You are viewing blog items for June 2009.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 24 June 2009, 12:30
Since I blogged yesterday many more of you have returned the survey. We now have almost 4,000, which is fantastic.
More encouragingly, over 850 people have indicated that they would be interested in becoming HOPE not hate organisers in their local areas. Added to our existing operation I'm confident that we will soon have a national network that spans every part of England, Scotland and Wales. We have even had quite a bit of interest from Northern Ireland so we might be able to get something off the ground there.
Our challenge now is to put in place the infrastructure to train these organisers and provide them with the resources and skills required to deliver local campaigns. I'll be announcing a few ideas about this in the next couple of days.
Posted: 24 Jun 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 23 June 2009, 19:00
I'm just on my way back from Manchester where I had a really productive meeting with the NW TUC and representatives from some of the unions. We had a discussion about the election, what worked, what didn't. More importantly we agreed a work plan for the next few months. We came up with some really exciting projects, which confirms my view that despite Griffin's election there is a real appetite to continue and expand the HOPE not hate campaign.
This morning I had a meeting with the Blue State guys and then did an interview with Total Politics magazine. We discussed the BNP, the HOPE not hate campaign and differing strategies to defeat the BNP.
In between all this we sent out a survey to our supporters asking them for their ideas about how we can take HOPE not hate campaign forward. I'm not sure what the latest figure is but within a few hours of sending out the email over 2,500 people had responded. Truly amazing. I've managed to have a quick look through some of the surveys and there are some really interesting ideas being suggested.
Perhaps it's because of the sunny weather but I have a good feeling about how the campaign is going to move forward.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 23 June 2009, 11:48
What makes a good headline writer? The answer, I guess, is someone who can grab a reader's attention and so convince them to read the accompanying article. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the headline reflects the content of the article.
So my attention was captured by a lead story in today's Metro. "Young voters turn to the BNP", it screamed out at me.
Startled, I read on.
However, I hadn't even finished the first sentence to find the headline was a complete exaggeration of the facts.
The poll in question actually said that support for the BNP amongst young people was at 5%. Granted this is still far too high but hardly warrants the headline the article deserved. This findings are also at odds with several other recent studies, including a YouGov poll of 32,000 votes, 16 times larger than the sample used for this research, which shows the bulk of BNP support coming from the 35-54 age group.
The headline might have caught my attention but there was no evidence within the article to warrant it.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 22 June 2009, 08:39
On Saturday I addressed a meeting of 65 local anti-BNP organisers and activists in the North West. Given that we had only sent out 400 invites it was a great turnout and reflects the anger at Nick Griffin’s election and the determination to continue our campaign. What was particularly pleasing was that I did not know a third of those there and eight came forward to set up local groups in their area.
We had a good and open discussion about why the BNP was elected and there was a recognition that our campaign was as good as we could have run, but that we were let down by the political parties.
We broke into smaller groups for the second half of the morning to discuss what positive activities we could organise in our local areas over the next few months. There was also a general agreement that we had to move our focus away from town and city centre events and prioritise working in the communities where the BNP was making headway. It was agreed to establish a steering group to help co-ordinate activities across the region and spread good practice.
We have been working hard in the North West for several years now and it was pleasing to see some experienced old hands working together with keen new activists. The BNP might have sneaked in but we have a good network of groups across the region who are determined to build on what was a great campaign.
Posted: 22 Jun 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 18 June 2009, 08:57
I spent yesterday down in Brighton at the Unison conference where I spoke at a fringe meeting which was attended by 70-80 people. It was good to see so many people wearing HOPE not hate T-shirts around the conference hall. Despite the BNP success there was a general determination to continue our campaigning, especially from areas where we haven’t done much work to date.
On the train down I looked over some new polling on the BNP voters. It was fascinating, if not alarming, stuff. The pollsters interviewed 1,000 BNP voters and even I was startled with the results. I’ll be going through the results in detail in the July issue of Searchlight but it is clear, from my reading of the statistics, that the BNP vote is much harder and more loyal than many people had thought. On election night I was furious how politicians of all parties dismissed the BNP vote as a protest. Of course, it was in their interest to say that – to say otherwise would have meant accepting public policy failures.
It is clear that BNP support goes well beyond a protest vote. Racial attitudes are also far more deeply ingrained than even I thought. A third of BNP voters believed that black people are intellectually inferior to whites and almost half agreed with the statement that black or Asian people can never be British.
The research also reveals that many BNP voters share a belief that they are victims of modern society, a theme that is cleverly exploited by the BNP. Linked to that is their belief that outside forces are conspiring to undermine them and their society. A shocking 34% of BNP voters agreed that there was an international Jewish/Communist conspiracy to undermine the Christian values of British society.
Only 2% of BNP supporters believed that the Holocaust did not happen but a further 18% said that while the Holocaust occurred the number of deaths had been exaggerated.
The polling is fascinating and it is certainly making me reassess my own thoughts about the BNP vote.
Posted: 18 Jun 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 17 June 2009, 09:40
The news that over 100 people have taken refuge in a church in south Belfast after fleeing racist attacks is truly appalling. It would appear that a combination of racism, racketeering and internal Loyalist feuding is at the core of the trouble.
This time it is mainly Romanians at the receiving end but a few months ago it was Poles and a couple of years ago it was the Chinese community.
