HOPE not hate

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HOPE not hate reacts with 'disappointment' to visit by Hungarian fascist leader

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 26 January 2014, 13:22


Sadly it seems as though the Home Secretary Theresa May has failed to ban the noted extremist leader, Gábor Vona, from the shores of the UK. That he should be arriving on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, when his party and its politicians have open and disgusting antisemitic views, is all the more deplorable.

Any disorder and policing costs that occurs as a result should cause the Home Secretary to reflect hard upon her decision. HOPE not hate believes firmly in the right to free speech – but in a civilised society, that 'right' comes with responsibility. Hungary is experiencing a disturbing lurch to the right, and Vona himself was founder of a paramilitary unit with disturbing echoes of Hungary's war-time, fascist Arrow Cross (which assisted in the deportation of thousands of Jews to concentration camps).

HOPE not hate had earlier this week presented a petition with over 14,000 names, calling for Vona to be excluded, to the UK's Home Office. Andrew Dismore, Labour London Assembly member and founder of Holocaust Memorial Day, had also joined the call to ban Vona.

Mr Vona is speaking at an event in Holborn today Sunday, 26 January. His visit takes place just one day before Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK; Jobbik has strong anti-semitic views, as well as close links with groups such as the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece, currently embroiled in arrests and scandal, plus the far-right British National Party (BNP) led by Nick Griffin.

 Posted: 26 Jan 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Final call: Ban Gabor Vona on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day

posted by: Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 24 January 2014, 08:32


Eugene Black, Hungarian Holocaust survivor Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Eugene Black, Hungarian Holocaust survivor Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop

Yesterday, we handed a petition, signed in 36 hours by 14,160 people, asking the Home Secretary to ban Gabor Vona, the Jobbik leader, from entering the UK.

On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day our actions have been inspired and motivated by the memorial of those people who saw first hand what happens when hate triumphs over HOPE. Holocaust survivors such as Mr. Eugene Black who joined our campaign and signed the HOPE not hate petition, Mr Black stated:

"My name is Eugene Black, formerly known as Jeno Schwarcz. I am a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, now living in England. I signed the petition because I am a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, who lost his family in Auschwitz. Because of the far right Nazis, both in Germany and the Hungarian Arrow Cross who collaborated in our deportation to Auschwitz. The party Mr Vona represents speaks the same rhetoric. I have seen them marching at their rallies in Budapest and they should be stopped or the Holocaust will come again to Hungary and the world. We don't want them here, in Britain. I survived and escaped not to have to face them again."

Just to clarify, HOPE not hate not only believes in freedom of speech, but we campaign for it. However, freedom of speech should never be mistaken for freedom to incite to hate.

Gabor Vona leads and represents, in Hungary and overseas, a racist and antisemitic movement. He claims he will address a meeting in London to canvass support from Hungarian migrants in upcoming parliamentary elections. However, while the arrival of the leader of any antisemitic, anti-Roma, homophobic movement is bad enough, Vona's timing is an insult.

This weekend we mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). This is a time to reflect on a period of history which saw hate destroy hope, but also a time to remember the victims and honour the survivors. Vona's decision to fly into Britain the day before HMD is a sobering reminder that the fight against fascism and racism is far from over, both across Europe and in Britain. Instead of providing him with a platform, HOPE not hate believes we should preserve and celebrate the harmony of our multicultural communities, both in London and across the country.

This year the theme of HMD is "Journeys". The vast majority of the Holocaust journeys have been journeys of terror leading to extermination camps and slave labour, journeys that Gabor Vona and his party are denying ever took place. Well, we think it is only right to ask the Home Secretary to deny Vona's journey to Britain and stop him from spreading hate and poison on our shores. Its not too late to let Vona know he is not welcome in Britain!"

 Posted: 24 Jan 2014 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments

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One Step Closer: Gabor Vona ban

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 23 January 2014, 20:19


HOPE not hate and GLA Member Andrew Dismore presenting the UK Home Office with a mass petition to ban Gabor Vona, whose Jobbik movement has brought division and hatred back to the shores of Europe.

HOPE not hate and GLA Member Andrew Dismore presenting the UK Home Office with a mass petition to ban Gabor Vona, whose Jobbik movement has brought division and hatred back to the shores of Europe.

Today we presented the Home Office and Home Secretary Theresa May with more than 14,000 signatures, calling for the exclusion of far-right Hungarian hate leader, Gábor Vona, from entering the UK.

With its campaigns against Roma, gays and Jews and its clear links to fascism, it's no surprise that Vona's Jobbik Party courts both Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn movement, as well as the shambolic BNP here in the UK.

The timing of Vona's visit, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, is no coincidence.

We strongly urge Theresa May to heed the call by ourselves, London Assembly member and Holocaust Memorial Day founder, Andrew Dismore, and thousands more, to keep our streets free from hate.

Press coverage

 Posted: 23 Jan 2014 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Stop Gabor Vona

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 22 January 2014, 09:54


Last night HOPE not hate joined the growing chorus of voices in trying to get Gábor Vona, the leader of Jobbik, stopped from entering the UK. He is due to speak on Sunday, a day before we mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

An astonishing 8,500 people have already signed the petition, which we will be delivering to the Home Office tomorrow morning. We are now trying to reach 10,000 by noon.

If you haven't already signed the petition, please do so here:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/stop-gabor-vona

Help us reach 10,000 by noon today

 Posted: 22 Jan 2014 | There are 12 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Building momentum

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 21 January 2014, 06:33


The HOPE not hate campaign is really gearing up to fight its biggest election campaign to date. While the threat of the British National Party is considerably lower than it was four years ago, we are now faced with a more respectable threat in UKIP and a general xenophobic and anti-immigrant mood being whipped up by the press.

In the absence of any real challenge from the main political parties it is going to be left to groups like HOPE not hate to defend and promote our modern multicultural Britain.

We began our campaign at the weekend, when 65 local organisers from 48 different local authority areas, spent two days at a training school that we put on in collaboration with Carlos Saavedra’s Movement Mastery. Carlos was ably supported by Kate Warning, the co-ordinator of the YES campaign in Wisconsin. In addition to general organising training, Kate also told the story of the Recall Walker campaign.

It was a really fantastic couple of days and I, for one, have never left a training event with so much energy and excitement about a campaign.

In addition to learning some new organising skills and discussing the overall objectives of our campaign, each local organiser drew up three specific campaign goals for their local areas and came up with a range of activities to help them achieve them.

Yesterday we sought to widen our network. Over 420 people have already volunteered to lead campaigns in their areas. We will plug some into existing groups while we will work with others to set up new HOPE not hate groups in areas where we are not currently active.

We will support these new local groups with dozens more HOPE not hate meetings towards the end of February and then another series of regional training events in late March and early April.

If you want to get more involved in HOPE not hate then sign up here:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/our-plan

 Posted: 21 Jan 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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We have a plan

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 20 January 2014, 17:30


We're facing some very serious risks, Nick.

May's European and local elections are right around the corner. If we aren't ready, UKIP could come in first, filling hundreds of council seats with their xenophobic, anti-migrant agenda, and Nick Griffin could get the 7.5% of the vote he needs to hold his MEP seat.

The stakes are high -- but we've got a plan.

I've made a quick video outlining how we'll defeat hate in May. Take a look and then sign up to become a local HOPE not hate activist:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/our-plan

We plan on taking out 100,000,000 online ads, distributing thousands of leaflets, filming dozens of videos and speaking to countless voters all with one message: This May we must vote for hope, not hate.

Our work together is just beginning, but I'm thrilled to have you on board. Watch planning video and sign up to lead our fight against hate in your area:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/our-plan

 Posted: 20 Jan 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Building the campaign

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 18 January 2014, 08:04


The 2014 HOPE not hate campaign properly kicks off today with the start of a two-day training event for local organisers. Over 70 people from 48 different local authority areas will gather together to discuss, plan and prepare for the forthcoming European and local elections. They will learn the basics of organising from US activists Carlos Saavedra and Kate Werning, before breaking into regional and then local groups to develop their own campaign strategies.

The 2014 HOPE not hate campaign objectives

1) To ensure BNP leader Nick Griffin loses his Euro seat in the North West. Andrew Brons is not likely to stand again in Yorkshire but if he does then we will ensure he loses his seat too.

2) To offer a robust and positive defence of our multicultural society in the face of increasing anti-migrant and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

3) To work with unions to ensure that their members understand that employment rights rather than opposing immigration is the solution to greater job security and a low wage economy.

4) To pressure mainstream political parties against adopting anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.

5) To develop local campaigns in key areas of the country to ensure local politicians understand that they will be punished for adopting anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The organisers attending our weekend school form the backbone of our HOPE not hate campaign but over the next couple of months we intend to rapidly expand our organisation. We have monthly action days and towards the end of next month we will be organising another set of HOPE not hate meetings across the country with the focus on setting up dozens of new groups.

We are also organising internationally. Earlier this month we organised a six-day study trip to Alabama for 10 anti-racist leaders from across Europe. Among those attending were activists from Greece, Hungary, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. We enjoyed the hospitality of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, learnt about the civil rights struggles of the past and received lectures from those involved in today's immigrant rights struggles.

Later this month we will be organising a training, in collaboration with Carlos Saavedra and Kate Werning, of 26 anti-racist leaders from eight European countries. Among those attending will be five people from Greece, four from France and three each from Hungary, Spain and the UK. Others will be coming from Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium. This will be followed by local training events and meetings in Greece, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Sweden and France.

 Posted: 18 Jan 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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We won an important vote in the Lords, but Gagging Bill still dangerous

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 16 January 2014, 13:27


Last night, the Government was defeated in an important vote aimed at further improving the Lobbying Bill. Peers from all parties backed one of the crucial amendments we were hoping to secure. With 237 votes for to 194 votes against, the Lords sent a clear message that background staff costs should not count towards controlled expenditure.

As you know the amendment was tabled by Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the chair of the Civil Society Commission, and was supported by a petition signed by HOPE not hate, over 130 NGOs and 165,000 people. Thank you again to all our supporters who signed the petition.

However, even after last night’s win, the Lobbying Bill would still limit charities and campaigning organisations from speaking out ahead of elections on some of the most important issues facing the country and particularly our local communities.

Specifically, HOPE not hate is still very concerned about two main areas in which the Bill needs further improvement. First of all, the £9,750 spending limit for constituency based campaigning is deemed by the vast majority of NGOs as unworkable and by the Electoral Commission as unenforcable. HOPE not hate would like to stress again that being made to spend only 2% of what the BNP and other political parties can spend in vulnerable local communities is both unfair and dangerous.

Secondly, when combining the fact that the overall spending limits have been slashed by 60%, across the nations, with a widening of the scope of activities that will now have to be included, HOPE not hate would be significantly restricted in our ability to launch national campaigns ahead of elections.

In last night’s debate, the vast majority of Lords agreed that this undemocratic Bill has to have a major review after the 2015 General Elections.

However, in order for us to have a fair and constructive engagement in the democratic process and to keep giving a voice to the hundreds of thousands who want to campaign against fear and hate in 2015, we hope the Lords will hold the Government to account on 21 January, at Third Reading.

Will keep you posted with news on whether Ministers will actually take the chance, before the next debate, to drop unworkable constituency limits.

 Posted: 16 Jan 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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93,000 against the Gagging Bill and counting

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 11 January 2014, 12:31


A big thank you to all our supporters who have signed the Petition asking peers to vote for Lord Harries amendments. You are one of the 93,000 who have done so in the 48 hours since the petition is live.

To those of you who did not manage to sign yet, please take a few minutes over the next three days to put your name down and to share the link to the petition http://civilsocietycommission.info/petition/

Just to put your contribution in context:

  • If an e-petition secures more than 100,000 signatures it can be considered by MPs for a debate in Parliament. Can you imagine what 200,000 signature can do in terms of votes?
  • Daily Express got around 150,000 signatures to the petition "Crusade against Eastern European migrants" which they took to No.10 in early December 2013. We need to do better than this!

As I wrote on Thursday, the Government has been forced, for the second time, to admit that further changes where needed. Let’s not forget that this is a Bill that had no pre-legislative scrutiny, was poorly written and was being rushed through despite more than a hundred NGOs calling for a withdrawal or major improvements, NGOs which repeatedly proved how they will be gagged by it.

While it is reassuring to see that our joint struggle could not be ignored, major threats still remain to HOPE not hate’s ability to conduct lawful and meaningful campaigns in vulnerable communities during the 2015 General Election.

By adding your name to the petition we are showing our partner organisations that we will be shoulder to shoulder until the end, in this crucial test to ensure that we can all carry on representing the legitimate interests of millions of people at election time. More importantly, you are ensuring that, even in the 11th hour, peers are made aware that it is still in their power to safeguard our freedom of speech.

The Gagging Bill remains an unacceptable threat to democracy and freedom of speech. Please call on peers to vote for Lord Harries’ amendments to the Bill, by signing the petition here http://civilsocietycommission.info/petition/

 Posted: 11 Jan 2014 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Government forced into retreat for the second time, but concessions do not go far enough

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 9 January 2014, 19:40


Last night the Government proposed some changes to the illiberal and undemocratic Lobbying Bill they have been pushing since last summer.

While we welcome these "indulgences", which were hard - fought for by a 100-strong coalition of charities and campaign organisations, as the Bill stands even after last night's developments, HOPE not hate will still be gagged because most of our key issues have still not been addressed.

We have therefore joined with an impressive number of organisations to launch a petition calling for meaningful changes to the Gagging Bill. These changes will ensure that HOPE not hate can still offer an antidote to fear and hate during the 2015 General Election.

The Petition is now live here: http://civilsocietycommission.info/petition/

Lord Harries, the Chair of the Civil Society Commission, will formally present the petition to the House of Lords before next Wednesday’s crucial votes.

We are asking our supporters to sign the petition and add their voice to this 11th hour appeal to peers who are the only ones able to ensure that our involvement in the democratic process in not stifled.

Thank you!

 Posted: 9 Jan 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The Romanian and Bulgarian invasion - one week on

posted by: Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop | on: Wednesday, 8 January 2014, 13:56


Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop

It has been a week now since the Romanian and Bulgarian invasion was supposed to start. A week in which, according to Daily Express we should have seen at least 2,000 Romanian and Bulgarian migrants flooding the British Isles.

While we do not know how many Romanians and Bulgarians will eventually choose to employ their skills and pay their taxes to further British economy and enrich British culture, what we know is that, even if confronted with a trickle of invaders, the Daily Haters have not stopped, and show no sign of slowing down.

Headlines about unwelcomed mass immigration from the poorest countries of the European Union have been replaced with misleading headlines about the crime rates they will definitely bring with them, the benefits they are desperate to claim and the low skilled jobs they are suited for, from strippers to cleaners, not to mention the Roma problem they are dumping on British tax payers.

The graphs featured in this blog are just a preview of the mythbusting work that HOPE not hate will carry out in order to steer the conversation towards an informed, non-biased, fact-fuelled debate about the economic contribution of EU migrants living in the UK and the truth about the Romanian and Bulgarian community in UK.

 Posted: 8 Jan 2014 | There are 9 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Thank you

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 6 January 2014, 11:23


I would like to say a big thank you to all of our supporters who took action for us over the last week. Almost 15,000 have signed our letter to the Editor of the Daily Express complaining about their inaccurate anti-immigrant rhetoric. And then, over the weekend, an astonishing 729 people donated to our campaign to ensure Nick Griffin loses his Euro seat.

And then, on Friday, I tweeted a montage of anti-migrant newspaper front pages from the last few weeks. An incredible 894 people retweeted it and 187 marked it up as favourites.

HOPE not hate is gearing up for May's European and local elections. I will be outlining our campaign strategy, and how people can get involved, later this week.

 Posted: 6 Jan 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Griffin: You're done

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 3 January 2014, 23:46


Over the past few years we've been working to stretch and put pressure on the BNP -- politically, electorally and financially.

Through it all we've seen how morally bankrupt Nick Griffin truly is, and today he's been declared financially bankrupt, too.

I don't take pleasure in other people's pain, but I do take a lot of satisfaction from the work we've done together to put the BNP on the back foot.

But this fight isn't over and Griffin has promised that the BNP's campaign in May will be the "most professional yet." That's why we're calling on 750 HOPE not hate supporters to donate by midnight tomorrow. Can you donate?

Our work together is making a huge difference every day -- but being made bankrupt doesn't disqualify Griffin from standing for the European Parliament.

The good news is you and I can kick Griffin out forever -- legally and fairly -- when we defeat his vile politics at the ballot box in May.

But we need resources to do that, and every penny that you can commit now lets us plan out EXACTLY how we'll win. So long story short: Your donation today will go a lot further than your donation on Election Day.

That's why it's so important that we get 750 donors to chip in by midnight tomorrow.

Please donate whatever you can

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/bankrupt

Let's send Griffin a message loud and clear from our community: "Griffin, you're done."

 Posted: 3 Jan 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Nick Griffin now financially and morally bankrupt

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 3 January 2014, 21:01


In the September issue of HOPE not hate magazine, my colleague Matthew Collins wrote an article questioning whether the British National Party's leader, Nick Griffin MEP, was heading for bankruptcy.

Matthew was of the informed opinion that yes, Nick Griffin was. The original article has been reproduced on our website here.

As the article states "Griffin has been dogged throughout his political and personal life by questions about his personal and business acumen, accused of being both foolish and cunning when it comes to money."

Griffin still intends to stand as a candidate at this May's European Elections. We have now been made aware of an amendment in 2002 to the 1986 insolvency act which means there does not appear, at the moment, anything stopping Griffin from seeking re-election.

Griffin and party treasurer Clive Jefferson may have bragged in August of this year about their clean accounts, but the party still holds debts of over £400,000.

Griffin, who once had his car taken away by the bailiffs, has been involved in a number of get-rich- quick schemes over the years, including buying and selling old bangers which are re-sprayed and sold on to members as “patriotic motors”; a failed attempt at trying his hand at being a commercial printer; and selling puppies, home insurance, life assurance, holidays, mortgages and scrap iron to name a few.

Many of Griffin’s living expenses are covered by the BNP solely to avoid people who he and his party owe monies to, getting their hands on what is rightfully theirs.

Further and ongoing research by the HOPE not hate team points to a number of incidences where the BNP has been busying itself with untangling the party machinery from itself in acts that appear to show the party and leading individuals preparing for this eventuality.

Nick Griffin has for instance, never owned his own home. It is, instead, in the names of close friends of his. His former deputy, Simon Darby, who now acts as Griffin's parliamentary researcher and press secretary will apparently seek to have himself declared bankrupt next week.

HOPE not hate remains committed, as ever, to removing Nick Griffin from his seat in the European Parliament by having him voted out by the electorate in this year's May European elections

 Posted: 3 Jan 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Setting the record straight

posted by: Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 3 January 2014, 13:09


For the past months rivers of ink have been dedicated to a predicted flood of Romanians and Bulgarians desperate to invade Britain as soon as the work restrictions were lifted.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of people arriving this past two days at British airports from the two nations were already living and working on these shores. Even the handful of first time newcomers had lined up jobs and stressed their desire to work hard, save money and go back to their countries.

The true story of the Romanian Roma migrants at Marble Arch

Today, the tabloid media had a story landing in their lap. In what some called a highly political media stunt, early this morning, the Home Office raided the group of Romanian Roma that usually gather at Marble Arch. None of the right wing media reported the fact that they were all Roma ethnics, thus perpetuating the myth that all Romanians are Roma and the stereotype that they are beggars, rough sleepers, taking advantage of the NHS and spoiling Mayfair with their anti-social behaviour.

In reality, the dozen fingerprinted, photographed and detained at Marble Arch today are not a snapshot of the Romanian community living in London, or the UK, or a tell-tell story of the likes of people who might be coming in the next months. Marble Arch is not the meeting place for most Romanians relocating to the UK, like the Daily Express implied today. It is the chosen gathering place for a group made up by two Roma families, numbering up to 24 individuals.

The Romanian Embassy in London has tried in vain, since the summer of 2011, when they first camped at Marble Arch, to assist them or to persuade them to move back to Romania. But let us not confuse the issue of Romanian immigration and Roma communities. Roma, both in Romania and in Britain they have been abandoned by the authorities, stigmatised for their ethnic background, discriminated against in terms of housing, education, access to health care and employment. Being called names, abused or moved from one place to another and resented even by most Romanian or Roma ethnics living and working in the UK for bringing a bad name to them all, all the above seem much better when nothing awaits them back home, when their whole life fits into a bin liner and there is nothing to lose, nothing to gain.

You can find more information on the true story behind the Romanian Roma group from Marble Arch in Christian Havrincea’s documentary “Nobody’s People” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBP3NGjhvCs

For more fact finding and mythbusting articles on the Romanians and Bulgarians living in the UK and those set to relocate here please keep an eye out for the January issue of the HOPE not hate magazine, due to come out next week.

 Posted: 3 Jan 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A selection of hatred

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 3 January 2014, 10:20


Here is a selection of newspaper front pages from the last few weeks. It is headlines like these that are whipping up racism and hatred to foreigners.

Sign our letter to the Daily Express expressing our disgust at the lies they are telling about immigration

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/daily-express-letter

 Posted: 3 Jan 2014 | There are 10 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Daily Express stop spreading lies about immigration

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 3 January 2014, 08:18


Over 8,500 people have now co-signed our letter to the Daily Express asking them to stop spreading lies about immigration. Let's make it 10,000 by noon

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/daily-express-letter

 Posted: 3 Jan 2014 | There are 25 comments | make a comment/view comments