You are viewing blog items for April 2009.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 26 April 2009, 21:37
It has been non-stop this weekend, both putting the final touches to our campaign plans but also with events beginning to take place across the country. However, while it has been busy it has also been very productive. On Friday morning I addressed 60 staff from Thompsons Solicitors in Manchester. It was a really great morning and they even promised to take a ward in Manchester and Liverpool on our big days of action on 16 May. That means we have a lead organisation for all 32 wards in Manchester – and that’s no mean feat.
That afternoon I was at the Unison Regional Office where we ran a training session for 30 branches. In the evening it was over to Oldham where I spoke at a meeting organised by Oldham West & Royton Labour Party. There were 40 people present and people took responsibility to deliver 25,000 newspapers across the constituency.
The GMB in the North West are really moving behind this campaign and setting an example for other unions. On Saturday morning, Jason Hunter and I travelled to Cheadle Hulme to address a meeting of 70 union organisers and branch secretaries. With the direct support of the regional secretary and the excellent Cheryl Pidgeon, who is co-ordinating the union’s anti-BNP effort in the region, branches are being instructed to get involved in Union Friday and our local Days of Action. We were joined by Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas who explained how he shared the frustration of many there but stressed that the BNP had to be defeated as they offered no solutions to anyone.
As I was speaking my phone was buzzing in my pocket. It was Matthew, who was over in Walsall at our first Day of Action. By all accounts it was a really successful event, with 11,000 leaflets delivered on the day and another 9,000 taken away to be put out during the week. More importantly, from my point of view, the leaflet was really well received. That’s quite lucky considering we’ve printed 800,000!
Posted: 26 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 25 April 2009, 15:56
I’ve been involved with Searchlight for 19 years and I have to admit that I’m pretty much immune to fascist propaganda. I’ve written books about Combat 18 and the nazi skinhead scene and there is probably little that can still shock me. However, I was left speechless and disgusted by Griffin’s comments on race that were broadcast on Thursday. I knew that the BNP thought that blacks and Asians could never be British but for their leader to claim that immigration was a “bloodless genocide” was incredible.
Most people were truly horrified and appalled. Even the Daily Star took on the BNP by reproducing the photo of the England football team with crosses on the players who wouldn’t be allowed to play in the BNP Britain.
However, there is certainly no room for complacency. The BNP don’t really care about how offended 90% of people are. In these elections they only need 10% of the vote to get several MEPs elected and there are probably 10% of the population who totally agree with Griffin’s views on race. These elections are all about turnout and the parties that can motivate their core vote are likely to do disproportionately well. With Griffin’s latest comments on race appealing to the BNP’s core vote, we could well see more hardline statements and comments before the elections. By doing this he will be throwing red meat to his supporters.
The task for us, however, is to use his comments to really motivate our supporters.
Posted: 25 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 23 April 2009, 23:23
Just got in from a meeting of Blackburn and Darwen United Against Racism. I’m feeling shattered but really upbeat. Fifty people, from different parties and faiths, gathered to plan out their strategy for the next few weeks. In a borough of 56,000 houses, they have agreed to take 48,000 copies of the HOPE not hate newspaper. In addition, Salim Mulla reported on how the Lancashire Council of Mosques were mobilising to turn out the Muslim vote, while the Deputy Council Leader David Foster promised to unite with the other main parties in supporting the anti-BNP statement issued by BADUAR
The group is so confident of distributing its papers early that it is already planning a second, more localised leaflet drop closer to polling day.
Reports of our growing campaign are coming from across the country. Two hundred students have already signed up to the campaign in Lincoln. Students at Birmingham University are promising to deliver 10,000 newspapers in Halesowen, the London Anti-Racist Alliance are taking 18,000 leaflets for Harrow, in West London, and Burton-on-Trent are taking 20,000. Alec McFadden rang me this evening from a campaign meeting in Liverpool to say that they were increasing their newspaper order to 85,000 for the city. I congratulated him wholeheartedly but thought the better of telling him about my meeting in Manchester this afternoon. Last week I reported on this blog that we were confidently hoping to cover 27 of the city’s 32 wards. Well, I am really pleased to say that we are now expecting to cover the entire city during a few days of May. If this is achieved, it will be the largest anti-fascist leafleting operation in UK history and more importantly mean that 330,000 voters receive an anti-BNP newspaper ahead of the election. Our aim now is to cover the entire Greater Manchester area, which equates to 36% of the North West electorate.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 23 April 2009, 19:19
Earlier I wrote about how our campaign is building. Here are a few details.
