February 26, 2008

Nick Griffin political extremist and veteran splitter

The present crisis in the British National Party started over the unacceptable actions and incompetence of two national officers, Mark Collett and Dave Hannam, but quickly centred on Nick Griffin himself. In the light of accusations and denunciations flying around the far right, Dave Williams asks how much we really know about the extremist past of the BNP’s leader.

Nick Griffin factional leader

When the BNP split last month with the Yorkshire, East Midlands and Scottish regions openly siding with the expelled officers, led by Sadie Graham and Kenny Smith, many felt a certain sense of déjà vu. “We’ve been here before” was the heading on one article on the rebels’ blogsite, which stated somewhat ungrammatically: “It seems to be that the common denominator where trouble in Nationalist circles are concerned, is Nick Griffin”.

More than 20 years ago Griffin had been at the centre of the internal bloodletting that had destroyed the National Front. Was this mere coincidence, many asked.

Born in Barnet in 1959 Griffin was introduced to the NF as a teenager by his Conservative father, Edwin. Griffin’s grandfather also showed him some of the more antisemitic literature of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.

After attending public school in [Suffolk], Griffin studied at Cambridge University, where he rose through the ranks of the Young NF before being appointed to the main party’s National Directorate in 1980. The early 1980s was a period of decline for the NF and it became embroiled in ferment as its young ruling clique, who had ousted first the NF’s longstanding leader John Tyndall in 1980 and then its national organiser Martin Webster in 1983, cast around for ways of repackaging their ideology. The fruits of this appeared in Nationalism Today, a journal that Griffin helped found and edited for a period.

In 1986 the NF was torn apart by an extremely bitter feud. The “radicals” grouped around Griffin and Derek Holland proclaimed themselves the “official” NF while the “reactionaries” coalesced around Martin Wingfield and Ian Anderson, who established the NF “Support Group”.

Griffin wrote a particularly vituperative pamphlet entitled Attempted Murder: The State/Reactionary Plot Against the National Front, in which he railed against his opponents accusing them of doing the state’s dirty work.

It also attacked the personal and professional abilities of two colleagues, Martin and Tina Wingfield, both of whom now occupy senior positions in the BNP.

It is a tawdry tale of plots and conspiracies, of disciplinary tribunals and expulsions, of incompetence, financial impropriety, theft and betrayal that sounds very familiar in today’s context. Griffin of course emerges from the story whiter than white, if you can pardon the pun. That is something else today’s BNP rebels might recognise.

If nothing else, reading Attempted Murder is a reminder that, whatever else anyone says about him, Griffin is a master of dissimulation, disruption and destabilisation, a skilled practitioner of using innuendo, smear and outright lie as a political tool. In short Griffin is a champion of the politics of factionalism which he uses to shore up and preserve his own position against those foolhardy enough to challenge his untrammelled authority.

It is ironic that so many of those now bleating about their betrayal, personal and ideological, by Griffin seem so oblivious to the factional role he played during the split and subsequent disintegration of the NF in the 1980s. When Griffin took over the NF had 4,000 to 5,000 members but that dwindled as part of his systematic plan for developing a trained core cadre of activists, which he termed the Political Soldiers.

Having driven the NF into the ground Griffin abandoned it in 1989 for the International Third Position (ITP), a revolutionary “nationalist” sect.

One other point discovered by the BNP dissidents is the lengths to which Griffin will go to win out. Smearing his opponents as “neo-nazis” was pretty hypocritical considering that Griffin perhaps would not even be BNP chairman today were it not for the help of the quite unabashed nazis he today derides. Indeed for all his ideological twists and turns throughout his career Griffin has always remained one thing: a hardline extremist.

Particularly illuminating was the testimony of the Scottish Blood and Honour boss Steve Cartwright who went on record with his memories of Griffin in Wales in the mid-1990s. “Our meeting with Griffin went well,” recalled Cartwright, “he pushed all the right buttons, emphasising militancy as well as paying due respect to the Nationalists and National Socialists of the past. He also spoke of the need to re-package and modernise our beliefs in the hope of reaching the British public.” He went away satisfied that this was the man to succeed the veteran BNP leader, John Tyndall.

Griffin’s trial in 1998 on race hate charges arising from statements denying the Holocaust in The Rune, a magazine that he edited, and his Holocaust denying performance on The Cook Report further impressed this hardline nazi faction within the BNP that “our man had balls”. During the leadership election campaign Griffin used Tony Lecomber, who had served two three-year prison sentences on explosives charges and for assaulting a Jewish teacher, as his hatchet man to circulate the most defamatory personal smears against Tyndall. In September 1999 Griffin was elected chairman.

