Nick Lowles, of the anti-nazi campaigning group Hope not Hate, writes:Last Thursday the British political landscape changed. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) eclipsed the BNP as the principle depository for right wing votes in this country. They polled 25% of all votes cast, gained 139 news councillors and came second in hundreds more.UKIP is clearly not a fascist party and Nigel Farage is quite clearly not Nick Griffin. However, UKIP does taps into an English nationalism and xenophobia that was once mined by Enoch Powell. While the party is best known for its opposition to the European Union research shows that it is hostility to immigration and even multiculturalism that is driving its supporters.
Their vision of Britain is something quite different from ours, but is that enough for us to oppose them?
How can we really celebrate the decline of the BNP when UKIP run such strong anti-immigrant campaigns? How can we sit by when UKIP candidates are caught giving nazi salutes and blame Jews for the Holocaust? How can we not respond when some local UKIP leaflets which are worse than those put out by the BNP? Should we forget that the EDL leader recommended people vote UKIP?
I’m not sure we can. And I don’t think you can either. When we asked you [ie people signed up to the Hope not Hate mailings] back in March what we should do, an astonishing 1,800 replied, of which almost 70% said we focus more on UKIP.
Over the next two months we are planning to hold dozens of meetings across the country to discuss our options. Sign up if you are interested in being part of our discussions.
Whether you live in an area with a UKIP councillor or somewhere they are not currently active, we want to talk to you. Once we see who is interested then we will organise our meetings accordingly.
UKIP is not the BNP and we cannot deal with them in the same way. But they are adopting an increasingly anti-immigrant stance and the party seems to be becoming a home for hardline racists, fascists and antisemites.
Do we take them on or ignore them? Do we just put them under the same scrutiny as we have the BNP or do we simple create a positive anti-racist campaign that challenges their anti-immigrant rhetoric and offers an alternative set of values?
If you have any views on this then please register your interest in joining one of our discussions.