Only today we’ve had conversations with people in Bristol who expect over 150 out on their day of action, and that doesn’t include anyone who might join up from the 400 people we have from the Bristol area signed up to the campaign nationally. This is tremendous because only a few days ago we had nothing planned. Birmingham University students are targeting Halesowen. Over 200 students have signed up to Student Sunday at in Lincoln and the Barking and Dagenham event, on the 16 May, looks set to easily hit our target of 250 activists.
As I’m writing this blog I’ve just got a facebook message from John, one of the co-ordinators of the Hackney campaign. They had a fantastic meeting last night with over 40 people present and 16 wards are set to be covered this weekend with voter registration leaflets. He also asked if they could up their May newspaper order from 40,000 to 50,000.
The unions are gearing up for the campaign too. I’ll write in more detail about the PCS ‘Make Your Vote Count’ campaign, which is excellent, but others are cranking up their activities. The GMB are running a regional training course in the North West on Saturday which should be attended by over 100 organisers, branch secretaries and stewards. Tomorrow, Unison North West are running a similar event, with branches representing 140,000 members attending. Sam met with Unite this morning and they are encouraging their London offices and branches to cover some tube and train stations in Central London on Union Friday.
There is a huge amount to do but I think our job became slightly easier today with Griffin’s disgusting comments.
Posted: 23 Apr 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 23 April 2009, 14:38
I rarely get surprised about the BNP and what they say and do. I've been in this game for far too long to be shocked by the racism and bigotry. But today even I was shocked to read Nick Griffin's words about immigration being a "bloodless genocide". I am totally lost for words.
Searchlight gave the BBC an internal BNP document in which BNP organisers were told never to refer to blacks and Asians as ‘British' "for the simple reason that such persons do not exist." We suggested that they put this statement to the BNP. We had no idea that Nick Griffin would not only defend it but go even further.
The BNP is a thoroughly racist and repugnant organisation as Griffin has just made abundantly clear. It is our job to make sure everyone knows this, especially in the media. There is simply no excuse for giving the BNP an easy ride in any future interview. They are not a normal political party and don't deserve to be treated as one.
Fortunately, a growing number of people are realising the threat of the BNP. We are being inundated with emails and phones calls from across the country with offers of help. What is especially great is that many are from areas where we have had nothing before. In all my time at Searchlight I really have never seen anything like it before. We have now activities taking place in almost 200 towns and cities across Britain. We expecting hundreds of union branches to be involved in Union Friday and 80 Universities and colleges to take part in Student Sunday.
The campaign is building and Griffin's disgusting words only motivate us more.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 22 April 2009, 13:16
I was really sad to hear about the death of Jack Jones, a lifelong trade unionist and veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Jack should be an inspiration to us all. Born James Larkin Jones, the son of a Liverpool docker, he worked in the docks himself for some years and later became the leader of the TGWU. In the 1930s he joined thousands of other Britons in fighting for the International Brigades in Spain. He truly understood the meaning of internationalism.
We will write a proper obituary shortly but I just wanted to add my respect to the man who fought for justice and humanity his entire life. If we could achieve just half of what Jack did then the world would be a better place.
Posted: 22 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 20 April 2009, 09:30
It's been another busy weekend. Last night we finished the May edition of Searchlight and it is a cracker. We are bringing it out earlier than normal as it is a campaign special and we wanted to get it into the hands of our readers as soon as possible. It is full colour and packed with exposes of the BNP and a full rundown of our own HOPE not hate campaign.
The rest of the Searchlight team was equally busy. Sam attended a great launch meeting in Walthamstow, in North East London, which attracted over 40 people from across the political spectrum and the local community. Up in Yorkshire the HOPE not hate team spoke at the regional TUC AGM on the Saturday and leafleted a ward in Sheffield on the Sunday. Matthew attended a football match in which Derby were somehow robbed of a goal.
We managed to get stories in the News of the World and The Sunday Times yesterday about the BNP Activists' handbook. It has been followed up by The Guardian this morning, with the fantastic headline:'BNP says some members are oddballs and liars'.
I'm currently on my way to Harrogate where the Unison Health conference is being held. This week we are starting our push to get Union branches signed up to organise an activity on Friday 15 May – Union Friday. I'm confident that hundreds of branches will get involved, which will be excellent.
I don't really know Harrogate but I've been promised a tour of the tea houses so I shall let you know how it goes.
Posted: 20 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 17 April 2009, 08:40
I made a flying visit to Manchester yesterday, with three meetings packed in between 5pm and 8pm.
The first meeting was of our Manchester HOPE not hate Steering Group. I normally balk at weekly meetings, preferring action, but I've been really impressed by the business-like approach of everyone there and more importantly the outcomes. The group is bringing together a wide alliance of groups and individuals and I think this is the sort of new progressive movement that we need more of. Around the table are a wide range of differing political views and faiths, all united in their opposition to the politics of hate.
The results of this movement are now becoming evident. We set ourselves the target of delivering 150,000 newspapers just in Manchester and already we have commitments from groups to cover 28 of the city's 32 wards. This is really phenomenal. We are also launching a drive to find HOPE not hate Ambassadors, key movers and shakers who would be willing to speak out against the BNP. Our initial target is to get 50 by the end of the month but I think we can get a lot more than this.
Last night I spoke at a meeting of Manchester Gorton Labour Party. The timing wasn't great, given that City were playing a crucial European game a couple of miles away, but thirty people still turned up and they agreed to cover at least two wards on the Day of Action.
This morning I have to speak to Alec McFadden from Liverpool. At the North West TUC AGM in late March he publicly boasted that Liverpool would get more people out and deliver more papers than Manchester. Unless he has a secret plan he looks set to be humbled. From my records, we have nine wards taken in Liverpool so far. Which is obviously terrific, especially because the wards are bigger than Manchester's, but given the challenge Alec threw down it is still some way off their rivals.
Posted: 17 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 14 April 2009, 23:30
Excuse me if I’m missing something here but I thought that a smear was a lie told to discredit someone. If that’s the case then why is BNP deputy leader Simon Darby complaining at being the victim of an establishment smear?
“Labour's toxicologists and their little helpers in the media have been up to their dirty work again today,” he writes on his blog.
The dirty tricks, so Darby would have us believe, is the reporting of his trip to the fascist conference in Italy a week ago. To help poor Simple Simon understand, here are a few basic facts about the story:
Fact 1: Simon Darby went.
Fact 2: Darby was greeted by people giving fascist salutes.
Fact 3: The event was organised by a convicted Italian fascist.
Fact 4: Darby shared a platform with a convicted Holocaust denier.
And I shall add a further fact. The presence of Darby at this fascist gathering is proof, if it was needed, of the BNP’s real politics.
Anyway, enough of Darby’s whining. I’ve had another busy day. For some time I kept thinking that Easter signalled the beginning of a new intensity to the campaign – and how true it is proving to be. It really has been non-stop and I can’t see it slowly down before June. At least we managed to sign off two Euro leaflets and some new sign-up cards, and organised a few key meetings around the country.
This afternoon I discussed our media strategy with our press officer and caught up with Sam to get the latest on our Student Sunday campaign. I had a couple of conversations with the guys at Blue State Digital and this evening I met up with the people from Hackney TUC, who once again are building another exciting campaign. Sam has got his work cut out if he thinks that Dagenham’s campaign will be the biggest in the capital. For the second year running Hackney TUC are ordering 40,000 newspapers, though this time they will be customised for the borough.
Before I sign off for the night I must tell you about the highlight of my day, which was a quick visit to one of my favourite shops, Stanfords – the map and travel shop – in Covent Garden. For anyone who doesn’t know the shop, it is truly fantastic. It is rammed full of every map and guide you could imagine. I bought a huge map of the UK (well, two actually) and when I next have a spare moment I’m going to enjoy marking up our Days of Action across the country.
Posted: 14 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 14 April 2009, 12:56
Simon Darby must have been choking on his cut-price lamb cutlets over the weekend as he read the editorial of the News of the World. Darby’s visit to an international fascist conference in Italy has come back to haunt him like a well-thrown boomerang.
The News of the World editorial was explicit in its condemnation. “Anyone doubting the danger of the BNP should look no further than the straight-arm salutes greeting deputy leader Simon Darby at a meeting in Mussolini’s old stamping ground.”
There was more bad news today when the story was carried in the Evening Standard. Focusing on Darby’s role as a part-time assistant to BNP Assembly member Richard Barnbrook, it began: “
A British National Party official at City Hall came under fire today after he attended a conference where European neo-fascists gave Nazi salutes.”
I am perplexed by Darby’s actions. He has avoided controversy and was seen by many as a respectable replacement to party leader Nick Griffin. That was until now. Fortunately, Darby’s visit to the fascist conference came just in time for us to incorporate it on 800,000 leaflets which began rolling off the press this morning.
Posted: 14 Apr 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 11 April 2009, 07:34
Yesterday’s Independent reported that former Loyalist paramilitaries were to receive money to fight racism within their own communities. They certainly have a job to do, coming on the same that it was reported that 40 Polish nationals had been forced to flee their homes in Loyalist areas in the past two weeks.
The intimidation came after Loyalist paramilitary networks sought revenge for violence at Northern Ireland’s recent home game against Poland, when local pubs were attacked by Polish hooligans.
Posted: 11 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 10 April 2009, 08:21
One of the great bits of my job is meeting local activists and volunteers – people who give up their spare time to combat the politics of hate. I'm lucky. I get paid to do the job I love, but others have to fit it in around the rest of their lives. And they are on the front line too, often operating in challenging situations.
Last night, while most people were beginning their well-earned Easter break I was sitting in a pub in Manchester putting the finishing touches to our North West campaign with Jason Hunter. He definitely is one of the heroes of our movement. He has worked tirelessly to reduce the BNP threat in his home town in Burnley and is now helping to orchestrate the anti-BNP campaign in the North West for the public sector union, Unison. In his spare time, when he is not out leafleting, he works closely with me in organising our North West campaign.
And what a campaign it is shaping up to be. We will be producing at least 900,000 HOPE not hate/Mirror newspapers for the North West region alone, customised for each key area and union. One of our tasks last night was to work out how we were going to distribute the 150,000 newspapers in Manchester alone, and 300,000 papers across Greater Manchester more generally. It really is a big task but we are confident that we can do it with the network we are building. We think we have already allocated teams to lead in 26 of the 31 council wards in the city. At approximately 6,000 properties per ward that already takes us 156,000 newspapers – in excess of our original target.
What is really exciting is that we are bringing in new groups. A Manchester NUT branch has offered to do one ward, a group of local residents in Moss Side – none of whom have been involved in politics before – have promised to do their local area, and faith groups are blocking out other areas which they are committing to cover. Students from Manchester University and Manchester Met are taking six wards between them, the Jewish community another couple and other trade unions several more.
All this is happening across the North West, and indeed across the country. Earlier on in the day I was in Stoke-on-Trent, where I linked up with some people from the local NorSCARF group. Between us we mapped out a strategy to target every single ward in the city on one day in May, which will be far in excess of anything they have done before.
We face a massive task to keep the BNP out but with people like Jason, and the dozens of others like him around the country, we have a real chance for HOPE to defeat hate.
Posted: 10 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 9 April 2009, 08:37
When our opponents sent out a fake email from Real AFA yesterday they were simply acknowledging what is clear for everyone to see – we are doing something right. The BNP is scared of the growing HOPE not hate campaign and rightly so. Across the country new HOPE not hate groups are springing up and other organisations are wanting to join our activities.
There will be over 200 HOPE not hate activities across the country during May. This now includes over 70 events organised by students on Student Sunday and many in areas where we have had no activity before. In the South West, where our activities map was previously blank, we are now looking at events in Bristol, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Exeter, Bridgewater and Newquay. In the South East, where again we had nothing, events are now being planned with student unions in Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Buckinghamshire.
And this number of 200 doesn’t even include Union Friday events. This could well see several hundreds more activities taking place around the country as we plan events with trade unions. Local Trades Councils in Shropshire contacted us at the end of last week to say that they had voted to cover railway stations on Union Friday. Last night Matthew spoke to an Aslef branch in Bletchley and received support from them as well. Blackpool Trades Council are joining with Labour Party activists and trade unions to set up a Blackpool HOPE not hate group and Stockport Trades Council have delivered the thousands of leaflets they have already received from us and have just ordered another 5,000.
No wonder our opponents are scared. When our Preston and Chorley HOPE not hate organiser puts in an order for 65,000 newspapers and Pendle UAF order 30,000 you can tell the campaign will be big. And this is in addition to the 45,000 ordered by Blackburn, 30,000 by Burnley, 20,000 by Ribble Valley and 10,000 each for Hyndburn and Rossendale.
The abusive and silly email that went out yesterday is the sign of desperate people. As our campaign really cranks into gear I’m sure we’ll be inundated by more black propaganda. I take it as a compliment as it confirms to me that we are doing something right.
Posted: 9 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 8 April 2009, 19:52
The BNP’s propensity to score political and legal own goals shows no signs of abating after the mock up of their latest insulting billboard. Following the Archbishop of York’s blistering attack on the BNP in the Sun yesterday, BNP deputy leader Simon Darby reached low into the gutter once more. Describing Archbishop John Sentamu as Idi Amin, (simply because they both were born in Uganda – yes, it is as ridiculous as me calling Darby Jack the Ripper), Darby superimposed the Sun article on a billboard.
If Darby thought his cheap joke would attract votes he was badly mistaken. Unlike the racists in the BNP, the vast majority of Britons have a lot of time for John Sentamu, who devotes much of his time to helping good causes. Compare that to Darby, who only this week showed his true political affiliations by cavorting with a convicted fascist terrorist and Holocaust denier in Italy. Luckily for the voters of the West Midlands, where Darby heads the BNP European Election list, our West Midlands leaflet hasn’t gone to the printers so I’ve been able to rewrite it so the voters know exactly what Darby is all about.
Darby could well be in further hot water. I wonder what Clear Channel, Britain’s largest billboard advertising company, will make of the repeated use of their boards by the BNP? Luckily, I’ll probably find out very shortly because I plan to speak to the company and ask them if the BNP have sought permission to use their company name to insult the Christian church. Obviously I wouldn’t want to prejudge their answer but my guess is that they won’t be too pleased. They might even consider legal action – a course I’ll be actively encouraging.
Posted: 8 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Lorraine Fitzsimons | on: Tuesday, 7 April 2009, 15:26
Leafleting day of action - 11am, Sunday 19 April, Sheffield
If you're a more seasoned Hope Not Hate activist you'll have been itching to get out there and fill a few letterboxes. Normally by this time of year we've been out leafleting several times. Well now's your chance.
There's a by-election in East Ecclesfield, Sheffield on 30 April. So far, Sheffield has not been afflicted by BNP councillors, and we need to keep it that way. The whole of South Yorkshire has been a target area for much BNP activism and recruiting in recent months, and they'll have high hopes to make their first breakthrough in Sheffield.
The BNP have been using by-elections in Yorkshire to mount quick concerted campaigns, which brought them 9% of the vote in Harrogate and 23% only last week in Leeds. These are all steps along the way to testing their vote and building support for June.
Let's keep up the pressure. We've hundreds of activists signed up in Sheffield, more in South Yorkshire and still more in the unions, faith groups, students and more. Please support the leafleting day of action in Sheffield on 19 April.
Meet 11am, Trades & Labour Club, Duke Street, Sheffield S2 5QQ
Posted: 7 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 6 April 2009, 10:14
One of my main tasks this week is to finalise the literature we are going to put out during the short campaign. We are producing a combination of tabloid newspapers and leaflets. There will be generic material and others that will be customised to local areas. There will also be leaflets for specific issues and audiences.
Working out how many newspapers and leaflets to print is proving tricky. We have already adjusted our totals upwards more than once as our campaign grows. Areas such as the South West and the South East, where we had little on the ground before, are now coming into play big time. We now have over 300 supporters in Bristol and 250 in Brighton, both places where we have done nothing in the past. The campaign against the BNP 'Jesus' billboard has given us potential activists in more rural areas, and through faith networks, while our success at NUS conference has led to over 50 events being organised around Student Sunday, which in itself could see 300,000+ leaflets distributed on that day alone.
Even in our traditional heartlands, such as the North West, we will be delivering more material than ever before. A combination of an increased threat from the BNP and our attempts to help local groups build capacity has led to increased orders. Our latest projected print run is 700,000 – and that's just for the North West. Local groups across Greater Manchester have put in orders for 300,000 alone, with Manchester taking 150,000. Merseyside groups are ordering 120,000 and the East Lancashire towns an incredible 130,000. Blackburn has ordered 45,000, the same for Oldham and Wigan. Burnley wants 35,000 and the Ribble Valley 20,000.
It is going to be a huge effort to get this material out but I'm confident that it can be done. If it can, and be targeted at likely anti-BNP voters, then our chances of defeating Nick Griffin and his nazi mates greatly improve.
Posted: 6 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 5 April 2009, 22:23
It's Sunday evening and another week is about to begin. I really can't believe there is less than two months to go to the election. With our campaign growing so fast it is sometimes difficult to keep on top of everything that needs to be done.
Matthew has been performing wonders these past few days. On Friday he was in Cardiff, where he got the comrades there to agree to a Wales day against the BNP. Then he travelled over to the Midlands, where first he hosted an East Midlands HOPE not hate Day School and then, today, he went to Leicester for the launch of a HOPE not hate group in the city. Eight curries in ten days he told me earlier - though he didn't seem to be complaining.
Leicester is just one of several new HOPE not hate groups that are in the process of being set up. I think that at the latest reckoning we are looking at almost 200 separate activities being planned for May. This includes about 50 Student Sunday activities, 100 Days of Action and almost 50 meetings, rallies and Transport Tuesday leafleting sessions on 2 June. And this figure will only grow as our campaign really gets into its full swing in the weeks ahead.
Our close working relationship with the Christian faith groups is now being replicated with other faith groups. In Sandwell, on Saturday, over 50 people from the large Sikh community attended a HOPE not hate event to discuss turning out the community in June, while the Jewish community has agreed to carry out HnH leafleting sessions in North Manchester and London on Sunday 17 May. Representatives from the Hindu Forum attended the meeting in Leicester earlier today.
Not everyone is religious but the faith groups can reach millions of people who are often ignored and in a turnout election this could be crucial. And, more crucially, they are the best messengers to reach their constituency.
Posted: 5 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 4 April 2009, 07:59
Yesterday we raised £3470 towards our print costs for producing 300,000 leaflets. That means we are still £780 short of our target, but a great effort all the same.
I would like to thank everyone who donated, I really appreciate your support. The BNP's 'Jesus' billboard is so offensive that I'm sure we can win back some voters who were considering backing the BNP whilst simultaneously reminding others of the importance of voting. That's why this appeal is so important. With 300,000 leaflets we can really spread the word.
Yesterday I got a wonderful email from Mark Perryman, of Philosophy Football. He described our campaign as 'truly inspirational' and invited us to send a sign up email to his 21,000 email database. We have worked closely with Mark for several years but he too is feeling the energy of this year's campaign.
Late last night I got a report back from Matthew who has been in Wales for the start of the Searchlight campaign there. When he informed them that our Welsh supporter base has risen almost 300% in the last two weeks, from 500 to 1,400, they responded by announcing a national campaign day against the BNP. This will see activities taking place in every city and large town across the country in May. Great stuff.
I hope everyone has a great weekend, and if you haven't already done so please donate to our appeal.
Posted: 4 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 3 April 2009, 18:46
With almost six hours to go until our midnight deadline I'm really pleased to say that we are over half way to our target. At the last count we had received just over £2500 towards our target of £4250. This is fantastic and I must say a real big thank you to everyone who has donated.
