December 17, 2009

British National Party required to explain ‘inadequate’ accounts

The British National Party’s former treasurer could face criminal proceedings for delivering “inadequate accounts” to the Electoral Commission

The BNP’s 2008 accounts finally emerged three weeks before the fine for their late submission to the Electoral Commission would have doubled to £2,000.

Like the 2007 accounts, the latest financial statements do not give a true and fair view of the state of the party’s affairs at 31 December 2008 and of the year’s results, in the opinion of Silver & Co, the party’s regular auditors. However this year the BNP had no easy target to blame of the likes of Kenny Smith, one of the leaders of the party’s internal rebellion in winter 2006, who was used as the excuse for failings in both the 2006 and 2007 accounts.

In 2008 the party simply could not get its act together. As Nick Griffin, the party chairman, explained in his introduction to the accounts, soon after June 2008, when Jenny Noble took over as party treasurer from John Walker, it “became apparent that the task of maintaining central office accounts had become too big for any one individual”. So the job was “outsourced” to “an independent Chartered Accountant and Accounts Technician with the aim of presenting acceptable accounts for the accounting year 2009”.

In other words the BNP gave up on the 2008 accounts, though Griffin admitted lamely: “We recognize that it is not acceptable to present inadequate accounts”.

The failure meant that the accounts not only did not give a true and fair view but also did not “comply with the requirements of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 as adequate records have not been made available”. In 2007 the accounts did comply with the PPERA, despite not giving a true and fair view.

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission told Searchlight that they had “a number of concerns” about the financial statements and the inadequate records referred to in Griffin’s report and have urgently requested more detailed information about the inadequacies from the party’s auditors. The BNP has until 8 January to reply, after which the Electoral Commission will consider what further action to take.

Under the PPERA 2000 the party’s treasurer on 31 December 2008, the last day of the accounting period concerned, commits a criminal offence by not complying with the regulations governing party accounts. Although the 2008 accounts are presented by Philip Reddall, he was appointed BNP treasurer only in autumn 2009. At the end of 2008 Noble was still the treasurer, until she was shunted out in April 2009 to run the Trafalgar Club, a task she appears to have performed with similar lack of success.

Her only defence, if the Electoral Commission decides to prosecute, would be that she took all reasonable steps and exercised due diligence to ensure the accounts were adequate, or that the failures were attributable to the period before she became treasurer and she did her best to put things right.

Despite the unreliability of the accounts, the figures are very interesting as they prove that the BNP has lied repeatedly to its members and donors.

The BNP started its main fundraising drive at the tail end of 2007 and built it up throughout 2008 with a number of appeals for objectives such as the launch of its provocatively racist Racism Cuts Both Ways booklet, the May 2008 election campaign and the notorious Truth Truck appeal.

The accounts show that the party did indeed raise more money than ever before. Income from donations and fundraising activities (the distinction is unclear) amounted to £688,764 compared to £221,456 in 2007.

Nevertheless the party ended the year with a loss of £82,642, an increase of £32,000 over the previous year’s loss. It was also a far cry from the £100,000 profit claimed in June 2009 by Jim Dowson, the militant anti-abortion campaigner behind the BNP’s fundraising efforts, who controls its Belfast telesales centre and other essential party functions. It was Dowson too who supplied the “independent chartered accountant”, John Thompson, who works for Dowson’s various business interests in Belfast, now charged with getting the BNP’s books into better shape for 2009.

The loss left the BNP bankrupt to the tune of £168,233. While that may not be much compared to some political parties, it is a significant proportion of the party’s turnover of under £1 million and the latest in a trend of growing losses. To stay afloat the party continued to raid the funds of its branches and groups, stayed in arrears with its tax and VAT payments and relied on the advance payment of membership subscriptions for the following year.

Far from spending the increased income on campaigning, most of the money has gone to paying party staff and propping up the party’s lacklustre publications and its failed Excalibur merchandising operation.

The start of 2008 had seen Excalibur’s move, to great acclaim, into new premises with a “vast array of new equipment”. At the end of the year Excalibur was out on its ear after Searchlight, in conjunction with Lancaster Unity and Wales Friends of Searchlight, had tracked it down to a Deeside Industrial Estate (click here for details).

According to the accounts, Excalibur’s stock, consisting of tatty, cringe-making and overpriced goods, including white mugs reading “I’m a white mug”, may have been worth £5,000 to £6,000 at the end of the year, but “the very nature of the stock raises questions as to its realisable value”. In other words, no one wants to buy them – even the BNP doesn’t have enough white mugs to buy its white mugs.

The total cost of the BNP’s “commercial activities”, consisting of Excalibur, Identity, Voice of Freedom and unspecified other printed material, amounted to £285,341 compared to income of £130,526, a loss of £125,000.

Staff wages and “professional fees” – a term that includes staff paid without accounting for income tax and national insurance – grew by over £100,000 compared to 2007. The accounts state there were 13 staff. Management and administration costs rose by £96,000 to £263,000. Rent and associated costs of the short-lived Excalibur unit undoubtedly pushed up this total.

Campaign expenditure was a mere £74,580, of which only £41,095 was on leaflets and £14,325 was the cost of fundraising. Back in March 2008 a BNP appeal letter asked for donations towards the 2008 London and local council election campaigns, promising that the London campaign would cost at least £80,000. That now emerges as another lie.

The party did buy £29,000 of equipment, far less than it made out when it moved into the Excalibur unit. It also spent £19,550 on buying vehicles. The figure does not include the “truth truck”, an advertising vehicle and trailer better known as the lie lorry. Contrary to statements in fundraising appeals that the lorry was “bought and paid for”, Searchlight established that the party was renting it from Dowson’s Adlorries.com business. The accounts do not refer to the “Truth Truck” by name but state that the party leases one vehicle under an agreement that does not give “rights approximating to ownership”.

The accounts also reveal some interesting non-financial details. The Young BNP was “defunct” during the year, “with the failed head being removed at the end of the year and replaced by a new team”. The reference is to the summary dismissal of Danny Lake and his replacement by Mike Howson, a man in his mid-forties, after Lake raised concerns about the “psychopathic” behaviour of Mark Bulman, an erratic and alcoholic teenage YBNP member who was also treasurer of Howson’s BNP branch.

The BNP’s security department is described as responsible for running party events “correctly to ensure the health and safety of all those attending”. This is the bunch of thugs who surround Griffin wherever he goes and have scant concern for the “health and safety” of those on the receiving end of their activities.

The South African influence remained strong, with both Arthur Kemp and Lance Stewart on the party’s 15-strong Advisory Council. Kemp is the BNP’s website editor and during 2008 was also in charge of Excalibur dispatch and “developing Voting Membership educational material”. Stewart, a former high-ranking officer in the South African Police, heads the BNP’s “Intelligence Department”.

BNP members, of whom the accounts state there were 9,801 at 31 December 2008, will not understand or care about the shambolic state of the BNP’s finances revealed in these statements, the potential criminal charges faced by the former treasurer or the proof that the party’s fundraising appeals were a pack of lies. They will not doubt go on pouring money into the bottomless and unaccountable pit that is the racist BNP.

Hope not hate

22 comments:

Pete Green said...

"Management and administration costs rose by £96,000 to £263,000...Campaign expenditure was a mere £74,580, of which only £41,095 was on leaflets and £14,325 was the cost of fundraising."

There's a killer statistic for the members. Jobs for the boys rather than campaigning. Political party, my arse.

Anonymous said...

BNP members, of whom the accounts state there were 9,801 at 31 December 2008....

Erm hang on a minute. Didn't the BNP claim that membership was going up by thousands every minute following the release of the membership list? Didn't they state that people were in fact 'clamouring' to join?

Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

Oh boy I can't wait till iliacus gets these 'accounts' ripped to bits.

Always a most amusing read..... especially as these days gri€€in looks like he has kicked everyone out of the trough and has eaten all the pies himself!!

Anonymous said...

Imagine how the BNP would run the British economy if they run their poxy little party like this.

Mark Collett for Chancellor of the Exchequer!

Anonymous said...

Oh bliss, what a godawful day for the BNP!!! May they have many more.

milton said...

If the accounts don't comply with the PPERA and the party has broken the law then surely the bnp should not be allowed to contest elections until it demonstrates compliance with the law. Other parties have to do this, why should the bnp be different?

John P said...

Here is the link to the accounts for those interested.
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/database-of-registers/statements-of-accounts/soa/pdfs/soa_16-12-09_10-42-12.pdf

Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

Pre-empting Iliacus:

membership fees - down 35k
Comercial activities - Down 35k
staff costs - up 100k
admin costs - up 100k
identity sales - down 5k
rwb - no figures this year??(a loss?)
voice of shite - down 3k
postage - up 20k (????)
computers - up 10k
rent - up 23k
unpaid cheques - up 2k ( :-) )

Is it any wonder that they said the accounts 'do not give a true and fair view'?

Bye bye BNP

Denise said...

Eastwood and Whitebushes (Reigate and Banstead BC) by election result

Con 391 (37.92%)
LibD 313 (30.36%)
Lab 161 (15.52%)
UKIP 125 (12.12%)
BNP 41 (3.98%)


Turnout 16.38%

Barbara said...

To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson

"In a political party run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely"

BNP members have been screwed. How long before they begin to realise it?

John P said...

Barbara said...

To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson

"In a political party run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely"

BNP members have been screwed. How long before they begin to realise it?

1:04 AM, December 18, 2009

Hopefully it's a porcine for the future of the BNP

Anonymous said...

From the FT

BNP fined for late accounts

By George Parker

Published: December 18 2009 02:00 | Last updated: December 18 2009 02:00

The British National party has been fined £1,000 for the late filing of its party accounts.

Nick Griffin, the BNP chairman, said it was "not acceptable to present inadequate accounts" and has promised to improve matters by outsourcing to an independent chartered accountant.

The Electoral Commission said yesterday that it had asked for more detailed accounts and will then decide if it will take any further action.

Anonymous said...

"BNP 41 (3.98%)"

ROFL Ha ha ha ha ha Fuck, that's funny. So much for the BNP being on a roll!

Wilson said...

How come the BNP always seems to implode in the run-up to Christmas? We had the big rebellion in 2007 which saw such party luminaries as Sadie Graham go, then the membership list last year and now Dicky Barnbrook's piss-poor apology, Alby Walker going, these laughably bad accounts and those terrible by-election results.

Not much of the festive spirit for BNP members at the moment - though fat boy Griffin must be enjoying himself with his new (and huge) income and with all his mates around him and in charge of the party being paid for by the company, I mean party and its gullible membership.

Mr P said...

"Eastwood and Whitebushes (Reigate and Banstead BC) by election result

Con 391 (37.92%)
LibD 313 (30.36%)
Lab 161 (15.52%)
UKIP 125 (12.12%)
BNP 41 (3.98%)

Turnout 16.38%"

Funny how Stormfront (which generally follows BNP results closely) never bothered reporting that one.

Anonymous said...

BNP received a paltry 41 votes
(3.9%) coming last in the by-election in Earlswood and Whitebushes Ward in Surrey last night, UKIP beat them. What a way to end the year.

Anonymous said...

Membership fees 2007 = £201,354
Membership fees 2008 = £166,006

Oops. :)

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice that Griffin outs his qualification after his name on page 9 as MA (Hons) Cantab?

According to wikipedia this is only an award given after several years with no further study after a degree. Plus it says that to put (Hons) is wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Arts_(Oxbridge_and_Dublin)

How to get from a 2:2 to an MA (Hons) [sic] in one easy move...

Lord Sir Prof Dr Lee Barnes PhD (Hons with knobs on) said...

"According to wikipedia this is only an award given after several years with no further study after a degree."

Not always. I've known several people who have completed their Masters and have worked bloody hard to do so. Griffin did not, however, he simply paid the going rate for the upgrade (last time I heard it was £200 but I guess that depends where it comes from). We all knew Griffin was a fake, a fraud and a liar - this simply confirms it.

PS You're correct about the Hons.

Jace said...

"Didn't the BNP claim that membership was going up by thousands every minute following the release of the membership list?"

I could have sworn they actually said at one point that the party had 13000 members

Anonymous said...

How could Noble do the accounts when the BNP don't keep receipts?

Iliacus said...

I'm snowed under with family commitments at the moment so it may be the New Year before I get a chance to look properly at these accounts [In fact I'm so busy I've not yet had time to post Nick Griffin's Christmas Card !!].

But I will [look at the accounts I mean, not send Griffin a Christmas Card]..

And thanks to the kind comments from posters.