As the British National Party was desperately shutting stable doors after the list of members had bolted, its leaders had to contend with an equally serious problem.
The party had just been given notice to quit the hate factory that Searchlight had exposed in September. Where would it move the “vast array of new equipment” the party had purchased back in January, when it announced proudly that it had moved into a “brand new ground-floor warehouse”, let alone its range of tatty cringe-making and overpriced goods, Replica Victoria Crosses, condemned by the Ministry of Defence as an insult to British troops’ heroism, Enoch Powell t-shirts, stocks of its new racist brochure Racism Cuts Both Ways and the party’s back catalogue of publications?
The facility had been the first fruit of the BNP’s huge “Building to Grow” fundraising effort last winter and the first time the party could centralise its key operations in a modern unit.
The BNP had tried to keep the location secret but Searchlight, in conjunction with Lancaster Unity and Wales Friends of Searchlight, had tracked it down to the Evans Business Centre, a recently built development of workshops and offices on Deeside Industrial Estate, in Flintshire, North Wales, where the BNP occupied unit B2.
The landlords, Evans Easyspace, appeared uninterested at first. When a Sunday Times journalist contacted Brian Mawhinney, a non-executive director of the company and former Cabinet Minister, he replied that he had not been aware of the BNP connection and said, “Thank you for drawing it to my attention”, before putting the phone down. Lord Mawhinney is currently the chairman of the Football League, which has pledged to stamp racism out of football.
But all bad things come to an end and Evans Easyspace did turn out to be unhappy that an organisation that had rented the unit under the name of Excalibur turned out to be the BNP. When Mirror journalists visited the place on 21 November, they found a “to let” sign outside and an irate Arthur Kemp, the South African in charge of the BNP’s ideological training, trying to close the door on them.
“Evans Easyspace was aware of renting a property to Excalibur, but were not aware of its links to the BNP,” said Tom Stokes, managing director. “We have now terminated their agreement and they are moving out at the end of November.”