Eddy Butler has failed to obtain enough nominations to challenge Nick Griffin for the leadership of the British National Party this year. After several weeks of campaigning he says he collected 500 signatures from activists and officers around the country on his own forms, which the party does not recognise. He would have needed the support of 840 party members of at least two years’ standing.
Butler says he will not take legal action against the BNP over the unconstitutional rules that Griffin imposed for the challenge because “it would be very costly for us and for the party”. Butler is no doubt influenced by the fact that the BNP is insolvent and already has many unpaid legal bills, so even if he won he would be unable to recover his costs.
Urging his supporters to stay in the BNP, Butler writes: “Rather than get embroiled in legal action we will continue our battle to save our party from destruction at Griffin’s hands through other means”. He also hopes that his supporters will stay in their party positions if they can square it with their conscience.
Butler says that the requirement to obtain the support of 20% of long-standing members was “an impossibly high total”, which is why Griffin imposed it. He also claims that many members did not receive their nomination forms because the BNP’s membership database is “incompetently run” and that Griffin’s action in persuading two “stooges” to stand for the leadership as well complicated matters.
Griffin also used “political intimidation” by suspending many supporters of Butler. For that reason he has not handed in his forms as he does “not wish to compromise anyone”.
On the official forms, which members had to complete and send individually to the party’s official scrutineer, Andrew Brons MEP, Butler only obtained 214 signatures. The stooge candidates, Richard Barnbrook and Derek Adams, got 23 and four signatures respectively, while 971 people ticked the box indicating that they were satisfied with Griffin’s leadership.
The failure is testament to the fact that most BNP members do not go to party meetings or follow the various blogs that have exposed the gross mismanagement in the party and the way in which Griffin and his consiglieri, Jim Dowson, are using it as a cash generating machine for themselves. Griffin’s main interest now is in securing re-election to the European Parliament in 2014 so that he qualifies for a pension when he eventually leaves office.
Whether Griffin will allow any Butler supporters to remain in official party positions is unclear at this stage; likewise whether Butler’s supporters will want to stay in a party in which Griffin and Dowson are now even stronger than before.
Many activists, though not the bulk of the ordinary members, are now well aware that Dowson owns the BNP, that the party is insolvent and has been managed incompetently, and that Griffin never hesitates to lie blatantly to preserve his position. Many have already said that if Butler’s challenge fails they will leave, though most are undecided whether to join one of the tiny opponents of the BNP on the far right or to form a new party. Neither option is attractive for them.
Lee Barnes, the BNP’s former legal officer who resigned yesterday, can be expected to reveal more about what has been going on in the BNP, now that he has seen the truth about Dowson, whom he has described as the “Gollum” of the BNP and Griffin’s “cut price Rasputin”.
Most recently Barnes has described Arthur Kemp’s March of the Titans, a huge tome much praised by Griffin’s BNP, as “a regurgitated sub-SS handbook” and its author as a “Rhodesian Nazi terrorist” who “hates everyone and everything and believes everyone on the planet is below him”. According to Barnes, Kemp was known in the party as Napoleon. We look forward to further insights such as these.
Searchlight / HOPE not Hate by Sonia Gable