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THE BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY was formed in 1982, following serious splits in the National Front, largely over tactics and strategy, between those who wished to place the emphasis on direct action against ethnic minorities and immigrants and those who wished to imbue the party with a semblance of respectability in order to broaden its electoral appeal. Ironically, though, the British National Party (BNP) was to experience many of the schisms and intraparty conflicts—some ideological, some strategic, and others deriving from personality clashes and internal power struggles—that had split the National Front.

For the remainder of the 1980s, the BNP's leader, John Tyndall, sought to pursue a quasi-respectable electoral strategy, primarily intended to attract disillusioned conservatives (who would not have wanted to turn to the left-leaning Labour ...

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