Despite the mob attacking an anti-racist rally last night chanting “C18”, the police dismiss any suggestion that the British neo-Nazi group has set up a base in Belfast. Oh really? It seems that they must have missed the regular visits over the last 15 years by British fascists, some linked to C18 others not, to Loyalist paramilitaries up to the level of UFF Brigade commanders. While C18 might not actually exist any more, it has been used as a flag of convenience by Loyalists carrying out racist and sectarian attacks several times in the past.
Posted: 17 Jun 2009 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 13 June 2009, 20:39
Today I joined 1,000 other people at the Compass conference in Central London. I spoke at a session with Blue State Digital boss Matthew McGregor on online campaigning. I have to admit that I had been so busy over the last few days that I hadn't prepared a speech. I was hoping that I would have time while others were speaking to jot a few notes down but it seemed that we were all in the same boat so there was a frantic rush as people began arriving.
However, it all seemed to go well. Actually, it was a good exercise as it made me think of what worked and what we could do better in the future. Matthew and I have already been discussing how we can keep our relationship going so this meeting was a useful way of brainstorming a few ideas.
It was good to bump into Rev Paul Butler, from St Pauls church in Deptford. As usual he was sporting his HOPE not hate badge. It was interesting to hear his views about the egg-throwing incident. Like an increasing number of people I've been talking to, he said that the incident had played into the BNP's hands. Throwing eggs is a British political tradition but I fear that in regards to the BNP it could be counter-productive as it reinforces the victim status that they thrive on, to say nothing of the five hours of interviews and TV coverage they received. This is not to say that I think the BNP should be given a free run – because I don't and to suggest otherwise is a distortion – but I think we have to be a bit more sophisticated in our approach.
All this reminds me of the hammer attack on the BNP member in Leigh in March. The BNP had booked a nightclub for a fundraising event but thanks to a 5,000-strong open letter we managed to get the event pulled. However what should have been a positive news story became three days of negative coverage and widespread local sympathy for the BNP.
The BNP acts differently from the National Front of the 1970s and our tactics have to change accordingly.
This week I'll be off to Brighton for Unison conference. They have really got involved in the HOPE not hate campaign and its good to see that their support is continuing. The Unison home page carries a personal message from Dave Prentis in support of our 'Not in my name' campaign. You can see it here: http://www.unison.org.uk
Posted: 13 Jun 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 13 June 2009, 10:44
Yesterday the HOPE not hate campaign received its 100,000th online supporter. An incredible achievement in fairly depressing political circumstances. In addition, over 66,500 people have signed our online petition.
Now we are turning our attention to the task ahead. We will be following a multi-pronged strategy. Firstly, we'll be looking into the BNP vote. Unless we understand how and why people are voting for the BNP then we'll not be in a position to oppose them successfully.
Our second job is to turn our online support into offline activism so we're in a position to defeat the BNP next time. During the recent elections the HOPE not hate campaign delivered over three million newspapers and leaflets - by far the biggest anti-fascist campaign in British history. Now we need to build an even bigger movement and this must be directed at the communities where the BNP polled its biggest votes. There is a temptation to chase the BNP about but we cannot let them set our agenda. City centre activities, pickets and demonstrations will have little if any influence on the views of those communities where BNP support is strong. Delivering regular and localised material in those communities is essential.
Finally we'll be trying to influence public policy. As was clearly evident in these recent elections there is a limit to what anti-fascist campaigns can achieve. The reasons for the BNP vote need to be addressed and that involves public policy. Part of this will be trying to debunk the myth that the BNP vote is a protest vote - as too many politicians like to believe (or like us to believe).
I'll be spelling out our strategy in far more detail in the July issue of Searchlight. However, drop me a line if you have any thoughts about what we should be doing.
Posted: 13 Jun 2009 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 12 June 2009, 11:33
I managed to have a day off yesterday, though there's always a sting in the tail. I'm back at work this morning to find hundreds of emails waiting for me, 155 blog replies to respond to and postcards to design up. And that is to say nothing of the July issue of the Searchlight magazine which needs to be put together over the next few days. Obviously we'll be looking at the result and the consequences of the BNP getting elected but we'll also be trying to offer a way forward. The political situation has changed and we need to critically assess how we deal with the BNP threat now.
To do that we need to understand who votes for the BNP and more importantly, why. We all have our own opinions but more often than not this is based on our own political prejudices and not on any research.
The Not in my name petition is going well. We now have over 63,500 people signed up. thanks for everyone who has, especially the 4,000 people who have sent in photos. We'll be putting these pictures to good use very shortly.
I'm attaching one from the collection.
Posted: 12 Jun 2009 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 10 June 2009, 10:47
Just been informed that the first session of the European Parliament is actually going to be in Strasbourg and not Brussels. Lucky I hadn't booked my tickets then!
Our petition is now approaching 50,000...
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 10 June 2009, 08:37
We are organising a trip to Bussels on 14 July to hand in our 'Not in our name' petition. We currently have over 45,000 people signed up and by mid-July we hope to have many many more.
Prices on Eurostar are currently £59 for a day return. If anyone would like to join our trip please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org asap
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 10 June 2009, 07:54
It is easy to imagine from Nick Griffin's reaction to the disruption to his press conference yesterday that he and the BNP came under attack from terrorists armed with rocket launchers. Take this from their website:
"Not since the end of Communism has Europe seen such an event."
