Mr Harrington (or Mr Sharp, as he prefers on the proper occasion to be known) is a past customer of ours, of note not for what he has achieved in the course of his political career, but for what he has failed to achieve. There are no heights to which he has ever risen, nor any depths out of which he has ever climbed - not, of course, that these impediments have ever prevented Mr Harrington from conceiving in his mind a stratospheric opinion of his own intellectual capabilities and apparently sweeping accomplishments.
Like the louse described by my correspondent, Mr Harrington is very difficult to get rid of once contracted. Immune to all known remedies, he relentlessly engages himself in the business of never having to earn his living in the workaday world, this business of never having to earn his living in the workaday world usually involving earning it, in one way or another, from the membership of the BNP - or the "plebs", as BNP councillor Paul Golding so delightfully describes those who worked so hard to bring about his election and who pay his wages.
Mr Harrington, as we know, is very much concerned that the financial rug is about to be pulled from under his feet, his toytown "trade union" being dependent on BNP cash, and he himself now being employed by the BNP in a "human resources" role. Since Eddy Butler is certain to apply a very large boot to Mr Harrington's backside should he, by some miracle, ever come to lead the BNP, Mr Harrington understandably finds his sleep much disturbed of late as support for Butler fails to subside.
He is also desperately worried that whatever the outcome of the BNP's current tribulations, the remaining membership base will be too small to pay the party's bloated wage bill, and that he may be obliged to return to a life funded by state benefits claimed in whichever of his names he represents himself to officialdom. And he is right to be worried. The BNP's income stream has all but dried up, the regular appeals for donations are known to be failing badly, and the party is believed to be close to insolvency, if it is not already insolvent in fact.
The prospects look bleak indeed for Patrick Harrington, but his best and only chance of survival as Nick Griffin's gofer in a somehow revived BNP lies in the survival of Griffin himself, which in turn depends on scotching Eddy Butler's leadership challenge by foul means or fouler means. To that end Mr Harrington has set to work with a mendacious enthusiasm, openly abusing his dubious position as general secretary of the micro-"trade union" Solidarity by using it to issue anti-Butler statements (in a "personal" capacity, you understand) and tweeting in much the same vein to whoever on this planet it is that bothers to follow his self-important musings.
His best service to date is that of successfully (a word we do not normally associate with Mr Harrington) taking the flaky Richard Barnbrook into metaphorical custody, and to turn Barnbrook's dissatisfaction with the Griffin leadership against Griffin's deadly rival Eddy Butler, thus transforming Barnbrook into an active, if unwitting, agent of Nick Griffin. Butler, somewhat subversively, sums the matter up best:
Richard has been all over the place during the last few weeks and in a state of emotional turmoil. In this circumstance he has been preyed upon by Pat Harrington and a few others. Unbelievably, he is unable to see that Harrington is exploiting him as a stooge for Nick Griffin. Richard is distraught as his partner has left him, his house is empty of furniture and basics such as cutlery and crockery. He lost again in Goresbrook ward, he has been replaced as local organiser, his filmed performances in the Greater London Assembly have gone from bad to worse, and in addition to all this his main underlying problem has become more acute. It is actually a rather distasteful spectacle to see Nick Griffin cajole Richard, while in this very vulnerable state, into standing as a leadership contender. Richard has no serious backing apart from loaned false support from Griffinites eager to derail the process.The problem with bringing Patrick Harrington on board is that he is widely detested even among some of Griffin's closest allies, who are rather more au fait with Mr Harrington's character and history than the average BNP member, who will know him only as the much lauded leader (the Walker brothers notwithstanding) of the stunted Solidarity.
Mr Harrington appears to have been on hand at the employment tribunal hearing the unfair dismissal case brought against Nick Griffin by Michaela Mackenzie, providing us with that rarest of spectacles, an employment tribunal at which a "trade union" general secretary is not on the team of a badly wronged employee, but that of the boss who wronged her. According to Mackenzie, Nick Griffin took the stand and began "venomously spouting the most ridiculous lies about me". We do not know if he did so consequent upon any advice Mr Harrington might have proffered.
A further spectacle is provided by the employment of Mr Harrington and Solidarity president Adam Walker to oversee Human Resources and Staff Management in regard to BNP employees, who are all members of Solidarity - putting BNP employees in the unique position of having as bosses their own "trade union" leaders.
Of this situation Nick Griffin wrote: "We, however, have learned from this [the Mackenzie] case, which is one reason we have now created a dedicated Human Resources/Staff Management team to ensure that from now on everything is done by the book by people who know all the ropes."
By which he means disgruntled BNP employees will find themselves up Harrington Creek without a paddle.
Getting back to Barnbrook, while the romantically challenged GLA member dithered over his initial support for Eddy Butler, his website remained online, the domain being owned by sacked BNP webmaster Simon Bennett. When Harrington "turned" Barnbrook (possibly offering to loan him a knife and fork as a sweetener) Bennett retrieved the richardbarnbrook.com domain, pointing it at his own YourBNP website.
Outraged Griffinites, comically crying that Bennett had sabotaged Barnbrook's Griffin-inspired leadership non-challenge, immediately opened up the ever dripping tap of lies to claim that Bennett had pointed the Barnbrook domain at Eddy Butler's leadership challenge website. In fact, until the change propagated through DNS servers worldwide, those attempting to access richardbarnbrook.com got either the original site or were taken to YourBNP. At no time did the domain point to Butler's challenge website.
However that may be, Barnbrook needed a website and a blogspot was quickly provided to assure him that he was still important, still loved, and still taken seriously. The website has everything but the stricture that "this website was created on the orders of Patrick Harrington", who has rather a fondness for ordering websites into existence.
Barnbrook's self-penned articles are easy to spot - "For the first time a Minister is to scrutanised..... Bob Neil MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communitiess and Local Government" - but others ("Richard Barnbrook: Leadership Challenge"), like "his" 150-word statement on the BNP website, are clearly the work of an individual less well-acquainted with the joys of Oddbins.
Who that individual may be, we could not possibly say - but somebody sly, treacherous, and cynically willing to manipulate a man presently in his deepest cups, obviously.
Barnbrook has been played like a violin, as it is perhaps superfluous to state, and finds himself between a rock and a hard place since burning his bridges with Butler. He has nowhere to go, and no obvious future.
He has immediate usefulness to Nick Griffin only in as much as he has allowed himself to become a stooge in the stitched-up nominations process, but he has spoken against Nick Almighty, and for that there will never be forgiveness. If there is a BNP when the current turmoil has subsided, and if that BNP is led by Nick Griffin, then Barnbrook may be tolerated until he comes up for re-election to the GLA in 2010, but his days as an insider (if he ever really was an insider) are over, and - if, as is likely, Griffin refuses to allow him to re-contest for his GLA seat - his days as a BNP member are numbered.
As Barnbrook will sooner or later realise, his "friend" Mr Harrington has interests by far closer to his heart than those of a furniture-free GLA member, and that whatever is good for Nick Griffin and his gofer Mr Harrington will prove to be decidedly toxic to himself.
Of course, we are here factoring out the likelihood - the certitude, if we are to believe Eddy Butler - that the shady antics of Nick Griffin and the symbiotic Mr Harrington are pointing the BNP directly at the High Court - an eventuality (it is my personal opinion) that will throw the BNP back by at least a decade if it survives the experience at all, whatever the outcome.
The great shame of it all for Richard Barnbrook is that he finds himself simultaneously loathed by the Butler camp for his "betrayal", and in the humiliating position of being little more than a patsy breaking on the megalomania of the man who promised him political riches but who effectively killed his political career stone dead.
Just a few weeks ago Barnbrook had it on Griffin's authority that by now he would be leader of the BNP opposition on Barking and Dagenham Council, if not leader of the council itself, but here he finds himself, an object of contempt to both sides in the bitter civil war raging within the BNP, and without so much as a pot to... well, you know. Literally.