By Thomas Foster
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2912

Campaigners fight to stop Farage in Clacton

Reform UK has presented viciously racist candidates
Issue 2912
Van with banner on the side "Stop Nigel Farage"

Campaigning against Farage in Clacton on Saturday

“We must stop Nigel Farage,” argued Ian, who had travelled to Clacton, Essex from nearby Southend. He was one of around 40 activists on the streets of Clacton, the seat where Farage is running to be MP, to campaign on Saturday against Reform UK.

“Farage’s a racist—he might try to disguise it, but he’s a racist. And he’ll get a foothold and a platform if elected,” Ian said.

Campaigners mobilised by Stand Up To Racism  leafleted in Clacton town square, discussing the election with passers-by. They also went on a campaign bus around Clacton with a banner “Stand up to racism, stop Nigel Farage ” on the side. They joined the Clacton LGBT+ Pride event, leafleting there as well.

“We have to make a stand against Farage. He’s a hate-monger who doesn’t care about the working class,” said Paul, a teacher who lives in Harlow, Essex. “If he’s not stopped now, he will be harder to stop in the future.

Margarida, who came from east London, agreed, saying she was in Clacton “to stand up to the growing trend of racist politicians”. “Racism is not going away unless people fight back.”

Campaigner Paul argued, “People in Clacton are suffering and he’s directing that into racist anger. Black, white, straight, gay, British, or from abroad—we have the same interests in the fight for a better life. Farage won’t give us any of that. He gives us hate, division and a politics of despair.”

Margarida said, “It’s a problem across Europe that social democratic parties are not standing up as an alternative to the far right.

“Starmer has been making the most appalling comments that means it’s hard to tell the difference from a right wing politician and so it creates a feeling that they are all the same.”

Charlie, who lives in the Clacton constituency, said, “This is my first time coming to a Stand Up To Racism activity. I was previously waiting on other people to sort it out, but I realised we can’t wait. We have to do it ourselves,” he said.

And he added, “Everyone uses migrants to scapegoat, but they contribute to the NHS. People say it’s an invasion but it’s people fleeing terrible conditions and trying to support their families.”

Robert, who lives in Clacton, echoed this, saying, “I’m a Clacton voter and I don’t want to live in a town that’s going to be made worse by a lying, manipulative racist like Farage. He will turn his back on us as soon as he’s elected.” 

Someone who was passing blasted Labour for pulling support for its Clacton candidate, “When Farage came here, Labour should have been sending people here.

“We are still canvassing and door-knocking for Jovan (the Labour candidate for Clacton). We were supposed to have a mass meeting in the theatre but we’ve had to cancel that now.

He said, “Labour HQ got annoyed because Jovan got two million hits on Twitter, which is more than Starmer.”

Jack, who lives in Clacton, said, “I’m on the verge of leaving Labour. I’m sick of the top down diktats.”

Alex, a Love Music Hate Racism campaigner, spoke about the importance of struggle from below. “I don’t have confidence in electoral systems, but I have confidence in people.

“Change isn’t going to come from a Starmer or Tory government. We need more people coming out onto the streets. We need activists pressuring trade unions to act.

“If we can keep a growing energy on the streets even after the elections, that’s how we can win change.”

Penelope, who lives near the Clacton seafront, said, “If Farage wins, then we don’t stop. We ramp up our activism.”


A party stuffed with racists and bigots

Reform UK attracts racists and homophobes and is a breeding ground for rancid views. The party has been forced to drop three of its election candidates following revelations of their racist comments.

It’s not that their views are different to those of many Reform UK members. It’s that their views have been found out.

Edward Oakenfull, who is standing in Derbyshire Dales, Robert Lomas, a candidate in Barnsley North, and Leslie Lilley, standing in Southend East and Rochford, will still appear on the ballot paper as Reform candidates.

In a sign of how lightly the party takes racist comments, a Reform spokesperson said people should still vote for the candidates. 

Oakenfull posted derogatory comments about the IQ of sub-Saharan Africans on social media last year. He previously told the BBC the remarks had been taken out of context.

Lomas reportedly said black people should “get off their lazy arses” and stop acting “like savages”. The comments were reported by The Times newspaper on 8 June, with Reform at the time claiming they were “out of context part quotations”.

Lilley reportedly described people arriving on small boats as “scum” in a social media post, adding, “I hope your family get robbed, beaten or attacked.”

And a Channel 4 investigation showed Andrew Parker, a canvasser for Reform UK, using a racist term about prime minister Rishi Sunak.

Farage described the comments as a “tirade of invective abuse” but suggested the man may have been paid and claimed it was “a political setup of astonishing proportions”.

Reform admits another individual filmed in Channel 4’s undercover report, George Jones, was a genuine party volunteer.

In the footage, Jones, a longtime party activist who organises events for Farage, calls a Pride flag on a police car a “degenerate flag”. He repeatedly suggests LGBT+ people are paedophiles.

Asked if Reform UK and Farage would say they wanted nothing to do with Jones, the spokesperson said there was a “difference” between Jones’ case and that of Parker.

Both individuals were no longer part of the campaign, he said, but Jones was previously known to Reform UK and his remarks were “much more banterish”,

A Nazi was revealed in Reform UK’s ranks on Wednesday this week. The party had to suspend Raymond Saint, its candidate in Basingstoke, Hampshire, after it emerged that he’d been a British National Party (BNP) member.

The fascist BNP, under leader Nick Griffin, was prominent from 1999 to 2014, pumping out Nazi idea.


Green candidate says main parties help Farage

Natasha Osben, who is running as the Green candidate in Clacton, detailed how the failures of Labour and the Tories led to the growth of Farage.

She said, “What we are seeing is an increasing slide to the right where both Starmer and the Tories are competing with Farage in a competition to see who can be the most cruel, the least humane, the most racist, the most anti-migrant.

“Labour should have stood up and said that the problems people are facing across Britain are real problems that have been caused by the failures of successive governments to invest in our healthcare, our schools, in social housing and so on.

Natasha argued, “Instead, Labour has played into the idea that the reason why our public services are struggling is because of migration. Then you get Farage to come along and say I’m going to freeze all legal migration.

“It’s important because people need to see not just a principled opposition to Farage, but a principled opposition to the Tory party. The reason why people are attracted to what Farage is saying is because they’re sick and tired of what they’ve had over the last 14 years and they’re desperate for something to change.

“But we need real change. The Labour Party is looking to win by a landslide. It could have been standing up and saying we’re putting forward a socialist politics, taxing the wealthy elite, and looking after the most vulnerable members of our society,” she said.

“But they haven’t said any of that. It leaves people feeling like there’s no hope with the two main parties and that’s what Farage is capitalising on. He’s looking to fill his own pockets as a result.”

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