HOPE not hate

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Hope takes to the streets 2

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 27 March 2010, 14:44


Been receiving more reports of activities across the country. There were 25 people out in Sandwell who, together with a team on Friday, have put 10,000 newspapers out already. There were 15 in Wolverhampton and another 10 are expected out tomorrow. Likewise, in Nuneaton, there were 10 out today and a similar number coming during the week.

 Posted: 27 Mar 2010 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Hope takes to the streets

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 27 March 2010, 13:46


I'm hearing great reports from today's Day of Action from all over the country. Just had a message from Paul to say that there were over 30 people out in Sheffield. Sarah from Greenwich texted to say that there were 19 in Eltham, the same number who were out in Southwark, where incredibly Millwall FC have added their name to the campaign.

Many of the areas where activities were taking place had not been leafleted by us before. In Enfield, where the BNP is standing in the General Election, 13 people came out.

In Barking & Dagenham, the frontline in this year's campaign, there were over 50 people out at the last count, with some coming back to do another round after lunch. Sam thinks we've already put out 10,000 newspapers in the borough, with another 3,000 out in South Hornchurch, in Havering.

 Posted: 27 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Taking delivery

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 23 March 2010, 12:52


It’s been a busy and tiring morning for the HOPE not hate campaign as we took delivery of 1.8 million newspapers and leaflets. We have produced 23 editions of a tabloid newspaper, customised to local areas, 800,000 copies of a 12-page women’s magazine and 600,000 general anti-BNP leaflets.

There will be more leaflets and newspapers to come over the next few weeks but in the meantime we are working hard to get the material into the hands of our local groups and then out through letterboxes.

 Posted: 23 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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More BNP misuse of taxpayers’ money

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 23 March 2010, 11:39


In another clear indication that the BNP is misusing or at least misdirecting its EU facilities to assist in its general and local election campaign the party has just announced that it is circulating 500,000 leaflets in the North West over the next few weeks. Half of this amount, 250,000, is being posted at taxpayers’ expense through the Royal Mail to its key local authority and parliamentary targets.

Given that the elections are a few weeks away this is a clear attempt to deliver another party leaflet into the homes of voters in their key target areas.

Yesterday we launched a letter-writing campaign to protest at BNP misuse of taxpayers’ money. As I write this now over 18,000 letters have been sent.

You can join the protest at: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/fraud

 Posted: 23 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Investigate now

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 22 March 2010, 18:19


This afternoon the HOPE not hate campaign organised a letter writing campaign to people in the European Union complaining about the apparent misuse of public funds by the BNP. The two BNP MEPs are using £400,000 in expenses to bankroll their party. Most of the 14 people being paid by the EU are in leadership positions in the party. At least 10 are standing in the BNP’s top targets in the general election and even the man who is co-ordinating their election campaign, including their bid for control of Barking & Dagenham council, is on the payroll.

The taxpayer is funding the BNP’s election effort and this is totally unacceptable.

We are calling on the EU Fraud Office and the EU Ombudsman to investigate and hopefully put an end to this grotesque misuse of public money.

You can sign our petition here:

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

As I write this an incredible 12,736 letters have been sent.

 Posted: 22 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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We get it

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 22 March 2010, 06:36


Yesterday's Observer was a joy to read. There was considerable coverage of the HOPE not hate campaign in the large feature on Barking & Dagenham and we even made it into Andrew Rawnsley's comment piece.

In an article about the pros and cons of online campaigning, and how the British political parties are attempting to copy Obama's lead, Rawnsley wrote:

"As importantly, if not more so, Obama's team used the internet to turn well-wishers into active advocates. That is how he made three million people important to his campaign. Some British campaigners have got it. 'Hope Not Hate', the anti-BNP group, has only four full-time staff members and yet has managed to organise the hand-delivery of more than 3m leaflets, by using digital networks to organise volunteers and mobilise them on to the streets."