However Griffin soon let down the hardliners who had backed him and sided with the “modernising” faction led by Lecomber and Eddy Butler, realising that he was more likely to gain political power following their agenda than that of the “neo-nazis”. And for a while all was well.

Under Griffin’s leadership the BNP made an electoral breakthrough to get three members elected to Burnley council in 2002, and went on to win further local elections in the following years. But these gains were largely the result of external factors and Griffin has never managed to deliver the successes he promised his members’ efforts would bring them at each electoral round.

The political baggage he carries with him, not to mention the personal defects which make him so resort to violent factionalism at the first sign of a challenge to his authority, limit the extent of progress the BNP can make with him at the helm. Those in the rebel faction have come to understand this, which is why they have moved on from calling for the dismissal of Collett, Hannam and John Walker, the party treasurer, to understanding that the BNP’s real problem is Griffin himself.

Nick Griffin and Holocaust denial

Griffin became flirting with the BNP in 1993, two years after leaving the International Third Position.

John Tyndall, the BNP leader at the time, overcame his initial distaste for Griffin’s activities and began mentioning him favourably in Spearhead.

Griffin finally joined the BNP in 1995 and soon gravitated towards the hardline Croydon branch, which included a number of the party’s most ardent antisemites. Soon afterwards Griffin began to contribute to The Rune, an antisemitic magazine published by Paul Ballard and his comrades. Ballard was a veteran BNP member and sympathiser of the nazi terror group Combat 18.

Griffin became editor of The Rune in 1995. Tyndall had no problem with this and the following year appointed him editor of his own magazine, Spearhead.

The Rune showed Griffin to be a hardliner par excellence. He used the publication to argue forcefully against modernising the BNP, stating that “the electors of Millwall [who voted in the BNP’s first local councillor in 1993] did not back a post modernist rightist party but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate.”

As editor of The Rune Griffin plumbed new depths in antisemitic invective. It became a platform for glorifying the British Union of Fascists and Hitler’s SS and for describing the Holocaust as the “holohoax”.

Comments such as these led to his house being raided by the police in 1997 and he and Ballard being hauled before the courts for inciting racial hatred. Ballard pleaded guilty but Griffin chose to contest the charges, inviting a number of “expert” witnesses to testify for him at his trial in 1998 including the noted French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. The effort was in vain. Griffin was found guilty and handed a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

It was during his defence that Griffin made his notorious statement: “I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that 6 million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the Earth was flat … I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria.”

Griffin has also attacked the “revisionist” writer David Irving for admitting that some Jews may have been killed during the “holohoax”, accusing him of “back tracking on the old gas chamber lie”.

In 1997 Griffin wrote the pamphlet, Who Are the Mindbenders? an antisemitic tirade against what he saw as Jewish control of the British media, the means by which, Griffin alleged, Jews were trying to brainwash white people into accepting multiculturalism.

The BNP always rejects accusations that Griffin is antisemitic, claiming it was all in the distant past. This is far from the truth. As recently as April 2007 Griffin told a reporter that he did believe in the Holocaust but only because “European law” required him to do so.

‘We’re all on the same side’ – Nick Griffin and Combat 18

Nick Griffin has always distanced himself from the activities of the wannabe nazi terror machine Combat 18 (C18). Indeed shortly after its formation as a BNP stewards group the BNP proscribed the organisation.

However, as Griffin hastily prepared for his trial on charges of inciting racial hatred in 1997, he decided that one of the planks of his defence would be that C18 had produced far worse and had never been prosecuted for it. Needing some documents he asked Steve Cartwright, head of Blood and Honour, to contact Will Browning, leader of C18, telling Cartwright to reassure Browning that he and C18 were on “the same side”.

Browning later sent Griffin a “bumper pack” of C18 material. Griffin phoned Cartwright asking him to pass on his thanks to Browning. As Cartwright recalled, “Griffin was particularly tickled by the name of the parcel sender – Mr Beast, London”.

Nick Griffin’s ideology, the political soldiers

As leader of the BNP Nick Griffin has put in place a system of voting members who are required to undergo ideological training and has been unconcerned at the departure of officers and members unwilling to follow his every command.

But this is not the first time Griffin has chosen to develop a political elite rather than a mass organisation. In 1986 after a series of purges and splits in the National Front, Griffin gained control of one faction and set about turning it into his “political soldiers”, under the influence of Roberto Fiore, a fugitive from justice in Italy who became Griffin’s mentor, friend and business partner.

