Welcome to the BNP's family fun weekend
- Challengers must get 5% of long-term membership to endorse them
- Severance package of approx £30,000 could bankrupt BNP instantly
The first was the ludicrous attempt to stop leadership challenges being made annually by changing the rules so that they could only be made every four years. Clearly this was never a serious proposal and was never expected to get through but an even more outrageous proposal did win and that was to limit challengers to those who could gain endorsement from 5% of the membership.
Whether this means members who have had unbroken membership of the party for two years or five years has not yet been made clear (though two year membership sounds most likely - there's not that many who have been in the party for five years apart from Griffin himself). Colin Auty's recent leadership challenge failed because he was unable to find one hundred two-year members to support him. If this two-year membership rule is still the case, the numbers are difficult though manageable. The BNP has a notoriously high turnover of members, only retaining an estimated 10% of the membership permanently (or until they're thrown out on some pretext or other) which, taking the BNP's claimed 10,000 members at face-value (though the true figure is unlikely to be anywhere near that), leaves a pool of 1,000 from which the challenger would have to find 50 signatories. If you don't think this is bizarre, consider this: just a dozen nomination signatures could get you elected on to a local authority.
Fifty signatures would be difficult enough but if the pool turns out to be the entire membership, any challenger would be expected to obtain 500 signatures, a next to impossible objective especially when one considers that the party refuses to release the membership list to any challenger (using a dodgy and possibly illegal interpretation of the Data Protection Act for its purpose) and that the challenger gets no opportunity to present his/her case to the membership as a whole as part of the challenge campaign.
Assuming the two-year rule is to be the one used, it's apparent that the membership doesn't trust Griffin in the least. A poster from a member of the BNP via the NWN blog says;
'If anyone thinks that the HQ will release confidential membership details which are both accurate and up to date to a would be challenger think again. They will supply a dummy set of records and then protest when the 200 or so names are submitted because a handful are (deliberatley) false.'
This appalling and anti-democratic change to the BNP has its internal opponents seething. As one of the dissidents said in another comment on the North West Nationalist blog;
'...let's just suppose for the minute that any potential challenger knows 500 people without having access to the lists. Can he/she be sure of their membership status? Or that, having achieved the impossible and collected 500 signatures, the membership will not suddenly have leapt to 15,000 in the meantime? Failing a successful legal challenge, there is now no way that Griffin can be removed from the leadership of the BNP - fact!'
That this farce was completely stage-managed is obvious. Just a few days ago, the party happened to mention that it intended to publish membership figures every July (which will be interesting to compare with the official numbers reported to the Electoral Commission each year). Then there is the fact that Griffin's four-year proposal was spoken against by his long-acknowledged supporters - Richard Barnbrook, Arthur Kemp, the vile Mark Collett, Eddie Butler and co, none of whom would say anything against Griffin or his machinations even if you held a knife to their throats because they all rely on his continuing patronage for their survival and their wage packets - some of the latter very considerable.
The second proposal that those inside the party don't really seem to have realised the potential impact of yet, is the agreement to give Nick Griffin and subsequent party leaders a severance package. I'm sure we can all name the severance package we'd like to give Griffin but in this case, as usual with King Nick, this one is all about money. It's worth remembering though before we get into this, that the BNP states in its accounts that none of its employees has a pension. Part of Dave Hannam's statement in the accounts says;
'Because of the size of the party and the number of staff the party does not have a pension scheme, but this position is under continual review.'
It would be untenable for the party to give Nick Griffin a pension but not to give one to the rest of its employees, so instead of a pension, Griffin has wangled himself a 'severance package', meaning a payout rumoured to be as much as £30,000 if and when the membership of the party comes to its senses and boots the pig farmer out on his ear.
A payment of this magnitude will - and Griffin will certainly know this - bankrupt the party instantly. At any given moment, the BNP is operating on a financial knife-edge and a slip of any kind will damage it irreversibly. As a for instance, we reported here just a few days ago that the party had to accept a CASH donation of £5000 to subsidise the Red, White and Blue. Without that, there was less than £5000 in the bank and the party would have had to go into the red or borrow money, assuming that the latter is possible.
Despite the propaganda that's being thrown around to the contrary, numbers were well down this year - 2600 over the weekend, compared to last year's claimed 4000. Seats, marquees, generators, toilets and the rides were all cash on delivery, which would mean a lot of the £5000 will be gone already, and the temporary bouncers that were taken on for the weekend for £50 cash in hand a day each plus food and petrol would have knocked a sizeable dent in any money that was left. Even the children's rides weren't as popular this year - which is a laugh for us because they also made a large loss last year - meaning another few hundred pounds was poured away so the BNP could have its annual ego-massage and Griffin could make sure he got what he wanted to secure his future. Naturally, the party will have made a bomb out of letting tent space to the members and selling them ASDA-burgers for £2 a go - only to see that money disappear into the usual black hole.
For a party so financially rocky, the idea that it has been committed to a sudden payout of £30,000 at the whim of its mercurial leader, is startling and, even more worrying for the membership, this decision comes just a short while after the party has suffered numerous exposes about the treasury and what it gets up to and in particular, what Griffin is getting up to on the quiet. While he and the loathsome Mark Collett both seem to be making a fortune, the party's finances seem to be chugging inexorably downhill.
If Griffin suddenly decides he's had enough, the BNP is dead.
We'll leave this (for the moment) with a quote from a current member of the BNP (though not for long by the sound of it):
'I'm cutting up my membership card and sending the pieces to Griffin telling him he can stick his dictatorial regime up his vast backside.'