Praise indeed. I should mention that the distribution of three million leaflets and newspapers would not have been possible without the fantastic team of local volunteer organisers and activists we have around the country. Our online campaign has brought 140,000 people into our orbit. What we have to do is to inspire them into offline – traditional grassroots – campaigning.

 Posted: 22 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The gloves are off

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 22 March 2010, 06:34


Last week I reported how the BNP had announced that it was standing against Alby Walker in the Abbey Green ward in Stoke-on-Trent in May's local elections. Well, now the gloves have come off and Walker, the former BNP group leader on the council, and the BNP are involved in a quite public spat. Walker went on TV over the weekend saying that the BNP was full of Holocaust deniers. They have responded by questioning his mental health. It's such a shame when old friends fall out ...

You do, however, have to question what life must be like in the Walker household. His wife is still a BNP councillor and has not given any indication that she is leaving the party.

 Posted: 22 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Almost there…

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 19 March 2010, 07:56


It’s been a very long night but we are almost there. I think I managed about 90 minutes sleep but the final versions of the newspapers are coming through ready for sign off. There’s still a bit to do but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

 Posted: 19 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Will I ever learn?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 19 March 2010, 00:40


Every year I sit at my desk, in the early hours of a March morning, and say to myself, never again!

Every year we produce a couple of dozen tabloid newspapers, localised to our key areas, and however much we plan ahead it always ends up with some all-nighters at the end of the process.

I always tell myself that I can’t keep going through this, but here I am again, sitting up all night, starring at a computer screen and waiting for the 27 editions to arrive in my inbox for me to sign off.

But seriously, these newspapers are really fantastic. Coleen Nolan writes about her upbringing in Blackpool, Brian Reade highlights BNP thuggery and Oliver Holt describes how the multiracial make up of the England football team proves how outdated the BNP is. Eddie Izzard reflects on his walk across Britain and Fiona Phillips condemns the BNP’s inhumanity over Haiti.

There are also local stories and celebrities. Barnsley’s Dickie Bird tells us above his love for his local area and Dee Johnson, from South Oxhey, talks about life after the Choir. There are community groups and campaigns, inspiring young people and pensioners determined to bring a positive spirit back into their neighbourhoods.

And of course, then there is the strong anti-BNP articles as well.

When they are all combined I really do think we have an excellent product. So, as I sit in front of my computer waiting for the next edition to come through I do conclude that these late nights or sometimes sleepless nights are well worth it.

 Posted: 19 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Meet and Greet

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 18 March 2010, 11:24


Last night I went to a Meet and Greet in Hackney. It was an event jointly organised by HOPE not hate and Hackney Unites Against the BNP and was an opportunity for our supporters to meet in a social setting and learn how they can get involved in the campaign. Thirty people attended, which is brilliant given that there is no BNP threat in the borough.

With the election only 49 days away we agreed to do some telephone canvassing and build for our 17 April mobilisation in Barking and Dagenham. Such was the take-up for our April Day of Action that we are going to put on a coach just from Hackney.

This was just one of 15 meet and greets we are holding around the country. Over 50 people attended the event in Dagenham the previous evening, all from the local area. On the same night 15 people turned up in Thurrock, again all local, which was fantastic as we have struggled to build a local campaign there in the past.

Other events have taken place in Southwark, Solihull, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent. Tonight it is the turn of Camden.

More and more people are beginning to get involved in the campaign and this is reflected in the 43 activities we have planned across the country over the weekend of 27 and 28 March, and the hundreds who have already signed up to hand out leaflets.

 Posted: 18 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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BNP set to stand against their former leader

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 16 March 2010, 07:11


It seems that the gloves are off in Stoke Central as the BNP appear to have confirmed that they will stand a candidate against Alby Walker, the former leader of the BNP group on the council, who broke from the party earlier this year.

The BNP general election campaign was left in disarray when Walker announced his decision to stand as an independent candidate in Stoke Central on the morning that the party’s deputy leader Simon Darby was launching his campaign for the same seat.

After mulling over how much to antagonise Walker, the BNP appear to have decided to fight the Abbey Green ward in the council elections, where Walker is up for re-election in May.

Unfortunately there continue to be major and quite public splits in the local Labour Party so while it is fun to see the right divided this election is totally unpredictable.

 Posted: 16 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Vindicated

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 14 March 2010, 09:53


Earlier this year the HOPE not hate campaign came under criticism from some quarters for our Barking & Dagenham strategy. In our view the council was far more at risk from the BNP than Margaret Hodge’s parliamentary seat. As a result the HOPE not hate strategy focused on the key swing wards which the BNP needed if it was to take full control of the council.

It was, to us, a fairly obvious strategy. However, not everyone agreed and there have been rumblings of discontent about our approach.

However, in an interview with The Guardian, BNP leader Nick Griffin clearly states that the council is the party’s key priority. He even says that one of the reasons why he is standing is to draw the flak away from the party’s council candidates. He went on:

“In terms of the benefits for the party, and especially our drive to take the council, well, that's the real prize. It really is.” This confirms our view. Obviously Griffin would like to win a parliamentary seat but he is standing to raise the party’s profile in the area so it has a better chance of winning control of Barking & Dagenham council.

If this then is the BNP’s real goal it is also important that we focus our effort on stopping them. And that means stopping them winning the necessary seats to take control. In addition to the seven wards where the BNP already has 12 councillors, it needs to win in another three to five to take the council. By targeting these swing wards – which will ultimately determine whether the BNP take control of its first council and a £200m a year budget – we can stop them from winning. This isn’t to say that we are not interested in other wards, because we are, but every campaign has to focus its resources and we have those swing wards in our sights.

I think Griffin’s admission in The Guardian vindicates our position.

You can read the full Guardian piece here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/13/nick-griffin-margaret-hodge-barking-dagenham

 Posted: 14 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Thank you

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 14 March 2010, 00:59


Just want to say a big thank you to the 1,100 people who donated to this week's appeal. We raised over £16,000 which, when doubled by Unison, means that we raised almost £33,000 towards our fantastic 12-page Women's magazine.

We are in fact printing 880,000 of the magazines, with Unison taking 500,000 for members and the remainder being distributed to women voters in the key wards.

 Posted: 14 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Within touching distance

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 10 March 2010, 21:59


With two hours to go we need to find just £476 to reach our target of £15,000. This has been a really unbelievable fundraising drive and a big thank you must go to the 1,052 who have donated so far. However, we are still a few hundred pounds short so if you haven’t donated you can still do so by clicking through here:

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

 Posted: 10 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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We are nearly there…

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 10 March 2010, 18:36


On Monday I launched an appeal to raise £15,000 to help us deliver 300,000 copies of a 12-page booklet to women in key BNP areas. With articles written by Coleen Nolan and Fiona Phillips, among others, it is a fantastic tool. Every penny raised will be matched by the public sector union UNISON so, if we hit our target, then we will in fact be raising £30,000.

With a little over five hours to go until the midnight deadline our total is now £13,670 from just under 1,000 people. That means we need to raise another £1,330 in five and a half hours.

If you haven’t donated then please do. If you already donated then thanks for your support.

You can donate here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/TimeIsShort

 Posted: 10 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Mark Fisher stands down

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 10 March 2010, 17:41


I've just heard that Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Mark Fisher is standing down for reasons of "ill-health". His constituency was probably the most vulnerable to the BNP, with deputy leader Simon Darby contesting the seat. Fisher has been ill for some time and has obviously decided that another five years is too much for him.

Not quite sure what that means but we’ll continue working away to build up and turn out the anti-BNP vote.

 Posted: 10 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Dave Prentis adds his voice to the HOPE not hate campaign

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 March 2010, 16:40


Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis has just added his voice to our campaign

"UNISON is proud to mark International Women's Day and add our voice to the Hope not Hate campaign with the Daily Mirror.

The BNP is trying to sow the seeds of hate and division in our society. And yet without the efforts of workers from abroad, the NHS would crumble, our schools couldn’t function and our elderly and vulnerable would be without the care they need.

It is women who rely most on public services who would be hit hardest if services are cut. The election is just round the corner. We know that the BNP doesn't care for democracy or public services and its policies do nothing to help women. Get involved and, together, we can keep them out."

We have now raised over £6,000.

 Posted: 8 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A third of the way there

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 March 2010, 14:15


Double Your Money

I’m now delighted to say that over £5,000 has been donated towards our Double Your Money appeal. That means we have raised £10,000 already today.

Our target is to raise £15,000 which, with Unison's matching donation, would give us £30,000. So we are a third of the way there

You can donate here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/DoubleYourMoney

 Posted: 8 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Double your money 300+

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 March 2010, 12:39


It is two hours since we launched our Double Your Money campaign and we have already raised over £4,200 from 303 donations. With Unison matching this figure we have already raised £8,400 towards our campaign.

There is still a way to go yet. Our target is £15,000 which, with Unison’s matching-funding, will give us £30,000.

You can donate here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/DoubleYourMoney

 Posted: 8 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Double Your Money

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 8 March 2010, 11:36


Today is International Women’s day and to mark the occasion I have just launched a Double your Money fundraising drive. In conjunction with the Daily Mirror we are producing a 12-page booklet aimed at women. With articles from Coleen Nolan and Fiona Phillips I think it will be just the job in encouraging women to vote against the BNP.

UNISON is backing the campaign with a double your money offer. Every pound our supporters raise will be matched by a similar donation from UNISON. That means a £10 donation is actually worth £20 to us.

Women are much less likely to vote BNP than men, that’s why it is so important we encourage as many women as possible to vote. We have set ourselves a target of £15,000 – which will be doubled to £30,000 – to produce 300,000 booklets for women in our key wards.

You can donate here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/DoubleYourMoney

 Posted: 8 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE not hate campaign on TV

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 March 2010, 14:24


The HOPE not hate campaign featured on the BBC’s Politics Show today. In a programme about the BNP threat in Barking & Dagenham one of our team was interviewed in our great new campaign headquarters.

The programme will shortly be available here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/the_politics_show_london

On the streets our activists are continuing to work hard. Yesterday about 8,000 newspapers were delivered across two wards by just ten people. They were out from 10am until 5.30pm, with hardly a break throughout the whole day.

 Posted: 7 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A great evening of HOPE

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 March 2010, 14:00


Still recovering from a fantastic fundraising gig last night. Over 1,000 people packed into ULU to listen to Billy Bragg do a full two hours for the HOPE not hate campaign. Over £9,000 was raised for the campaign and almost 400 new people signed up for activity.

In between songs, Billy Bragg spoke of the serious threat in Barking & Dagenham and called for everyone to join him on the streets on 17 April. On what will be a London-wide Day of Action, we are looking for 300-400 people to deliver 65,000 newspapers, covering every door in the borough.

I’m afraid that I was at our stall, at the back of the hall, so I missed most of the gig. But I’m assured it was really great, with some of his long-time fans even saying that it was his best gig for years. The packed hall, intimate atmosphere and a great cause all contributed to a fantastic evening. More importantly, for me anyway, hundreds of people learnt about our campaign and signed up to get involved.

 Posted: 7 Mar 2010 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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They really are crap

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 2 March 2010, 19:55


Sometimes I don't have to think too hard to write copy for our election leaflets. The stupidity and uselessness of the BNP often hands us stories on a plate.

Just had a message about the BNP councillors in Sandwell who, as long-time followers of the HOPE not hate campaign will know, are particularly useless. Today was the budget meeting, the most important meeting in the council calendar, but two of the three BNP councillors (well, one was elected as BNP but now sits as an Independent Nationalist) failed to show and the third turned up at the beginning and promptly walked out as the meeting began. He returned half way through the meeting, sat there in silence and then, after the meeting had finished, tried to ask a question.

Luckily the people of Sandwell have a chance to throw out two useless BNP councillors and the Independent Nationalist in May.

The copy just writes itself.

 Posted: 2 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Let your fingers do the talking

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 2 March 2010, 16:05


I’ve just sent out an email launching a new online canvassing service which will allow our supporters, wherever they live in the country, to play a vital role in defeating the BNP in our key target areas.

And, it has the added benefit that people will be able to campaign from the comfort of their own home.

Canvassing is an integral part of modern political campaigning. It enables parties to identify their supporters, understand key issues and concerns and maintain a dialogue with voters in the chosen areas.

Our goal is simple. To contact potential voters in our key areas (such as Barking & Dagenham and Stoke-on-Trent) and identify those who oppose the BNP. Once identified we will build up a relationship with these voters through a combination of direct mail, human contact and further phone calls in the hope that they will vote on Election Day itself.

So, if you want to make a call for HOPE, you can do so here:

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

 Posted: 2 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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So it's not March

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 2 March 2010, 10:29


Ros and I outside No 10 during the 2008 HOPE not hate tour

Ros and I outside No 10 during the 2008 HOPE not hate tour

Yesterday passed off without Gordon Brown rushing to the Palace so there will be no March election. That’s certainly good news from our perspective. Our emergency election plans have been neatly folded up and put back on the shelf and it’s back to the main May warbook.

Yesterday also saw our campaign in Stoke-on-Trent move forward. Sarah, our new worker there, has been building on the success of Saturday’s hugely successful Day of Action. She has had meetings with political parties and trade unions and last night attended a meeting of the local anti-BNP group NorSCARF, with which we want to work closely. Almost 10,000 newspapers were put out on Saturday so Sarah is now drawing up plans to get the remaining 20,000 out before the next edition is produced at the end of this month.

We were also joined yesterday by Ros Wynne-Jones, who has come on board full-time until the election. Ros is our link with the Daily Mirror and she is working on our newspapers and other specials that we are co-producing.

Bit by bit the pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place. Our online telephone canvassing operation began yesterday, with hundreds of calls already made, we are working on the finishing touches to our direct mail campaign and we are just about to take on a couple more interns. The fact that Brown didn’t go to the Palace was a huge relief but whenever the election is called we will be ready.

 Posted: 2 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Decision day

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 1 March 2010, 09:01


The HOPE not hate campaign is set to run its biggest and most professional campaign to date in the forthcoming elections. We hope to put thousands of people on the streets, hold hundreds of activities, run telephone canvassing and direct mail operations and conduct a huge media strategy using stories we’ve been building up for several months. At its height we will have over 25 people working on the campaign, with fully operational offices in Dagenham, Yorkshire and Stoke-on-Trent to co-ordinate our activities.

It is a campaign that has taken months to prepare. Buying in data, literally building our Dagenham office, recruiting staff and fundraising has all taken time – often far more than intended. However, there has always been one nagging fear, namely that the general election will be called early, so separating it from the local elections.

We believe that holding the two elections on the same day gives us the best chance to defeat the BNP. While voting will be more volatile than in the past, it is hoped that the increased turnout for the general election will help defeat BNP candidates in the local elections. It will maximise activism and allow us to concentrate our resources where they are most needed. Conversely, separating the two elections will make our task all the harder in the local elections. The turnout will be pitifully low, activists will be tired and perhaps demoralised and we would have to strongly contest far more of our 102 ‘at risk’ wards than we would otherwise have to.

So, I did panic a bit yesterday morning when, after the Sunday Times poll showed the Tory lead down to two points there was increased speculation about a snap election. Today we will know. If Gordon Brown is to call a March election then he has to do it today. My money is he won’t but I’ll be waiting for the clock to strike midnight without an announcement with some anticipation. Of course we’ve built contingency plans in case there is a March election but we would much prefer to take the BNP on in one go on 6 May.

 Posted: 1 Mar 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments