Yesterday, the Hope not Hate website lead with the story of Mick Parker of Fenton, Stoke on Trent, and called on UKIP leader Nigel Farage to "to put his money where his mouth is and deal with a Stoke on Trent UKIP supporter we have discovered who has bigotry oozing from every pore."
The article, written by someone using the pseudonym Simon Cressy, included screen shots of Parker's Facebook wall which featured such gems as 'get theres shit scum fuckin muslims out of my country'(sic). There were plenty of other examples since the account was created on the 5th January this year - in fact there were almost no posts which were not clearly an attempt to tie UKIP to the EDL and other similar racist organisations.
Clearly, this is not the page of someone UKIP would wish to be involved with. And inquiries with the local branch proved that, in fact, UKIP was not connected with him. Mick Parker contacted the local branch on the 9th May expressing a desire to 'get involved locally'. He was invited to attend the next branch meeting, but did not turn up. This was the only contact between UKIP and Parker, despite his Facebook page having the UKIP logo as his image since the account was formed at about the time UKIPs latest poll surge began.
There are two options here. The first is that a chap called Mick Parker came along on the 5th January - shortly after UKIP began their rise in the polls - decided it was time to have a Facebook account, signed up and then posted items almost exclusively about UKIP and the EDL, with the odd, semi-literate comment interspersed. All this despite not being a member of UKIP, and having no contact with UKIP whatsoever until 4 weeks ago.
The second option is that the Parker Facebook account is one of many maintained by Hope not Hate as they attempt to shift their focus away from fighting racism and onto fighting UKIP. What better way to achieve this than creating straw man profiles to knock down at a later date? There was a time when Hope not Hate were more than happy to call UKIP and discuss individuals posting material which implied that UKIP was racist, but sadly under Lowles those days appear long gone: the facts come a distant second to his attempt to persuade his supporters - who remain far from convinced - that UKIP is a worthwhile target.
It would be nice to think that Hope not Hate would remove their article, which is clearly untrue. They may or may not, but in any case they will feel that the damage is done: even if they remove it, they will have reinforced the impression their distortions, half-truths and outright lies are designed to create in the minds of their less than enthusiastic band of supporters.