A veteran British National Party activist has been ordered not to attend a party meeting in Barking and Dagenham on Thursday at which new arrangements for running London BNP and future plans will be announced.
Bob Gertner, a former Croydon BNP organiser, received an email from Mark Walker of the BNP’s “political admin office” telling him that the special organisational meeting was “open only to members and supporters who wish to put recent disputes behind us and move on in a wholly positive fashion”.
Writing on behalf of Nick Griffin, who recently appointed himself the party’s acting London regional organiser, Walker continues: “You are one of a small number of individuals whose behaviour or alleged behaviour in recent weeks has led to a large number of people at present viewing you with suspicion. Whether or not this is justified, I therefore judge that your presence at this meeting would not be conducive either to its smooth running or to the moves for the private addressing of genuine concerns and to work towards reconciliation which will be made separately.”
Walker’s explanation is bizarre in that it bans a longstanding activist even if “suspicion” is unjustified and that it appears to suggest that Gertner’s concerns, which led to him supporting Eddy Butler’s challenge to Griffin’s dictatorial leadership of the fascist party and are shared by many, are not to be discussed in a members’ meeting.
Griffin took over as acting London organiser from Chris Roberts, another activist who fell out of favour after voicing concerns about the financial mismanagement in the party, the way Griffin constantly falls out with “hard working dedicated nationalists” and the influence in the party of non-members such as Patrick Harrington, a leader of the tiny Third Way party and a former comrade of Griffin in his National Front “political soldier” days. Roberts too supported Butler’s challenge.
Griffin’s only connection with London is that: “I pass by while on the way to Europe”, as he said on Twitter announcing that he was putting together “a great new London management team” and would be acting as their organiser “while they find their feet”.
Clearly Griffin was unable to identify a single Griffin loyalist in London willing and capable of organising the region, following several suspensions of activists and widespread disillusionment.
“Vital we organise now to maximise chances in 2012 gla election,” Griffin’s tweet continued, hoping party members would forget his statement after the BNP’s defeat in Barking and Dagenham in May, when he wrote off fighting elections in the capital saying that by the next general election London would be “completely unassailable” and “no longer part of Britain”.
Elsewhere the three BNP councillors who have turned independent have left the party with only 24 council seats compared with nearly 60 a year ago. Deidre Gates, who was the organiser of the party’s West Hertfordshire group, had actively supported Butler but resigned from the party on 17 August, not heeding Butler’s call to continue the fight from the inside. She was elected to Hertfordshire County Council last year, one of just three BNP county councillors, of whom only one now remains. Seamus Dunne, who sits on Three Rivers council in Hertfordshire, has resigned the BNP whip but remains in the party.
Sonia Gable at HOPE not hate