Anti-racists in Harlow, Essex, are celebrating after Ukip lost a council seat.
Ukip councillor Jerry Crawford resigned last year, prompting a by-election in Harlow’s Mark Hall ward on Thursday of last week. Labour won the seat and pushed Ukip into second place.
Stand Up to Ukip activist Adam Cochrane told Socialist Worker, “We leafleted the whole ward in the run-up to the election—that’s 3,000 doors.
“We found that people are livid with the mainstream parties and Ukip. On one door we found a sign reading, ‘No Ukip shit through my door’.
“We’ve had pensioners, trade unionists and councillors involved. People like that Stand Up to Ukip is made up of ordinary people while Farage is a posh boy.”
Adam said the result should encourage anti-Ukip campaigners everywhere. “They’ve got the media being soft on them and politicians pandering to them,” he said.
“But we’ve got the power of ordinary people and that can make a big difference.”
For all its rhetoric, Ukip may not be as popular as its leader Nigel Farage likes to make out.
An Ipsos Mori poll last week put Ukip on 9 percent—the first time it had fallen below 10 percent since November 2013.
Stand Up to Ukip has called a national protest outside Ukip’s spring conference in Margate on Saturday 28 February. It also plans national days of action on the weekend of 7-8 March and 11-12 April.
And anti-racists are organising in their local areas. Activists plan to leaflet London train stations where people commute from Ukip target areas on 26 March and 16 April.
Campaigners leafleted against Ukip in Heywood, Rochdale, last Saturday. They included local residents, students and newly elected Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton Liz McInnes.
Activist Adam Rose told Socialist Worker, “There were some Ukip voters. But many people agreed that Ukip is a racist party and that immigrants are not to blame for austerity.”
Anti-racists launched a Stand Up to Ukip group in Chelmsford on Thursday of last week.
Jon Woollard said the launch meeting brought together socialists, trade unionists and local activists.
He added, “A day of action has been planned for 7 March. We will leaflet in the town centre and invite local people to get involved in the campaign to confront Ukip’s racist, anti-working class agenda.”
Meanwhile activists in Cambridge have had an “overwhelmingly positive” response. Activist Richard Rose described how Stand Up to Ukip has been “touring the Fenlands towns” that Ukip is targeting.
“In Ely this week the stall was run by Greens, Labour Party members, socialists, trade unionists and those from no organisation,” he said.
“Shoppers were eager to take posters, leaflets, badges and beer mats. Many said they were relieved to see us standing up to the divisive influence of Ukip.”