Resisting UKIP in Dagenham

Safya Khan-Ruf - 08 06 17

HOPE not hate has upped its efforts against UKIP in Dagenham in the last days before the snap election, with 60,000 leaflets and letters being distributed across the town and hyper-targeting of Facebook users.

Polls have placed UKIP on 21% of the vote in Dagenham, which remains one of the party’s highest showings in the country. While UKIP’s national poll numbers are down, certain areas are still vulnerable to its message of division. Traces of its campaigning were found across Dagenham by HOPE not hate’s team.

In a sophisticated campaign over the past four weeks, HOPE not hate’s staff and volunteers have worked on suppressing the UKIP vote and attempting to persuade Dagenham households that the party does not have answers to their real problems. The campaign team developed 16 tailored pieces of literature for households in the borough.

HOPE not hate team preparing to hand deliver letters.

Aside from the general anti-UKIP leaflets, Dagenham households have been hand-delivered letters urging specific minorities, such as the constituency’s 16,000 black and Asian voters, to get their voice heard at the ballot box today (8 June).

A potential reason UKIP could be focusing on Dagenham over the last few days has been the police raids carried out following the terrorist attack at London Bridge last week. Daesh (Islamic State) has claimed responsibility for the attack and the far right have wasted no time in using this in their divisive rhetoric.

“With all the raids that have happened this week, there is a fear UKIP will place more resources in Dagenham,” says Nick Lowles, founder of HOPE not hate, who was out campaigning himself.

Dagenham is an archetypal post-industrial community, once dubbed the “race hate capital of the Britain” when the British National Party (BNP) held a strong position on the local council. The BNP lost its 12 council seats in 2010 after hundreds of activists travelled to Dagenham and worked with HOPE not hate to encourage people to vote against the party.

However, there are still many issues such as rising prices, unemployment and fears over immigration that have not been resolved and UKIP has sought to exploit all of them.

A house in Dagenham

Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at HOPE not hate, was also out campaigning this week in Dagenham. He says the battle against the BNP, which was the most electorally successful fascist party in British history, had required a huge anti-fascist campaign to neutralise it.

“In 2010, you had people from all over the country coming in buses to give out leaflets – 500 volunteers travelling to Dagenham every day. This time, it’s much harder to get the local activists to come out because they see UKIP as a diminished threat.”

HOPE not hate remains conscious, however, that UKIP remains popular in small pockets of the country. It is working hard to counteract the increasingly far-right party’s false narrative and its focus on blaming immigrants and banning the burqa as any sort of solution for the problems the people of Dagenham face.

The election today and voting in places like Dagenham will determine just how far UKIP has truly fallen.


Stay informed

Sign up for emails from HOPE not hate to make sure you stay up to date with the latest news, and to receive simple actions you can take to help spread HOPE.


We couldn't do it without our supporters

Fund research, counter hate and support and grow inclusive communities by donating to HOPE not hate today

I am looking for...


Useful links

Close Search X
Donate to HOPE not hate