This money will enable us to print 300,000 leaflets which we hope to distribute to church congregations across the country over the next few weeks. The BNP has insulted every Christian by its Jesus billboard - now we want them to pay!
Please help us reach our target by midnight.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 3 April 2009, 12:37
Earlier this week the BNP announced its intention to run a billboard campaign claiming that Jesus would vote BNP if he was alive today.
I, like thousands of you who signed up to our campaign in response, found this a deeply offensive stunt. I promised that the BNP would pay. Well, we now are turning the tables on them.
The BNP thought they could get free publicity out of this. And now we are going to give them this, though probably not what they were envisaging. Today I'm asking our supporters for £4250 to pay for 300,000 leaflets which we will distribute to church goers across the country. Highlighting the BNP's offensive billboard, the leaflet will also explain how the BNP's racism is totally incompatible with the Christian faith.
I'm not a religious person but everyone who I have spoken to who is has been utterly disgusted by the BNP's billboard stunt. So I hope you will help me let hundreds of thousands of other people know exactly what the BNP is about. To start the ball rolling I'm making a donation of £20.
Please make a donation here https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 2 April 2009, 07:30
I’ve been saying for a while that we are building something really special. Of course, I would say that, you might say. But I have been in this game long enough to know when there is a mood out there and this year there certainly is. And, of course, there needs to be. We are facing the most crucial elections in terms of a far right threat and significant success for them here will change the British political landscape for years.
But now it is not just me who feels the mood. Over the last couple of days I’ve reported on the HOPE not hate presence at NUS conference. We made the opening speech, the conference was shown a five minute HnH video and every delegate was given a Student Sunday campaign pack.
At 4am this morning I received this email from Sam, our Student co-ordinator. “People are really up for this! Am worried we will not have the capacity - its gotta be done!! I've never had so many people coming to me with enthusiasm to get a campaign off the ground where they are. I think we could have something very special and it’s exciting. Let's see how many we can nail down to do something and build a truly national campaign with more simultaneous student actions then ever before.”
And he is not wrong. We’ve had promises of action from over 60 Universities and colleges.
Yesterday I rushed between meetings, though strangely not all of them connected to these elections. I even managed to squeeze in a pint with the Rev Paul Butler, where we were able to discuss the BNP’s ‘Jesus’ stunt. He agreed that the BNP had handed us a gift.
We will shortly be entering a new phase of our campaign. Over the last two months we have been building the network, putting in place the infrastructure we need to help turn out our vote. Over 26,000 people have signed in to our campaign in the past two months. We have dozens of new HOPE not hate groups springing up all over the country and we have been collating stories with which to attack the BNP during the campaign. Shortly, the campaign proper will begin. And then things are going to get really exciting!
Posted: 2 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 1 April 2009, 10:39
The claim that Jesus would vote BNP is a fascist stunt too far. In mocking up this billboard, and sending over a covering letter to people in the name of Nick Griffin, they obviously thought that they could wind up faith leaders and in the process gain some publicity.
And they are definitely doing that.
Yesterday I launched a petition to register our disgust at the offensive BNP advert. Thousands of people have now signed our petition, of whom at least half are new to the HOPE not hate campaign. The reaction right across the religious divide has been fantastic, with dozens of local faith group leaders circulating our petition and emailing me offering their support for the campaign.
Martin Wingfield, editor of the BNP newspaper Voice of Freedom, boasted about the ‘Jesus poster’ on his blog yesterday morning. He concluded: “Our 'Jesus Poster' made both today's issues of the Daily Telegraph and The Scotsman. Those political church leaders who like to manipulate the Gospel to suit their own ends seem to be having a bit of trouble with this one. And I think this story could run on a little because the media quite likes to see sanctimonious clergy struggling with biblical interpretations.”
I am in total agreement that this story will run and run, but not to his liking. I’m now working on the second and third planks of our campaign, which will all be revealed very shortly. The BNP will rue the day they devised this childish and offensive prank.
Posted: 1 Apr 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments