Nick Griffin has admitted that the British National Party has liabilities of half a million pounds, or 25% of its claimed annual turnover.
The revelation, made at a party meeting in Tameside, comes on the eve of a meeting of the party’s Advisory Council at which full details of the party’s financial state are supposed to be revealed.
Whether the party treasurer, the incompetent David Hannam, will provide any figures is now in doubt, following the sacking of Ken Booth, the party’s North East regional organiser, from the Advisory Council. It was Booth who was the prime mover of the call to open the party’s books at the meeting on 14 August.
It is unclear whether the BNP leader actually had the power to sack Booth. The party’s constitution states that all regional organisers sit on the Advisory Council and there appears to be no provision for Griffin unilaterally to dismiss anyone.
The other man sacked from the Advisory Council, Richard Edmonds, had burnt his bridges with the party last month when he revealed that Jim Dowson, the convicted criminal who now owns the BNP, earns £162,000 a year from the party. Saturday’s meeting was also supposed to be shown Dowson’s contract, a document that no one has ever seen but that Griffin claims exists.
According to Eddy Butler, who failed to win enough nominations to challenge Griffin for the party leadership earlier this week, the letters dismissing Booth and Edmonds were sent on Wednesday 11 August, the same day that Griffin assured Andrew Brons, who was acting as scrutineer for the nomination process, that he would welcome critics being able to see the books and study the accounts to give the party a clean bill of health. Butler says it is clear from this that Griffin had no intention to open the books.
The BNP’s £500,000 of debts place the party in a serious financial situation. The widespread discontent among activists, coupled with the fact that it is much more difficult for the party to raise money outside an election campaign, means that the party has little prospect of becoming solvent.
The seriousness of the situation is clear from the tone of Griffin’s latest fundraising appeal letter, also sent on Wednesday. Admitting that the party is “cash struck”, which, in an attempt to exert the maximum pull on supporters’ purse strings, he blames on the legal action over the party’s racist constitution brought by the hated Equality and Human Rights Commission, Griffin implores: “if you don’t give, we can’t fight … and if we don’t fight we will be shut down and killed off”.
Butler thinks that the sackings are also intended to prevent the Advisory Council voting by a two thirds majority to impeach Griffin. “He is a frightened man”, says Butler.
However there does not appear to be any provision in the party constitution for impeachment or even suspension of the chairman, who holds absolute power. The powers of the Advisory Council are limited to appointing the party’s auditors, requesting that its financial records are made available for inspection by any individual member of the council at a meeting, and, on a two thirds majority vote, calling a general members’ meeting. Such a meeting can discuss resolutions put by members but only with the consent of Griffin.
Nevertheless, despite the constitution, which Griffin forced through a general members’ meeting earlier this year without actually showing anyone the provisions that increased his powers and made it virtually impossible to challenge his leadership, he will find it hard to carry on if enough influential party activists turn against him.
The latest to do so is Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s sole London Assembly member, who stated today that he would from now on sit as an independent member of the Assembly. Explaining his action, he said he remained a “loyal and dedicated” party member, but could not continue to represent the party until “allegations of serious wrong doing concerning senior British National Party officials” are “the subject of an internal independent and transparent BNP investigation”.
Butler said today: “More revelations about severe financial wrongdoings are about to be made public,” adding to the pressure on Griffin to investigate the allegations of sexual assault made against Dowson and tell party activists the truth about what has been going on inside the BNP.
Searchlight / HOPE not Hate by Sonia Gable