From HOPE not hate blog:
The HOPE not hate campaign is set to run its biggest and most professional campaign to date in the forthcoming elections. We hope to put thousands of people on the streets, hold hundreds of activities, run telephone canvassing and direct mail operations and conduct a huge media strategy using stories we’ve been building up for several months. At its height we will have over 25 people working on the campaign, with fully operational offices in Dagenham, Yorkshire and Stoke-on-Trent to co-ordinate our activities. It is a campaign that has taken months to prepare. Buying in data, literally building our Dagenham office, recruiting staff and fundraising has all taken time – often far more than intended.
However, there has always been one nagging fear, namely that the general election will be called early and so separating out the general election from the local elections. We believe that holding the two elections on the same day gives us the best chance to defeat the BNP. While voting will be more volatile than in the past it is hoped that the increased turnout for the general election will help defeat BNP candidates in the local elections. It will maximise activism and allow us to concentrate our resources where they are most needed.
Conversely, separating out the two elections will make our task all the harder in the local elections. The turnout will be pitifully low, activists will be tired and perhaps demoralised and we would have to strongly contest far more of our 102 ‘at risk’ wards than we would otherwise have to.
So, I did panic a bit yesterday morning when, after the Sunday Times poll showed the Tory lead down to two points there was increased speculation about a snap election. Today we will know. If Gordon Brown is to call a March election then he has to do it today. My money is he won’t but I’ll be waiting for the clock to strike midnight without an announcement with some anticipation.
Of course we’ve built contingency plans in case there is a March election but we would much prefer to take the BNP on in one go on 6 May.
Yesterday passed off without Gordon Brown rushing to the Palace so there will be no March election. That’s certainly good news from our perspective and our emergency election plans have been neatly folded up and put back on the shelve and it’s back to the main May warbook.
Yesterday also saw our campaign in Stoke-on-Trent move forward. Sarah, our new worker up there, has been building on the success of Saturday’s hugely successful Day of Action. She has had meetings with political parties, trade unions and last night attended a meeting of the local anti-BNP group NorSCARF, with whom we want to compliment and work closely with. Almost 10,000 newspapers were put out on Saturday so Sarah is now drawing up plans to get the remaining 20,000 out before the next edition comes out at the end of this month.
We were also joined yesterday by Ros Wynne-Jones, who has come on board full-time until the election. Ros is our link with the Daily Mirror and she is working on our newspapers and other specials we are co-producing. Bit by bit the pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place. Our online telephone canvassing operation began yesterday, with hundreds of calls already having been made, we are working on the finishing touches to our direct mail campaign and we are just about to take on a couple more interns. The fact that Brown didn’t go to the Palace was a huge relief but whenever the election is called we will be ready.
By Nick Lowles