By Tim Ridgway
Anti-fascist campaigners planning to picket a UK Independence Party (UKIP) meeting have been told they are “writing their own suicide note”.
Speaking to The Latest, Nigel Carter, chairman of Brighton and Hove UKIP, said that the gathering would be counter-productive as the more protest, the stronger support for the party gets.
The comments come as dozens of members of the UAF (Unite Against Fascism) group plan to picket the meeting at the Ralli Memorial Hall in Denmark Villas, Hove, from 7pm tomorrow (Tuesday 13 May).
Nigel Carter, chairman of Brighton and Hove UKIP, said: “I think it’s bad for the media and bad for politics to focus on the protest alone.
“We have to get away from the frippery and nonsense and get down to the issue itself of policy.
“All of this media coverage is doing us the world of good. Really they are writing their own suicide note. It’s kamikaze politics.
“I’d say to them don’t waste your time. The more they do it, the more successful we are.
“If I was them I would be saying don’t turn up and just send one person to have a silent protest. They are all out of control and they are trying to cut down on freedom of speech.”
About 100 people are expected to attend the meeting, which will discuss the party’s European election campaign.
Speakers will include south east MEP candidates Patricia Culligan and Alan Stevens.
Previous meetings in the city – at Hove Town Hall last June and Portslade Town Hall in February – have seen a large number of people turn out to protest, sparking a police presence.
A message circulated by the Stop March for England group said: “The (undeniably) racist UKIP are holding a meeting in Hove where their two South East MEP candidates are due to appear.
“Their previous two meetings in our local area have met with sizeable and vocal protests, let’s make it three in a row.”
But Mr Carter said: “It’s disgraceful that at the Hove meeting last year we had youngsters going up to poor old ladies walking in and screaming in their faces ‘racist fascist scum’.
“We have a lunatic fringe like all parties do. But anyone that says we’re all fascists is cooking up a load of nonsense.
“We’re not racist as we’re a libertarian party. They are trying to create an atmosphere out of nothing.
“It’s fakery, conjuring something out of nothing. We are probably more anti-fascist than anybody.
“We believe in small government and that government should serve people, not the other way round.”
Mr Carter said the party’s chances at the ballot box on Thursday 22 May were “tremendous”.
He added: “We are getting huge polling all across the country. People are so sick about the traditional parties who are an empty shell.
“We’re sincere and we do care about people and to us everybody matters. It’s very important that people participate in everything going on.”