Hmmm. What a load of nonsense. What about the can of coke that was poured over Griffin's head in Chester during the campaign? What about John Prescott? He was not only egged but had a bucket of water poured over his head?
On a more positive note, over 45,000 have signed our petition and almost 4,000 people have sent in photos of themselves holding 'Not in my name' signs. An even more interesting figure is that 78,889 have signed into the HOPE not hate campaign. The BNP might have got two people elected but we are building a network that will stop further advance in the future.
Posted: 10 Jun 2009 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 9 June 2009, 19:14
Just heard Nick Griffin whinging on television about being egged at his press conference. I find it slightly ironic that this fascist is bleating on about democracy and freedom of speech.
It wasn't that long ago since the same Mr Griffin was producing a magazine which had a noose on the front cover. Griffin's editorial stated that when they took power the noose would be put around the neck of politicians and journalists who they blamed for multicultural Britain.
Griffin also wrote: “[BNP voters backed] what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate.”
No friend of the democratic process there then!
Posted: 9 Jun 2009 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 9 June 2009, 18:18
Over 40,000 people have now signed our 'Not in my name' petition.
I'm wondering whether it is possible to reach 45,000 tonight?
If you haven't already signed up you can here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname
Posted: 9 Jun 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 9 June 2009, 12:39
An astonishing 31,900 have so far signed our ‘Not in my name’ petition and of these over 20,000 are totally new to us. Even more remarkable is that over 3,000 have sent in photos of themselves carrying homemade placards and signs.
This really reflects the strength of feeling against the BNP and anger that they have been elected.
We are going to take our petition to Brussels on 14 July, the day when Griffin and Brons – two men steeped in national socialist politics – take their seats in the European Parliament.
I’m just about to send out an email asking for your help to build the petition even further. We want to get another 30,000 people to sign it.
Please spread the petition far and wide. It is vital that we show how the majority of people in Britain are totally opposed to the BNP’s message of hate. Go to this link and spread the word:
Posted: 9 Jun 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 June 2009, 12:22
I don't know about anyone else but I didn't get any sleep last night. I would like to say that I can't believe it but we faced an uphill struggle from the beginning. I remember telling people that we were facing a perfect political storm, what with the economy, the lack of accompanying local elections and a general disinterest/dislike in the European Union - and that was before the expenses scandal and the implosion of the Labour Party in the last few days.
Our campaign this year was quite phenomenal. We distributed 3,400,000 newspapers and leaflets. Over 50,000 have now signed into our campaign. We placed anti-BNP articles in the national newspapers on a daily basis and our eve of poll email was sent to 600,000 people.
I genuinely believe that we made a difference. The BNP set out believing that they could win seven or eight MEPs. As the expenses scandal broke they increased this to 12. That they failed to reach these numbers is testament to the thousands of people who took part in the HOPE not hate campaign. And we almost stopped Griffin. He only got in by just 1,200 votes.
Anyway, today is a new day. We are already regrouping and planning the campaign ahead. There will be regional meetings in the next few weeks to organise the next stage of our campaign. We want to bring some of the thousands of new supporters together with existing activists and local anti-BNP groups. We need to turn ourselves outwards and go into the communities where the BNP got their support and do the hard unglamorous work that will be vital if we are to reduce the BNP vote in the future.
The BNP made a significant breakthrough yesterday but without our collective work it could have been far worse. But now a new fight must begin.
If you would like to get involved in our regional meetings please email me at email@example.com
Posted: 8 Jun 2009 | There are 19 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 June 2009, 02:17
I've just got off the phone to a few of our key people in the North West. Everyone is deeply disappointed but we are all determined to dust ourselves down and regroup as soon as possible. Indeed, plans are already being put into place for our fightback - more on that shortly.
I will end the night with the words of BBC political editor Nick Robinson when he noted that the BNP vote in the North West was lower this year than in 2004.
"They are there because of the falure of the other parties."
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 June 2009, 01:32
It seems that Nick Griffin has sneaked in in the North West with just 8% of the vote. That means that the BNP only just increased their vote on 2004. However, they got in so that's really disappointing. However, the fight goes on. We will regroup, re-organise and come back stronger than ever.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 June 2009, 01:23
Over 2,000 people have already signed our petition. This remarkable given that we only launched it just over an hour ago and it's 1.23am.
Please pass it on. Let's show that the vast majority of British people reject the politics of hate.
You can sign it here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 June 2009, 00:55
We launched our Not in my name about 45 minutes ago but we already have had almost 1,500 people sign up. Given the time of night this clearly reflects the real anger that is out there and the determination of people to do something about it.
If you haven't signed up yet please do at: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 June 2009, 00:32
We have just launched a petition to register our opposition to the election of a BNP MEP. We will deliver this petition to the European Parliament on the day Andrew Brons takes his seat.
You can add your name here:
Posted: 8 Jun 2009 | There are 10 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 23:39
The BNP has won a seat in Yorkshire & Humber. I feel particularly sorry for HOPE not hate Yorkshire who ran a fantastic campaign. They, like the rest of us, have been let down by our politicians. I'm sure they will pick themselves up and continue the struggle but today my heart goes out to them.
