The leader of the British National Party is trying to interfere in the work of an independent member of the London Assembly.
Nick Griffin, who recently appointed himself acting London regional organiser for the racist party, visited Chris Roberts at his City Hall office on Friday to discuss “GLA work” according to a report on the BNP’s London Patriot website. Roberts is employed by the Greater London Authority as an assistant to Richard Barnbrook, who earlier this month resigned the BNP whip until “allegations of serious wrong doing concerning senior British National Party officials” are investigated.
Griffin’s attempt to influence Roberts to work in the interests of the BNP rather than for the member he is paid to assist is highly irregular. The previous night Griffin told a party meeting in Barking and Dagenham, from which many dissident longstanding activists had been excluded, that he himself would be taking charge of the party’s campaign for the London Assembly and mayoral elections in 2012.
“To be successful, the BNP need a high profile candidate who can generate the publicity needed to mobilise the capital’s remaining demoralised traditional British population to come out and vote,” wrote Martin Wingfield, Griffin’s communications officer following the meeting. But that’s not all, once elected the BNP representative must be influential within the Assembly chamber and make sure that the patriotic voice of British Nationalism is heard at every opportunity,” an implied criticism of Barnbrook’s failure to do so.
London Patriot also reports that Griffin had a long meeting on Friday with solicitors to prepare for the next round of the Equality and Human Rights Commission court case over the party’s racist constitution.
“Mr Griffin will be representing himself in court against a renewed attack from the EHRC which has included a request to have the BNP leader imprisoned,” according to London Patriot. Whether this is because the impecunious BNP cannot afford a barrister or because no barrister is prepared to act for the dictatorial BNP leader is not stated.
The Barking and Dagenham meeting was treated to more of Griffin’s lies in response to questions about serious irregularities in the party that have emerged during the course of Eddy Butler’s unsuccessful leadership challenge.
The raising of the nominations threshold for a leadership challenge – to 20% of members of at least two years’ standing – was, he claimed, not his decision but that of the members at a party general meeting on 14 February this year, which adopted the new party constitution.
In fact members were only shown those parts of the constitution that had been amended in response to the Equality Commission legal action. Griffin slipped in the new rules on leadership challenges without even showing those clauses to members expected to vote for them and the amended constitution could only be accepted or rejected as a whole.
He said he would now ask for changes to the constitution to give the party leader a longer term of office, in other words abolishing the right to challenge him each year.
Griffin was cagey in response to questions about the party’s contract with Jim Dowson, the fundraising consultant with a string of criminal convictions whom Griffin brought in at great expense at the start of 2008. One questioner pointed out that the contract Dowson produced at an employment tribunal hearing over the sacked BNP employee Michaela Mackenzie had ended at December 2009. Griffin said that was not true. He claimed that Dowson’s help had been “invaluable” and said he would extend the contract with him if he felt it was in the party’s interests to do so.
Many in the BNP believe that Griffin will extend Dowson’s contract if it is in Griffin’s and Dowson’s personal financial interests to do so, but those who might say that openly had been kept out of the meeting.
Griffin also blamed the BNP’s current dire financial state on those who had called for members to stop giving money to the party until there was greater financial transparency, claiming this had cost the party around £300,000, an unlikely figure, and an attempt to divert attention from the fact that it is Griffin’s reckless pursuit of hopeless legal actions and Dowson’s huge salary and commission that are the largest contributing factors to the BNP’s debt mountain, now believed to be around £600,000.
Hope not hate