Margate mobilises against UKIP’s ‘Nasty Little Nigel’

Anti-UKIP stall

Bunny La Roche reports:

Over a hundred people gathered on a beautiful sunny day in Margate on May 17 to protest against Nigel Farage. The UKIP leader was speaking at a public meeting at the Winter Gardens. The successful, popular mobilisation was marred by the presence of a number of fascist groups, who turned up to ‘protect’ Farage: Britain First, an offshoot of the British National Party, the National Front and the English Defence League.

Anti-Farage protesters arrived early in the hope of catching a glimpse of ‘Nasty Little Nigel’ before the meeting began. However, he and other leading UKIP members, including Janice Atkinson, scuttled into the venue via a back entrance. Protesters of all ages came from across east Kent, including Labour and Green Party members, as well as Unite Community, Roma, anti-cuts, trade union and animal rights activists. Almost all of the protesters with tickets to the meeting were turned away at the door.

The protest was organised via social media and street stalls. The Facebook page Keep UKIP out of East Kent gathered momentum quickly, and stalls set up in Ramsgate were hugely successful. Anti–UKIP street campaigners were initially anxious about the response they would receive, given apparently widespread support for UKIP in Thanet. Last May, they managed to secure seven out of eight County Council seats in the election. There is also a strong possibility that Farage will stand for election in 2015 in South Thanet.

However, as soon as the stall was set up, people came over to get flyers and leave their contact details. The positive response was overwhelming. Activists deliberately chose to engage with UKIP voters, instead of avoiding or alienating them. Despite not persuading anyone to vote against them, it was interesting to note that the most common question posed by potential UKIP voters was: “what’s the alternative?” Many UKIP supporters accepted leaflets from campaigners.

Activists across Kent reported similar experiences. There has been a popular backlash against UKIP’s racist scaremongering, reaching beyond the far left. Across the country, UKIP billboards have been defaced or taken down. The website Destroyed UKIP Billboards has been hugely popular.

This has fed into popular resistance against them. UKIP have been forced to cancel both their Freepost address and Freephone number after people used both to run up huge bills for them. Stand up to UKIP has sent over a hundred thousand leaflets out and organised stalls across the country.

In Ashford, activists from the Kent People’s Assembly confronted leading UKIP member Janice Atkinson, who responded to their questions with foul-mouthed abuse. The campaigners took a photograph of this incident, which has seen over 90,000 shares on social media and has been widely reported in the press. Every time UKIP members have been caught being openly bigoted, it has been widely reported and shared.

Janice Atkinson, UKIP's self-described "number two"

A placard depicting Janice Atkinson, UKIP’s self-described “number two”

Wherever Farage has appeared, popular protests have been organised against him. What should have been his crowning achievement at the public meeting in Margate, which local UKIP members claimed would be the ‘biggest meeting in the country’, turned out to be underwhelming and was strongly opposed.

There is no doubt that the serious work anti-racists across east Kent have done helped to make sure that the meeting was not as successful as UKIP had hoped. From now on, Farage should expect short shrift whenever he appears here.

There is one comment

  1. Aaron

    Hey guys. ^ See that up there, thats propoganda. These people believe in a fairytale land of beauty that has no place in reality. The debate has never been about race, but about space. UKIP were never racist as a party, not by a long shot, many of their Councillors etc are ethic in origin and since everyone is an individual and everyone has an opinion or view the views of the few should not represent the view of the party, the ideology. UKIP provide an alternative future, a future we can decide together among our communities, these people hinder the future of yourself and your children, they seek nothing other than a violent V for Vendetta revolution, and that cannot happen. UKIP provide a new idea, a new door to go through one that could save the future of our country. Dont let this spoil it thanetarians. Although I respect the fact you guys and gals stand up for your opinion. Some hope is better than no hope. The Earthquake starts in Thanet

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