Day 3: Day of action Stoke-on-Trent

Matthew Collins - 02 05 10

Had a very late night last night, not as one would assume "busting shapes" (or whatever it is you do on a dancefloor), but sadly spent mostly trying to find the various cables, leads and wires that work my camera, laptop and ipod.

Then began a hunt for a curry house open late in Stoke. The mission was finally accomplished in no small part due to the excellent detective skills of Mirror photographer Chris Grieve. He simply looked on his laptop.

Today began early, with our film man Gregg banging on my door wearing what he tells me is a dressing gown though it looked a lot more like Hugh Heffner’s old smoking jacket. He’d been trying to upload the day’s video for hours on the hotel’s internet conection and finally gave up after snoozing for a few hours and waking to find it hadn’t been sent. No sooner had Gregg left with the magic dongle, then Nick Lowles was on the phone with the day’s instructions.

The BNP’s deputy leader Simon Darby is standing in Stoke Central and anti-fascists from across the Midlands have been helping local anti-fascists mount the campaign against him. Today a hundred people were in Stoke to deliver thousands of the HnH/Mirror tabloid newspapers against whom I have traditionally referred to in print as the BNP’s Deputy Nasal Fuhrer.

Although Darby constantly posts videos of himself out in Stoke on his blog, he has by all accounts cut a pretty lone figure across the city as a number of his racial comrades have deserted the party, often leaving Simon to his own devices and Tesco’s dicounted produce. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that the BNP are not still a real threat in the seat. The one visible constant, however, has been trade unonists and members of the Labour movement determined not to let the BNP take advantage of the difficult and challenging situation there.

David and Sarah from HOPE not hate were chopping food and making cups of tea when the bus arrived. With them were old friends from Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Birmingham as well as local activists. There was a really positive mood in the hall where the papers were being dispatched, with a picture of the Deputy Nasal Fuhrer receiving a fascist salute whilst visiting Italian fascists last year on the front. What was evident in Stoke, and has been all over the country this year where we have campaigned, is that there are a number of young people and young families determined to campaign actively together. For a while the bus was more like a playground, evidence that we really are building for the future.


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