Fascists and racists not welcome

Steve Squibbs, a member of our Branch and Chair of the Southampton Stand up to Racism group, alerted us that Britain First, an unpleasant fascist and racist organisation, intended to hold a public meeting in Southampton on the evening of 7 February.

Your Retired Members’ Committee unanimously agreed to support an event organised by Steve and other concerned groups, to display RMs opposition to the Britain First meeting.

On a very cold Tuesday evening this week, we joined a 200 + lively gathering of all ages in the Guildhall Square, Southampton. There, accompanied by a drum band and a choir, speakers from a wide variety of groups both ethnic and political, joined to express the message that Britain First was not welcome in the city.

Southampton has a proud reputation of making clear that those seeking to spread the vile message of fascism and racism in the city are to be combatted. This tradition reaches back before the Second World War when Mosley and his ‘blackshirts’ were forcibly chased from Southampton Common by local citizens.

Experience tells us that in times of political and economic uncertainty, food banks and with the shadow of war hanging over Europe, the siren call of right-wing extremism becomes louder and should always be robustly opposed.

We believe it is important to challenge those who seek to sew discord. All people in our country have an equal right to live in peace and harmony without threats, intimidation or persecution. Those who wilfully try to deny these rights should be fiercely challenged.

Hampshire’s Unison Branch, together with our banner, was represented at the event by Joe Hannigan and myself, together with our brilliant young Branch Secretary Callum Williamson, and amongst others Neil Duncan-Jordan, a past legend of protecting pensioners’ rights and now a full time union official.

Chris O’Neill

Chair, Hampshire Unison Retired Members Section

12th February 2023