'Hope Not Hate' campaign 'did not connect' with communities

Questions have been asked about a recent UK campaign 'to counter racism and fascism' following the BNP's success in the European elections.

Unconvinced: Wolfstar's Stuart Bruce
Unconvinced: Wolfstar's Stuart Bruce

The Hope Not Hate campaign was founded by anti-fascist organisation Searchlight and had been worked on by Blue State Digital, the consultancy behind Barack Obama's online success.

According to its organisers, the online campaign has driven volunteer numbers from around 10,000 to 50,000 and raised donations ten-fold from 1,500 people. Over 52,000 people have also signed Hope not Hate’s ‘not in my name’ petition launched since the election results were announced on Sunday night.

But Stuart Bruce, MD of Wolfstar, was not convinced that YouTube attack videos and mobilising activists via the internet was an effective approach.

He said: ‘The professional classes may by motivated to go out and campaign against the BNP, but I do not think it did anything to connect directly with people in the communities being targeted by the BNP. The proportion of people that a digital campaign could reach in these communities is tiny.’

But Daljit Bhurji, MD of Diffusion PR, said: ‘The BNP’s inability to use the mainstream media to spread their message makes the internet a vital component of their campaigning strategy. The internet must become a key battle ground in the fight against the BNP.’

Searchlight Editor Nick Lowles argued: ‘The BNP uses the internet very effectively and has a big online readership. Our online campaign is primarily a mobilising tool, but it is only one element and can’t defeat the BNP alone.’

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