11 May 2009

Great day in Great Yarmouth for HOPE not hate

Linda Jack, John Valentine, Richard Howitt MEP and Cllr Rupert Read pose at the meeting point

HOPE not hate came to Great Yarmouth on Saturday the 9th for the largest anti-fascist activity seen in the town for 30 years.

Organised and supported by Great Yarmouth and District Trades Union Council, campaigners distributed nearly 5000 pieces of HOPE not hate and other anti-fascist literature and spoke to large numbers of people - in fact the HOPE not hate campaigners went about their task with such professionalism that a four hour event became a two hour event when our stock of leaflets ran out.

Groups of HOPE not hate canvassers were spread all over the Market Place, Market Gates, King Street and Theatre Plain, and later joined up for a moving leaflet/canvass of Regent Road, returning to Theatre Plain and disbanding there.

The BBC's Politics Show filmed and interviewed participants for most of the two hours. Their journalist told us he thought 45 people had attended, but with campaigners arriving and leaving throughout the two hours it was hard to tell.

Euro candidates Richard Howitt MEP, James Valentine (both Labour), and Cllr Rupert Read (Green) and various Borough councillors all lent their enthusiastic support.

Part of the UNITE contingent in Theatre Plain, others in background

We're pleased to report that the majority of those taking part came from the Great Yarmouth area, but others came from Norwich, East Dereham, Beccles and Luton (thanks Geoff Webb of the PCS union - a man for whom the loudhailer was invented). Of the organisations invited only the Conservative Party (presumably immune to the BNP) failed to send representatives. The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Greens, various trade unions, church groups and concerned individuals put aside their differences and stood united in the two aims of bringing the truth of the fascist BNP to the people of Great Yarmouth and persuading them that not to vote was as good as voting BNP.

We think we succeeded. Every canvasser had a crib sheet that illustrated the not-so-hidden Nazism of the BNP using freely available photographs and their own words (thanks, Tyndall, Tommy Williams, Darby et al). Showing that to would-be BNP voters conned into believing that the BNP is made up of people "just like you" worked wonders and we can happily report that we've cost the BNP quite a number of votes.

The one thing we weren't very good at was taking photos - our excuse is that we were too busy getting the message out! However, we know that others took snaps of the proceedings (so send them in when you're read this) and we'll put up some stills from The Politics Show coverage when that becomes available.

Thanks to everybody who gave their time and effort on Saturday - you did Great Yarmouth proud!

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