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Tories’ anti-refugee lies fuelling far right protests

The racist right are harassing refugees. But there are opportunities to build support for migrants, reports Isabel Ringrose
Issue 2841
Anti-fascists in Erskine, Scotland

Anti-fascists counter-protest the far-right group Patriotic Alternative in Erskine, Scotland.

Racists and fascists are mobilising on the back of the Tories’ attacks on refugees. They are gathering to spew their hatred outside hotels where refugees are housed.

Those in the hotels include people that have passed the ­government’s tests, and those awaiting an asylum decision.

Not only is the Tories’ assault on refugees encouraging the anti‑migrant protests, Tory MPs are defending those who call them. Mansfield MP and council leader Ben Bradley said he “totally ­understands the feelings” of those that harassed refugees in Nottingham last week.

A dozen racists stood outside the city’s Midland Hotel last Friday. In a clip first posted by fascist Tommy Robinson, a man is heard ­talking about a security guard at the hotel. 

“He’s a bloody foreigner in there with a mask on not even answering questions,” he says. Another demands the door to be opened, saying, “We want you out.” 

“I think it exemplifies the feeling of a lot of residents,” Bradley said about the protest. And he added, “I think residents massively feel the unfairness of the situation.”

“The idea that people are arriving illegally and being put up in hotels, having their bills paid and food provided and all the rest of it when British citizens are struggling,” he added. But it’s not true that refugees live luxuriously in hotels while ordinary people suffer. 

They’re crammed into small rooms for weeks, months and ­sometimes years in dirty and unsuitable conditions. Migrants are not the reason that food, gas and electricity costs hit “British citizens”. It’s because the bosses are lining their ­pockets with millions of pounds. 

Meanwhile in Staffordshire, last Saturday around 150 ­racists, including the fascist group Patriotic Alternative, called for refugees to be removed from local hotels. But more than 60 anti-fascists from Cannock Welcomes Refugees and Cannock Stand up to Racism opposed their march.

A racist protest of 70 people was held outside Scotland’s Muthu Glasgow River Hotel, in Erskine, last Sunday. It was organised by Patriotic Alternative, supported by the local racist campaign Erskine Against Asylum Hotel. There had also been a protest against the hotel the day before.

But on Sunday the racists were met by an anti-fascist ­protest of over 150 people. The ­counter‑­demonstration was ­organised by Paisley Stand Up to Racism and Paisley and Clydebank Trades Councils. As one anti-fascist spoke about her family and the Holocaust, the fascists made Nazi salutes.

Fascists in Britain First have also been protesting outside hotels in Liverpool and Manchester. The far right group has launched local election campaigns in Salford—where they came second to Labour last year Altrincham, the New Forest, Dartford and Essex.

This is a warning to anti-racists not to be complacent as the right mobilises around scapegoating refugees. And it shows that the Tories’ racism has real consequences.

Wherever the fascists and racists appear, it’s vital that our side pushes them back. We need to campaign for all ­refugees to be welcome—and to take on the bigots.

Tories plot tighter borders  

Rishi Sunak and home secretary Suella Braverman are in talks to ban those who cross the Channel from the asylum system. Their options include removing the right to appeal against deportations or allowing an appeal once someone has been deported to a third country or their home county.

The Nationality and Borders Act criminalises those who cross the Channel. But the Tories want to ramp up their racism even further.

If the Tories get their way it wont stop refugees from trying to reach Britain, but it will make it much more hazardous. Meanwhile 200 Afghan refugees—including 150 children—have been told they’re being moved from hotels in west London to ones in Leeds in a matter of weeks. This is to wait for permanent housing.

This is how the Tories treat refugees they say are “good” and “legal”, who were given status after Britain left Afghanistan in 2021.

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