The demo began with us gathering outside the rear entrance to the Winter Gardens, where a couple of pro-BNP louts shouted abuse for no apparent reason. We heard a number of speakers there, then marched briskly along the prom, giving out hundreds of leaflets and receiving many supporting cheers on the way to South Shore where we gathered for the demo proper outside the grimy New Kimberly Hotel http://lancasteruaf.blogspot.com/2008/09/grimy-bnp-link-hotel-hazard-to-humans.html , a hazard to humans though not, apparently, to members of the BNP, which tells us quite a lot about the party.
There is a reasonable report on the demo (that sadly includes a moment of Nick Griffin) which you can access by going here http://www.itvlocal.com/granada/news/ and clicking on Latest News Bulletins over on the right. Just select the one for Saturday and there we are.
To stop them making abusive gestures (as they have in previous years) and generally attempting to intimidate protestors, the BNP conference delegates (once again, about sixty of them, according to an ITV reporter who had been inside the rathole) were ordered to remain behind the closed and filthy curtains of the New Kimberly by the police. To be fair, most of them did as they were told, with the exception of Clive Jefferson, who seems to be the current head of security and the Cumbria organiser, who stuck his ugly mug out on at least a half-dozen occasions.
According to our man in the BNP's security team, they spent most of the day concerned with the seating arrangements for lunch and dinner - at least until someone asked for a glass of water and nobody could find any. Headless chickens, was the phrase used. Here's a tip for future members of possibly the most idiotic security team the BNP has ever put together - use the tap.
Security spent a good deal of Saturday worrying about someone who was round the rear of the Kimberly, apparently taking photographs of the hell-hole from the back. This caused major panic, mostly because with the police in close proximity the heavies couldn't just go out and beat the crap out of the guy and nick his camera. Jefferson was eventually forced to order the bovine Martin Reynolds to go and speak to the police while his mates took a note of the photographer's vehicle registration number - no doubt soon to appear on Redwatch. Reynolds had no idea how to do this and was humiliatingly lectured by the appallingly arrogant Jefferson on what he should say, how to say it and told in no uncertain terms to get on with it.
A demo is useful for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to let the BNP know (and to continue letting them know) that there is opposition to their fascism out here and that there are people who are prepared to stand up and voice that opposition despite intimidation from the lunatic element of the far-right party. One demonstrator, who was waiting to meet up with some friends after the demo, was abused and spat at by a BNP supporter. Rather than putting her off organising against the far-right party, this has added to her determination to do all she can to fight against it. Demo's are also usueful for making new contacts or re-establishing old ones - a fact that was borne out when I got back and realised that I'd collected twenty-odd email addresses and phone numbers to go on our contact list.
Thank you to everyone who made the effort to turn out, particularly to our many friends who travelled from well out of the area. Many thanks also to our speakers who all did a sterling job and our thanks to the many members of the Blackpool public who stopped to chat or who were driving past but gave us the thumbs-up. Even the weather behaved itself (for a change).
Remember, this 'conference' was the starting point for Nick Griffin's attempt to heave himself on to the European Parliament. They started their campaign for Europe at Blackpool - for no reason other than that the New Kimberly is the only rancid shithole in the country that will take the scum of the BNP for a whole three days. Saturday's demonstration should be seen as the beginning of a massive and unrelenting campaign to keep Griffin and the rest of his party out of Europe. Let's keep them out.
Video and images here: http://lancasteruaf.blogspot.com/2008/11/over-200-protest-against-bnp-conference.html