May 25, 2010

Griffin tries to buy time with resignation ploy

Under pressure from a series of revelations by the British National Party’s former webmaster Simon Bennett and calls for new leadership by party activists and organisers stung by their disastrous election results, Nick Griffin has announced that he will step down as leader “by the end of 2013”.

His declaration, made to a meeting of the party’s Advisory Council and key organisers on 22 May, is unlikely to satisfy those who have been contributing to Bennett’s website trying to win support for a leadership challenge this year. Many will consider that three and a half years is too long for the party to stagnate under Griffin, and will be all too well aware of Griffin’s past form at wriggling out of awkward situations and commitments.

According to a statement on the BNP website, Griffin intends to concentrate on getting re-elected to the European Parliament in 2014. He then intends “to help the other European nationalist parties to achieve the level of sophistication which the BNP has been able to build up, because a victory for any one of these parties is a victory to all of us”.

These “European nationalist parties” are likely to include some of Europe’s most hardline racist and fascist organisations. Griffin and his fellow BNP MEP Andrew Brons are members of the Alliance of European National Movements, a far-right group in the European Parliament formed in Budapest last October. Its other members are the three MEPs from Hungary’s fascist Jobbik party and the three French National Front MEPs.

The group is also supported by Italy’s Fiamma Tricolore, the Belgian National Front and the Swedish National Democrats, none of which have MEPs.

Griffin’s announcement shows that he remains more an internationalist fascist than a British nationalist, true to the politics he learned from his mentor, the convicted Italian terrorist Roberto Fiore. No doubt he has also become accustomed to the European Parliament’s generous salary and expenses regime.

Between now and 2013, Griffin intends to concentrate on “putting into place of the last ‘building blocks’ of the BNP’s administrative and political machine”. This is a more buoyant description than in his e-newsletters since the election in which he said that the party’s “underdeveloped elections department” had to be overhauled and restructured.

Griffin would then make way for “a younger person who does not have any baggage which can be used against the party,” a recognition that his presence is a liability for the party. Finding a person without “baggage”, who “will be able to drive support up to where it [the BNP] can be a serious contender for power” may be hard. Until now, any person fitting that description has left the party either in one of Griffin’s “purges” or because they have discovered that the party is not what they expected it to be.

The extended Advisory Council meeting also heard “consultant” Jim Dowson claim that “contrary to internet rumour-mongers”, the BNP owns the “Truth Truck” advertising vehicle for which Dowson raised a reported £80,000 or more in 2008. This was apparently confirmed in person by Jennie Noble, “the BNP treasurer who paid for the vehicle”.

If that is true then why did the BNP’s solicitors tell bailiffs trying to seize the vehicle to meet a debt that it was owned by an unconnected third party?

Dowson also stated that he did not take a commission on transactions through the BNP’s Belfast call centre. However he was silent on whether his call centre staff, who include friends and relations of Dowson and Griffin, were paid commission on party memberships and other sales, as evidenced by Bennett.

He did however reveal that he, under the guise of his “Midas Consultancy” business, was paid £165,000 for raising £2.6 million in donations for the party since January 2008.

Whether Dowson really has raised £2.6 million cannot be verified at present. The 2008 accounts showed an increase in donations of £662,000 over 2007, but the 2009 accounts will not be available until the end of July, provided the party manages to submit them on time. The BNP claimed to have raised over £500,000 for its European election campaign and there have been some fundraising appeals since then, such as to fight the legal action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over the BNP’s “whites only” membership criterion, but central party fundraising for this year’s elections seemed to have stalled. Much of the money to pay for general election deposits and leaflets was raised locally by party branches, with no input from Dowson.

Even if Dowson has raised a seven-figure sum, BNP members might raise eyebrows at the amount paid to a consultant who is always keen to point out that he is not a party member.

The meeting was told that BNP membership now stands at “just under 14,000 … increasing by several hundred every month” and that the rate at which BNP members fail to renew has decreased from over 70% to less 20%, now doubt testament to the harassment several members have reported from Dowson’s call centre – people rejoin just to stop the constant phone calls. The BNP has past form in exaggerating its membership and we can only wait to see how these claims compare with the audited figures in the party’s 2009 and 2010 accounts.

Missing from the announcements was any response to the numerous members who are calling for greater transparency in the BNP’s finances.

Griffin concluded by claiming that the party had “emerged from the meeting re-energised and ready for the ongoing struggle to save our nation from destruction at the hands of the old parties”, which is a rather creative way of describing the widespread disillusionment following the twin blows of the party’s capitulation over admitting “non-white” members and its rout in the general and local elections.

Hope not hate


Anonymous said...

"now doubt testament to the harassment several members have reported from Dowson’s call centre"

I work with a guy (an ex-member) who would receive repeated harrassing phone calls from this call centre every evening, just as he was trying to get his kids to sleep. He had scream down the phone for them to stop it and in the end changed his home phone number. All he got out of being a member was these calls and constant begging letters.

Anonymous said...

This point about how "a victory for any one of these parties is a victory to all" is very important, because the defeat of the BNP in the general election was also a defeat for Fascism ACROSS EUROPE.

The Hungarian, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Danish (etc etc) Nazi groups would have been cock-a-hoop if the BNP had got an MP so it's worth remembering the broader significance of the Anti-Fascist success

Anonymous said...


From a campaigning point-of-view a party with Griffin in charge is probably easier to fight than one led by any other leader who might not have Griffin's massive baggage. We can afford to encourage dischord, because Griffin probably will see off any rivals until 2013, and the more his rivals fight each other for leadership the less they spend harassing the rest of us and promoting their stupid views to society at large.

Griffin's plans to hang on to his MEP salary long-term show he still regards the BNP as his best / only career option - even if, when and after he resigns the leadership. So, given that Anti-Fascist campaigns have effectively wrecked the BNP's attempts to repackage themselves as a convincingly "modernised" party, we don't have to worry too much about any slick BNP PR stunts in the foreseeable future, as BNP are now firmly on the defensive and their PR machine is moving backwards quickly after years of growth.

The contingency Anti-Fascists DO have to plan for however is what happens if there's another 9/11 or 7/7 style terror atrocity, as this could come out of the blue and massively boost BNP support. Perhaps a good way to build-up our defences against this would be to concentrate on drawing attention to the BNP's terrorist links and to Griffin's history of trying to engage Arab and Muslim extremists (Louis Farrakhan, Colonel Gaddafi etc), to promote the perception that the BNP are as much part of this problem as the Islamists _

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

County Durham BNP teacher race claims dismissed

Allegations that a British National Party activist posted racist comments online while working as a teacher in County Durham have been dismissed.

Karen said...

It's not only Griffin who's up to his eyes in it.

Emma Colgate, The Queen of the BNP, is getting a right battering from her fans on the Thurrock Gazette website.

Quote » | Report this post »
jinksbella, Stanford le Hope says...
11:33am Tue 25 May 10

I cannot believe that the labour party of Thurrock have teamed up with the BNP! In the past the labour councillors would not have even sat in the same room with the BNP representative unless they could help it and labelled them racists and facists etc. What has changed? Did the Labour voters realise that they were voting for a party that would team up with the far right BNP? The BNP and the Labour Party have no common ground and have opposite views on practically everything including immigration and law and order etc. It just goes to show that politicians will do absolutely anything to gain power and to hell with morals and scruples. Shame!

Green Gordon said...

Have there been more recent Simon Bennett revelations? (sorry, been out of the loop since the election)

Anonymous said...

In response to Karen @ 1.28 that appears to have been the party line coming out from the centre.

The sheep that followed Hodge in Barking were all indoctrined that if any BNP were elected to the council that they were to BOND with them, not to challenge them, but to encourage the BNP to work collabarately with labour members.

thankfully due to the tireless work by HnH this did not happen, but the frightening instructions had been given.


Anonymous said...

Pass the popcorn, lol.