British National Party members and supporters are getting thoroughly fed up with the stream of begging letters landing on their doormats. Already this year there have been four, all signed by Nick Griffin, the party leader, asking for donations to support this, that or other aspect of the BNP’s “growth” and its European election effort.
The year had barely started when Griffin’s “new year address” landed on hard-pressed supporters’ doormats, with a plea to contribute to the party’s “People’s Defence Fund”. The fund had been set up following the publication on the internet of the BNP members’ list last November, with the aim of raising money to “employ legal experts to defend those of our people suffering hardship, discrimination and persecution in their employment for being members of this party”.
The People’s Defence Fund also had a wider political purpose: to “give a bloody nose to all those little press creeps and the Lab/Tory/Lib Dem sycophants who have built careers on the back of attacking the BNP and our long-suffering people”.
The new year address followed six appeals in 2008 for the “Building to Grow fund”, the London election campaign, to buy the “truth truck”, better known as the lie lorry, and to publish and distribute the outrageously racist Racism Cuts Both Ways pamphlet. Griffin claimed that all these appeals achieved “amazing results”.
Confident that his members and supporters had bottomless purses, Griffin did not even wait until January was out to launch the party’s appeal for funds to fight the European election. Headed “The Battle for Britain Commences”, it waxed lyrical on how winning “just one” seat in the European Parliament “would put us on the world stage and would lead to an avalanche of popular support throughout this country”. Controversially a leaflet with the letter adopted the image of an RAF Spitfire, now revealed to be one flown by the celebrated 303 Squadron of the RAF, made up of Polish airmen rescued from France shortly before the Nazi occupation.
The leaflet invited supporters to attend the party’s “2009 European election campaign nationwide roadshow”, which promised “multi-media sound and vision”, speeches from “Chairman Nick Griffin and invited European mystery guest” as well as Champagne reception, entertainment and light supper, all at a cost of £30. “I guarantee you will never have seen anything like this,” wrote Griffin.
By February the BNP was “struggling due to unprecedented growth”. So many people were “flocking to the BNP” that “we cannot cope”. So “I need you to support the party’s ‘Rapid Expansion Plan’ NOW”, demanded Griffin, followed by three exclamation marks.
The BNP needed to win a seat in the European election but it also had to have a “telecommunications system” and a “central administration office to deal with the current huge increase in enquiries, party membership and organisational growth” and the “40,000 – 75,000” enquiries and membership applications that would result from the distribution of “over 30 million leaflets across the UK” over the next six months.
On and on the six-page letter went, bandying about the word “professional” and claiming that £85,150 was needed to cope with a projected 400% growth in the party’s “database” in the next six months.
And the money was needed quickly: Griffin needed “to put the orders in next week”. There was even a marketing leaflet for the “professional communications system for medium-sized enterprises” that Griffin said he wanted to buy, though nothing about how the BNP’s largely incompetent staff would ever learn how to use it.
One could be forgiven a slight sense of déjà vu. In January 2008 the BNP was proclaiming proudly that its operations had been centralised for the first time in Excalibur’s “brand new ground-floor warehouse” with a “vast array of new equipment” as a result of the “Building to Grow” appeal. What happened to all the equipment after the party was evicted from the Evans Business Centre in Deeside was not revealed.
Hot on the heels of that exuberantly written appeal, full of bold text, underlining and italics, came a more personal and undated letter from Griffin asking supporters to make a standing order of “just £3.00 a week” to “save this country from destruction before it’s too late”.
It was recognition of how our HOPE not hate campaigning was hurting the BNP. “The Labour Party, the liberal media and a whole host of leftist fanatics, led by Searchlight, have now become so concerned about our success, that the latter has employed the services of the WORLD’S TOP campaigning team to prevent us from winning,” wrote Griffin. “Blue State Digital. They’re the team that co-ordinated Barack Obama’s campaign for the White House!
“Your £3 per week can help send Obama’s boys back to Washington with their tails between their legs,” claimed Griffin, after condemning them for being American. Griffin’s own longstanding connections with American nazis are of course quite different.
Those who have responded to these appeals may be regretting it. In January Mark Collett, the BNP’s head of publicity, had to admit responsibility for printing 700,000 “Euro warm up leaflets” without an official imprint, which meant they could not be distributed. We understand that dozens of BNP activists who could have been out canvassing are spending many hours peeling off thousands of tiny stickers to place on the leaflets as straight as they can manage.
HOPE not hate