Posted: 7 Jun 2009 | There are 9 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 23:11
I'm afraid that it's not looking good in Yorkshire & Humber. However, in the North West Griffin is attacking the media so hopefully that is a positive sign. Too close to call in the West Midlands but it is hopeful we'll keep the BNP out.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 22:20
It seems that the BNP vote is up by 3% in Leeds and Wakefield so if that is replicated across the region then the BNP could get in. However, there is hardly an increase in their vote in Hull and only a 1.5% increase in Harrogate so of course there is nothing certain.
The West Midlands is looking very close. I've just had a call from one rival candidate and he is predicting that the final sixth seat is between the BNP and UKIP.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 22:05
Ealing result Lab 18,610 Con 18,503 Lib Dem 8,730 Green 7,426 UKIP 5,802 Ind 4,718 Christian 2,401 *BNP* 2,200
Harlow: Con 1st, Lab 2nd, UKIP 3rd, LD 4th, *BNP* 5th. Very narrow margin between Lab and UKIP (0.2%).
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 22:04
I've heard that the BNP has got just over 10% of the vote in Sheffield, up from 8.1% in 2004, and much higher in Barnsley but I don't have their share of the vote.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 21:09
Mixed results from the West Midlands. I've been told that the BNP is leading in Stoke-on-Trent but doing badly in Birmingham.
Not sure what that says about the final result but thought I would pass it on
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 21:05
The Lib Dems in the North West say that the BNP has not won a seat in the North West. I have no idea whether that is based on anything but it is cheering to hear
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 20:42
Just had the sample from Liverpool. From the sampling the BNP has got 6.4%, up from 4.2% in 2004. Surprisingly, Labour is on 36%, actually up on 2004 and the Greens on 12.5%. It seems the Lib Dems are the main losers on 16%, down from 24.9%. The Tories are are about 10% and UKIP on 10.8%.
Again, it proves that this is going to be neck and neck
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 20:15
Someone is saying that the Lib Dems have come top in Burnley, with Labour second and the BNP third. No figures.
The BNP vote is "limp" in Cheshire West, according to one person at the count.
In Lincoln, the BNP appear to have polled 5%, which is true is down on 2004.
Posted: 7 Jun 2009 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 20:06
Just had a call from Sam, who is at the Barking & Dagenham count. He says that they are just about to declare and it seems that Labour is out ahead and the BNP and UKIP follow next. Actual votes are still to come shortly
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 19:19
Just had a call from people in Wigan and it seems that there is a wide spread amongst the parties. Nothing particularly strong for the BNP but it comes down to how the votes are distributed amongst the parties.
This is really tense stuff
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 19:14
Well, the count is beginning around the country. Some good reports are coming in, some bad. I'll try to be honest and accurate but I'm only as good as the information I'm given.
The sample in Manchester gives the BNP on 7.7%. That's 2% up on 2004 and, if mirrored across the region would give the BNP 8.4%. Is that enough? Probably not, though it depends on the distribution of votes amongst the other parties.
Bad news from Yorkshire. One report gives the BNP on 26% in Barnsley and 16% in Leeds. I don't believe it. I can't believe that any single party - let alone the BNP - would get 26% in this election.
Better news from Lincoln. It seems that UKIP are doing really well but very few votes for the BNP. If true, this confirms my view that people have switched to UKIP in the Euros
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 June 2009, 09:45
The BNP’s Martin Wingfield has been questioning my recent blogs about trends in these elections. He claims that the BNP County Council vote will transfer to the European Elections and none will slip to UKIP. He also asserts that the BNP need just 132,959 votes across the North West to win a seat. He bases this on the 32% turnout and a belief that the BNP will need just 8% to secure a seat.
Once again I must stress that I have no idea about the outcome of these elections and in questioning Wingfield’s claims I’m not predicting the result. I simply don't have a clue. However, I believe that both of Wingfield’s assertions are wrong.
To believe that none of their votes will slip to UKIP in the Euros is quite simply barmy. The BNP clearly benefited from being the only protest party in most of the County Council wards they contested. Where UKIP or even the English Democrats stood, the BNP vote suffered. Take, for example, the Chelmsford district in Essex. The BNP stood across the board and they received between 6% and 9% of the vote in every division bar one. In Great Baddow, the BNP vote slipped to 3.47%, almost half their vote in the next lowest division, and this was because UKIP stood and polled 12.6%.
Even in Pendle, the UKIP impact is evident. In Pendle Central the BNP polled 978 votes (23%), in West Craven 897 votes (15.4%), in Pendle East 579 (12.7%), Pendle West 574 (11.8%), Nelson South 507 (11.3%) and Brierfield & Nelson North 581 (10.1%). In the two divisions where the BNP got most votes there were no rival nationalist candidates, whereas in three of the bottom four there were.
The two County Council elections in Fleetwood are also of interest. The UKIP contested both and comfortably got more votes than the BNP. The same is true in Thornton Cleveleys Central, where the BNP polled 351 but UKIP polled 1051. In neighbouring Thornton Cleveleys North, the BNP polled 431 and UKIP polled 779.
Wingfield claims that UKIP will take votes off the Conservatives. I think the UKIP will take votes off everyone, including the BNP. He even suggests that UKIP won't do as well as in 2005. I think they will do better.
The second issue is the percentage needed to gain a seat. Wingfield puts the figure at 8%. While it is true that the BNP could get elected in the North West with this figure it is also possible that the figure will be higher. Indeed, if the Conservatives poll 27%, Labour 18% and UKIP and the Greens beat the BNP then Nick Griffin will need closer to 9%, which is another 16,600 votes to the total Wingfield suggested they needed.