The group made contact with all sorts of international political mavericks including Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, the US black separatist leader Louis Farrakhan and both sides of the divide in Ireland.

A series of booklets outlined their creed under the slogan “Long Live Death” and a policy that aped Fiore’s terrorist agenda of destabilisation in Italy that had produced the bombings of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Attempts to stir up Welsh nationalists to bomb English second homes in Wales led to protests with placards stating NF = MI5.

Griffin’s NF was far from an ordinary political party. Even some of his own members were worried when they were given advice on resisting police interrogation that experts said was more apposite for political terrorists.

Many of those who fell out with Griffin in those days are now back at Griffin’s side. One of them is Patrick Harrington, who now runs Solidarity, the BNP’s fake trade union. Harrington and Graham Williamson, also involved in Solidarity, lead Third Way, whose political philosophy appears to differ considerably from that of the BNP.

Its website features an equal opportunities statement and it claims to welcome “guest workers … to fill gaps in the country’s infrastructure”.

It seems that Griffin’s desire to build a political elite along the lines of the political soldiers overrides any ideological differences between the BNP and Third Way. Griffin’s obsession with a coming civil war or race war also shows how little his politics have changed in over 20 years.

It is worth remembering that Harrington in an interview for a television exposé of the NF political soldiers refused to condemn IRA bombings and that Griffin, Harrington and Williamson went to Libya to seek funds from a regime that armed both sides in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Griffin is still prepared to work with whomever he thinks can help him get what he wants, the more shadowy they are the better. One of the bones of contention among the rebels is the power Griffin has vested in Lance Stewart, the South African former police officer who heads the BNP’s “intelligence department”, Arthur Kemp, the former South African spook who edits the BNP’s new website and runs ideological training for the voting members, and Lambertus “Bep” Nieuwhof, a convicted pro-apartheid terrorist who provides internet services to the party.



george said...

Nick GRIFFIN is indeed an MI5 nark put in place by the secret services for state manouvring of British politics. Any BNP members who think of supporting Bumbrook in the GLA elections, are voting for the BNP's stte-sponsored collapse, you lackeys!

The Green Arrow said...

Nick Griffin is handsome.

I would welcome him to my caravan for hours and hours of bum fun.

iliacus said...

Just imagine if the Lib Dems had decided not to elect Nick "5 languages" Clegg as their leader, but instead had elected:

a one-eyed bankrupted never-done-a-noteworthy-job in his life bloke, who had never managed to win a public election.

I think people would be rolling about laughing. And correctly.

So what does it tell us about the state of BNP/ nationalism that such a character is seen as a star man in his party !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

this bloke is really popular

Anonymous said...

He is north of the border, with his new pet poodle Gary Raikes in charge of Scotland. It really is Puppy love for Griffin north of the border from his new love child. The only problem the star struck lovers have is that Griffin will not risk setting foot again in Scotland, I heard Griffin is as welcome as William Wallace was in York.

I think you undersell Griffin. He is the best MI6 agent in Britain, who else has the skill to half the membership of a political party overnight, and then to get the remaining members to hail a Nazi supporting, wannabee kiddie fiddler as their future leader.

Griffin is Ace, Just ask Collet and Raikes,,,,,they love him to bits......Now where is my Donny Osmand Puppy love record....

Anonymous said...

"Griffin, Harrington and Williamson went to Libya to seek funds from a regime that armed both sides in the Northern Ireland conflict".

Only Griffin and Holland according to the pictures. Don't think it's a co-incidence that the two of them created the International Third Position after leaving the NF. Does anyone know what happened to Holland?

Nick Griffin said...

Give us ya money

No Platform said...

Anonymous said...
"Griffin, Harrington and Williamson went to Libya to seek funds from a regime that armed both sides in the Northern Ireland conflict".

Only Griffin and Holland according to the pictures. Don't think it's a co-incidence that the two of them created the International Third Position after leaving the NF. Does anyone know what happened to Holland?


Depends which pic(s) you've seen as they all took turns taking the pic(s).

westphalia said...

Looks like Griffin loyalist, Gary Raikes isn’t liked by his BNP rivals in Scotland. This is what one of his (fellow) fascist rivals has to say about him (I won’t bother advertising the trash fash blog from which I got the following extract):

“Not to worry as I will continue the Nationalist fight, just not under the banner of Corrupt Griffin and his lying backstabbing toad in Scotland, Gary (Please can I have my picture published)Raikes. The good members north of the border will very quickly see the difference between, the very efficient, open, loyal, and honest Kenny Smith, and the self publicising, lying, lazy, backstabbing, tight arse that Raikes has already shown himself to be”.

