June 25, 2007

BNP's Solidarity situation worsens - fake union under threat

The BNP's fake-union Solidarity appears close to collapse after the apparent suspension of the General Secretary Patrick Harrington.

Harrington, formerly involved with the National Front, was allegedly suspended from his duties as General Secretary of the BNP-allied union pending an investigation into accusations of financial irregularities.

Information supplied to Lancaster UAF suggests that Harrington has refused to cooperate with the investigation by refusing to disclose details of the Solidarity accounts. Indeed, he appears to have gone a few steps further, blocking access to the union's Paypal account which we're told, has all the membership money tucked away in it - prompting threats of legal action unless the money is forthcoming.

The Executive Committee of Solidarity, which now appears to consist only of Clive Potter (President) and Tim Hawke (Vice-President), have taken action after Hawke refused to sign the first year accounts (required by the Certification Authority before, we gather, making Solidarity a bona fide union) after becoming aware of the 'irregularities', prompting the BNP to go into automatic blame the reds mode, claiming that Solidarity had been the subject of a far-left sabotage bid. Rubbish of course, but pretty much what you'd expect from the corrupt and single-minded BNP.

We were supplied with a further communication allegedly sent to all members from the Executive Committee. This communication, while interesting in itself, had other interesting information contained within it.

'In a last ditch attempt to prevent the investigation from coming to light, Mr Harrington contacted the Host Provider of the website (a past friend of his) and has replaced the website with his own. He is currently misleading members into the believe [sic] that he is the Leader of the union, however this is not the case and we ask members to be patient with us.'

This presumably is a reference to Calvary Church School bomber Lambertus Neiuwhof, who apparently now runs most of the BNP's web-based operations now through his company Vidronic Online. There's more about the truly despicable Neiuwhof and his connections with the BNP and its subsidiaries here and here.

Accusations and counter-accusations are flying about in all directions. Harrington (assuming that the note we have received really is from Harrington) has responded to his suspension by claiming breach of the Data Protection Act (though he then breaches the Act himself by giving some personal details of one of his accusers which must have come straight off the membership list), complaining about his 'unconstitutional' removal from office and making another call for an Extraordinary General Meeting to increase the Executive Committee of the union to seven members, mostly BNP-nominated, thus giving control over completely to the party. He then takes on the tried and tested 'sabotage' defence but rather than us having to dissect it all, here it is for you to read and nod off to;

'A malicious email is being circulated which I understand you have been sent a copy of. First, let me apologise to you that personal information that you supplied to our Union is being misused in this way. I will be making every effort to ascertain who has supplied this information and whether they have committed offences under the Data Protection Act.

An unconstitutional attempt is unfortunately being made by two members of our Executive, Clive Potter and Tim Hawke, to remove me as General Secretary of our Union. A secret meeting was held in which they appointed a William McLinden both a 'Special Investigator' and 'Acting General Secretary'. Our Constitution is available on our Website. You will see that for Executive meeting to be quorate all three members must be present (strangely, I was not invited!). As I was not present any purported decisions are unconstitutional. Additionally our Constitution states that the General Secretary will remain in post so long as he satisfies the majority of members. Mr McLinden has been a member of our Union for little more than a few weeks. When he joined he provided a Liverpool Street address but a North Cheshire telephone number. His actions since joining have been factional and disruptive. Investigations regarding Mr McLinden are ongoing.

I am supporting calls for an Emergency General Meeting on 14 July so that our members can decide themselves who has acted wrongly and who should lead our Union forward.

The principal political backers of our Union - Third Way and the British National Party - have published statements on their website backing me and calling for an EGM. So determined are they that the Union should be secured that they are mounting an email recruitment campaign this week which has already resulted in a surge of new memberships.

Reference is made in the email to allegations made against me. I have requested details of any allegations but these have yet to be provided. Our first year accounts were prepared by a professional firm of accountants. They were audited by a Barrister and Kenny Smith (head of BNP admin) as lay auditors. They were shown all bank statements and receipts. Once submitted to the Certification Officer these will be published on our website and circulated to members. The second year accounts are currently being prepared and will then go through the same process. As Union finances are subject to many legal checks there should be no room for such unfounded allegations.

I am acting in my role as Treasurer of the Union. I am concerned that the financial information of our members is kept confidential. As I bear legal responsibility (currently) under our Constitution I intend to ensure that everything is done properly. I have no intention of handing over control whilst remaining legally liable.

Anyone who uses PayPal will know how it works. All transaction details are automatically recorded. These will form part of our accounts. Membership payments come in, a PayPal fee is deducted and money transferred (once it reaches a reasonable level) to our main Union bank account.

I have suggested, however, that due to my heavy workload in other areas the Executive should be expanded to seven and that a specific post of Treasurer should be created. This would allow me to concentrate on writing and representing our members at grievances, disciplinaries and tribunals. I have pointed out that under the current constitution the responsibilities of the GS are onerous (particularly for a voluntary worker). I look forward to handing over my financial responsibilities to the new Treasurer!

I believe a deliberate attempt is being made to disrupt our Union on a large-scale. This is aimed at preventing a major recruitment campaign that was planned and sabotaging the submission of our first year accounts (a legal requirement). The wreckers have even threatened to call for our Union to be de-registered. I am determined that this will fail. I will take all necessary steps to safeguard our Union pending the decisions of our membership at the EGM. Our website has been secured and I will move to secure other vital areas in co-operation with the wide team of members who have rallied to defend our Union.

When the EGM is held the members alone will decide who has acted wrongly and who has been true. I urge you to continue your support.

If you receive any further malicious communications please copy them to me as I will be looking actively at how those responsible can best be called to account.'

We draw your attention to the line we have highlighted in bold above: 'The wreckers have even threatened to call for our Union to be de-registered.' So have we and we will continue to ask trades unionists to investigate the process of any such move and take action through their unions immediately.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This just gets better and better. I particularly like the fact that Pat Harrington himself breached the Data Protection Act. Neat. Anyway, here's some info for you.

This is the place to go: http://www.certoffice.org/complaints/index.cfm?pageID=complaints

The guidance form for complaining can be downloaded from here:
http://www.certoffice.org/complaints/pdf/Complaint%20Leaflet%20(rev%20May%202007).pdf

Complaint form here: http://www.certoffice.org/complaints/pdf/Complaint%20form%20revised%20(revised%20May%202007).pdf

Jo said...

Excellent info anon, thank you

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the constitution on the Solidarity website is not the one that was sent to the Trade Union Certification Office when Solidarity registered.

Anonymous said...

anon ? slip of the tounge ?

Richard M. said...

I just made a complaint using this section
"Allegations regarding financial irregularities in a union are dealt with differently under other
powers. If someone has concerns about the financial affairs of a union, he/she should let the
Certification Officer know of them as soon as possible."
and pointing them to the two articles on this blog and that one from the BNP site. I'll let you know if I get a response.

Anonymous said...

When thieves fall out...

Someone said...

Thank you Richard. I was wondering which bit of that thing was relevent.

Anonymous said...

" Interesting that the constitution on the Solidarity website is not the one that was sent to the Trade Union Certification Office when Solidarity registered."

10:09 AM, June 25, 2007

The union's constitution was amended on many points at the London AGM last February. The amended constitutuion is the one that appears on the Solidarity website.