posted by: HOPE not hate | on: Thursday, 30 June 2016, 18:54
HOPE not hate is deeply troubled to hear that at the launch of the Labour Party report into antisemitism within the party, a Jewish Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, was accused by a Momentum activist of being part of a media conspiracy against the party leadership.
The unfounded allegation that a Jewish person is part of some "media conspiracy" is precisely the type of anti-Jewish slur that was highlighted as unacceptable in Ms Chakrabarti's report. It is even more disconcerting to hear that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to contact Ruth Smeeth in the hours after this incident.
Ms Chakrabarti's report was intended to help the Labour Party address antisemitism. This incident, and the failure of the party leader to deal with it or reach out to person at the receiving end, shows that there is still a way to go. Ruth Smeeth has posted a statement of her own here.
Posted: 30 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 27 June 2016, 14:30
Since the Brexit vote last Thursday, there have been a disturbing series of reports of racist incidents aimed at Polish, Muslim and other communities.
Social media channels have also witnessed an upsurge of hatred.
Let us be clear: such an outpouring of hate is both despicable and wrong. Whatever direction our country now chooses, a path towards intolerance and division is not in anyone’s interest.
Choosing a vote on our future on the European Union cannot be a green light for racism and xenophobic attacks and HOPE not hate demands action against the perpetrators.
Those who would choose to polarise our society should be called to task for their actions.
HOPE not hate will stand by those communities under attack. But at the same time the authorities and police must also bring the full force of the law to bear against those who seek to exploit the Referendum to promote an agenda or racial or religious hatred, or indeed any other form of discrimination.
We call on the Government to give some clarity and reassurance to EU migrants about their status in the UK and their future.
Now is the time for all of us to redouble our efforts to focus on that which unites, rather than divides; to think carefully about the society we wish to shape; and to realise that, no matter what happened last Thursday, we all need to live together.
Posted: 27 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 24 June 2016, 07:12
A short time ago, after a campaign tainted with racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, it was formally announced that Britain had voted to leave the European Union. This is a seismic moment for our country and indeed Europe.
I worry that there is a real danger that the bitterly-fought contest could leave a lasting legacy of division in our country. We cannot allow this to happen.
As the nation looks towards a life outside the EU, we will need voices that champion our vision of Britain and supports those most at risk from any sort of xenophobic backlash.
That's why I'm asking you to join me in building HOPE not hate into an organisation capable to meeting the challenge.
One thing is sure. We cannot allow the toxic Referendum debate to spill over into local communities. Speaking to those from eastern and central Europe, and indeed other immigrants, over recent days it is clear that many are worried. They are uncertain about their future and concerned about a racist backlash.
Get involved to ensure this doesn't happen
But let's also be clear that we need to reach out to those areas which have been abandoned by mainstream politicians, particularly those in often de-industrialised parts of Britain. We need to offer an alternative narrative to those voices wanting to blame immigrants for all their problems, whilst also genuinely addressing people's real concerns.
Ultimately, we need to offer more positive channels for people to effect change in their local communities.
Over the next few weeks we are going to be organising meetings across the country to consult with our supporters and agree a plan.
Are you in?
Britain has spoken and now we need to stand together for the tolerant, diverse and multicultural society we want. We need to heal the rifts and try and bring communities together.
I won't lie, none of this is going to be easy, but the simple truth is that if we don't do it then no-one will.
HOPE not hate has prided itself with working in the most difficult of communities. Now we are fighting for our entire country.
HOPE not hate has never been so needed. Please join us
Posted: 24 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 19 June 2016, 07:36
We have been overwhelmed by the support the public has shown both to Jo Cox’s memory and in so generously donating to support the work of Royal Voluntary Service in Batley and Spen, the White Helmets in Syria, and ourselves.
To be honest, we are all still coming to terms with this dreadful killing and the wider, uglier ramifications it appears to represent. Our thoughts remain with Jo’s husband Brendan, and their two young children, at this dark and terrible time.
Whatever funds we receive from donations in Jo’s memory will be used to support our work in exposing and combatting extremism, and in strengthening our many regional projects and teams to foster greater dialogue and understanding between (all-too-often) divided local communities.
In particular, we will launch a campaign this summer to heal some of the divisions in society that have opened up during the increasingly toxic and bitter Referendum campaign.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you – new supporters and old – and to remind you that there are far more good and decent people out there than there haters; that there is far more that unites us than divides, even at times of great change.
We will, as Brendan Cox so poignantly wrote on the eve of Jo's death, fight with renewed vigour against the very hatred that killed her.
Posted: 19 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 17 June 2016, 17:52
As I write this, I’m still reeling in shock and horror at the murder of Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, who was so brutally killed yesterday. I had been sharing drinks with her husband, Brendan, only the night before. Now he is a widower and their two young children face life without a mother. I find it hard to imagine their pain.
But as much as I feel pain, I also feel anger. How dare someone snuff out such a bright voice of hope in this manner? A principled and passionate MP, who championed women’s and refugee rights. What gives the killer the God-given right to make this choice? Jo, a former head of policy at Oxfam, had a bright future as both a mother and a Member of Parliament. Now that’s all gone.
There is much speculation about Jo’s killer, Tommy Mair, 52, who shot and stabbed her multiple times outside a constituency meeting in Birstall, near Leeds. That Jo had received hate mail in the months before her death; that police were (apparently) considering offering her protection. What we do know is that while her killer Mair may have had a history of mental illness, it appears he also had a 30-year long relationship with far-right groups, stretching back to the 1980s.
He is alleged to have shouted “Britain first” multiple times during the attack. Britain First is the name of a far-right organisation, led by a former British National Party (BNP) extremist, that invades mosques and carries out provocative stunts in Muslim communities “in the name of Christianity”. There is nothing Christian about this vile hate group, which has its ideological roots in the extremes of Protestant Loyalism as well as violent far-right organizations.
Mair was a subscriber to S. A. Patriot, a South African magazine published by White Rhino Club, a pro-apartheid group. The club describes that magazine’s editorial stance as opposed to “multi-cultural societies” and “expansionist Islam.”
Our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center in the USA have reported that Mair was a long-time supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, purchasing over $600 (£420) of items, including instructions on how to build a gun.
Run until his death by Professor William Pierce, the National Alliance was once one of the most powerful neo-Nazi organizations in the world, controlling a music business, selecting and training cadres, and being linked to numerous killers, including ‘The Order,’ a group that killed Jewish radio host Alan Berg and carried out bank robberies and counterfeiting.
Pierce also wrote The Turner Diaries, about a fictional white uprising that led to the nuclear destruction of Israel. In it, he described a truck bombing almost identical to the Oklahoma bombing of 1995: later, Timothy McVeigh would carry out his bombing, killing 168 (including 19 children). A copy of The Turner Diaries was found in the trunk of his car.
Nick Griffin, the former British National Party (BNP) leader, took quickly to Twitter to claim that the Remain camp in the EU Referendum would seek to exploit Jo Cox’s death. Griffin’s sickening cynicism knows no bounds: after all, it was in his former party that the London nailbomber David Copeland, another disturbed loner, found his home.
Copeland went on to kill three people, including a pregnant woman, as well as injure hundreds more in April 1999 in 13 days of attacks against the black, Asian and gay communities in London, culminating in the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho.
After that attack, Griffin wrote about gay commemoration of the victims, claiming: “The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators flaunting their perversions in front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive.”
More recently, in January 2015, a Sikh dentist had his hand almost hacked off by another white supremacist attacker, Zack Davies, in a supermarket in north Wales. Davies, linked to a neo-Nazi group called National Action, thought his victim was Muslim and screamed during his attack: “This is for Lee Rigby”—referring to the off-duty soldier murdered in 2013 by two Muslim extremists in Woolwich.
Already other far-right groups are crowing at Jo Cox’s death. Yet this isn’t only a sad tale of lone misfits. Jo’s killing took place in one of the most febrile atmospheres that, as a seasoned anti-racism campaigner, I’ve ever known. The EU Referendum seems to have brought out the worst in our nation, not the best, with claims made daily about immigration and constant demonizing of immigrants.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage unveiled a poster featuring Syrian refugees heading into Slovenia last year, titled “Breaking Point”—as though these refugees were all heading to the UK (they weren’t). He has spoken about immigrants as sexual predators, while others have claimed that 76 million Turks are coming to the UK if we remain inside the EU. And it’s not just far-right populists who have made these claims: scare stories abound about the threat that immigration poses to our nation, almost blinding everything else (whipped on by a coarse and virulent press).
The far right often slams the same “liberal and cultural elite” that press and populist politicians like to blame for the nation’s ills. Anders Breivik invoked the spectre of “cultural Marxists” as a reason for his targeting not of ethnic minorities, but the 77 young Norwegian Labour Party activists he slew in Norway in 2011.
Those who stoop low, who use the language of hate and stir the fires of resentment in order to win votes, need to accept responsibility for what they do. Whilst the killer is alone to blame for his killing, we as a society need to think about our actions too.
As Jo’s husband Brendan wrote yesterday, in an unbelievingly poignant note: “She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”
This piece originally appeared in Newsweek Europe
Posted: 17 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 16 June 2016, 10:46
I am writing in shock and sadness. I've just learned that Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, has died after being shot and stabbed by a lone attacker today outside her constituency surgery.
I am sure that you, like me, are utterly numb at this senseless killing.
Our hearts go out to Jo's family, including husband Brendan and their two children, at this awful time.
Jo Cox was a brave and passionate MP, who championed refugee & women's rights, campaigned against modern slavery, and was a former head of policy at Oxfam.
More recently, Jo had been a strong campaigner to keep Britain in the European Union.
While it does appear that her killer was possibly a far-right activist, questions over his connections and motives can wait for another day.
For now, difficult as it is, our thoughts have to be focused on keeping the memory alive of a principled and much-loved woman, who stood up so passionately for what she believed.
And the best way to do that is for us all to redouble our efforts to challenge hatred, prejudice and intolerance wherever we encounter it.
Yours in sorrow,
Nick and the HOPE not hate team
Posted: 16 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Taranjit Chana | on: Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:17
Guest blog by Taranjit Chana, a leading HOPE not hate supporter in London.
Our thoughts are with those who were killed and injured in Orlando, Florida.
There are no words to express the sadness, pain, and anger. This horrific act of homophobic violence is a reminder that we (the LGBT + community) and our allies has, is and will always be a target for haters globally, haters who will kill. Hating people for who they are is wrong. We must all come together, in solidarity against the haters and ensure that hope always triumphs.
There will be a vigil tonight at 7pm in Old Compton Street:
Chair of GMB Race Equality London
Posted: 13 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Joe Mulhall | on: Monday, 13 June 2016, 11:12
While the debate around the EU referendum was always likely to get nasty, the rhetoric around immigration and migrants emanating from some in the Leave camp started off in the gutter and has descended into the sewer.
Unsurprisingly it is Nigel Farage who is enthusiastically leading the charge down the drain. His demagogic nature was once again laid bare last week when he claimed that staying in the EU could lead to Cologne-style sex attacks on a mass scale.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, rightly condemned his comments stating:
That's giving legitimisation to racism… we can't legitimise that, […] Fear is a pastoral issue - deal with it by recognising it, standing alongside and providing answers to it. What that is is accentuating fear for political gain and that is absolutely inexcusable.
Of course Farage’s latest comments are by no means the first or only example of some in the Brexit camp stoking up fear and playing on prejudice. Michael Gove, for example, has suggested that a migrant influx equivalent to the population of Scotland will put ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS if we don’t vote to leave.
However, it is the possible entrance of Turkey into the EU that has been at the forefront of the Leave messaging. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have been deliberately misleading the British people over the issue of possible Turkish migration, in the full knowledge that Turkey will not be joining the EU in the near future.
Clearly seeing political capital in stoking up fear about the possibility of 76 million Muslim Turks upping sticks and heading to Britain, they have plastered the UK with posters disingenuously stating: ‘Turkey (population 76 million) Is Joining the EU’.
Not content with merely claiming millions of Turks are poised to the head to the UK the Leave camp has claimed that these possible future migrants are a threat to national security because of supposed higher levels of criminality among Turkish people.
Fostering prejudice and fear in this manner is dangerous and divisive. The fact that intelligent and articulate politicians like Johnson and Gove are peddling it while knowing it is untrue is nothing short of contemptible.
With the debate so marred by racism it is no surprise that elements from within the British extreme-right have found a home in the Leave campaign. Members of the English Defence League, British National Party and the National Front have all been involved in Vote Leave activity.
Such tactics have proved very upsetting for those in the Brexit camp who abhor racism. Khalid Mahmood, a Labour MP who supports a withdrawal from the EU, has previously spoken out on the issue. He told BBC2’s Newsnight: ‘Everybody on the Leave campaign was trying to hit the racist issues,’ and that ‘…Vote Leave decided they were going to concentrate on immigration on a very, very negative basis and try and frighten people away on the issue of migration.’
Mahmood is not alone among those who want to leave the EU in being upset by such ugly and divisive tactics. Unfortunately, some on the Remain side of the debate have ignored this nuance and have irresponsibly and unhelpfully sought to paint all those who want to leave the EU as racist ‘little Englanders’.
Immigration was always going to be a central issue during this referendum and that is not (as some in the Remain campaign might like to believe/portray) solely because of the racist agenda of some ‘out’ campaigners. It is also a major concern for millions of ordinary people. Whether or not one agrees with those concerns, the fear that many feel is real and driven by a whole plethora of factors.
There is a strand of intellectual laziness being displayed by some in the Remain campaign and aspects of the British left, who seem to think that because Nigel Farage and a coterie of unsavoury xenophobes want to leave the EU this invalidates it as an option. This is nonsense. Many who want to leave the EU are equally appalled by the racism of some Brexit activists but have reached their decision after treading a more progressive path; one trod before them by left wing Eurosceptics such as the late Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Bob Crow.
Remaining inside or leaving the EU is not a left-right issue. Painting all who want to leave the EU as right-wing, racist, xenophobic or reactionary is either disingenuous or blind ignorance. This is not an easy choice and anyone who says it is has not thought about it enough.
What could have been a chance to fire up a generation of young voters by giving them a say over their futures, following a lively, passionate and informed debate, has descended into an unedifying squabble, marred by racism, driven by fear and fought out between two camps whose own intellectual laziness is only matched by their seeming contempt for the intelligence of the British public.
There have been laudable exceptions – Gordon Brown’s impassioned and heartfelt video for the Peoples In campaign, for example – but generally the debate so far has been a sad spectacle. With less than two weeks left until the referendum it is imperative that we challenge and condemn the racist tone that parts of the Leave campaign have adopted. We must drive the debate from the sewer back onto the high ground.
Want the facts? See: http://bit.do/eu-facts
Joe Mulhall is research editor at HOPE not hate @JoeMulhall_
Posted: 13 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: John Page | on: Sunday, 12 June 2016, 18:01
On Saturday night in Florida a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub and killed 50 people, with a further 53 injured.
It is too early to speculate about the full nature of the hatred that provoked this mass murder, but it is self evident that it was homophobic.
In the context of advances in the United States in equality legislation for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered communities, some politicians have been fuelling homophobia. Whether there is a direct link between their statements and the motives of this particular crime it is too early to say.
For now, we send our tears and prayers to the people of Orlando, and the LGBT communities across the world, and we pledge to work even harder to challenge hatred, including when it finds expression in the otherwise mainstream of politics.
Posted: 12 Jun 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: David Emmett | on: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 23:02
By now you may have heard UKIP boasting about the results in the 2016’s “Super Thursday” elections, trumpeted as a “breakthrough” by Farage. It is true that UKIP made gains, including becoming the joint largest party on Thurrock Council and winning seven seats in the Welsh Assembly. However, whilst these successes deserve attention, a closer analysis of the results shows UKIP have far less to celebrate than they claim.
Notably, UKIP remains a fringe player in London, as Mayoral candidate Peter Whittle drew a paltry 3.6% of first preference votes and UKIP gained just two of 25 London Assembly Members through the list system.
Farage’s prediction that UKIP would win seats in Northern Ireland proved woefully optimistic as they failed to secure a single seat with a mean average of 2.06% of the votes.
Likewise, and to the surprise of nobody in particular, UKIP also returned empty handed from Scotland, averaging a dismal 2% of votes. UKIP also failed to secure a single Police and Crime Commissioner.
What UKIP failed to mention while proclaiming their “success” was the noticeable decrease in the gains they achieved when compared to previous years. UKIP won an underwhelming 55 council wards, giving them a net gain of 26. As we can see in the graph below, this is a major decrease from previous years. This is despite the issue agenda dominated by immigration and the EU – the two issues absolutely central to UKIP’s success.
UKIP drew plenty of second place positions in targeted areas such as Dudley and Oldham, missing out on seats they hoped to win. This speaks of a deficit in the organisational ability to capitalise on opportunity and convert votes into seats, which is unfortunate (for them) as they seem to be losing momentum.
Projected National Vote Share
The BBC’s Projected National Share (PNS) of the vote extrapolates the results of local elections to parts of Britain without elections in 2016, taking into account the different ranges of seats up for election each year and therefore offering like-for-like comparison between different years. These figures allow us to see what would likely have happened if the whole of Britain held local elections this May and if the pattern of candidature had been similar to that of a General Election.
- Labour: 31%
- Conservative: 30%
- Liberal Democrat: 15%
- UKIP: 12%
- Others: 12%
Not only have UKIP slumped back into fourth position, behind the Liberal Democrats, but the party’s vote share has fallen for a third year in a row. It is now barely over half of their 23% peak of 2013.
That UKIP were able to gain any seats at all is due to the fact that most of the seats available in 2016 were last up for election in 2012, prior to the party’s surge of support in 2013. However, 2017 will see UKIP’s 2013 seats back up for election. If this downward trajectory continues, UKIP may well be deeply embarrassed this time next year, unless the results of the EU Referendum significantly disrupt the usual pattern of politics.
One area of concern is Thurrock in which UKIP had significant successes, gaining six seats. UKIP is now holding equal control over the council with the Tories; they were denied the status of largest party by a single vote in the Little Thurrocks Blackshot ward, which recounted three times.
UKIP’s gains have come at the expense of Labour, who have fallen from 18 to 14 seats. UKIP have snatched three of these from Labour, continuing a trend that saw them seize five in 2015. UKIP have continued to make minor increases to their mean average of votes over the past three years.
|Mean average of UKIP local election votes in Thurrock|
Thurrock is a prime example of the communities UKIP target – a traditionally white, working class, post-industrial area in the South East of England, once solidly Labour but has veered sharply to the right in recent years, voting Conservative in the 2010 and 2015 General Elections. It is also worth noting that in 2008 the BNP were polling up to 25% here in local elections.
Thurrock was found to be “Britain’s unhappiest town” in a 2012 government wellbeing survey. It seems unlikely that UKIP’s divisive fear-mongering will cheer the place up anytime soon.
UKIP were disappointed in Rotherham, adding just two councillors to make a total of 14 and losing group leader Caven Vines and his wife and fellow councillor Maureen Vines. In a town still suffering in the aftermath of the child grooming scandal and with its Labour-led council forcefully condemned in the Casey report, Labour still retain 48 of the 63 seats.
Despite the exploitative and sustained campaigning tactics of UKIP, who have sought to mobilise the tragedy, they have failed to maintain the surge in support they gained in the immediate aftermath of the scandal and the mean average vote has dropped significantly from 2014.
|Mean average of UKIP local election votes in Rotherham|
Interestingly, some of the wards in which UKIP were most successful were those least effected by immigration. The 2011 census shows 94% of residents of Sitwell ward – where UKIP won all three available seats – were born in the UK. That UKIP are able to successfully blame social problems on immigration in such areas chimes with an established body ofresearch that shows that opposition to immigrants is highest in areas with the lowest levels of immigration.
Whilst support for UKIP is still high in Rotherham the 2016 results has brought UKIP’s giddy pre-election optimism back down to earth. The result can be considered a victory for HOPE not hate, who campaigned tirelessly in Rotherham before the election, and for all those who understand that blanket prejudice is not the solution that Rotherham needs.
Of course UKIP will draw attention to having secured seven of the 60 seats in the Welsh Assembly after pulling 13% of the regional list vote. This will give them a foothold on domestic policies for the first time, despite numbers being below expectations.
UKIP averaged 12.5% of the constituency votes and managed over 20% in a cluster of Labour constituencies in South East Wales; Merthyr Tyfil and Rhymney, Newport East, Islwyn and Torgaen, where it came second place, and Caerphilly, where it came third.
Again in Wales we can see that the votes UKIP do manage to get were taken from Labour, another reaffirmation of the dissatisfaction some people – especially those in tired, overlooked industrial towns – feel towards the political establishment. In the face of declining standards of living some people have turned to simple solutions to complex problems, but people also crave real alternatives to the out-of-touch and complacent “Westminster elite”.
However, UKIP’s anti-establishment image is hollow. UKIP’s leadership combine their dewy-eyed nostalgia for supposedly fairer times with anti-trade union and pro-privitisation policies – not traditionally popular in neglected industrial areas – and discriminatory immigration policy. The regional vote list system in Wales has seen the return of Neil Hamilton, a disgraced former Tory MP in favour of closing coal mines. UKIP has managed to simultaneously condemn “elites” whilst in many ways embodying the establishment, and have done so by directing attention towards minorities and away from policies it hopes to sneak in via the backdoor. HOPE will build on our victories campaigning against UKIP and continue to expose this facade.
The Extreme Right
While UKIP’s results were mixed the results of the traditional far-right were uniformly bad, further evidence of its continued implosion.
The BNP, who looked so menacing in 2007 with their 744 candidates, fielded just five in 2016, all of whom failed dismally.
One anomaly is the Marsden ward in Pendle where the BNP continue to pose a threat. Their candidate, John Rowe, accrued 36.35% of the vote, meaning he was narrowly beaten into second place by the Tories. Whilst the percentage is high it is satisfying to know that the BNP’s sole councillor, Brian Parker is denied company in his lonely seat in Pendle, which is not up for re-election until 2018.
Further evidence of the extreme right’s political oblivion can be seen in the Havering by-election, in which the BNP managed just 1.96% votes, beaten into last place only by the presence of unintentional comedian Kevin Layzell of the National Front (a whopping 14 votes and 0.38%).
The National Front drew a mean average of 3.48% of the vote across all elections. The English Democrats fared marginally better, with a mean average of 5.72% of the vote in the 16 wards which they contested.
Posted: 25 May 2016 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments