HnH have some work to do if they are to convince anyone they are capable of providing a rounded introduction to the referendum debate. Indeed a series of key HnH leaders and activists are prominent Remain campaigners, most noticeably Eddie Izzard (he of the disastrous Question Time performance of 9th June) and Ruth Smeeth, a Labour MP associated with the Europhile Progress wing of the party. She was Hope Not Hate's Deputy Director, and now leads Labour Friends of Hope Not Hate.
More sinisterly, some in HnH have a track record of seeking to manipulate public and press opinion against those campaigning to leave the European Union. Back in 1996, HnH's Nick Lowles, then working for its predecessor organisation Searchlight, wrote to the European Movement offering to provide propaganda for its campaign against critics of Brussels:
“this research will be a unique insight into the anti-European network in Britain. Utilising sources inside these organisations, the European Movement will be furnished with information not otherwise easily accessible. The report and the drip flow of information will provide your organisation with invaluable ammunition to add to your cause”.
Who those sources 'inside' anti-EU organisations were, and whether they are still in place, is unclear. What we do know is given the groups lineage, any 'facts' produced by HnH in the run up to June 23rd should be taken with a pinch, nay a crate, of salt.
For a more detailed examination of HnH and Searchlight interference with anti-EU groups, do see this 2013 article from the Notes from the Borderland website. A fuller examination of their dirty tricks may be found in issues 4, 5 and 10 of Notes from the Borderland, in particular the 2001 article "This Cursed Plot: How the Secret State and Fascists Disrupt the Anti-EU Movement" by Larry O'Hara and David Pegg, which was in issue 4. Given the closeness of the referendum, it is extremely likely we will see some very dirty tricks from the Remain camp in the next two weeks. If so, this needs to be seen in terms of the historical attempts to derail, disrupt and denigrate those seeking political independence from Brussels.
Today marks the anniversary of the death in 1809 of Thetford's finest son, Thomas Paine, who went on to become one of America's founding fathers.
When we have the EU referendum, do consider the quote below, and merely replace the word 'King' with the letters EU:
Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern us? Whoever says No to this question is an independent, for independancy means no more, than, whether we shall make our own laws, or whether the king, the greatest enemy this continent hath, or can have, shall tell us "there shall be no laws but such as I like."
One of the universities I work for has put an inordinate amount of work into ensuring students register to vote in time for the June 7th deadline to take part in the EU referendum.
There have been emails, public meetings, articles on websites and pro-EU statements both online and on campus by the Vice-Chancellor and a local MP. Last week I received an email from the European Movement (harvested from the university website, where my email address is displayed) inviting me to a local rally. According to the TMS diary in the Times, at Oxford, Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson has messaged all students encouraging them to vote, and a fellow has offered £500 each to the Oxford college with the highest voter turnout (surely that's illegal?). Nationally Eddie Izzard has led the Stand Up for Europe campaign, encouraging both student registration and a consequent Yes vote.
It is fascinating to see who has a vote that is coveted, nay chased in this referendum, and whose is not. I have not seen any voter registration drives aimed at socially isolated old age pensioners. Nor former industrial workers in the midlands and the north, or those living in deprived coastal towns such as Clacton, Great Yarmouth or Skegness.
The biggest mistake Vote Leave has made is that they have not run such a campaign. But if you want to know who counts to Remain, and Britain Stronger in Europe, and who does not - have a look at who they want to vote, and who they clearly do not.....