HOPE not hate

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Is the BNP losing it?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 31 May 2009, 17:31


It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve finally got back down to London. It’s only a flying visit to do a media engagement tomorrow morning and then it’s back up north to help co-ordinate our D-Day events across the North West. I’ve been on the road for almost four weeks and I’ve not had a day off since before Easter so there is a bit of me that is looking forward to the election being over. But until Thursday night we will be working flat out to ensure the BNP fail in its attempts to get elected.

I really think the BNP is struggling. The fact that they haven’t gained from the expenses scandal owes much to our media operation and the millions of newspapers and leaflets that are being distributed around the country. Yesterday, in Sandwell, over 80 people delivered 20,000 newspapers and leaflets to local homes. Another 10,000 went out in Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Today, a further 10,000 went out in Dudley. As I was travelling back to London our film man got a call from his mother to say that she had just received a HOPE not hate leaflet through her door. It is little stories like these that help me through these long days.

I also think the pressure is having an impact on the BNP. Their latest attack on the Church of England is stupid beyond belief. If the Jesus would vote BNP billboard wasn’t bad enough they have now produced a leaflet accusing the Archbishops of Canterbury of being Judas. As soon as I heard about this leaflet last night I got straight on the phone to a couple of contacts in the Church who in turn relayed it to the appropriate authorities. This morning, as dozens of vicars and priests were making anti-BNP sermons to their congregations, one Reverand went one stage further. Deptford’s Rev Paul Butler ripped up a copy of the leaflet in his church and immediately recruited several people to come and help him leaflet on Tuesday.

 Posted: 31 May 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Good reading

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 28 May 2009, 16:09


The Manchester Evening News has been good reading over the past three days as it has launched its campaign against the BNP. Manchester is a great city and much of its vibrancy comes from the different cultures and communities which make up its population. The MEN recognises this and so rejects the BNP's politics of hate.

On Monday the paper ran a front page story exposing the truth behind the BNP. It also had an editorial urging voters to shun the fascist party. Yesterday its campaign was backed by several local celebrities, including Stone Roses legend Ian Brown, former Corrie stars Denise Welch and Chris Bisson and Shameless star Tina Malone.

I understand the paper has gone after the BNP again today, highlighting its nazi roots and Holocaust denial. I haven't seen a copy yet but I'll certainly be picking one up shortly.

There's lots to report from the HnH tour but that will have to wait until a bit later. These past 48 hours I've been frantically getting everything in place for the final week's campaign. It's been a long and tiring campaign but I can promise you a lot of fireworks in the final few days.

 Posted: 28 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Yellow Crosby

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 11:08


The HOPE not hate bus rolled into Crosby yesterday to be met by thousands of people enjoying the final day of the town’s four-day music festival. The town was awash with yellow, as three hundred people wore HOPE not hate T-shirts, hundreds of balloons were launched and HnH hoardings surrounded the stage.

Kevin, fresh from his encounters with the BNP in the North East, had a more basic challenge to face this time – namely a bridge which we only just sneaked under.

The festival was sponsored by Unison and dozens of local activists were on hand to ensure the day went smoothly. Over three hundred people signed up to deliver HOPE not hate newspapers over the next few days, with the demand so great that we are now having to ring around to find more papers to add to the 20,000 Sefton had been allocated.

Headlining the bill was The Christians. They performed a few of their old classics to a highly appreciative audience. However, the star of the weekend was eight-year-old Sophie Williams, daughter of local Unison branch secretary Glenn Williams. Introducing The Choir on Sunday she said: “I hope for peace, I hope for tolerance and for all people to be treated fairly no matter what the colour of their skin”.

She added: “More than anything, at eight years old, I hope my front tooth grows and I grow into this T-shirt.”

 Posted: 26 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Three million and counting

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 24 May 2009, 15:26


The HOPE not hate campaign has just passed another milestone in what already has been the largest anti-fascist campaign to date. With the printing of our final week leaflet we have now passed the three million mark for leaflets and newspapers produced for this campaign. Our actual figure stands at 3,122,000.

And there’s more to come. We are looking at producing several targeted eve of poll leaflets which should push our final total higher. And then there is the eight-page HOPE not hate supplement which will go inside the Daily Mirror in the final week.

As I arrive in Liverpool for the next stage of our bus tour, I’ve just had a call from Matthew as he was waiting for a train back to London. He’s told me that Newcastle was a great success, with dozens of trade unionists handing out thousands of leaflets and hundreds of HOPE not hate balloons. Most encouragingly they were met with a great reception from local people.

I’ve also had a call from Paul in Yorkshire. It was Bradford’s turn to have its Day of Action and 80 people turned up, delivering about 45,000 leaflets. In addition, another 40,000 leaflets were taken away to be delivered during the week.

My final phonecall was from Jason Hunter, from Burnley. He has already delivered 801 newspapers today and was about to go out again this afternoon. The Huntometer now stands at 5,002 – so that’s £50 I owe the campaign so far.

 Posted: 24 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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D-Day Tuesday 2 June

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 24 May 2009, 09:54


The HOPE not hate campaign is planning a national Day of Action against the BNP on Tuesday 2 June. We are calling it D-Day or Democracy Day and we will be distributing 500,000 leaflets at over 250 events across the country.

We are also calling it D-Day because it comes almost 65 years to the day when hundreds of thousands of British, American and Commonwealth troops set sail for France in the final push against Hitler's Nazis. Now it is our turn. They risked their lives to rid the continent of fascism. Today, we just have to get people to vote.

It will be our final push for the elections so I hope you will all get involved. Events will begin to be advertised overnight so I hope you will all give one hour to ensure we defeat the BNP in the European elections.

 Posted: 24 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE shines on Salford

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 23 May 2009, 18:53


Salford was the latest Greater Manchester authority to be targeted by the HOPE not hate campaign as 67 activists distributed 17,000 newspapers across the borough. While Matthew and the HnH bus was encountering the foul Walker brothers in County Durham, down in Salford the day passed off peacefully and without incident. What was most encouraging was that everyone had come to the event through the email system and many were active for the first time.

We were joined by Billy Bragg, who did a few songs as a thank you for those who had turned up. This followed a quick visit to Old Trafford where he did a photoshoot for the Mirror with Paddy Crerand, one of the United legends. I was back at the Unite base but by all accounts Paddy was brilliant. He spoke out against the BNP and pointing to his old friend Sir Matt Busby he said: “If he was here today he would tell you the same.”

There was such a determination to push the campaign forward that a day of action was organised for Tameside next Saturday.

 Posted: 23 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A new target

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 23 May 2009, 04:53


The campaign against Clear Channel has been so successful that we have increased our target to 3,000. We currently have had 2,122 people complaining to the company.

To register your opposition to them supplying the BNP with billboard space, please click here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/speakout/integrity

 Posted: 23 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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1,000 and growing

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 22 May 2009, 17:29


A couple of hours ago I sent out an email asking you to join me in complaining to Clear Channel for hosting BNP billboards. In 90 minutes 1,000 people have sent messages of complaint to the company.

Our target is 2,000 so if you haven't sent a complaint please do so here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/speakout/integrity

 Posted: 22 May 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Get that fascist off my lawn!

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 21 May 2009, 08:28


At the beginning of the campaign we drew up a list of stories that we thought would capture the media's attention. We have been really pleased with the response. We have been able to place stories in the press virtually every day of this campaign and right across the media spectrum.

However, it is often the unexpected that really catches the interest of the media and today the papers are full of it. The story is Nick Griffin's invite to the Palace. Obviously the BNP thought that by alerting the media to this story they would generate huge media coverage and convince the voters they had now become respectable.

Perhaps they hadn't quite expected the front page of the Daily Mail: Fascist on the palace lawn.

 Posted: 21 May 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Running for HOPE

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 23:38


Today we launched a fundraising appeal to pay for our final election leaflet. We have produced an astonishing 2,275,000 newspapers and leaflets already during this campaign but even these appear not enough. So many people are getting involved in the campaign and distributing our material that we have virtually run out everywhere.

We are now aiming to produce another 500,000 leaflets and for that we need £8,000 by Thursday. We sent out an email to the 1,000 people who have contributed to our campaign this year and within five hours we have received over £2,500. Tomorrow we will send out an email to the 32,000 people on our email list asking them to match fund our total.

Our funds have been further boosted by £300 raised by two Unison staff in Manchester who ran the Great Manchester Run on Sunday in support of the HOPE not hate campaign. Damian and Wendy are two good activists in their own right but last weekend they put on their running shoes and ran for HOPE. Thanks very much to the pair of them and all the Unison regional staff who sponsored them.

 Posted: 19 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A big thank you

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 17 May 2009, 21:54


I would like to thank everyone who took part in our weekend of HOPE. I'm still collecting reports of events around the country but it seems that well over 500,000 leaflets and newspapers were distributed.

Leading the way today was Leeds, where over 40,000 leaflets were delivered from two locations across the city. Leicester came in second with almost 20,000 newspapers put out. Over 50 people came out in North London to deliver 10,000 leaflets. Other events took place in Birmingham, Thurrock, Tameside, Bury, North and South Manchester and St Helens.

Today was also Burnley's big day of action and a total of 12,000 newspapers were delivered or collected to do in the next couple of days. A further 5,600 newspapers were given to a local vicar who has promised to deliver them throughout the churches in the town. Jason Hunter was masterminding proceedings so he was only able to do two hours leafleting, but he still managed to knock off another 532 newspapers. This brings his current total to 2782.

 Posted: 17 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Against the odds

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 17 May 2009, 13:59


Defying appalling weather HOPE not hate activists are once again on the streets. Over twenty-five people came out in Thurrock where a ward was knocked off in less than an hour. About 80 people have turned up in Leeds and another 60 in Leicester. Other groups were out in Birmingham, Trafford, North and South Manchester, Bury, Tameside and Burnley. There were also three events taking place in Wales to formally launch their HOPE not hate campaign. I’ll try to do a round-up of what happened later on today.

I’ve rested up this morning, trying to catch up with a few things and plan ahead for the coming week. I took a moment to look at the newspapers, which were quite pleasant reading, at least in terms of anti-BNP stories. No wonder Simon Darby was moaning in his blog this morning. His day only got worse when he found out that the BBC had cancelled Nick Griffin’s appearance on the Politics Show.

 Posted: 17 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Doing a deal

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 17 May 2009, 08:14


In the midst of the hard slog of an election campaign there are always a few momments that make one smile. Sometimes this can be a joke or perhaps meeting an inspiring person. On Friday, it was a feathered bird which brought me and a young woman from Keighley together.

I was walking through Manchester city centre after some leafleting in Albert Square. It had been raining and I was feeling fairly fed up with the day. I came across a group of people gathered around to high powered binoculars aimed up high to the top of the Arndale Centre. It seems that a pair of peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest bird, are breeding on the city centre landmark.

I got into conversation with a young woman from the RSPB who asked me to sign their petition. To the life of me I can’t remember what the petition was about, to be honest I don’t think I was ever told. I didn’t need to know, as I skipped the petition and joined the RSPB on the spot. The clincher was a deal I struck with the woman. I said to her that I would sign up if she promised to vote in the elections. She readily agreed. She came from Keighley and knew all about the poisonous nature of the BNP. Even better was that when I mentioned the HOPE not hate campaign she said that she had been given a leaflet that morning at Manchester Victoria train station. She had previously had a slightly different leaflet in Keighley a couple of weeks ago.

Suddenly, the rain didn't bother me anymore, I had a spring in my step and I felt that I had just done a good deed. She was just one of several people who that lunchtime had told me they had received HOPE not hate leaflets earlier that day. The word is getting out there.

 Posted: 17 May 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE hits the streets

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 16 May 2009, 19:42


Against a backdrop of blustery rain and intermitant sunshine, hundreds of people devivered HOPE not hate literature across the country. I was in Manchester, where over 150 people had gathered in five locations across the city. By tomorrow night we expect to have covered 15 of the cities 31 wards, with another nine wards already allocated to organisations who will do them in the coming days. This equates to about 130,000 newspapers out of a possible 165,000 properties in the city. We are confident that the remainder will get done over the coming two weeks.

There were some equally impressive turnouts elsewhere. Over 100 people turned out in Liverpool and an astonishing 105,000 newspapers have been delivered or allocated. In fact by shortly after 11am I was getting calls from Cheryl Pidgeon, the GMB organiser who was co-ordinating the main Liverpool base, that they had run out of papers.

About 60,000 leaflets have been handed out in Sheffield over the past two days, with almost two whole constituencies covered. Numbers were boosted by almost 50 students and dozens of new people, out for the first time. Nowhere did we have more new people than in Wigan, where over 110 people have been involved in delivering already. Almost 50 people came out in Wigan today and a dozen in Leigh. However, 40 people from a local church in Ashton came together to cover two wards. There were 32 people out in Oldham, including many new people.

In the East London borough of Barking & Dagenham almost 90 people have delivered 25,000 leaflets in the past two days. Local HOPE not hate organiser is confident that the remainding 25,000 leaflets will go out over the next ten days.

There are several more activities planned for tomorrow, with the largest likely to be in Leeds. Burnley is holding its day tomorrow but just as a warm up Jason went out on his own today. Yesterday he handed out 546 leaflets in Manchester and today he did 500 newspapers. He would have done more, he tells me, but firstly he spent much of the morning queuing for tickets for Burnley’s play off match and then he left his rucksack at his office in Manchester so instead of taking 700 newspapers in a trip he could only carry 200. Anyway, the Huntometer now stands at 2,250 and as he said to me the other day, he hasn’t really started yet.

 Posted: 16 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The Huntometer (update)

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 14 May 2009, 09:59


Just had this in from Jason, our sponsored leafleteer. His new total stands at 1,115.

"Just reporting in. Been working long hours, to clear the diary a bit for leafleting, since Sunday. Also helping with distribution of tabloids around the region.

But even a busy life can accommodate leafleting. Did 11 last night on way to Spar for a loaf. Also 63 this morning covering the gap between 2 bus stops whilst delaying my bus journey by just 25 mins.

But the big stuff is yet to come."

Please make a donation to our sponsored leafleteer

 Posted: 14 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Whirlwind of activity

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 09:15


There has been a whirlwind of activity in the last 48 hours to make sure that everything is ready for our Weekend of Hope. We have just under one hundred activities taking place from Friday to Saturday and this does not include the hundreds of union activities on Friday.

In the North West alone, Unison will be distributing 50,000 customised newspapers to their members. When Jason and I first discussed the quantity required I balked at the idea of printing 60,000. If I was honest I was even sceptical that 50,000 would be shifted. But I am pleased to say that I was wrong. Not only have branches taken the 50,000 but Jason has had to resort to using our general papers and leaflets to meet the demand.

Yesterday I addressed a meeting of Unite organisers and Thompsons Solicitors in Dagenham. There were over 40 people there and there was broad agreement to help turn out the anti-BNP vote in the next few weeks. Last night I listened to an interesting presentation about who supported the BNP. I will discuss this in more detail at a later date but given that this was put together from information from 30,000 people who identified themselves as BNP voters I guess it was more accurate than some other studies. It was also interesting to see the regional differences in the typical BNP voter.

Today is going to be another busy one, though strangely I will be in a radio studio for much of the day doing some pre-recorded interviews ahead of our bus tour which starts in a few days.

 Posted: 13 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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We will not be silenced

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 11 May 2009, 23:25


It is ironic that supporters of a party that claims to be the champion of free speech were quick to move to silence our latest campaign video because it highlighted the racist and authoritarian views of BNP leader Nick Griffin. Our short video, hosted on YouTube and sent out as an email to our supporters, was temporarily taken down after complaints from BNP supporters.

The video mixes footage from the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will with quotes from Griffin. It is now back up on YouTube and can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9RdVwpRcdo

We released the film today to coincide with the launch of the BNP manifesto – a totally surreal event according to several journalists I’ve spoken to this evening. I only caught a short clip of it on News 24 but that was enough to see why the BBC abruptly switched to what they claimed was a breaking news story but was clearly concern over libel. In an echo of previous ‘Big Lies’, such as the Africans for Essex myth, Griffin claimed that Labour councils were threatening to turn elderly people out of their homes if they voted for the BNP.

When a journalist from The Times later quizzed Griffin for proof of this claim he quickly changed tack and blamed the public sector union Unison. She pressed four times but Griffin was unable to provide any evidence. Let’s just hope that in the coming few weeks the media, especially the BBC, put him and his party under the same scrutiny that other parties are subjected to.

 Posted: 11 May 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A look back on a successful day

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 10 May 2009, 22:47


The HOPE not hate campaign really kicked into gear this weekend with over 150,000 leaflets and newspapers being distributed around the country. Setting the pace was Blackburn with Darwen, where over 80 people distributed 20,000 newspapers, with a lot more being taken away to deliver over the next week. Over 15,000 leaflets were delivered in Burton and Uttoxeter and 50 people covered two wards with leaflets in York. There were 70 people out in Bristol over the two days and over 30 people at activities in Wolverhampton and Smethwick. Two wards were covered with newspapers in Manchester and thousands of leaflets were given out at the football derby match. Other activities took place today in Birmingham, Hull, Stockport, Preston, Leicester, Nottingham, Leeds and East London. In Hull, a group of 10 students leafleted a ward of 3,500 properties.

Last but not least I have to return to Jason Hunter, who began the day helping out in Accrington and finished doing a rural area of Burnley. In all he delivered 800 newspapers, bringing his total so far to 1,141 newspapers in three days.

 Posted: 10 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Huntometer update

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 10 May 2009, 22:20


I'm now on my way back to London. I've just had a call from Jason to say that he has delivered 390 of the 700 newspapers he set out with this morning.

Huntometer

Huntometer

Given that he has been out for over three hours I question what he has been doing. He explains that he hasn't been doing an easy area and I shouldn't forget that he has been carrying the remainder of his papers on his back.

Obviously hurt by my inference that he has been slacking, he does promise that he will continue today until they are all gone. I should also add that he is out there on his own now as his comrade who was leafleting with him earlier has now called it a day.

I'm thinking of setting up a sponsorship form for anyone who would like to support Jason's heroic effort. I'll start the ball rolling by pledging £10 to HOPE not hate for every 1000 newspapers and leaflets Jason delivers over the next four weeks. Anyone care to join me?

 Posted: 10 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Train to catch

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 10 May 2009, 19:21


I'm sitting here at Manchester Piccadilly station waiting for my train back to London. This morning I joined a group of activists in Stockport and between us we managed to deliver 3,000 newspapers with a further 3,000 taken away by people to do during the next few days.

It has been another busy day of activities across the country. York had over 50 activists out in what was arguably the brightest event of the day. There was anti-fascist graffiti, a banner hanging down from the front of the Union building and a quick rally all before the gathered activists went out and delivered over 10,000 leaflets. More activities are planned over the next few days.

Students from Manchester University leafleted Withington ward while a group of young Asian women made significant inroads into Rusholme ward. The students will be covering at least another ward over the next week and have promised to leaflet every hall of residence. Other activists distributed thousands of HOPE not hate leaflets outside Old Trafford ahead of the derby game with City.

Just spoken to my good friend Ruth Smeeth in Burton where she tells me that 12,000 leaflets and newspapers had been collected by lunchtime with another team arriving this afternoon.

There are about twenty other events going on today which I hope to tell you about later but I can't go without giving you an update on the Huntometer (a count of the number of newspapers and leaflets Jason Hunter delivers in the final four weeks of the campaign). Jason started the day on 341 but he left his house this morning with 700 papers in his rucksack en route to Rossendale. I spoke to him a while ago he was well on his way to deliver them all. I'll let you know how he gets on with it later.

Anyway, must run. I've a train to catch.

 Posted: 10 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A Sunday morning letter

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 10 May 2009, 06:44


I've become increasingly concerned with the lack of scrutiny some elements of the press are giving the BNP. Following an article in The Observer last week I sent in a letter, which has been printed but in a shortened form. Here is the full version:

"Having read your article last week on the BNP I learnt a lot about the failings of the Labour and Conservative parties, but surprisingly little about the failings of the BNP themselves.

Damien Macbride’s e-mails got a mention. But not e-mails from BNP Deputy Leader describing the Arch Bishop of York as an “ambitious African”, and an “anti-British zealot”.

Gordon Brown’s statement about “British Jobs For British Workers”, got its usual airing. But for some reason Nick Griffin’s statement that “Black Britons Can’t Be British”, wasn’t worthy of comment.

Your editorial pointed out rightly, that in the digital age the BNP cannot be defeated by simply attempting to deny them the oxygen of publicity. But nor can they be confronted by profiles which completely fail to address who the BNP are, what they believe in, and, crucially, how the mask of moderation they have donned in the run up to June's election is already melting away.

A few cosy pints down the Ace of Diamonds, listening to “We are the champions”, with a couple of BNP activists isn’t an adequate way of scrutinising a Party whose unique cocktail of prejudice, division and hate threaten us all."

 Posted: 10 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Getting active

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 9 May 2009, 19:39


I've been getting some great reports of activities around the country today. About 40 people came out in Bristol, 35 in Wolverhampton and a similar number in nearby Smethwick. Thirty people did the bulk of two wards in Rotherham and a similar number were out in Blackpool.

We are getting inundated with offers of help over the past few days, including many from areas where there has been absolutely no Hope not hate activity before. I think many people are starting to become aware of the BNP threat in the European elections and they are determined to do their bit to stop them. Much of this is probably due to the success of our new press officer in getting articles in the media. We had another good hit today when the Guardian ran a full page on leading BNP member Arthur Kemp and his links to the death of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani. I am confident we'll be seeing more stories like this in the near future.

We've shifted 270,000 newspapers from our warehouse to venues across Greater Manchester today. Next weekend we hope to distribute these across Manchester but as you can imagine this is quite a logistical operation. Fortunately I'm being assisted in this by a great team we have around HnH in Manchester, which ranges from the trade unions to the political parties, community groups to the Bishop of Manchester's office.

The sun is now out and I'm about to enjoy a well earned drink with my old pal Steve Tilzey.

 Posted: 9 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The 'Huntometer'

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 9 May 2009, 14:59


Yesterday saw me start the day in London, have a lunchtime meeting in Manchester and finish the day in Blackpool. It is going to be like this for the next four weeks but it is essential if we are going to prevent the BNP from getting elected.

The trip to Blackpool was for Unite's North West political conference, the first of the new union. It brought together 35 delegates from across the region, both former Amicus and TGWU activists. There is a real mood of frustration amongst so many trade unionists at the moment and some of this was directed at local MP Joan Humble. However, while people were keen to vent their views about the current political situation, especially the email and expenses scandals, there is also a determination to prevent the BNP from winning. To that end Unite have agreed to organise an anti-BNP day later in May where they will encourage as many of their activists to distribute anti-BNP leaflets to their members. Hopefully other Unite regions will join in.

Today I'm starting the 'Huntometer' - a record of how many newspapers and leaflets Jason Hunter puts out between now and the election. He began yesterday, the day the European Parliament was dissolved with 141 newspapers on his way to work. This morning he did another 200. So the total so far stands at 341.

Today I'm helping to deliver 300,000 newspapers across Greater Manchester in preparation for next weekend's days of action across the city.

More on this and reports of activities across the country later.

 Posted: 9 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Meeting the demand

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 8 May 2009, 12:01


This morning I did a quick calculation and realised that we have already printed 2,150,000 newspapers, leaflets and postcards for this campaign. Incredibly virtually all these have been distributed to local groups and activists and in many areas are already going out. Demand for our material is such that we have just sent the artwork to the printers for another 275,000 leaflets and we are already thinking that we will need a further 300,000 – at least – before the campaign is out.

In the North West alone we are envisaging distributing 1,500,000 pieces of literature. That equates to at least every other household across the region receiving something from us.

The demand for leaflets has grown considerably this morning as the number of BNP candidates in the forthcoming County Council elections becomes apparent. While most County Councils are not going to publish the full lists of candidates until Monday or Tuesday it is clear that the BNP is standing several hundred. We already know that they are putting forward full slates in Essex (75 candidates) and Leicestershire (48), though surprisingly not in Lancashire.

We will release details of BNP candidates as they are officially announced next week but if you hear before us please let us know.

 Posted: 8 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Griffin gets coked?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 7 May 2009, 22:58


Heard an interesting story this evening which I would like to share. Apparently Nick Griffin was in Chester this morning with his rag bag team of thugs and a vehicle broadcasting loud music. A passer-by took offence to Griffin and his entourage and some Coke was spilled over the BNP leader. Four BNP goons then manhandled the man and the police soon arrived. An eyewitness has told Searchlight that at least two people reported the BNP heavy-handedness to the police.

If anyone has any more information on this please do contact me at nick@stopthebnp.org.uk.

 Posted: 7 May 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Nominations closed

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 7 May 2009, 18:21


At 4pm today, with absolutely no fanfare or attention, nominations closed for the 27 County Councils which go to the polls on 4 June. The BNP is certain to stand large numbers in many of these but we probably won’t know until Monday the full list.

Here is my list of councils to keep a particular eye on: Cumbria, Essex, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

As and when you hear of BNP candidates please do let us know at: editors@searchlightmagazine.com

 Posted: 7 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Union Friday looms large

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 7 May 2009, 17:34


With the newspapers out of the way I’m beginning to focus on other forthcoming events. It’s bus time again and despite our best intentions we are once again scrambling so get everything sorted in time. I was supposed to be meeting up with Ros this afternoon to go through the two week tour but for one reason or another that’s not happening. We are having to have our meeting over the phone which I guess allows to lie down in a dark room as we go through all the things still to be done. We'll get there - we always do - but the 'to do' pile is getting frighteningly high.

It's less the events themselves that take a lot of time organising but more the paperwork that accompanies it all. There are application forms, risk assessments, public liability forms - the list is endless.

We are also doing a final push for Union Friday – Friday 15 May. So far we estimate that amount 400 trade union branches are going to get involved. Most will be targeting their own members but some events will be delivering material to the general public. Matthew was at a GMB training event in the West Midlands today and by all accounts his presentation went down a storm, so well in fact that they have agreed to target Birmingham city centre on Union Friday. Up in the North West Jason and the Unison gang are busily distributing 50,000 copies of a Unison version of our tabloid to branches which will go out to members next Friday. GMB are doing the same in the North West, though with 35,000 newspapers. Just had an email from someone at USDAW’s Head Office, which is based in Manchester, saying that they have at least 20 volunteers to help out in Fallowfield on Union Friday - great stuff.

What is particularly good is that several unions are organising their own events. The NUT contacted me today to say that they are sending out material to their branches which they hope will be distributed to members on Union Friday. UCU are travelling over to Barking & Dagenham and the RMT are covering some London tube stations and train stations in the Home Counties.

 Posted: 7 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Hackney is leading the way

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 7 May 2009, 07:41


On Tuesday we delivered 50,000 customised tabloid newspapers to the inner London borough of Hackney. Featuring local people and stories, alongside some of our general national articles, the tabloid sought to increase the vote in an area which traditionally has a low turnout.

At a meeting of activists on Tuesday night half of the papers, 25,000, were taken away by activists. Yesterday, the remainder were distributed across the borough. In fact, late last night I got an email from the local organisers saying that such is the enthusiasm to get the material out they could do with a further 25,000 newspapers.

Where Hackney leads I hope others will follow.

Over the next couple of days we hope to produce a map of the country to show where our material is being distributed.

 Posted: 7 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Something quite exciting

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 6 May 2009, 09:13


There is something quite exciting seeing a 40ft lorry arriving with almost a million newspapers on board. Almost 30 pallets stacked high with our 2009 HOPE not hate newspapers arrived at our warehouse yesterday morning. Of course the hard task of unloading the lorry and then reloading the papers into transit vans is less appealing but I enjoyed that moment when the driver peeled back the tarpaulin all the same.

Now the hard work really begins as vans arrive, load up and depart for different parts of the North West.

Down in the Midlands Matthew took charge of 180,000 newspapers and a third delivery was made to a London warehouse.

So far we have printed 2,500,000 leaflets and newspapers but already we are thinking that we will need more. Only yesterday our office sent out over 100,000 leaflets to students ahead of this weekend's Student Sunday activities. A meeting in Hackney last night got commitments to deliver 50,000 newspapers across the borough and it seems that Walthamstow will take 20,000 to 30,000 leaflets.

The task now is to get the literature delivered to ordinary voters but I'm confident that it can be done.

 Posted: 6 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Welcoming new friends

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 3 May 2009, 11:33


It’s Sunday morning and I’ve finally got a moment to catch my breath. The last of our tabloid newspapers went to the printers last night which I have to admit was a great relief. The papers are good, especially as we are customising them for our key areas, but they certainly take some putting together. Fortunately we have a great team who are now pretty used to the last minute rush that is required to put the newspapers to bed.

On Friday I sent out our latest national email, this one asked people to sign up to local events. Hundreds responded, which was really great. Several people have come forward from areas where we have nothing organised, including Southport, Bootle and Sale in the North West, Glasgow and Aberdeen in Scotland, and Brighton and Chichester in the South East. We’ve so far advertised about 100 events on our website but I hope to add another 40 or 50 over the next couple of days.

The campaign really seems to be getting off the ground in the West Midlands. Got a call from Alan Weaver from Nuneaton yesterday to tell me that they had delivered about 5,000 leaflets and more were getting put out today. Matthew was speaking in Wolverhampton on Friday night where he announced that the biggest anti-BNP campaign in the region was now underway. With groups springing up all the time and activists signing in to events in their droves we have had to increase the print-run of our Midlands newspaper to 180,000 and this is in addition to the 300,000 leaflets which are being circulated.

Talking of the West Midlands, I see the BNP’s Simon Darby has disgraced himself again, this time claiming that Ugandans were ‘spear throwers’.

I cannot go without mentioning football. Today, two of my closest friends will be watching their respective teams bid for promotion to the Premiership. Jason Hunter will be in Burnley and Paul Mezsaros is down at Crystal Palace watching his beloved Sheffield United. My day, however, was yesterday, when both Leeds and Shrewsbury – my two teams –made it to the play-offs in their respective divisions. It’s a shame Shrewsbury had to do it at the expense of Dagenham and Redbridge, and incidentally with a two-one win at their ground, but I guess that’s football. Leeds now have a clash with Millwall, a team supported by three other good friends. Luckily we are all grown up enough to put aside our club allegiances to fight our common enemy – the fascists.

 Posted: 3 May 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The week that was

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 1 May 2009, 20:46


Apologies for not updating this blog for a few days but it really has been crazy this week but there does seem is if there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The week started with the launch of the HOPE not hate campaign at the TUC in London on Monday night. In front of 300 people I joined Billy Bragg, Francis O’Grady (Deputy General Secretary of the TUC), Jon Cruddas MP and Richard Wallace, Editor of the Daily Mirror, in pushing the message of HOPE. This was the second Philosophy Football event I have spoken at and I have to admit that I felt more comfortable this time. Though I wasn’t speaking until 10.15pm I kept off the drink and so had a clearer head.

Somehow, the night slipped after that and Sandwell MP Tom Watson took me off to some late night establishment which meant that I didn’t get to bed until almost two and had to be up again at 5am to catch a train to Liverpool.

The rest of the week has been focusing on getting our tabloid newspapers prepared, which I’m happy to say that they are almost there. We are doing about ten different versions, each one customised to local areas or unions. This is the sixth year we have done newspapers and perhaps I’m the wrong person to say this but I feel it has been an easier process this time than before. I still break out in shivers when I think back to 2004 when we produced about 26 different versions – scary!

In the midst of the chaos of the newspapers last night we held our Evening with Eddie Izzard and friends. Over 350 people packed into the Methodist Central Hall, in Manchester, to hear Eddie back the campaign. More importantly, everyone who attended committed themselves to a minimum of two hours leafleting over the weekend of the 16/17 May. Better still, 48 people came forward to offer themselves up as ‘ward co-ordinators’, most in areas where we had little on the ground beforehand.

 Posted: 1 May 2009 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments