Posts Tagged ‘Nick Lowles’

Woohoo! The BNP Has Finally Collapsed!

April 8, 2018

I got this round-robin email from Nick Lowles of the ant-racism/ anti-religious extremism organisation Hope Not Hate reporting that the last BNP councillor has said that he will not stand for re-election. This does not mean that Fascism in this country is extinct, as it will and is taking new forms. But for the moment at least, it seems that Nick Griffin’s vile little party is gone. Here’s the email:

Hi there,

Sorry to email you at the weekend but I thought that every HOPE not hate supporter would want to know: it was announced this morning that the last BNP councillor in office isn’t standing for re-election. It’s official – the BNP are no more.

The BNP as a force died a while ago – and we face new threats from an increasingly online and violent far right. But it’s good to take a breath, to celebrate the official end of the BNP, and say thank you to everyone who made it possible.

I remember how shocked people were when the first BNP councillor was elected in 1993. Things were really grim from 2002, first in Burnley and then in Barking and elsewhere. 2006 was their breakthrough: 33 councillors and strong results in another 80+ wards.

The BNP was cocky, it thought it was its time. But we fought them at every step.

We campaigned against the BNP in elections the length and breadth of Britain, working with local parties, trade unions, faith leaders, the Mirror, and others. Lots of our work was crowdfunded from tens of thousands of supporters. I lost count of the number of leaflets and newspapers we got out in the campaigns. It was a lot. All in all, it was a truly grassroots effort.

I’m very proud of what everyone did to take the BNP from hundreds of thousands of votes and dozens of councillors to today, fading away with the announcement that their last councillor isn’t even standing again.

On Monday, we’ll be right back to fighting the far right in their new guises. But for today, I just wanted to write and say thank you.

Nick

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Hope Not Hate on the Links between the DUP and Loyalist Paramilitaries in Ulster

June 14, 2017

Last Sunday, Nick Lowles and Matthew Collins published a long piece in the anti-racist/ anti-religious extremism site, Hope Not Hate, on the links between the Democratic Unionist Party, led by Arlene Foster, and Loyalist terrorist groups the UDA, Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commandoes, for example, in Ulster. The DUP are the Unionist party with whom Theresa May is trying to negotiate a confidence and supply pact, in order to prop her increasingly wobbly Tory government.

The article notes that various commenters have decried the DUP’s opposition to abortion, gay marriage and disbelief in climate change, before going on to state that what should really alarm people is the party’s links to the UDA, a link which may imperil the Northern Irish peace agreement.

For example, on the last day of May, a week before polling, Arlene Foster just happened to pay a visit to the UDA ‘Brigadier’, Jackie McDonald at a community office in the Taughmonagh area of South Belfast. Foster claimed that the visit was not pre-arranged, and she was just in the area canvassing for votes. She also said that she had not asked McDonald to disarm the UDA, because he knew her views that there should be no terror groups in Northern Ireland already.

The article also reports how the Irish newspaper, the Sunday World, had run an expose on the terrorist group, which began:

“In an unprecedented glimpse inside the UDA, terror group members reveal the fascist-like regime that forces them to hand over membership fees, dish out beatings of their own and force families from their homes.

“UDA veterans, shackled to an organised crime gang, tell of a paramilitary leadership that has no intention of going away.

“And they reveal how foot soldiers are begging terror boss Jackie McDonald to let them walk away – without a beating.”

McDonald was jailed during the Troubles for blackmail and extortion. In 1994 he became a leading figure organising the paramilitary ceasefire in Ulster. But he is still widely believed to be responsible for violence, racketeering and assassinations.

The Northern Irish government has given funds to community and sports associations run by UDA members and supporters, in return for which the UDA has called on its supporters to vote for the DUP. The article notes the various DUP politicos, who have been members of terrorist groups or imprisoned for terrorist offences, such as Sam ‘Chalky’ White, and John Smyth. The father of Emma Little Pengelly, the DUP candidate for South Belfast, was Noel Little, a gunrunner for Ian Paisley’s Ulster Resistance. Foster was also photographed last October with North Down UDA commander, Dee Stitt, a convicted armed robber, who runs Charter NI, an organisation dedicated to tackling unemployment in East Belfast, which has also received funding from the Ulster government. Foster has also been photographed with Adrian Bird, the UDA brigadier for Lisburn, who has been given funding for his work tackling racism and calling on Loyalists to support integration.

The article also describes how one DUP member of the Northern Irish assembly, Christopher Stalford, opened an office in a building owned by Belfast South Community Resources. The company is managed by Garnet Busby, who has been convicted of multiple murders. Jackie McDonald was also one of its officers. The top floor of the building is apparently still used by the UDA as a kangaroo court, in which punishment beatings are dished out. And Paul Givan, the current MP for South Antrim, visited a building in the Shankill Road, which the BBC had claimed was the UDA’s headquarters.

The article concludes

Publicly, the DUP is strongly opposed to the UDA and recently put out a statement claiming that: “There is no place for the UDA, or any other paramilitary group in our society.”

The DUP went on: “Their existence never was justified and is not justified now. We will work with those who wish to leave their past behind, but anyone involved in any kind of illegal activity must face the full weight of the law.”

The evidence linking the DUP – and more specifically Arlene Foster – to several current UDA commanders seems to suggest otherwise.

It is ironic that in a General Election dominated by claims of links between the Labour Party leadership and Sinn Fein and the IRA, the Conservative Party are attempting to negotiate an agreement with a political party that itself has disturbing links with a paramilitary organisation.

We totally understand the need to involve former paramilitaries in the peace process, but surely it cannot be right to give away millions of pounds of public money to people and organisations still involved in paramilitary and criminal activity.

See: http://hopenothate.org.uk/2017/06/11/arlene-foster-takes-tea-uda/

I’m not sure how much of this is any surprise to anyone, who has any knowledge of Northern Irish sectarian politics. Back in the 1990s the Mail on Sunday, if I recall correctly, ran an article on Ulster terrorism which stated very clearly that both Loyalist and Nationalist paramilitaries were involved in crime and racketeering. I also remember reports on the 6 O’clock news in the ’70s about various Ulster terrorists, who had been convicted for these crimes. The Daily Mail itself has been very long opposed to the Northern Irish peace agreement on the grounds that, despite both sides officially abandoning violence, killings and punishment beatings were still being carried out. The Mail’s coverage, however, was biased. It said little about Loyalist terrorism, and almost exclusively concentrated on Sinn Fein and the IRA. This was partly due to a real threat from dissident Republicans, like the Continuity IRA. On the other hand, Private Eye also ran a series of articles sending up David English, the-then editor of the Mail, as he was a member of Orange Order, who used to go on their marches, complete with bowler hat and sash.

Hope Not Hate Relaunches Home Page

April 22, 2017

Thursday evening I hate an email from Nick Lowles, the head of the anti-racist, anti-religious extremist organisation Hope Not Hate, announcing the relaunch of the organisation’s website. They’ve gone for a new, younger look. The new-look site has a two-minute introductory video, showing people of all races, Black, White, Asian, mixed race, in our proud country coming together to write ‘Hope’ in order to overcome the forces of ‘Hate’. Among those producing the video were the actor John Simm and the band Coldplay. Dr. Who fans will particularly remember Simm as the Master, before he became a she, and reappeared again as ‘Missy’.

The email said

Today, we’ve launched the new HOPE not hate website – and with it, a revamped feel for our brand.

You’ll see our famous ‘sun’ and the HOPE not hate yellow still present, but we’re embracing a slightly younger look. We have a long and proud tradition of anti-fascism and anti-racism. But, like everyone, we must move with the times.

Now more than ever, we feel the message of HOPE – not hate – is needed.

To coincide with the launch, we’re unveiling a new video that tells our story with the help of actor John Simm (you may recognise the song too!)

***

This site will enhance our ability to produce unparalleled research on far-right movements, build national, impactful campaigns, spread the word about our community work, and offer our supporters ways to get involved with and support our work.

Our mission remains steadfast – we will fight alongside the weakest in society, for the common good of all, and strive to oppose and expose those who would foster hatred and division.

Amongst the news on their front page is the fact that a man, who carried out an attack with bus in Dortmund in Germany actually wasn’t an Islamist, but had rather more secular motives – financial problems – behind his actions. They also have a report on a far right thug, who was stalking Jeremy Corbyn.

The organisation is also appealing for people to help with its campaign against the various far right candidates that are being fielded in the coming council and national elections. Lowles also states in his ‘welcome’ article that they are worried about the rise in racial incidents and crime since Brexit.

I think these are very probably the reasons why they’ve decided on a new look for their website. I don’t think they have to be worried about the younger generation. Various social studies have shown that, in general, they tend to be less racist and more tolerant of gays than their elders. Which, of course, does not mean that everyone over 30 or whatever is a racist bigot by any means, especially as it was the older generation, who fought so hard from the 1950s onwards to challenge racism and bigotry in this country. As for the NF, BNP and the other storm troopers running around the country trying to drag us all back to the days of ‘No dogs, no Blacks, no Irish’, the actual numbers of people in them is trivial, and getting smaller all the time. Way back in the 1990s Larry O’Hara, in one of his pieces on the NF and far right in Lobster, estimated that the National Front had a permanent core of only 200 members. This was when it had, in theory, 2000 members. O’Hara believed that the organisation had a very high membership turnover, and that most of those would leave and be replaced by another bunch within two years.

It seems to me that the rise in racism is not due to it becoming more popular, but simply through existing racists becoming emboldened thanks to Brexit. It’s still a problem, as these people are desperate to spread their message of hate, and they do have the power to do immense harm. As Neoliberal ideology promises nothing but more job losses, privatisation and the contraction of the welfare state, some people, particularly in deprived areas, may well be swayed to turn against people of different races or religions, and immigrants, as the scapegoat for the poverty that Thatcherism has and is creating. As for the far right parties, as their membership has contracted, they’ve become increasingly, nakedly vicious. The banned Nazi youth group, National Action, didn’t bother to hide their anti-Semitism. Hope Not Hate had footage, if I remember correctly, of them holding aloft their Nazi-inspired regalia, to spout horrific conspiracist bilge about the ‘Jews’ plotting to destroy the White race, that could have come straight from Hitler. Or the send-up of the Nazis in the classic film, The Blues Brothers. These groups are extremely violent, ever since one of their leaders said they were looking for ‘robust young men’ to ‘defend the country against Communism’. They may only be small in number, but they – and people, who share their hatred, but aren’t a part of them – still have the capacity to seriously hurt people.

I’m confident that the majority of decent people in this country will defeat the bigots and thugs, but it might take a lot of effort to make sure of this.

In the meantime, if you want to have a look at the new site, it’s at:
http://hopenothate.org.uk/?source=170420_welcome&subsource=HOPEnothate_email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=HOPEnothate&utm_campaign=170420_welcome&utm_content=4+-+Visit+the+new+wwwhopenothateorguk

Hope Not Hate on the Banning of Nazi Group ‘National Action’

December 13, 2016

Yesterday the government banned National Action as a terrorist group under new legislation against anti-Semitism. National Action are truly vile. They see themselves very much as a Fascist youth group, and are a blatantly Nazi organisation. They really do subscribe to the stupid and murderous conspiracy theory that the Jews are attempting to enslave and destroy the White race, and have made speeches, which have openly called for their extermination. Hope Not Hate’s report on them states that one of their members called for a genocide in Britain of the same proportions as Pol Pot’s Cambodia. There’s also a piccie of two of these thugs desecrating the memory of those murdered at Buchenwald by making the Nazi salute in the part of the death camp where prisoners were executed.

Reporting the ban yesterday, Mike wondered whether banning them was the correct way to deal with these idiots on the grounds that banning them could force them underground, where they could fester and grow. He speculated on whether a better way of handling them might be to educate people, so that they aren’t fooled by their monstrous racist ideology.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/12/12/is-it-better-to-ban-the-neo-nazis-or-to-educate-people-on-why-theyre-wrong/

Today I received this message about the ban from Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate, explaining their position on the group’s banning.

Yesterday the British Government announced plans to proscribe the neo-nazi group National Action, describing it as a terrorist organisation. It is the first time a British far right group has been proscribed in the post-war period.

Enforce the law

HOPE not hate has cautiously welcomed the ban because National Action has been taking an increasingly alarming trajectory and its leadership and supporters have been openly advocating extreme violence and even murder.

We have produced this briefing on National Action.

However, we are under no illusions that banning National Action is the end of the story. Indeed, there are many reasons why a ban could be counter-productive. National Action leaders are already basking in their notoriety and the attention the group will have will only attract more young people to their cause. The group has already announced its intention to merely re-constitute itself under a different name, a tactic which Anjem Choudary’s Al-Muhajiroun organisation used so effectively for so many years.

There is also a risk that some National Action supporters will convince themselves that they are truly at war with the State and take matters to a new dangerous level.

We have long argued that the activities of National Action could have been severely hampered if the authorities had enforced the laws we have at the moment.

Why is it that the CPS still have not decided whether to prosecute NA leader Jack Renshaw for a strongly Antisemitic speech in Blackpool in February, where he threatened to execute antifascists and described Jews as a disease and parasites and said Hitler was too lenient on them?

Why has no action been taken against NA supporters for celebrating the murder of Jo Cox and calling for other politicians and so-called ‘traitors’ to be killed too?

So it is all very good for the Government to proscribe National Action, but just like the many laws that currently exist, the effectiveness of this ban will be in its enforcement.

HOPE not hate has successfully infiltrated National Action and we will continue to monitor and expose their violent activities.

Hope Not Hate’s report can be read here:

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/features/national-action/

I’ve mixed feelings about the ban myself. Hope Not Hate are, as you might expect, absolutely correct in their statement that existing legislation could have been used to ban them long before this. This is the legislation that makes it an offence to foment racial hatred, amongst other provisions. It has been used countless times to prosecute and jail members of the extreme right, and succeeded in getting the BNP to admit members from ethnic minorities, if it wished to continue as a legal political party. National Action, with their celebration of Adolf Hitler, overt, venomous anti-Semitism and racism, clearly violate this.

I wonder if part of the government’s motive for this ban is to validate the new definition of anti-Semitism. This seems to follow the standard definition of anti-Semitism, which states that it is the hatred of Jews as Jews. It seems to me to be unproblematic, unlike the definition of anti-Semitism to which Jackie Walker objected, for which she herself was subsequently smeared as anti-Semitic by the organisers of a workshop on Holocaust Memorial Day. This explicitly defined anti-Semitism to include criticism of the state of Israel. Walker is part Jewish, and not only is she opposed to anti-Semitism, she is also like the others smeared as such by the Israel lobby in the Labour party, profoundly against all forms of racism. This included the Israeli state’s persecution of the Palestinians.

Recently, the American government has passed legislation, which also defines criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, which is intended to prevent government organisations supporting the BDS – Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement. This is an organisation that encourages people not to buy goods produced by Israeli businesses in the occupied West Bank.

Although the phrasing of the new legislation appears not to allow this, my fear is that some way will be found to criminalise the BDS movement in this country as well. I am also afraid that special legislation intended to protect Jews will be seized upon as spurious evidence to support their stupid views. The far right on their websites frequently quote one of Voltaire’s sayings: If you want to know who rules you, look at who you can’t criticise. Or something like that. Voltaire undoubtedly meant the French monarchy and supernatural religion, particularly Christianity and the Roman Catholic church. But the EDL and various Fascist groups use it to claim that the legislation protecting ethnic minorities, including Jews and Muslims, means that they are being deliberately elevated above the white, gentile population.

That said, National Action’s explicit racism and calls for violence are very definitely potentially dangerous now after Jo Cox’s murder and the rise in racism following Brexit, and the government is right to try to prevent further racially motivated incidents and violence.

Hope Not Hate on UKIP’s Non-Breakthrough at the Elections

May 7, 2016

Yesterday I got this message from Nick Lowles and his team at the anti-racist, anti-religious extremism organisation, Hope Not Hate, putting UKIP’s performance at the council elections into perspective and showing that, whatever UKIP claim, it definitely was not an electoral breakthrough.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has taken to the airwaves over the last 15 hours to declare that these elections have been a great “breakthrough” for his party. The media, by and large, has accepted and run with this narrative.

The only problem is that the 2016 elections have not been the breakthrough that Farage had confidently announced. Sure, UKIP won seven seats on the Welsh Assembly (out of 60) and became the equal largest party on Thurrock council – but beyond that UKIP’s results were underwhelming.

In fact, nationally, UKIP only won 55 council wards and given the fact that it was defending some seats, this meant a net gain of just 26.

This compares with 140 council gains in 2013, 163 in 2014 and 202 in 2015.

UKIP did not breakthrough in any new areas and in almost all of the local authorities it won seats, it did far less well than in previous years.

While there is no room for complacency and there is still a huge amount of work to do, let’s not allow Farage to talk up UKIP’s limited success.

We have produced a map to show UKIP’s limited gains.

Even in Wales, where UKIP gained seven seats on the Welsh Assembly, this was below expectations.

And hopefully our own campaign had an impact. In Wales alone, our supporters put out almost 500,000 leaflets, knocked on thousands of doors and had hundreds of conversations with people keen to help.

In Rotherham, we worked intensively in the five highest risk wards in the last couple of weeks. In Oldham, Hyndburn and Bradford we helped ensure that UKIP candidates failed in seats they had been widely expected to win.

While Thurrock was clearly a set-back, our local HOPE not hate teams played their part in ensuring UKIP had its worst election in Essex in since 2012.

Over the next few days we will be analysing the results in more detail and sketching out a plan to continue our work in these communities, but for now I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the hundreds of people who came out campaigning the 2,136 people whose donations made it all possible.

And thank you to you – our supporters – without whom HOPE not hate would not be what it is.

The message is also repeated on Nick’s blog, which has the maps and stats of UKIP’s performance over the past few years, so see

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/nick/the-breakthrough-that-wasn-t-4879

for full information.

BNP No Longer Registered as Political Party

January 9, 2016

And now a piece of good news. Thanks to them not getting round to registering with the Electoral Commission, the BNP no longer officially exists as a political party. Like Mike over at Vox Political, I got this message about it from Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate yesterday:

Just heard some fantastic news that I wanted to share with you. The Electoral Commission have today announced that the British National Party has been struck off as a political party after it failed to renew its registration.

That means that it cannot stand candidates in elections or be considered a political party any more. This is a huge humiliation for the fascist party and reflects its demise in recent years.

Much of this has happened because of us. HOPE not hate was set up to provide a positive antidote to the BNP, which at one time had 2 MEPs, 67 councillors and one person on the London Assembly. In 2009 over 800,000 people voted for them.

Slowly but surely HOPE not hate activists began pushing them back. We stopped them in Oldham and reversed the tide in Burnley, Stoke, Sandwell and Bradford. We did it street by street, community by community.

And then, in 2010, there was Barking and Dagenham. BNP leader Nick Griffin thought he could become an MP, the party thought it could win the council. Over 1,500 HOPE not hate activists delivered 355,000 newspapers, leaflets and letters. And the BNP ended up with nothing and its defeat signalled the beginning of its downwards spiral.

You can read the full story of our campaign against the BNP here.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Britain was a “little better off today because of this news”.

“Today is a victory for the thousands of people and organisations like Hope Not Hate who worked to make the case for an inclusive, welcoming and outward-looking nation.”

While we celebrate the BNP’s de-registration our work is not done. Britain First, with its one million Facebook supporters, will be standing in elections this year. UKIP whip up fear and hatred of immigrants. And next month Stephen Lennon, the former leader of the EDL, takes to the streets once again with his new anti-Muslim organisation Pegida.

HOPE not hate will continue to challenge hatred and extremism in our communities, but today, let’s celebrate the demise of the BNP.

This is a great step forward in combating Fascism in Britain, though the other far-right parties and groups are still active and still a problem. But it’s very good that there’s now one less.

Hope Not Hate’s Day of Action against UKIP 21st-22nd March

March 10, 2015

The anti-racism and religious extremism group, Hope Not Hate, is planning a day of action to oppose UKIP later this month. The group remarked on the way Farage attempted to capitalise on the horror of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last month. He blamed multiculturalism and immigration for the attacks, and stated that there was now a ‘fifth column’ within Britain that hated mainstream British society. He also claimed that most French cities had no-go areas for non-Muslims.

He repeated the same comments at the end of last month when he addressed the CPAC Republican conference in America.
Hope Not Hate’s Nick Lowles wrote:

“Farage’s incendiary language is dangerous and will only whip up fear, suspicion and hatred. He is clearly moving to the right, so we need to redouble our efforts to stop him and his party.

“Hope not hate is calling a national weekend of action for 21/22 March.

“With just 65 days to go until the General Election, we need to step up our campaign. UKIP boast that it will win several seats and, more worryingly, could hold the balance of power in a hung parliament. UKIP also poses a real threat in 410 council wards.

“If you are appalled by Farage whipping up hatred and are worried about UKIP holding the balance of power, then please sign up to get involved.”

More information can be found on their site at http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/get-involved-2015.

Hat tip to Mike over at Vox Political for also reporting this.