Thursday, 6 June 2013

Hope not Hate Warrington meeting report

An interesting report has been received regarding the Hope not Hate meeting in Warrington last night. We're not entirely clear whether this was a 'Stand up for HOPE' tour date, as the dates and venues of this 'public consultation' have still not been published, despite them being due 'early next week' on the 18th May.

Whether it was or wasn't, it was clear from the start that this was the point of the meeting. Attendance was sparse: the Chairman, two aides, our informant, and 5 members of the public.

The meeting itself was confused; perhaps not surprisingly as at one point the Chairman himself said that 'even in the office they can't agree on whether to go after UKIP or leave them alone'. Despite this, it was quite clear that the Chair was definitely of the opinion that they should 'go after' UKIP, and the whole direction of the meeting was clearly geared to achieving this end.

There seemed broad agreement to the idea that UKIP weren't fascist. There was less agreement on whether UKIP were racist: there was some anecdotal evidence of casual racism, and much was made of former BNP members found to be members of UKIP. The irony of this appeared to escape those attending a meeting of an organisation whose head of intelligence is ex-National Front activist Matthew Collins.

The Chair repeatedly claimed that ex-BNP members were 'fleeing' to UKIP. It was clear that either he was not aware or was not telling that up until the split between Searchlight and Hope not Hate UKIP had actively worked with Hope not Hate to try and prevent just this, a policy begun back in 2005 and continued until Hope not Hate fell under the leadership of Nick Lowles.

The meeting moved on to discuss the stream of 'racist remarks' from UKIP members. As can be seen on our Facebook page, this is not a problem which is limited to UKIP: currently half of the Labour councillors in Harrow are sitting in an Independent Labour group due to institutional racism in the Constituency Labour Party, but naturally this was not mentioned.

There was some discussion of - and disagreement with - wider UKIP policy backed up by the usual misquotes, misunderstandings and faulty logic.

These included that:
  • UKIP is a single issue party
  • UKIP is only interested in Europe
  • UKIP would strip workers of all rights
  • Where UKIP stand there is a rise in racist attacks
  • UKIP leaflets are racist
  • UKIP don't throw out racists quickly enough (!)
The Chairman was forced to concede that opposition to immigration is not the same as racism.

Our informant's comment perhaps best sums up the meeting: "They weren’t a bad bunch of people just misinformed and most definitely being lied to as to what UKIP is all about."

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