Leicester anti-fascists are calling for support for a protest at the Best Western Leicester Stage Hotel in Wigston, on the southern edge of Leicester, where the British National Party is holding its annual conference.
Over the past two days Leicester Police have been alerting leaders of the city’s communities that the racists were coming to town. Despite the BNP’s attempts to head off protests by posting on the party website that the three-day event was in South Derbyshire, all enquiries led to Leicester.
Tonight party members are sitting down to a “black tie dinner”, followed by a speech by Nick Griffin, the party leader, that will probably leave them with a bout of indigestion. Tomorrow will start with a financial report and “questions to panel”. It is unclear whether delegates will learn more about the party’s dodgy finances than the Electoral Commission, which is still waiting for its 2009 accounts and investigating the 2008 accounts that were submitted late.
The session will be followed by debates on “policy motions” submitted by each region and a “constitutional debate”. Andrew Brons, the party’s Yorkshire MEP, has undertaken a “consultation” on proposed changes to the BNP’s mammoth constitution, adopted only at the beginning of this year, which gives dictatorial power to the leader and makes it almost impossible to overthrow him.
Brons announced several weeks ago that the party’s elite “voting members” would get a chance to vote on constitutional changes at this weekend’s conference, but Eddy Butler, who unsuccessfully tried to call a leadership election in summer, has pointed out that no constitutionally binding vote can be taken at the conference because members have not been given the required 14 days’ notice of the proposals.
There will also be training workshops running alongside the conference “in a small room”. Presumably the party does not expect delegates to show much interest in sessions on “make your petition stall work for you” and the party’s fake Solidarity trade union.
The highlight of the event was supposed to be a “Christmas Grand Ball” on Saturday evening “complete with three-course meal, entertainment, music and refreshments”. This has now been demoted to a “Christmas party and late evening sing-along” according to the BNP website this afternoon.
On Sunday the party will yet again wheel out its fake vicar “Reverend” Robert West to hold a half-hour “Sunday Service”.
The day was supposed to continue with a two-course lunch followed by “a BNP Veterans Parade, a leadership Question Time, an audio-visual British history presentation and finally the keynote address from BNP leader Nick Griffin MEP”. Instead the BNP veterans have been relegated to a workshop in the “small room” and the BNP leader has ducked out of facing awkward questions from the members.
The BNP claimed a few days ago that the conference hotel was “fully booked”, despite the whopping £299 cost for a couple, or £189 single, to stay both nights in one of the hotels 79 rooms and attend all events.
The conference was open to all party members except, that is, the “many voting members” who according to Butler have been “suspended without charge” or were expelled several months ago and are still awaiting for their appeals to be heard. The police thought there would be no more than 100 people attending, which would be down on previous years.
Hope not hate