We'll go along with that...
Over 200 anti-fascists gathered in Blackpool today to protest at the British National Party holding their conference at the resort. Protesters came from Blackpool, Lancaster, Barrow, Preston, Manchester and Liverpool, and included students and trades unionists.
Speakers included Weyman Bennett: Joint Secretary UAF, Ruquayyah Collector: Black Students' Officer NUS, Alec McFadden: North West TUC, Pete Marsden: Blackpool Unison, Mark Barker: Vice-Chair Regional PCS, Paul Jenkins: Barrow and South Cumbria UAF and Mike Killian: Manchester UAF.
Following the gathering at the entrance of the Winter Gardens, marred only by three sieg-heiling idiots in masks, the crowd marched through the town centre, distributing leaflets en route, to the New Kimberley, the hotel hosting the conference, the location of which we had already confirmed thanks to a bit of co-operation between the press and UAF.
We spoke to the BBC who had just left the Kimberley after interviewing Nick Griffin inside the venue, who informed us that total attendance of the conference appeared to be around 50-60 people including security - a far cry from the 5-600 the BNP claimed would be there. The promised counter-demonstration never materialised, unless you count the three morons already mentioned or the small group photographing us (no doubt for Redwatch) in the town centre who literally ran away as soon as the police showed an interest in them.
A restaurant-owner who had come to see what all the fuss was about as we marched to the New Kimberley was horrified to hear that the BNP was meeting in Blackpool. He offered free teas and the use of his facilities to all the protestors - an offer which we gratefully accepted after a few hours in the wind and rain.
We held our rally directly in front of the BNP's hotel, with more speeches and an awful lot of shouting as the BNP security watched us nervously from the foyer and trainee BNP-councillors made rude gestures from the windows or peeped around curtains at us.
Despite numerous appeals from leaders of Blackpool City Council for hotels to deny the BNP a venue in the town, and warnings that unions would boycott any venue that provided the BNP with space for any reason, the management of the New Kimberley decided to go for short-term gain and accomodate the fascists. They'll soon find this backfiring on them as UAF and trades unionists are beginning an immediate campaign to place a permanent boycott on the hotel - and any other hotel - that provided space for the BNP.
If you wish to make a complaint direct to the New Kimberley Hotel, you can do so by ringing 01253 341184, faxing them at 01253 408737 or writing to them at 585-589 New South Promenade, Blackpool FY4 1NQ. Curiously, for all its much-vaunted two-stars, it can't rustle up an email address.
We'd be interested in finding out who owns this fascist-friendly B&B so if you know, please share your information with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org