The Advisory Council meets at least three times a year and is the guiding body (it says here) of the party. And who sits on the AC? Everyone who is anyone, of course - or at least, anyone who is anyone in the fantasy world of the BNP. Thus we see the steroid-enhanced Martin Reynolds rubbing chubby shoulders with the idiotic Dave Hannam, while the emphatically lunatic Bob Bailey sits alongside the detestable Mark Collett. And who do we not see at January's meeting? Who is missing from this gathering of the BNP's glitterati, who we would usually expect to spot? Deputy Chairman and National Press Officer Simon Darby, for one. The reptilian Arthur Kemp, for another. And Richard Edmonds.
Edmonds' position of the AC was one of the consolation prizes offered as a sop to the rebellion of last year - clearly intended to pacify those on the harder right of the party who felt that Griffin was leading the party directly into the no-go area of, as it has been labelled, 'Tory nationalism'. For Edmonds is no soft nationalist - he is a fully-fledged neo-nazi, as Denise pointed out in an excellent article pondering Edmonds' placement on the AC back in October.
'A former mathematics teacher, Edmonds has a record that - anywhere beyond the shores of the fawning racist Right - is eminently unenviable. In 1987 Edmonds sustained a conviction for causing damage to a statue erected in honour of Nelson Mandela, and more seriously in 1994 he was convicted for his part in a 1993 racial attack in which a black victim was hit in the face with a glass. Sentenced to six months in gaol, Edmonds was released immediately, having already spent three months on remand.Missing from the meeting - and with no apologies for absence. Does that mean his job is done and he is no longer on the AC? If you know, let us know.
The BNP's former National Organiser was also a long-time purveyor of Nazi and Holocaust-denial literature, notably Holocaust News, which found a wide circulation among the racist Right in the late 1980s. Edmonds told the BBC Panorama programme that Holocaust News was a "wonderful statement of the truth".
Not long after that, Edmonds told the journalist Duncan Campbell that the BNP was "100% racist". Note that he did not pettifog with the word "racialist" and the often-made inference that a "racialist" merely recognises and respects racial differences, upon which supposed differences the credo of "separate development" (apartheid) is allegedly built. He went directly for the word "racist", with its naked (and only) meaning of one who harbours an unreasoning emotional hatred against those of other races.
Nothing Edmonds has said or done in the intervening years could lead any unbiased observer to believe that the man is not now what he always was - an unrepentant anti-Semite, a racist, a Holocaust denier, and very much a standard-bearer for John Tyndall's brand of National Socialism.'
An anonymous correspondent has been in touch and has mentioned a number of points from the meeting which are worthy of note (and a big thank you to whoever you are). I've highlighted some of these below:
- Student membership accounts for only 0.01% of total membership. So much for the BNP's drive to engage young people.
- A 'properly constructed budget has been drawn up for 2009'. This is something of a surprise as the party has been going for twenty-seven years, ten of those under the authoritarian leadership of Nick Griffin. One would have expected a budget to have been an essential component of running a political party - even one like the BNP - but apparently it hasn't been until now.
- The party is investigating data protection principles – a bit late I would say. Mark Collett is now responsible for Data Collection (including date of birth and telephone number, which might be useful for him).
- All local BNP blogs must change their names and operate instead as a local community website. Use of the BNP logo must be discontinued. They report that it is impossible to control and oversee local websites centrally for legality of content and this measure protects the Party from any potentially costly legal challenges though it seems a tacit admission that the party is unable to control the lunatics in its midst.
- Members and officers whose personal e-mail addresses include ‘bnp’ should remove this reference for security reasons. Any officers who have an @aol address must switch to another service provider since AOL have blocked customers from receiving e-mails from @bnp.org. uk senders. For the first time ever, AOL gets my vote as an ISP with some moral courage.
Collett's cock-up will cost the party a fair amount of cash and goodwill as the party is offering branches (or units as it so kindly refers to them) free stickers to be adhered to the offending leaflets and a third of the money they paid back by way of compensation. Had an independent printer made the same mistake, he would have been expected to cover the cost of his error out of his own pocket. It'll be interesting to see whether Collett has to cough up or whether the party (and thus its members) take the financial hit. Personally, I'd've sacked the useless bastard for this, his umpteenth mistake. In any case, the party now has a 'National Proofreader and Marketing Consultant' who, along with the Chairman and National Elections Officer, will peruse all publications to ensure that Collett actually does what he's meant to do.
With regard to Kemp and Excalibur, the AC report has this to say;
'The Excalibur merchandising operation will now be run privately by Arthur Kemp under an annually renewable license from the Party. This is a saving to the Party in terms of storage costs and postage. Arthur will continue to work on the website, write the Party’s Education and Training manuals and will be overseeing Radio RWB.'As our correspondent puts it, 'So much for all the lies in November about moving to bigger premises etc – is this the start of the end for Excalibur and Mr. Kemp?' Not too sure about the latter point but it certainly seems like the Excalibur operation is considerably smaller than party members and the outside world have been led to believe.
A number of questions immediately arise (though I'm sure our readers can think of a few more).
- Were the members ever consulted about this disposal of their assets? After all, they paid for Excalibur and have subsidised its existence up to now.
- Has Kemp paid anything for this 'licence' to run Excalibur as his private company? If so, how much?
- Why has Kemp been effectively given Excalibur anyway? Why not put it out to closed tender - restricted to party members?
- If it is now run by him as a private concern, one assumes Kemp will keep any profits that might be made - if so, how much will that cost the party/members per annum in lost revenue?
- If it is (as we suspect) loss-making, who will pick up the tab?
It really is time that the BNP membership woke up and realised that it's been taken for a very long and very expensive ride.