August 15, 2008

The Accounts (5) : "a slender merit of providing cosmetic comfort"

This article was submitted by one of our readers, Iliacus. We welcome any contributions from our supporters (as long as those contributions conform to the law and are in reasonably good taste). Please send your articles to us via email.

The previous articles by Iliacus regarding the BNP accounts are below:

The Accounts (1): First Impressions
The Accounts (2): "We wuz robbed"
The Accounts (3): Figure Skating
The Accounts (4): "and for my next trick"

I have recently been reading, as one does, a history of the Neath and Brecon Railway. This was a fairly insignificant railway company in South Wales, operating - oddly enough - between Neath and Brecon! It may not immediately seem of any relevance to the cause of anti-fascism except that its financial affairs (to which I might return in a future article) echoed those of a certain far-right political party of the present day.

In particular I was taken by the following comments by the authors, written in 2005 in respect of accounts published in the 1860s:

"The balance sheet for year end 1866...is tantalising in what it leaves unsaid and without further figures...it is only part of the picture. This statement falls short of the standards of reporting required today and its odd assortment of balances have the slender merit of providing cosmetic comfort to the casual observer."

What a splendid turn of phrase - and so appropriate to the subject of this series of articles, the 2007 BNP Accounts!

In this final article I want to concentrate on two areas - the sales of party publications (Identity and Voice of Freedom) and the Trafalgar Club. I will start with the publications, and a quick review of what they comprise. Voice of Freedom is a monthly tabloid; the front page normally carries an emotive lead story related to the evils of immigration while the other three pages are full of accounts of local meetings raising unprecedented levels of donations, adoration of the leader, and plenty of opportunities for readers to send money to the BNP for various items of tat! Identity is the party's exploration of the theoretical principles of nationalism (i.e. it's full of middle-aged white men ranting about the evils of the modern world!)

My comments are based on an interpretation of the way these items are dealt with financially. I have to make reasonable assumptions, which may be rash in the context of BNP accounting. Those assumptions are as follows:
  • that intitial printing costs are met by the party nationally;
  • that sales are then made either directly or via branches, and the latter therefore appear in the accounts of the RAU (Regional Accounting Unit);
  • that expenditure by the RAU (in buying copies) is balanced in the income column of the National Accounts (as supplier).
Of course, being the BNP, anything is possible!

So, let's look at the performance in selling this stuff in 2007, and a comparison with 2006, starting with Identity.  In 2006 printing cost £30,000 - by 2007 it was £34,000; allowing for inflation this implies a small increase in print runs. Income in '06 was nearly £45,000 (a surplus of around £15,000 but see below); in '07 income nationally fell to £32,000 (a deficit of £2,000). A bad enough trend, but there's worse to come [worse for the BNP I emphasise; I think it's great!]. In 2006 the RAU (i.e. the branches) spent nearly £17,000 buying Identity - and raised £11,000 by selling them, wiping out a fair chunk of the National Accounts surplus. In 2007 the RAU spent over £22,000 on copies of Identity - and raised just £8,000 from selling them!

So in 2006 the branches "lost" £5,500 selling Identity - and in 2007 they "lost" over £14,000 doing so. In 2006 just over a third of copies were unloaded by the national party onto the branches - by 2007 that proportion had nearly doubled!

Let's have a look at Voice of Freedom (VoF). In 2006 the party spent £37,000 printing copies - this fell in 2007 to just over £32,000. Perhaps Mr Collett negotiated a special deal, but to this cynical observer it suggests a fall in the print run. Certainly the fall in national sales, from £66,000 to £57,000 suggests that copies weren't flying off the metaphorical shelves! And when we get to branch level, the trend identified with Identity is repeated, and then some! 

In 2006 the branches were billed for just over half of all VoF sales (£34,000 - 52% of the total). By 2007 the branches were being billed for over £52,000 of sales - an extraordinary 91% of the total! And this wasn't because they were finding it any easier to sell the damned things! Sales at RAU level fell from £26,000 in '06 to under £20,000 in '07.

So overall, in 2006 the party as a whole made a surplus of £9,217 from Identity and £20,580 from VoF.  In 2007 Identity lost £16,186 and even VoF recorded a deficit of £7,641. At branch (or RAU) level both made a loss in both years, a sign of the local membership subsidising the party centrally. But the scale of that subsidy has rocketed.

In 2006 the RAU lost £5,500 on Identity - in 2007 it was £14,215.
On VoF the RAU lost £8,698 in 2006 - in 2007 this shot up to a £32,515 loss.

In 2006 local branches, through Identity and VoF, subsidised 'HQ' to the tune of £19,715. In 2007 it was £46,730! And what will it be in 2008 at that rate of increase?

In the context of the earlier articles in this series there is a clear picture emerging of a party sliding into financial difficulties from the centre, and frantically plugging the gap by increasingly sucking money from the local organisations. The evidence for this is not just the growing subsidy through Identity and VoF sales identified in this article, but also the increasing 'loan' from the RAU to the national party set out in article number 4.

And so to a brief word on the Trafalgar Club. This is basically a dining club which, in principle, differs little from similar schemes run by other parties. In this case, in return for a substantial donation, you have the opportunity to enjoy a meal (of debatable quality) followed by a speech from Nick Griffin. Astonishingly, some people actually take up this offer!

What is strange is the way this is handled in the Accounts. It is, we are told in the Chairman's Introduction" a "body ... administered by this department [Administration] ... in order to avoid the danger of 'all eggs in one basket' the National Treasurer is not permitted to handle this body's finances" but it is subject to "full external audit".

This is a very strange arrangement, as well as being pretty offensive to a treasurer who is allowed to handle everything else but not - for some reason - the Trafalgar Club. By external audit they are presumably referring to the audit of accounts prepared by Silver and Co - but they are reporting on Accounts prepared by...the National Treasurer, who is "not permitted to handle this body's finances"! So are the Trafalgar Club's transactions contained within the BNP's Accounts or not? And if so, where? And if not, then how are they subject to "external audit"?

There are malcontents within the BNP (or recently expelled therefrom) who allege that the proceeds of this Club have too close a relationship to Nick Griffin's back pocket - there is nothing in the BNP's accounts to disprove those suggestions!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant piece as always...

Can i just refer to the 2 publications Voice of Freedom and Identity you make the very fair assumption that these were not flying off the shelves.

Only going back to May of this year it was discovered that the flat that Barnbrook was allegedly renting in Barking so that he could get onto the electoral roll?? was stuffed to the rafters with these publications.

Now please bear in mind this flat was above a shop and in general they are usually very large and spacious, even being generous by saying it was a 2 bed, with living room, kitchen and bathroom all of these rooms were full to the ceiling, going down the stairs and in fact causing major problems for the shopkeeper below.

To certain knowledge this flat has not been cleared out so they are still sitting there.

And Dicky has the brass neck to go on about re-cycling?????

tulip

Bilbo said...

Absolutely superb. Thank you Iliacus and thanks Antifascist for putting the links to the previous articles in a sensible place where we can easily see them.

Anonymous said...

Excellent series of articles. Thanks.

PS said...

Interesting information, tulip. Nice to know how the BNP member's money is being spent. LOL

Great article Iliacus. :)

Anonymous said...

"In 2006 the RAU lost £5,500 on Identity - in 2007 it was £14,215.
On VoF the RAU lost £8,698 in 2006 - in 2007 this shot up to a £32,515 loss."

Good. Let's hope they keep up the good work!

Chris B. said...

Nice article. Well done Iliacus.

Anonymous said...

"In 2006 the branches were billed for just over half of all VoF sales (£34,000 - 52% of the total). By 2007 the branches were being billed for over £52,000 of sales - an extraordinary 91% of the total! And this wasn't because they were finding it any easier to sell the damned things! Sales at RAU level fell from £26,000 in '06 to under £20,000 in '07."

Branches are forced to take a minimum quantity of both publications or they get demoted to groups. This rule was brought in, in 2006. The BNP always knows how many it needs to print, and they are all printed in Slovenia along with the party leaflets, and is why BNP members suspect Griffin/Collet own the print firm abroad.

Anonymous said...

Look here
http://northwestnationalists.blogspot.com/

robbin said...

Peedo Boy has some very dodgy investment interests including some criminal concerns but these havent come out yet.

iliacus said...

Thanks Anon for confirming my suspicion that branches are forced to take copies regardless of whether they can sell them on.

The effect of this is that HQ is squeezing local branches in order to balance the books nationally [actually, they STILL aren't managing to balance the books as such, but it eases the pressure slightly].

If I was a BNP member [which is about as likely as my becoming a Martian] I would be furious that local branches and members were being sponged off in this way to bail out the incompetence and financial mismanagement of Griffin and his motley crew.

wiki wonders said...

why the heckers is Nick Gri££in categorised on Wikipedia as a British Conservative???

(see categories at the bottom of the page)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Griffin

Is Cyclops a secret member of the Conservative Party like his dad?

James said...

"Peedo Boy has some very dodgy investment interests including some criminal concerns but these havent come out yet."

Well how about helping the matter to come out by passing along your suspicions and any evidence you have to Lancaster Unity.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks Anon for confirming my suspicion that branches are forced to take copies regardless of whether they can sell them on."

Not only that, but without the East Mids ability to fundraise, the greedy corrupt bastards at the top wouldn't get a wage.

The idiot BNP members have no idea that once their money is banked, it's never seen again. Ask Sharon Ebanks who hammered BNP HQ for 3 months to get leaflets. She was even contacted by Collett who told her she could only purchase from the BNP. She told them all to fuck off to save her branch more than £500. BNP HQ finally wrote out the cheque to the printers, and what happened to the cheque? It bounced, leaving Ebanks to foot the bill herself.

If I were Griffin, I'd be feeling very scared.

Anonymous said...

Sadie Grahams leadership site is reporting that a bomb was thrown at the gates of the BNP fascist feast this morning.

It is going to be a hot summer weekend I think.

Anonymous said...

There's another ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

MArk "pedo boy collett" if he tries to sleep with the kiddies at the nazifest.

Henry Moongum said...

The bomb is just as likely to come from a disgruntled bnp member as any opposing force, bearing in mind that bomb-making and far right politics go hand in hand.

Thomas Crapper said...

There is no bomb - read on above, folks.

The only bombs going off at the rwb will be when the anally retentive old fools take a dump in the chemical toilets, and their stinky Hitler-loving parcels of shit explode everywhere.