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A pleasant surprise in the post bag

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 30 September 2013, 08:47


Opening the post bag at HOPE not hate is always a lucky dip. Every week we'll receive the odd death threat, the office bills and offers of support and donations from our generous activists.

Occasionally we get a letter which makes everyone in the office smile and I wanted to share the content with you:

"I am enclosing a cheque for £10 as a 'thank you' for the most excellent job of work that HNH is doing on behalf of every decent person in the country."

None of the team work for HOPE not hate to get plaudits and thanks, but when we get them it just reminds us that HOPE really is beating hate.

 Posted: 30 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE not hate at the seaside

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 28 September 2013, 15:44


The HOPE not hate team was busy in Brighton this week at Labour Party conference. It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues and discuss HOPE not hate's plans for next year's European elections.

Sunday night saw the annual 'HnH curry', which this year was supported by the Daily Mirror and Unions Together. HOPE not hate and Labour activists, MP's, trade unionists and our patrons who were among the 150 people who enjoyed a fantastic curry with our friends from the Mirror, allowing us to say a huge thank you for their on-going support.

On Monday, my colleague Ruth Smeeth addressed over 250 people at the Social & Democrat Group fringe to discuss next year's European Elections and what we have to do to make sure that they are fought on a positive platform which embraces a progressive and hopeful vision of British society rather than once driven by fear and hate.

This debate was continued at our joint fringe on the Wednesday lunchtime. Sponsored by ASLEF, the meeting asked 'Does Labour have a UKIP problem?'. Speaking to the 135 people in attendance was the Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire, Glenis Willmott MEP, Mick Whelan ASLEF GS and myself. There was a lively discussion and a clear desire by many people to take on UKIP's increasingly hostile rhetoric on immigration and multiculturalism.

Throughout the week members of the team had many discussions with trade unionists from across the country and we're looking forward to working in partnership with them in the coming months.

 Posted: 28 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Homophobes set to speak in north London

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 27 September 2013, 15:57


It has been brought to our attention that several homophobic preachers will be speaking at a conference in Edmonton, north London, next month.

Entitled, ‘Beloved to Allah’, the one day conference at the Edmonton Islamic Centre (Sunday 6th October) will be addressed by several people who have issued what amounts to hate speech against gays, under the guise of traditional religious teachings.

HOPE not hate believes that this is unacceptable. We will be writing to the Centre to outline our concerns about these rabidly anti-gay views and to ask them if such individuals are 'right' to be speaking in their building.

We believe it is important to be consistent in our opposition to hate speech. Just as we would speak out against right-wing homophobes, so too must we voice our opposition to those in any community or faith who vocalise violence and even death against others.

While the event itself is based around a more general Islam theme, it is clear that two of the speakers – Usama adh Dhahabi and Murtazah Khan – do hold extremist views.

Among the speakers are:

Usama adh Dhahabi

He was filmed in Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque documentary saying: “Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”

He continued: “They have given them [homosexuals] unprecedented rights, so that your child can be exposed and introduced to lesbians. Now they say ‘if you discriminate against that, you’re going to jail’. We’ll discriminate, but we’ll discriminate in a way where we don’t get in trouble. The Muslim is a dentist, one of those people come, you want to take a big, big needle and stick it in his gums.”

Dhahabi has been banned from several universities in the UK.

Abdul Hakeem Quick

In an interview for Voice of Islam broadcast on New Zealand television in 2003, Abdul Hakeem Quick told viewers that AIDS was caused by the “filthy practices” of homosexuals; homosexuals were dropping dead from AIDS and “they want to take us all down with them” and that the Islamic position on homosexuality is “death”. He went on to say that “Muslims are going to have to take a stand [against homosexuals] and it’s not enough to call names”.

Quick has also endorsed the death penalty for homosexuals.

Murtazah Khan

Another preacher who advocates violence against gay people. In one interview, available on the internet, Khan says: "Now what is the punishment? According to the Bible, excuse me, this is a Christian country. Read the history of this country. Christian country. According to the Bible, the Bible says the person should be thrown down from a mountain and then stoned on top of that. That’s what Isa [Jesus] told you people. But they teach “no, you’re homophobic”. And those Christians who stand up against this abominable action, which goes against humanity, then they’re fundamentalists like us as well then.”

He continues: “I’m not homophobic. I believe in a natural way of life. I’m repeating you what your Bible tells you. In the hadith you find: “You find the people doing the action of Lot, kill the one who does the action and the one the action is being done to.” [4:40]"

Khan has also been filmed attacking women who wear perfume, in support of sharia values and talking about harsh sharia practices such as flogging.

