Students from the University of Lincoln gave out anti-BNP leaflets on Lincoln’s High Street on Sunday May 10th.
A total of seven people gave out leaflets from 11 o’clock on Sunday, trying to encourage them to vote against the BNP in upcoming European elections on June 4th. It is hoped higher voter turnout will prevent the party from electing a member of the European Parliament (MEP).
Listen to Emily Fay Gough explain why she thinks the campaign’s important:
Part of ‘Student Sunday’, it was one of a string of events connected to Hope not Hate, an anti-fascist group.
The Lincoln event was organised by Emily Fay Gough, who was recently elected to the Students’ Union as a part-time officer. Several other SU officers took part, including Vicky Wieczerzynska, the current vice-president for welfare, her successor Steven Greaves, and Dan Derricott, a newly-elected part-time officer.
Despite their high-profile involvement, they stressed that they were acting in an individual capacity, and not as officers of the SU. Mr Derricott said: “The individuals who feel strongly about it [have] taken it on [themselves].”
He said: “We’re going to push an anti-racist, anti-fascist vote through the Union. But there’s a limit to what we can do [as] various laws limit what [the SU] can do.”
Mr Greaves said: “If we have a problem with racism we have got to tackle that. It’s the same as any sort of phobia, like homophobia. None of our students should feel threatened on campus, or threatened in general, not just on campus.”
Miss Gough said that it was mostly about encouraging people to vote. She said: “[The BNP] get their people to come out and vote, whereas everyone else stays in.”
Though mostly students, they were joined by a member of the public. Jeremy said he wanted to fight against “lies being put out by the fascists [that are] creeping in through the back door.” He said he had god children, and that the event was “a cheap way to prevent them from living in a society [that’s like] Europe in the 1930s.”
He said: “People who don’t stand for something fall for anything.”
In the European elections the UK is divided up into 12 regions, with Lincoln being in the East Midlands area (though some parts of Lincolnshire come under Yorkshire & Humberside).
Several MEPs are elected in each region. When a political party gets a certain percentage of the votes cast in the region, it gets a share of the seats available. The East Midlands will elect five MEPs.
Hope not Hate says that 13% of the vote in the East Midlands would be needed to get an MEP, and that the BNP got 6.4% in the last European elections in 2004. However, they say that the collapse of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) could add to the BNP’s support.
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