WITH less than 48 hours until the polls open campaigning has heated up locally in the battle for the three seats on East Riding Council from South West Holderness. The poster war has seen the placement of party boards at strategic places across the town and local ward area – generally this display of posters is a healthy sign of party campaigning activity and support within a local area
Unfortunately a few of these posters have become targets of graffiti but of more concern is what seems to be the targeting of UKIP election boards with two being pulled down and destroyed.
UKIP’s Terry West is understandably very annoyed at the vandalism: “People talk a lot about ‘freedom of speech’ but when it comes to UKIP, some people seem intent on not allowing us to exercise that right. Our poster boards are generally more elaborate affairs than those of the other parties and it costs the local branch members more money to produce.
“Because of the vandalism, some of our supporters have now expressed concern and worries about displaying boards. This can’t be right and can’t be allowed to succeed. It just makes me more determined to ensure our message gets out there.”
The attacks are undoubtedly due to vandalism but there is no evidence it is political vandalism.
Whilst UKIP claim that they are neither right-wing nor left-wing, from a traditional point of view then as the two other main parties have coalesced politically in the centre ground the vacuum created on the right-wing has been filled by UKIP. This has alarmed those traditionally to the left of British politics who hold historic fears about the rise of fascism, and that fear has prompted a campaign of political activism against UKIP.
Speculation in the mainstream media, and from politicians of other parties claim that the existence of UKIP has led to the demonisation of immigrants and there have been claims of racism directed at the party. UKIP itself has strenuously sought to distance itself from those holding racist views and are at pains to say that they are not anti-immigrant or anti-immigration but about controlled immigration.
From a particularly local perspective the Hedon Blog can say that the ugliness of racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric does not seem to have featured at all in the local election campaign.
The only nasty side to the local campaign seems to have been these attacks on UKIP’s election boards which would appear to be very counter-productive only increasing the determination of that party’s supporters.