 Posted: 27 Sep 2013 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Were you there?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 25 September 2013, 09:02


I'm curently writing an article about last weekend's Ian Stuart Memorial gig, which many believe was the largest nazi gig in the UK for almost 25 years.

I'm keen to speak to anyone who was at the event. All contact will be treated confidentially.

People can contact me at nick@hopenothate.org.uk

 Posted: 25 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A proud Briton?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 23 September 2013, 22:14


The majority of those attending the weekend's Ian Stuart Memorial gig, organised by Blood and Honour, were German. So you'd be forgiven in thinking that the man posing in front of his tent, adorned with a nazi flag, was one of them. However, you'd be wrong. It is actually Salford-based Danny Robinson, who, in recent, times has been an active supporter of the BNP.

For the record, here are the bands that played over the weekend. Griffin, Legittima Offesa, Gesta Bellica, Legion of St George, Redneck28, Los Confederados, Brutal Attack, March or Die, Stevie, Sleipnir, Nemesis, Whitelaw, Section 88, Aryan and Blackout.

 Posted: 23 Sep 2013 | There are 12 comments | make a comment/view comments

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UKIP have proscribed HOPE not hate

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 23 September 2013, 16:12


The delegates at last weekend's UKIP national conference voted to proscribe HOPE not hate. That means any supporter of HOPE not hate cannot now be a member of UKIP.

It's incredible that a party that's desperately denying claims that it is racist bans membership from Britain's largest anti-racist organisation.

UKIP claim HOPE not hate is an extremist organisation, putting us on par with the fascist BNP. This is clearly ridiculous.

The reality is that over the last few months we have begun to put UKIP under the microscope. We've exposed the racist rantings of some of their key organisers and councillors. Just in the latest fortnight we have exposed Farage's speechwriter and press spokesperson for using insulting and abusive language mocking people with disabilities and the NF past of a Thurrock UKIP councillor, who told us when we confronted him that he saw in UKIP the same things he saw in the NF.

We have got under UKIP's skin and they don't like it. But rather than deal with their own racists they are trying to silence us.

Over the last six months we have had a conversation with our supporters over our attitude to UKIP. Over 3,000 people completed our surveys and 1,200 attended 70 meetings we held around the country. And there is a clear consensus about our position.

HOPE not hate is not against UKIP as a party and we do not take a position on membership of the EU. We do, however, oppose political parties who whip up anti-immigrant prejudice through scaremongering and playing on racist fears. This not only leads to increased racism in our communities but risks pushing the main parties to the right on immigration and multiculturalism.

So, over the next six months, we will continue to scrutinise UKIP. We will monitor their comments, challenge the lies they spread and promote a Britain that celebrates its rich diversity. We will stand up positively for OUR Britain.

UKIP might proscribe us but they will not silence us.

Ps, if you would like to support our European Election campaign please click here to make a donation


 Posted: 23 Sep 2013 | There are 18 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Huge gig, few Brits

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 22 September 2013, 16:54


Between 1,000 and 1,200 attended this weekend's Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial gig, making it the largest gig in the UK for many, many years. However, 200-250 of the gathered Nazis were British, the rest had come in from across Europe. At least half the audience were German.

A full report of the gig will appear in the next issue of HOPE not hate.

 Posted: 22 Sep 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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GREECE A statement by HOPE Not Hate

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 20 September 2013, 21:25


The situation in Greece is worsening by the day as the nazis of the criminal conspiracy that calls itself Golden Dawn break the law and violate democracy with impunity, carrying out random assaults on opponents and pogroms against immigrants.

After attacking and hospitalising a group of Communists last week, on Wednesday a Golden Dawn member coldbloodely stabbed anti-fascist and rapper Pavlos Fyssas, 34, to death in Piraeus in what had all the hallmarks of a carefully planned ambush.

Since then, tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Athens and cities across Greece to protest at the assassination of Fyssas. At the same, time the right-wing-dominated coalition government of Antonis Samaras is pondering emergency legislation to outlaw Golden Dawn – now the country’s third largest party – whose offices in numerous towns have been raided by police. Greece’s president, Karolos Papoulias, has spelled it out: “It is our duty not to allow any space whatsoever to fascism – not even an inch.”

Internationally, too, there is anger at the brutal murder of Fyssa with protest demonstration being held throughout Europe and recognition that the violence of Golden Dawn’s army of thugs is encouraging fascists outside Greece.

The UK is no exception.To condemn and protest at the murderous violence of Golden Dawn, the London branch of the Greek left-wing party SYRIZA has issued an urgent appeal, fully backed by the Greece Solidarity Campaign, for a peaceful demonstration in front of the Greek embassy (1a Holland Park, London W11 3TP) on Saturday 21 September at 1.00pm.

HOPE Not Hate fully supports this appeal and urges all anti-fascists and anti-racists to support and attend the demonstration

No Pasaran!  

The HOPE not hate team


 Posted: 20 Sep 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Breaking news: ISD gig is in Northamptonshire

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 20 September 2013, 16:26


HOPE not hate has just learnt that this year's Ian Stuart Donaldson gig, organised by Blood and Honour, is being held in Northamptonshire.

The event starts tonight and goes on until late tomorrow night.

It is 20 years since the former Skrewdriver singer was killed in a car crash in Derbyshire and given the anniversary the nazi concert is expected to attract 4-500 people.

 Posted: 20 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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An image of 21st century Britain - UKIP style

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 20 September 2013, 11:40


I rarely comment on the inner workings of UKIP, leaving my colleague Simon Cressy to expose their occasional hypocracy and anti-migrant rhetoric, but I couldn't ignore this image - h/t to Mark Wallace from Conservative Home.

While none of the political parties are known for their diverse representation this is quite an image.

Later today we are going to be hearing from UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, at their national party conference. Media reports suggest that Farage is going to announce that the alleged "influx of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants to Britain" will be at the heart of UKIP's European campaign.

We'll need to watch this space but the next 8 months may see a lot of hate and not a lot of HOPE in the political arena.

 Posted: 20 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Glasgow calling

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 17:15


The Liberal Democrat Party Conference and HOPE not hate

The HOPE not hate team have been in Glasgow at the Lib Dem conference this week, making sure that Lib Dem parliamentarians and activists understand the impact of their Gagging Bill on civil society. One of my colleagues, Elisabeth has provided the following report.

HNH campaigners at the conference were initially confronted with a chilly reaction from party members who were not sure what all these negative campaigning around the Lobbying Bill was all about. They, and most of the media we got to talk to, had been reassured that the Government had made a U-turn and that the amendment(s) that Tom Brake MP will publicly announce by 1 October (one week before the Report stage) will have a panacea effect to all the concerned of the charities.

Glasgow North Lib Dems had put forward an emergency motion on the Gagging Bill stressing:

“c) Particularly in relation to non-Party Campaigning, it is open to an interpretation that would be clearly detrimental to freedom of expression and association in a manner incompatible with Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

d) Even narrowly construed, it reduces the capacity of campaigning organisations to participate in the types of open debate that are essential for good governance and democratic accountability; the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) believe that the definition of ‘activities for election purposes’ and the expenditure limits set will inhibit much routine charity work.”

Unfortunately it wasn't debated by the full conference, so HNH focused on raising the issue with individual delegates in fringes where we might find an audience willing to listen, specifically those with a civil rights emphasis such as the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats fringe and the Liberty fringe.

Both proved successful. At the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, Brian Paddick, now Baron Paddick of Brixton, fully aware of our track record of campaigning for LGBT rights asked to be briefed by HNH about how the Lobbying Bill will gag us.

At the Liberty fringe, Shami Chakrabarti, a friend and supporter of HnH, welcomed our question regarding the impact on civil liberties – like the freedom of speech and freedom of association – that come with Part Two of the Lobbying Bill, to a panel made of Simon Hughes MP, Lord McNally and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (journalist and author) and Peter Kellner (president of YouGov).

Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, stressed that the idea of a Lobbying Bill was good in principle as it was aimed at making lobbying more transparent. But claimed that it was rushed through, without any pre-legislative scrutiny, by the Tories as an effect of the Mercer case. He also stressed that he is on the Joint Committee on Human Rights and that it has asked the Government to slow down.

Lord McNally, the current Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and a Minister of State for Justice, was quick to underline the indignation coming for numerous charities, campaigning organisations, blogs and think tanks does not bode well for the Lobbying Bill in the Lords. Both Mr Hughes and Lord McNally agreed to properly study any information HOPE not will supply to them in order to make an informed decision on how to move forward.

There were repeated calls from the audience asking, almost rhetorically, what is Mr Clegg doing about the Bill which is about undercutting effective campaigning by Liberty and others.

However, the final test of our hard work at the Liberal Democrat Conference was yesterday (Tuesday).

We organised an emergency fringe outside the secure zone, where we had Stephen Williams MP (Bristol West) as main speaker, and a panel made up of speakers five organisations as well as HNH: Barrow Cadbury Trust, Christian Aid, Countryside Alliance, Friends of the Earth and 38 Degrees. The panel was chaired by Gareth Epps, Co-Chair of the Social Liberal Forum.

Stephen Williams shared the same story that Simon Hughes had presented at the Liberty fringe, but also stressed that this Bill is a shambles. The six third sector speakers underlined their hard work with and for civil society and how this bill will gag them or actually send their legal fees sky-rocketing in view of legitimate uncertainties about most, if not key elements, of their work and any unintentional political implications.

What is clear is that the fight is not over, nor will it be any time soon. Given the diverse nature of the organisations that HOPE not hate managed to bring together on this occasion, individual discussions between Tom Brake and a range of small and large NGOs and campaigning organisations are still very much necessary, besides those carried out behind the scenes by the NCVO. The media and the wider public – while in agreement about how poor this bill is – still do not have a clear idea of quite how serious a treat to the British democratic process it is, and how vigorously it is being rushed through.

 Posted: 18 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The Daily Mirror and HOPE not hate celebrate 6 years of partnership

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 16 September 2013, 18:40


Nick Lowles with Eddie Izzard

Nick Lowles with Eddie Izzard

Last week some of our top activists joined Eddie Izzard, Fiona Phillips, Speech Debelle and Peter Wallis for a drink at the House of Commons to celebrate the continuing relationship between HOPE not hate and the Daily Mirror.

2013 has been a rollercoaster for the HOPE not hate team, from defeating the BNP once and for all in Burnley to the awful murder of Drummer Lee Rigby at the end of May and now the campaign against the Government's Gagging Bill. However the Daily Mirror has continued to support our efforts to promote a positive alternative to the politics of hate and extremism. We're delighted to have such a strong relationship with the Daily Mirror and are looking forward to building on it in 2014.

 Posted: 16 Sep 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Why is the stopping the Gagging bill so important?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 6 September 2013, 13:38


This weekend there are hundreds of us lobbying our MP's about this appalling bill, even in this awful weather. I'm proud to be part of a movement that has mobilised to fight for what is right and fair. We've received dozens of emails from our supporters determined to make sure that HOPE not hate can do our important work in the coming months and years. And many more of you have donated both time and money to the Democracy team enabling us to campaign against the bill.

But this fight isn't just about HOPE not hate, it's a direct attack on civil society, charities and voluntary organisations, so we're working in partnership with as many people as possible.

Today 38 Degrees are distributing a video outlining the impact of the Bill and why we all need it changed. HOPE not hate are featured and one of our team speaks for all of us about the impact of the Bill. You can watchthe video above. Take 5 mins to find out why this is such an attack on civil society.

 Posted: 6 Sep 2013 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Next step

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 3 September 2013, 19:45


As predicted, the Government won the vote on the Second Reading and now the Bill goes to the committee stage, which will be next Tuesday.

Between now and then HOPE not hate is joining forces with a number of other organisations to organise lobbies of MP's surgeries on Friday and Saturday.

Please look out for information on these tomorrow

 Posted: 3 Sep 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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This image sums it up

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 3 September 2013, 18:07


It seems quite remarkable that the Coalition parties are going ahead with this Gagging Bill as almost everyone else is lined up against them. I guess it shows just how much they think they have to politically gain by silencing their opponents.

Anyway, Unlock Democracy have produced this fantastic graphic which just about sums up where we are

 Posted: 3 Sep 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Gagging Bill - Debate update

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 3 September 2013, 17:35


MP's will be voting on the second reading on this bill within the next couple of hours. However at 4:30pm the Standards & Privileges Committee have published their concerns about how the current bill proposal will gag MP's themselves.

Unbelievably it says that the Bill is so badly written that MPs speaking about issues not directly relevant to their constituency could fall foul of the new rules.

You can find their report here -

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmstnprv/638/638.pdf

 Posted: 3 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The Gagging Bill - MP's vote tonight

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 3 September 2013, 12:41


This evening MP's will get their first opportunity to debate and vote on the detail of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration, the bill that could gag HOPE not hate.

We've made our view on part 2 of the bill clear, but we aren't the only voluntary organisation to be concerned. There has been huge media interest in this story from a wide range of sources -

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/lobbying-bill-charities-slam-bid-2246732

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/03/lobbying-bill-corporate-prs-silence-protest

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10282641/Lobbying-Bill-Why-asking-politicians-to-back-our-troops-could-be-stopped-under-this-sloppy-law.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lobbying-bill-government-denies-chilling-effect-on-charities-8795244.html

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2013/09/today-we-are-taking-our-concerns-about-the-lobbying-bill-to-parliament.html

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/sep/03/lobbying-bill-mps-labour-campaigning

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/Policy_and_Politics/article/1209980/lobbying-bill-means-charities-fear-criminal-prosecution-speak-out-lawyer-says/

We'll be providing a running commentary during the day as events develop. Let's hope MP's see sense and vote against this appalling bill.

 Posted: 3 Sep 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments