The BNP win when mainstream political parties stop responding to people's anxieties and fears, stop knocking on doors and dealing with every day concerns and dilemmas. We must not forget that some people who voted for the far right are not hardcore racists - some are, but for the group of people who do feel voiceless, we can use the mainstream political process to bring them back and have the dialgoue and the debate with them."
Ali argued that we must work harder to engage young people from working class backgrounds, in order to convince them that party politics is still relevant to them:
"I think we need to do a mix of practical work by empowering a generation of young people to take on positions of power in national politics, so they don't feel that politics has become the bastion of the middle classes."