Maybe one should be tremendously worried about the electoral victories of the British National Party. Maybe not. 'Leading historians' say there's no reason to panic. Still, worry seems to characterise some of the reaction. Harriet Harman and Alistair Darling both say that their party is responsible because – oh no! – the Labour Party has let these voters down, though only Labour, they also insist, can now rescue them from the clutches of the wicked Nick Griffin.

Two of the more absurd features of the BNP are that it's inspired by white supremacists in the US (Griffin is a contributor to American Renaissance magazine, no less) and, being the marginal party that it is, it's likely to join a confederation of xenophobic parties in Europe. A trans-national party would be a more accurate way to describe it, only I suppose it's harder to keep up appearances in the xenophobia business while crossing so many borders.