Of course, there is one issue where I agree with Wingfield. It all comes down to the big conurbations in Greater Manchester, Merseyrside and East Cheshire, which together make up over 70% of the electorate in the North West. Turnout across the region was 32%, with Manchester at 27%, Oldham 29.8%, Bolton 30.6%, Bury 34.2%, Rochdale 28.5%, Salford 27.4%, Stockport 33.2%, Tameside 30.4%, Trafford 34.1% and Wigan 27.0%. And none of us have any idea how the electorate voted here.
I will end on one interesting point made by Wingfield: “We fought seven of 16 seats in Allerdale and our Euro vote in the nine we didn't contest was very hard to find.” Let’s HOPE!
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 6 June 2009, 11:08
Earlier this morning I said that I was going to forget about work and enjoy a day at the Oval. I am indeed down in South London but the weather is causing a delay in the start. I just happened to bring along my notebook and a printout of the election results, so to occupy my time as I wait for Jon and for the weather to improve I thought I'd go through the results.
I must repeat that no-one knows the outcome of Sunday's count but a few trends are emerging.
1. As I mentioned yesterday, the BNP vote drops dramatically when UKIP or the English Democrats stand. This does not bode well for the BNP in the Euro vote.
2. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that the BNP vote across East Lancashire, including their heartlands of Burnley and Pendle, will be down on 2004. The BNP polled 19.6% and 14.2% across the two local authorities in the County Council elections on Thursday. I predict that they will lose at least 25-30% of their vote to UKIP in the Euros. In 2004 the BNP averaged in the mid-to-late twenties in both areas in local elections and their vote dropped to 16.7% and 13.3% in the Euros. A drop in the vote this time would see the BNP get just 13% in Burnley and about 10% in Pendle – both well down on 2004.
Of course this will be offset by increases in BNP votes in other areas, but that said, a decline in its heartland must be a cause for concern for the BNP.
Another interesting result in the North West was the district council by-election in Rochdale. The BNP polled 16% which was in fact lower than their result last year. However, the BNP did not contest this ward in 2004 so it is impossible to make an accurate comparison.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 6 June 2009, 06:20
I'm feeling pretty strange this morning. For the first time in nine months I'm waking up without thinking what I need to do for the campaign.
It's been a real hard slog particularly because it was set against the backdrop of an appalling political climate. Back in April we thought that we were facing a perfect political storm. The economy was worsening by the day, there was no interest in the European Elections and the lack of local elections in most places meant turnout was going to be low. Then we got hit by the expenses scandal and if that wasn't bad enough certain Labour politicians decided to throw hand grenades into their own party tent.
And yet despite all this - or more probably because of this - thousands of people decided to take matters into their own hands and got involved in the HOPE not hate campaign. I'm not going to speculate on the result but I do believe that we have made a difference. I'm still getting emails and texts from people, most who I don't know, to thank us for the campaign. But it was a collective campaign. It was a campaign of ordinary people who have done extraordinary things to ensure that fascists don't represent us in Europe.
Anyway, I'm going to try to have a break from work today and I've actually got tickets to the cricket at the Oval. The first game is New Zealand against Scotland and then this afternoon it is Australia against the West Indies. However, as I'm going with Jon Cruddas I doubt the talk of politics, elections and scheming will be too far away.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 22:27
Most of the votes appear to be in and the BNP has won just three seats. This is not a breakthrough of any sort, especially because in two of three divisions the BNP held district or borough council seats.
I do not have the final figures (and my brain would be too tired to understand them even if I did) but I would guess that the BNP has averaged somewhere around the 12-14% mark. This is of course far too much but it is not an increase on previous years.
And it might not be enough to win European election seats. I had a quick look back at the BNP results in 2004 and it would appear that their European vote was 30% down on their local election vote. There is nothing to suggest that this year would be different. If this is the case then the BNP vote of 19% in Burnley could drop to 13% in the European election, which would be somewhat short of the 16.7% they polled in Burnley in 2004.
Of course there is still everything to play for. The BNP might win no European seats or they might win three – that is how narrow the margin of error is. The BNP is clearly rattled and already warning its supporters that they might not get any seats. I would like to look at it from the other side – the BNP might still win three seats and we must prepare ourselves for that. I hope I'm wrong but it's best to be prepared for the worst.
I'm going to sign off for the night with a final thank you. The fact that the BNP has not got anywhere near the votes it was hoping is down to all of you who have taken part in this campaign.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 17:33
Just had a call from Judy Mallaber, the MP for the Amber Valley to tell me that the BNP were not best pleased to fail to win both Heanor seats they were contesting. One was won by the Conservatives but I'm really pleased to hear that the other was won by Celia Cox, a former local councillor who lost her seat last year to the BNP. Revenge, it appears, is sweet.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 16:48
In the results that I have so far it seems that the BNP has made little impact in North Yorkshire. Here's what I have so far:
Great Ayton division results
Christopher Lawrence Impett (BNP) 125 5%
Falsgrave and Stepney division results
Kevan Foulds (BNP) 151 7.33%
Filey division results
Trisha Scott (BNP) 180 9.02%
Selby Barlby division results
Duncan Lorriman (BNP) 555 7%
Stephen Ward (BNP) 608 8%
Selby Brayton division results
Ernest Watts (BNP) 280 10.63%
Sherburn in Elmet division results
Belinda Robson (BNP) 274 10.46%
Tadcaster division results
Sam Matthew Clayton (BNP) 203 10%
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 16:27
Four more results and four more poor results:
St Bees & Egremont 193 (10.7%)
Millon 310 (14.8%)
Hillcrest 229 (13.0%)
Penrith North 94 (5.1%)
Penrith West 105 (8.3%)
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 16:12
Just received this information from Jason Hunter and Peter Thorne in Burnley.
The overall vote for the parties is as follows:
Conservative Party 4322 (18.05%)
Labour Party 5928 (24.76%)
Liberal Democrat 9049 (37.80%)
BNP 4641 (19.39%)
While the BNP won one seat their overall position might not be so positive. As I mentioned before it is believed that some BNP voters in Burnley had voted for UKIP in the European Election. If this is the case then the BNP might be in trouble. In the 2004 European elections the BNP polled 16.7% in Burnley so any decrease in their vote this year could see them dip below the 2004 share of the vote.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 15:40
How much of a thorn is the English Democrats going to be for the BNP? All day I've been predicting that much of the BNP vote will switch to UKIP in the Europeans. An interesting vote in Kent seems to confirm that where there is a more 'respectable' rightwing alternative voters will turn to them.
In the Dartford North East ward (an area where the BNP has been active for many years) the BNP polled 346 votes (9.2%). However, the English Democrats polled 809 votes, a 21.5% share.
There have also been several wards in Essex where the English Democrats have polled higher than the BNP.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 15:29
It seems that the BNP has taken a third seat, this time in South Oxhey, in Hertfordshire. However, BNP leader Nick Griffin is cautioning against "over-optimisim."
Is he preparing the party for defeat? Let's hope so!
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 15:04
Peter Davies of the English Democrats has won the Doncaster Mayoral election. When the second preference votes were allocated he received 25,344 votes compared to the Independent's 24,990.
This is a major disaster. While not fascist, the English Democrats run on a right wing nationalist ticket.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 14:56
Some more results have come through from Essex. There were some earlier today and the BNP polled between 7 and 16%.
263 4.7% (English Democrats 355, 6.0%)
Ongar and Rural
Waltham Abbey1072 21.0%
Frinton and Walton
Tendring Rural East
Tendring Rural West
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 14:31
Just passing the time while I wait for some results so I made a couple of calls. It seems that turnout in Oldham was 28.9% and Manchester at somewhere between the 22-23% level. While these are down on the 2004 European Elections (which were held on the same day as all-out local elections and with a all-postal vote) it is considerably higher than the 1999 election, where there were no local elections.
In 1999 Oldham East and Saddleworth had a turnout of 22.4% while Oldham West & Royton had 18.6%.
In Manchester, the turnout in 1999 was even lower. Manchester Blakley had 14.7%, Manchester Central had 12.1%, Manchester Gorton 13.0% and Manchester Withington 17.9%.
Of course there is no proof that this increase was helpful to us but there are a couple of stories I've picked up which are encouraging. There was heavy voting in Manchester Withington, in the South of the City, where there are unlikely to be too many BNP voters. It also seems that the student turnout was much higher than usual, which is also encouraging.
Just spoken to Martin Salter, MP for Reading West. He said that based on the verifications of the ballot papers the BNP polled very poorly in Reading but there was a very high UKIP vote.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 14:16
Just got this result in from Preston, where Mark Cotterill is the EFP's sole candidate. He polled 599 votes in Preston East, a 22.3% share of the vote.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 14:14
More bad news for the BNP in Cumbria:
Wetheral 95 vote (3.6%)
Upperby 212 votes (14.6%)
Belah 188 (9.6%)
Yewdale 185 (9.0%)
Martin 245 votes (12.4%)
Botcherby 116 votes (7.5%)
And to repeat, UKIP weren't standing in these elections.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 14:04
It seems that the BNP might have picked up a seat in Coalville, Leicestershire and they've got some high votes in Derbyshire. I'm waiting for confirmation on this.
On a more positive note, several more Cumbria results are being declared and the BNP is nowhere. Just doing a few calculations now
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 13:57
I have three more results from Cumbria, all from Carlisle. The BNP polled 9.2% in Denton Holme, 12.3% in Harraby and 14.9% in Longtown & Bewcastle.
UKIP did not stand in any of these wards so it is likely that the BNP vote will fall in the European ballot.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 13:44
Just heard that the BNP finished fifth in the Doncaster Mayoral election, with 10.9% of the vote. More significantly, the first two on the first preferances were an Independent and ....the English Democrats!
Yes, it's true.
Now the second votes for Labour, the Tories and the BNP are being divided up.
Does this mean that the English Democrats, as well as UKIP, will do well in the European elections?
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 13:34
Just been browsing through the Lincolnshire results and the BNP did surprisingly badly. From a quick back of the envelope calculation the BNP averaged 12% of the vote in the 20 wards they contested (out of a possible 77). Given that the trend is that the BNP will get less in the European Elections and that they didn't contest several seats this does not bode well for their chances of an East Midlands Euro seat, where they would need approximately 13% across the region.
The BNP contested three of Boston's seven seats and averaged 14.2%. In the 2004 European Election UKIP polled 37.6% and the BNP 8.8% across the entire borough so the BNP was hoping to eat into the UKIP/anti-establishment vote but this clearly hasn't happened.
The same appears to have happened across the region.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 13:05
There was a concern this morning that the BNP was going to do very well in the Bacup area of Rossendale, Lancashire, but it appears that the protest vote went to an Independent instead. That means that there is just one more ward of serious concern which has not been declared.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 12:22
It seems that the BNP has taken a seat on Lancashire County Council, beating Labour in Padiham and Burnley West. However, they appear to have nothing else in the town.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 12:11
Two seats have declared in Cumbria and neither are great news for the BNP. In the Barrow-in-Furness ward of Risedale, the BNP took 10.5% of the vote, while in the nearby Hawcoat ward they polled just 5.5%.
UKIP did not stand in either but there were Independents.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 11:45
We won't know the European results until Sunday but the early indications is that we will definitely not be seeing a BNP landslide.
The County Council results that have so far been declared show the BNP averaging 10-20% in those wards where they are the only protest party but its vote dropping considerably where UKIP or even the English Democrats are standing.
Burnley is looking bad, with the BNP hoping to pick up a couple of seats in the
County Council elections but again they are the only real challengers to Labour
so they have been able to hoover up the anti-Labour vote. BNP support seems high in other parts of Lancashire as well but of course UKIP were not standing in these. However, the European Elections is totally different and the verification done in Burnley shows that many of those who voted BNP in the county council elections switched to UKIP in the Euros.
The bottom line is that it is going to be close but it is clear that it is UKIP rather than the BNP which is taking the bulk of the anti-establishment vote.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2009, 08:21
So our nine-month campaign has finally come to an end and there is nothing more we can do. A few County Council results trickled through during the early hours of the morning but the bulk will be counted today. The ballot papers for the European Election will be counted on Sunday night, once the polls close across Europe. One report said that the first results will start to come in at 9.30pm but I’m expecting it to be far later than that.
Over the course of today I’ll be trying to give regular reports on the County Council results as they happen and obviously we’ll be putting up a full list as and when they are all in.
In the meantime I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported the HOPE not hate campaign. Whatever the result it was a truly remarkable effort and quite simply the biggest anti-fascist campaign ever. Set against the backdrop of such a horrendous political climate it is even more remarkable.
Over the course of the last three months we have put out 3,400,000 newspapers and leaflets – dwarfing the efforts on any of the political parties standing, who relied largely on the Royal Mail delivering their election leaflets for them. Over 44,000 people joined our campaign online and almost 1,500 people donated to the campaign over the internet. We ran a huge media operation which placed anti-BNP stories in the newspapers on a daily basis and we sent out almost 600,000 eve of poll emails – the biggest single email in domestic British history.
And none of this could have been achieved without your great support. Whatever the result we can hold our heads up high and say we did everything we could. Thank you.
Posted: 5 Jun 2009 | There are 12 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 4 June 2009, 11:55
With just over ten hours left till the polls close, HOPE not hate activists are out all over the country. In Yorkshire the unions are running a number of telephone banks. The GMB and Unison are sending out text messages to members and in Manchester we are gearing up for one final push this afternoon.
Our eve of poll email has now gone out to over 600,000 people after Eddie Izzard sent it to his British list. He has also put it on Twitter, as have dozens of others. I have to admit that I'm not a Twitterer (I find it hard enough to find time to blog) but I've been told that it is being swamped by anti-BNP and HOPE not hate messages.
It's all still to play for and every vote counts. Even if you can't do any campaigning yourself please spend a few minutes ringing your friends and family to make sure that everyone has voted.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 4 June 2009, 07:39
Just back in from voting. On the way I managed to deliver 122 leaflets that I found lying around the house. I got to the polling booth at ten minutes past seven to find that several people had already voted.
The early indications are that we are going to have a big turnout. At the outset of the campaign we would have viewed this as a sign that the anti-BNP vote was coming out. With the expenses scandal and the infighting within the Labour Party this election is totally unpredictable. However, there is one simple truth - that every vote counts and everyone who opposes the BNP must vote.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 3 June 2009, 22:52
As the election enters its final day the HOPE not hate campaign broke another record – this time with the largest single political email in UK domestic history. This afternoon we sent out almost 500,000 emails to people across the UK.
In addition to the 40,000 Hope not hate email subscribers, the National Union of Students, the Daily Mirror, Unison and the CWU were just some of the organisations that sent out our eve of poll email.
And it could well be far more. Eddie Izzard has added a link to our campaign on his website (
http://www.eddieizzard.com/news/view.php?Id=32) and dozens of people have voiced their support via Twitter.
Of course, we are not in this for records but simply to defeat the BNP. The latest poll gives them 5% which if true is the same as they polled in 2004. I’m taking nothing for granted and we’ll be working right up until the polls close.
We actually find ourselves in the situation where we have no leaflets left anywhere in the country. We have printed just over 3,300,000 newspapers and leaflets but still this morning I quickly knocked together a simple polling day card which we’ll be putting out in Manchester tomorrow.
Talking of Manchester, the Manchester Evening News continued its fine anti-BNP stance. The first edition carried a front page comment from David Ottewell which included the following passage:
“And then there's the BNP. Rejected in other parts of the country, they are now pouring resources into our region – trying to capitalise on anger over 'Expensesgate'. But a vote for the BNP is not a protest vote.
“There is only one fact you need to know about the BNP; they want black and Asian Britons to leave their home country. And why? Because of the colour of their skin. It is not an economic argument; it is not a political argument. It is discrimination which has chilling echoes of the eugenicists of Nazi Germany.
“For that reason, a vote for the BNP is not a vote against Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. It is a vote against Amir Khan, Kelly Holmes and Shaun Wright- Phillips. It is not a vote against 'mainstream' politics. It is a vote against human decency.”
If only some other newspapers, including those who boast to be on the liberal left, had the guts and moral compass to make such a principled stance.
Posted: 3 Jun 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 2 June 2009, 22:52
Today has been one of my most enjoyable days as an anti-fascist. In beautiful weather we handed out almost 500,000 HOPE not hate leaflets at about 160 events across the country.
I was based in Manchester, where during the course of the day 140 people handed out 28,000 leaflets in the city centre. There were teams at the train stations, tram stops and dotted around the shopping areas. We were even joined by the Bishop of Middleton and staff from the office of the Bishop of Manchester.
Our new leaflet went down a treat. In fact I have to say that I have never experienced such a positive reaction to an anti-fascist leaflet in my life. Literally hundreds of people stopped and read the leaflets there and then in front of me and several dozen thanked us for our campaigning.
It was the same across the country. In London we totally ran out of leaflets, with over 10,000 being handed out by 40 activists in Barking & Dagenham alone this morning. I even heard a report, though unsubstantiated, that Unite’s Joint General Secretary Tony Woodley was out at Kings Cross.
There was a brilliant response in Yorkshire, where 75,000 leaflets went out, including 22,000 in Sheffield. My good friend Paul told me this evening that it was “the best anti-fascist day of his life.”
Perhaps one of the most amusing stories of the day came from Derby, where Unite officer Kevin Hepworth told us that he had never experienced such a positive reaction to a leaflet in 30 years. Standing outside Derby station he said that travellers were getting off trains from London, Nottingham, Sheffield and Birmingham all saying that they had been given the leaflets at points of departure.
My most amusing story was as I was leafleting at Manchester’s Oxford Road station this afternoon and a woman who I had never met before approached me and said: “Oh hello Mr HOPE man.”
I smilied and replied: “yes, I guess I am”.
Posted: 2 Jun 2009 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Paul Meszaros | on: Tuesday, 2 June 2009, 15:55
With only two days to go in the Yorkshire campaign we just wanted to convey how fantastic our supporters have been.
Today is D-day and this morning's commuters were greeted by HNH volunteers at many bus and rail stations across the region. We've shifted thousands of leaflets today, and come teatime this will be repeated. The message of fighting fascism as previous generations did is really striking a chord with people.
This is just one example of countless campaigning activities that have happened over recent weeks and months. Apart from the Hope Not Hate bus and various days of action, we've been bowled over with offers to organise events and requests for leaflets. Faith groups, students, unions and others have been using their own networks on a grand scale. This has extended the reach of the Yorks campaign beyond where we've ever been before, and at last count about 750,000 leaflets have gone out in our region. And it's only Tuesday!
Thanks for everything you've done on this campaign. We're nearly there and the message is still the same. Use your vote - every single one we can raise against the BNP will count. And keep telling your friends, family and colleagues to do so. As they say, for evil to prevail all it takes is for good people to do nothing. Hope can win over hate because all you good people have done something.
Posted: 2 Jun 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 1 June 2009, 20:21
I would like to take a moment to relay two stories, one about hope the other about hate. This evening I was forwarded an email that was sent to our office from a 16-year-old A-level student who wanted to thank us for our campaign. He had used material from our website to dissuade several friends from voting for the BNP despite them being totally opposed to the Nazis of Hitler's Germany.
Contrast this great email with the antics of the BNP over the weekend. As I mentioned yesterday the BNP had produced a leaflet accusing the Archbishop of Canterbury of being Judas. I really did not think that any BNP member was seriously going to hand out these leaflets but this morning I heard that the BNP parked their Truth Truck outside Manchester Cathedral during the morning service and through two loud speakers began abusing the Bishop of Manchester. Quite apart from it being electorally stupid I am truly shocked by their outrageous behaviour. Fortunately, I think we'll be reading a lot more about this story in the media tomorrow.
It's been a totally crazy day. It began in London with a press conference on the South Bank then a train ride to Manchester for an interview with the BBC about our campaign in the North West. In between, Jason and I had to organise our D-Day events tomorrow. I have to admit that we've been well behind on this and it was only this morning that we began to sort out who was leading where and this afternoon when we began to distribute our leaflets. However, we've built such an infrastructure up here, and been joined by hundreds of new activists, that it was all a lot easier than I imagined.
We began the day with 90,000 leaflets stacked up by my desk. We now have just 8,000 left and those have been allocated to Manchester Victoria station tomorrow. In fact, we could have distributed more, and this is a problem we share with London. They have 150,000 leaflets for 100-odd events and speaking to Cathy just now it is clear she could have shifted another 50,000 leaflets.
Not that I'm moaning, it's certainly a good position to be in. Anyway, tomorrow is D-Day and across the country we hope to distribute 500,000 leaflets. I'm going to be in Manchester where I'll be joined by at least one local Bishop, trade unionists and dozens of volunteers.
Posted: 1 Jun 2009 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments