On 23 January the British National Party triumphantly announced that Excalibur, its merchandising operation, had re-opened for business in a “brand new ground floor warehouse”.
Not only did it house the dispatch operation for Excalibur’s range of tatty, cringe-making and overpriced goods, there was also a “vast array of new equipment” including a folding machine, plastic-bagging machine and “two heavy duty commercial printers”.
The BNP also claimed there was “office space, meeting rooms and a BNPtv studio” and space for the distribution of the party’s regular publications and members’ bulletins. It was the first fruit of the BNP’s huge “Building to Grow” fundraising effort and the first time the party could centralise key operations in a modern operation.
Arthur Kemp, head of the BNP’s education and training department, was placed in charge as the temporary managing director of Excalibur, assisted by Dave Joines as dispatch manager and administrator. Kemp was a logical choice because he could exercise control over Excalibur’s book list, containing a range of classic Nazi and racial eugenics books and of course Kemp’s own white supremacist tome March of the Titans – A History of the White Race.
Dave Joines, now in charge of Excalibur, Arthur Kemp and John WalkerThe BNP was keeping very tight-lipped about the location of the building. Even most members did not know precisely where it was. But the involvement of Kemp, who lives in Deeside, and Joines, who lives in Ellesmere Port, meant it had to be in North Wales or the Wirral. That Excalibur had started using the BNP’s Deeside post office box address was another indication.
We were quickly on the case. Months of putting together every clue and chasing up every lead eventually led us to the Evans Business Centre, a recently built development of workshops and offices on Deeside Industrial Estate.
There the BNP occupies unit B2, an office/workshop of 115 sq m (1240 sq ft) off the A550 and 5km away from the M56, for which Evans Easyspace Ltd charges rent of £850 a month plus VAT. With rates it is setting the party back by nearly £15,000 a year plus electricity and staffing costs.
The BNP has ensured its name does not appear on the door, or on the sign at the entrance to the business park, but neighbouring tenants were aware of Excalibur’s presence and recognised the name of John Walker, who worked there in his role as the BNP’s lacklustre treasurer. The only indication that the unit is occupied is a note on the door giving three mobile phone numbers for deliveries: 07761 492616, 07815 146712 and 07855 323589. We have traced these numbers to Joines, Walker and Kemp respectively.
The vehicle in which the BNP carries out its monthly “literature run” to its units all over the country can often be seen parked outside. The second-hand light blue long wheel base van formerly belonged to Omega Security, whose livery remains visible under the respray.
Whether the claimed TV studio is much use to Rod Gordon, who heads BNPtv, is doubtful. Deeside is a long way from his Westminster home.
Racist books and merchandise inside the Deeside warehouseMore recently the administration and distribution for the BNP’s music business, Great White Records, has merged with Excalibur, although its recording studio remains at the Market Weighton home of Dave Hannam, the BNP’s useless regional treasurer and owner of GWR. Dealing with GWR’s sales cannot have added much to Joines’s workload, as it still only offers four albums plus a few tatty t-shirts and other bits and pieces.
In June, Walker, who lives just around the corner from Kemp in Mancot, was relieved of his treasurer role and became the full-time national dispatch and logistics manager at the warehouse. Joines was promoted to the managing director’s position, freeing Kemp to attend to his other party duties, which include touring BNP branch meetings as the party’s best public speaker.
The BNP claims the move to Deeside enabled Excalibur to generate sales of £20,893.89 in the first six months of the new operation, while spending £7,273 on acquiring stock. Although Excalibur is responsible for 25% of the warehouse rent and rates, the BNP estimates it will make a net profit of £20,000 a year before staffing and other overhead costs, according to an internal report to the BNP’s Advisory Council.
Searchlight gives a leg-up to a BNP reluctant to advertise its presenceThat Excalibur sells so much is hard to believe. Most of its books are available more cheaply from main-stream online businesses. No doubt a white mug sporting the words “Another white mug” is a popular line with party members but each one brings in only £4.50. Its “household goods” range is centred on Union Jack bedspreads, there are Enoch Powell t-shirts with a long extract from his “Rivers of Blood” speech, and of course the replica Victoria Crosses that recently caused so much furore.
Joines may have ideas for adding to the range. Active in the BNP for several years, he first came to public attention in 2003 when he stood in a council by-election in Ellesmere Port and has stood for the council several times since then, generally polling abysmally. He was in fifth position on the BNP list for the 2004 European election in the North West.
Within the BNP he has been the North West regional organiser and secretary and last year stood down as the Wirral group organiser.
Although Kemp is no longer running Excalibur, he remains in charge of marketing and unsurprisingly of its book selections. He will also oversee the planned introduction of Excalibur’s book publishing arm. No doubt his own works will be high on its list.