An influential far-right activist has called for union between the UK Independence Party and British National Party in an attempt to whitewash the BNP’s racism and nazi past by hiding behind its larger, anti-EU rival.
Eddy Butler, who was expelled from the BNP after trying to challenge Nick Griffin to a leadership election last summer but remains an important figure on the extreme right, said in a message for the new year that a party that united the UKIP, BNP and the various smaller groups “on the patriotic, nationalistic, ‘right-wing’, populist, non-politically correct, identity-related side of the spectrum” would “have over 30,000 members” and “instantly be a major force in British politics”.
He recognises, however, that “it would take compromise” and “putting aside preconceived ideas about each other” – a reference to the BNP’s violence and extremism and the image of the UKIP as “Tory types” – and that “jealous personalities”, the biggest of whom is Griffin, will not let it happen.
Butler believes such a union would benefit the UKIP as it “would give them relevance” between European elections. For the BNP “it would provide respectability and distance form a more violent and hard-line past”.
According to Butler only a “tiny minority” in the UKIP “hate everything to do with the BNP”. However a spokesman for the UKIP told Searchlight “[Unity] is not going to happen. We reject the whole concept completely out of hand”.
The BNP meanwhile continues to demonstrate its incompetence and dictatorial nature. When Butler appealed against his expulsion, which he considers was “irregular” under the terms of the party constitution, he was told an appeal tribunal would be arranged for January.
This has now been denied. Knowing that Butler probably had a strong case, Andy McBride, the BNP’s South East regional organiser, decided that Butler was not entitled to a tribunal because he was only a “probationary member” with less than two years’ membership, despite the party’s earlier acceptance that he had the required five years’ continuous membership to stand for the leadership!
The basis for the decision by McBride, whom Butler describes as “ineffective and semi-literate” – so no different from most other party officers – is that Butler was 18 days late in renewing his membership in 2009. However he retained the same membership number and renewal date.
“I can recall a time in history, in another country, during the last days of a (ahem) controversial regime, when all sorts of decrees were sent forth from ‘ze bunker’ pronouncing severe punishments on those who were deemed to have transgressed”, wrote Butler. “The last twitches of a dying organism.”
Commenting on the way Griffin and the BNP keep changing the rules to suit themselves, Butler continued: I think Mr McBride believes in Griffin Law – that parallel legal system, a bit like Sharia Law. It would seem that I am to be further punished by ‘political admin’ (as opposed to a Sharia court).”
Mark Walker, described as the BNP’s political administration officer, clearly comes from the same stable. Responding to a letter of resignation from the party from Chris Francis, Walker wrote: “Clearly you have very negative feelings towards the Party and our membership and this would, in any case, likely have resulted in actions leading to disciplinary proceedings. Best to jump before you were pushed.”
Francis had done no more than express the widespread view that the party is “a cult dedicated to Nick Griffin … The BNP has lost very many decent people over the last couple of years and there are very few decent people left in the party now. The party is now festering with **** & yes men and I for one am glad to be gone,” he added.
Another demoralised former activist is Roy Jones, who was the party’s North East Scotland organiser until he resigned last month over “King Nick and his rotten corrupt regime”. Among his complaints are Griffin’s waste of hundreds of thousands of pounds in dragging the party through the courts and the party’s inability to conduct a leadership action “without resorting to hatefull [sic] smear campaings [sic] against the challenger (Eddy Butler) and suspending /expelling anyone who supported a challenge (myself included)”.
Jones claims that the BNP in Scotland “has been wrecked by the Sycophantic Mentally unstable liar” Gary Raikes, the party’s Scotland regional organiser. Like Butler, Jones points out that the party has still not produced its 2009 accounts, which were due six months ago. On 31 December Griffin wrote on Twitter: “Just finished my report to go with 2009 accounts which auditor says are now virtually ready”.
As Butler commented: “This person is congratulating himself on almost having the 2009 accounts ready when they should have been handed in before 7th July”. If the national and regional accounts are submitted after 7 January 2011, the party will be liable to £2,500 in fines. The record delay follows several declarations by Griffin and the party’s succession of treasurers that all the party’s financial functions were being run in a professional way with the sort of controls one would find in a multinational company.
Griffin’s statement contrasts with Butler’s revelation that the party’s independent auditors, Silver and Co, were still trying to verify with branch treasurers that the bank and cash balances in their local records were the same as the figures provided by the regional treasurer. Butler claims “they are massively out” and local treasurers are refusing to confirm the figures.
Staff not paid
The accounts are unlikely to reveal the full extent of the BNP’s current dire financial straits as much of Griffin’s reckless spending on legal actions and employment tribunals has occurred since 31 December 2009. The BNP is reported to have closed most of its offices and not paid party staff for two months, apart from Patrick Harrington, Griffin’s comrade from his National Front political soldier days, who now works for the party while still heading a rival group.
Life members are calling for a refund as they did not receive their four free copies of the party’s Identity magazine, which it cannot afford to print. A bequest of £65,000 received in September in the will of a supporter who appeared to have no family and friends probably went straight to lawyers to cover the BNP’s huge legal bills. Unfortunately a further £109,000 was due to follow from the same source.
Last month the Electoral Commission pronounced the BNP guilty of breaching electoral legislation by “failing to keep accounting records sufficient to explain, with reasonable accuracy, the financial position of the party at the time”. The verdict followed a long investigation into the party’s 2008 accounts. However the BNP will suffer no penalty as the legislation, which has since been amended, did not allow for anything less than criminal proceedings against the treasurer at the time, who no longer holds the post.
Butler is calling for members not to fund Griffin by renewing, a turnaround from his previous position. Griffin is clearly feeling the pinch. At the party’s annual conference in December he admitted that the party had made mistakes and lost members. He appealed for them to return, claiming the party had moved on. Where the party has moved was revealed in Griffin’s speech at a dinner on the eve of the conference, in which he called for “increased militancy” against Islam. In attempt to revitalise the beleaguered party he promised it would “start acting as well as talking about protecting Britain”. The party is currently targeting a mosque planned for Bletchley.
The just over 100 people at the conference were also the first to see the BNP’s new logo, a heart-shaped cut-out from the Union flag. “This logo will illustrate exactly what this party is about,” said Griffin, incongruously describing it later as a “combination of innocence and love”. Others pointed out the similarities with a Conservative party emblem and Searchlight dubbed it the “broken heart”.
Some party members felt it was too soft and conflicted with Griffin’s call for street militancy. Griffin’s replied that the party still wanted to win elections and needed an image that would not “frighten the horses”.
© Searchlight Magazine 2011