The following has been posted this evening on the British Democracy Forum by Sharon Ebanks. It's an email purportedly written by Andrew Brons and sent in response to people within the BNP who have been pressuring him to sack Eddy Butler (who's still employed by Brons as one of his European Parliament staff despite having been expelled from the BNP at the behest of Griffin.
We publish it here with no way of knowing its provenance or authenticity and with no further comment.
BDF comment posted by Sharon Ebanks:
I had this message forwarded to me. Apparently it is a statement from Andrew Brons which has been sent to a number of people who have been agitating for Brons to sack Butler. I was forwarded it by someone who was sent it (I won't say who) recently who isn't even a member and doesn't even like Grifin, but also doesn't like Butler. I have checked and the message is genuine. In it Brons isn't totally uncritical of Butler but is clear that he accepts his version of events and it's very critical of Nick Griffins actions. The message is a clear slap in the face to the Griffinites who want to get rid of Butler.
The Employment of Eddy Butler
The question is sometimes asked of me: “Why do I employ Eddy Butler?” The simple answer is that he was on a list of people I was asked to employ by Nick Griffin, our Chairman, when I was elected. He was as unknown to me as most of the others were.
The following question is sometimes then asked: “Why do you continue to employ him?” The immediate answer is that he has been employed for eighteen months and there must be a reason in law to dismiss him. He completes the Euro work that I ask him to do.
I am then asked what I think of his ‘blog’ and whether or not that is a good reason for dismissing him. I do not read it, any more than I read any of the anti-Butler messages on the internet. I find them all too dispiriting to waste my time on. However, I am told about the content and I disapprove of much of it. Why do I disapprove of it? I disapprove of it because it can only reduce morale without having any chance of achieving its objective. What is its objective? It is to bring about the resignation of Nick Griffin as Party Chairman. Is it likely to achieve this objective? No! When I tried to persuade Eddy Butler to remove his blog last September, I asked him a simple question: “Would Nick Griffin resign if asked to do so by the majority of the people who made up our fourteen thousand membership last May? His answer was “No”. I replied that it was therefore having all of its negative effects without having any chance of achieving its objective.
The case against Eddy Butler and his blog seems to be cast iron. His influence is entirely negative; he is the cause of all of our ills; and those whom he attacks are his innocent victims? As with all attempts to apportion blame in disputes, it depends on the position from which you start.
The Causes of the Civil War in Our Party
Who fired the first shots? Even this apparently simple question is not so easy to answer. The ‘first shots’ could be identified as the decision of Eddy Butler and Emma Colgate to seek a vote from the Advisory Council to call an EGM and perhaps seek a leadership election. Without that decision, the rest would not have followed. However, such a vote would have been perfectly constitutional and was prevented by their removal from the Advisory Council, which was also perfectly constitutional. Our Constitution provides for the Chairman being able to manipulate, at will, the membership of the body that advises him.
The first overtly hostile act was the removal of Emma Colgate and Eddy Butler from their employment. Emma Colgate apparently agreed to her removal – after some ‘persuasion’. Eddy Butler did not, although his employer believed that he had done so. Eddy was eventually dismissed from his employment with the Party (20% of his total) and with Nick Griffin (40% of his total) for an alleged wrongdoing while employed by me – accompanying one of my coach trips to the European Parliament, several months earlier. However, little discrepancies like that were not allowed to get in the way of the required decision!
What was the result of Eddy Butler being deprived of 60% of his income? He set up his ‘blog’ on which he criticised the Chairman and the running of the Party and those associated with him. In response, our Chairman’s associates set up a blog on which personal attacks were made against Eddy Butler. Eddy Butler responded by making equally personal attacks against our Chairman and his associates.
The decision to remove Eddy Butler from his paid employment did not only serve to provoke a hostile response from Eddy Butler; it facilitated one. For as long as Eddy was employed by our Chairman, he would have had to consider the real cost of launching any damaging attacks on him. Once he was removed from that employment, he was freed from any such inhibition. It is this fatal mistake that some would like me to replicate.
In the meanwhile, the Chairman devised some rules that required nominations for the leadership election to be submitted by (twenty-four month) members individually and would-be candidates were forbidden from using membership lists to persuade members to nominate. In two regions (the North West and the South East) members seeking nominations for Eddy Butler were suspended from membership without the reason for their suspensions being given. Their suspensions had not been lifted and no disciplinary action had followed several months later. I do not know whether or not they have been lifted since.
In September, an edict was issued against factional ‘blogs’. I tried to persuade Eddy Butler to take his down. He refused. He was then told that he had been expelled. When he demanded a tribunal, he was told that he was only a probationary member and could be expelled without a tribunal. The suggestion that a member of more than a decade might be a probationary member is self-evidently absurd.
There is a very real danger that elements of the media will argue that the way in which we treat each other might provide an insight into how a BNP Government would treat its opponents and the population at large.
We are now in a situation in which significant numbers of our May 2010 activists are alienated from the present leadership and in some cases from the Party. There seems to be a campaign to remove any people suspected of such alienation from positions of authority within the Party. They are being replaced by people whose personal devotion to our Chairman is unquestioned (and unquestioning). This one quality is put before everything else including: ability; suitability; and even geographical location.
Where Do We Go From Here?
It would be tempting to reply (like the apocryphal Irishman in the joke) that, “I would not have started from here!” However, we must start from here. It would be equally tempting to reach out for something that we would like in an ideal world, regardless of its attainability.
I said, at the time of the leadership nominations, that we had fourteen thousand members and between a thousand and two thousand activists in May 2010. This enabled us to contest a credible general election campaign, as a serious minor party. It would have been impossible to do so with many fewer members and activists. It is imperative that we win back the bulk of the alienated and the disaffected, if we are to survive as a serious minor party.
Many of the disaffected are unwilling to return to activity (or even renewed membership) with our present Chairman in his position. However, our present Chairman has shown no sign of resigning voluntarily and, if he did so, there would be no obvious successor. The one possible solution would be a compromise of power-sharing. This is not complete ‘pie-in-the-sky’. The 2010 Annual Conference committed the Party to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to consider a proposal submitted by Arthur Kemp and supported by our Chairman for a constitutional change that would involve the Chairman sharing power with an indirectly elected body comprising, (mainly) regional organisers elected by branch organisers. This is not an option that the leadership might consider; it is a firm obligation created by the Annual Conference. It is also the only possibility that we might regain some degree of party unity.
In the meanwhile, I am resolved not to allow myself to be used, by either side, in a civil war of which I disapprove. I employ staff with a variety of opinions on the current party civil war. If I start dismissing factionalists on one side of the dispute, I shall end by dismissing factionalists on both sides. Where would we be then?