Nick Griffin last night closed another destructive day in the life of the rapidly disintegrating BNP by declaring himself London Regional Organiser in place of the recently sacked Chris Roberts, purged for supporting Eddy Butler's leadership challenge.
The move came on the heels of the news that two more BNP councillors had declared themselves "independent" and the highly dubious suspension of Griffin gofer Paul Golding came to light.
Clearly not trusting local London officials, even those he had just hand-picked, at around 10 p.m. Griffin tweeted: "Busy evening putting together a great new London management team. I'll be acting as their Reginal [sic] Organiser while they find their feet. I pass by while on the way to Europe anyway, so a bit of hands on leadership won't be too hard. Vital we organise now to maximise chances in 2012 gla election. I did the same in the North West before handing over to Clive Jefferson. It worked well."
Distrust and disaffection for Griffin is so advanced in London that imposing himself as the top regional official is more likely to entrench existing divisions and create new resentments than it is either to bring the bickering factions to heel or to initiate a period of calm in which some attempt at reconciliation can be effected.
In fact, reconciliation appears to be the last thing on Griffin's mind. London, and particularly East London, being one of the hotter spots in the BNP's fevered post-election discontent, is ripe for a thorough pruning, and it would seem that Griffin is placing himself in the best position possible to oversee it.
Griffin's careless attitude towards the BNP's dwindling number of elected assets was exemplified in his obvious contempt for the newly "independent" Richard Barnbrook, expressed via his Twitter account: "Disappointed by Richard. Have appealed to him to do decent thing and either come back to fold or . . ."
Since even Griffin might think Barnbrook's honourable suicide a step too far, he presumably means that Barnbrook should resign his GLA seat.
Griffin's contempt for Barnbrook long predates the current troubles, but Barnbrook also earned the open contempt of the Butler camp when, with the intervention of the oleaginous Patrick Harrington, he back-tracked on earlier promises to support the Butler camp and allowed himself to become a stooge candidate for Griffin. Barnbrook was quickly discarded when his usefulness ran out and has no political friends left. Even if - and it is a possibility - he were to further humiliate himself and return to the fold, his inglorious career in racist politics will end with the next GLA elections.
Shrugging off the BNP label with better grace than Barnbrook, West Hertfordshire organiser and county councillor Deirdre Gates has also resigned from the party. Three Rivers district councillor Seamus Dunne has declared himself an "independent", but remains a member of the BNP.
Gates may have sought to pre-empt her own purging, but in resigning from the party has defied the advice of her friend Eddy Butler, for whom she was a prominent campaigner. Why Gates took this course is open to speculation unless or until she makes a public statement explaining her actions. There is a suggestion that Gates's time as a county councillor may have have had a maturing influence on her, something that has happened in the past when BNP councillors have glimpsed political life beyond the BNP's inane world of Marxist plots and Muslim takeovers, but, equally likely, she may know something of Butler's plans which would render her continued membership of the BNP superfluous.
The suspension of one of Nick Griffin's chief lackeys, Paul Golding, was greeted with derision by the Butler camp, suspicious of every move made by the embattled BNP leader. Golding was apparently suspended for abusing the official BNP e-mail lists, which he used to promote the infamous "attack blogs" and for transmitting a personal attack on Eddy Butler.
According to Butler: "Obviously Paul Golding will not really be punished for these ‘transgressions’. It is sop designed to imply that the leadership will be even handed when they try to expel certain people who supported me during the recent leadership challenge. It is a blatant fig leaf."
Butler also claims to detect the hand of the sneakingly ubiquitous Patrick Harrington in the ploy, since: "Harrington knows that Paul Golding’s unwise attack e-mail gave grounds for other members of staff who were the subject of abuse, to claim constructive dismissal if no action was taken."
Griffin is clearly positioning himself to take decisive action soon. Will he pick off Butler's people piecemeal, or will there be a bloodbath?
Griffin's reckless behaviour suggests to us that he really doesn't care, and would rather see the BNP's last councillors jump ship and the membership dwindle to a few Green Arrow-type fools before he will allow those oh so well guarded account books to fall out of his control and into the hands of a deeply interested membership.