Let’s hope its spontaneous combustion for the BNP in Scotland. We definitely urge the nazi retard who wrote the above extract to ‘continue the fight’.

I'm Derek Holland, I'm a Political Solder said...

Here's a 2006 piece on Derek Holland from Fringe Watch:

More on Derek Holland and IHS Press

This blog has examined the extremists connected with John Sharpe's Legion of St. Louis (LSL) and IHS Press. Already mentioned is the fact that the LSL offers anti-Semitic titles, and that International Third Position (ITP) leader Derek Holland, a sympathizer with anti-American Arab governments – who traveled to Libya in 1988 and Iraq in 1990 – is a member of IHS Press's board of directors.

It was not simply that Derek Holland and John Sharpe found themselves to be kindred spirits when they met up in Europe in the late 1990s. The ITP has long been involved in a scheme of Marxist style "entryism" – with the aim of co-opting groups which profess non-mainstream views (not extremist per se) in the hopes of bringing them under their neo-fascist umbrella. For years they made little headway.

But a breakthrough came with the ITP's St. George Educational Trust (SGET) set up in the early 90s as a "Catholic charity" organization (an investigation of the group by the UK Charity Commission took place in 1997). It has to be understood that within European "revolutionary nationalism" there are two trends: one, professedly neo-pagan and even anti-Christian; the other, espousing a selective religiosity (not unlike the Klan and "Christian Identity" racialists in the US). But when push comes to shove, all such extremists put aside personal differences to unite in their hatred of Jews, non-whites and the United States. It is the totalitarian tendency which trumps everything else.

The problem with Sharpe's activities is not just a question of overlapping ideas, but of overlapping resources. A look at my library shows that the SGET, whose books are sold by the LSL, has the same mailing address as the ITP’s Legion Books at Forest Place in Hampshire, England.

The SGET/LSL pamphlet Catholic Action: Uses, Abuses and Excuses is written by Derek Holland under the pen name of "Liam Connolly." The article "Why Catholics Are Cowards" by Liam Connolly was published by the LSL and SGET in the booklet Faith and Fear. It first appeared in the Christmas 1998 issue of Candour, an anti-Semitic newsletter run by the ITP (now operating in the UK as "England First").

Another fact that puts Sharpe's Neo-Conned anti-war series (put out by IHS Press/Light in the Darkness publications) into perspective is that Derek Holland, through the ITP, is associated with the neo-nazi German NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands). Holland spoke at their events in 1999 and 2000. It turns out that the NPD is also linked to al-Qaeda via Ahmed Huber, a Swiss extremist who converted to Islam in the 1960s (see Financial Times story). The ITP and its cronies actively sympathize with violent activity against the US.


Anonymous said...

Not much to report on lately, so let's rehash the Wikipedia BNP article?

Nick Griffin said...

I'm Gaddafi's twin.

Cyclops Free Zone said...

Griffin is currently threatening to expel any member who offers support to the NF candidates in the London elections, even those who do anything as benign as wish the NF people luck on an internet site.

Not only is he counting on winning seats at this election to put himself back in the driving seat after the EiE/VoC fiasco, but he's preparing the ground for yet another purge of those he considers "malcontents".

I never thought I'd wish any fash candidate anything other than a slow lingering death, but if the NF manages to scrape together enough votes to keep a Griffin man out of a seat then I might just drink a silent toast to them.

Colonel Gaddafi to appear as Nick Griffin on“The Next Best Thing” said...

“The Next Best Thing” premieres on ABC 5/30 at 8:00pm.

Colonel Gaddafi: ’Well Michele tonight I’m going to be Nick Griffin!’ [applause from the audience]

Michele Merkin: ‘Are you insane enough to impersonate Nick Griffin?’ [sounds of concern from the audience]

Colonel Gaddafi: ‘I was born to do insane’ [rapturous applause from the audience]

$1 million for Mr Griffin from Central Bank Of Libya said...

Bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim

Dear Colleague

I am writing on behalf of the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Of Libya.

We are trying to track down a one Mr Nick Griffin. Thus far we have been unsuccessful in our endeavours. I travelled to Leeds around November 2006 but, unfortunately missed him. We have a cheque for $1 million representing the last instalment of the funds requested by Mr Griffin from the Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Further, we are just wondering if Mr Griffin, given that he owns the exclusive UK distribution rights to ‘The Green Book’, is still interested in stocking the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution’s collection of short stories, ‘Escape to Hell’?

Thank you for your help and co-operation, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Mrs Al-Watan

First Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Central Bank Of Libya.

‘Women are females and men are males’ – The Green Book