September 28, 2009

RBL dithers while BNP donations con-trick is exposed

For a so-called political party that constantly appears to be teetering on the edge of financial collapse, the BNP seems to have become astoundingly generous to charities in the past couple of months - or that's what it would like us to believe.

In fact, it has done very little for charities except to make hollow promises that are exploited for its own purposes on the BNP's website, giving the visitor the impression that the party is acting responsibly by supporting its chosen causes while actually doing nothing except taking the kudos for its unperformed acts of generosity.

A week or two ago, we reprinted an article in which the Institute of Fundraising Scotland, a leading fund-raising body, warned charities to beware of undeclared donations from the British National Party after a number of good causes claimed they were duped into accepting money from the far-right group. In several cases, the BNP claimed credit for donations to charities who have never knowingly accepted money from the party and in several cases would refuse it if it were ever to be openly offered.

Colonel William Shuttlewood, a director of the Gurkha Welfare Trust, one of the charities the BNP claims to have made donations to, said it would never knowingly accept money from the BNP. Al Sutton, chairman of Troop Aid, another unknowing possible recipient, said: 'We are not associated with any political party, especially the BNP', while the Down’s Syndrome Association vehemently denied a claim on the BNP website that it had asked the party to help it raise funds.

Another more dramatic (and consequently more exploited) donation has been that which the BNP claims it is negotiating with FEBA, a charity which is negotiating £50,000 a year from the BNP to keep open its veterans' drop-in centre in Lanarkshire. A lot of fuss was made about FEBA a few weeks back, with the BNP taking full credit for keeping it open, yet 'negotiations' between Nick Griffin and Tommy Moffat, the charity's administrator, seem to have stalled. No great surprise, as Griffin has already got what he wanted from the announcement - the publicity.

FEBA did receive a donation of sorts from the BNP - or rather the wealthy BNP supporter Walter (or William, depending on which story you read about him) Hamilton - a consignment of radiators allegedly worth £3000 (which may well have fallen off the back of the Lie Lorry). Radiators notwithstanding, FEBA still needs £50,000 a year to run - if the BNP is near-bankrupt, where is that money going to come from?

The truth is, naturally, that it isn't coming from anywhere and there was never any intention of donating such a large sum to anyone (except possibly King Nick himself), only to reap the rewards of the very rare positive publicity that the story generated.

There's a short aside to this story which is worth mentioning. The BNP survives on donations from its gullible members, thanks to the never-ending stream of increasing desperate begging letters from Welshpool. Even though most of the money raised goes directly to non-member Jim Dowson, the organiser of the begging campaign and owner of the Lie Lorry, and a hefty percentage goes to Nick Griffin and various acolytes and hangers-on (including would-be schoolie-bonker and all-round shit Mark Collett, who is allegedly paid £50,000 per year for designing the BNP's propaganda), that leaves little to be used for the BNP for its 'political' work. So who decided to spend substantial chunks of that money by donating it to various charities and were the members asked if that was the way they wanted their donations to be spent?

But now we come to the latest twist in the BNP/charities mess, the bit that is currently (and rightly) causing great embarrassment to the Royal British Legion.

Back in October 2008, one of our contributors Eric the Fish wrote about the BNP's attempted hijack of the Poppy Appeal, the RBL's long-term and popular fundraser. Eric reported;
Neil Griffiths, of the Royal British Legion Scotland, said: "We abhor any association with the BNP. I worked most of my military career with Gurkhas and feel angry by any level of racism when I encounter it. The BNP seem to have forgotten that the Indian Army in the Second World War had two million members. It was the biggest volunteer army in military history and it played a huge role in the war."
Jim Panton, chief executive of Poppyscotland, said: "I had no idea the BNP have tried to get involved in the Poppy Appeal. It's outrageous for any organisation or group to try to hijack the poppy for their own benefit or gain. It is a misuse and misrepresentation of the sentiment of the appeal and we would take a strong line against that. We are apolitical and have not asked any party to back us."
So strongly did the RBL feel that it demanded that Nick Griffin stop wearing the Poppy during the European Election campaign and also that he stop using the armed forces to further the BNP's agenda. To no effect, because Griffin continued to do both.

Having seen that the BNP doesn't give a toss for the armed forces except where they can be used for political and financial gain, one would have expected the RBL to respond vigorously to any attempt by the BNP to directly make capital from any contact. Thus, when BNP member Rachel Firth announced that she would pledge half of the funds she raised by spending twenty-four hours in a cardboard box in the street to the legion and the other half to the BNP, it was no great surprise when the legion refused the donation.

When Firth then clearly stated that the donation would not be used for partisan political activity, the RBL naively accepted her assurance and announced that it would accept the donation, at which point the news of the donation and the RBL's acceptance of it appeared on the BNP's website (August 30th: see image below).

Rachel Firth - where's the RBL's donation?
As it happens, even though Firth's little stunt took place way back in August, the RBL still hasn't had its donation and according to Third Sector (the UK’s leading publication for everyone who needs to know what’s going on in the voluntary and not-for-profit sector), the RBL is now seriously considering whether to reject it even if it is (finally) offered, on the grounds that the party has used it to make political capital.

The dithering of the Royal British Legion over this matter is shameful. The offer of a donation should have been refused outright because of the ridiculous proviso that half the money raised from the stunt was going to the BNP. Under its own rules, that was grounds for the RBL to say thanks but no thanks. Instead, it took the party at its word, was taken in and now has to make the choice again, assuming the offer is ever forthcoming.

The whole issue of charities taking money from political parties is difficult, particularly when the charity appears to be in dire straits and feels that it needs that money simply in order to carry on. FEBA hasn't got any cash of its own and, let's face it, is unlikely to be getting £50,000 per annum from the BNP - but should it even have entered negotiations with such a party anyway? Personally I would say no unless the charity also supports the party's racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Muslim rhetoric and the BNP leader's constantly recurring bouts of anti-Semitism. Easy for me to say, I know, as I do not run a charity that is unable to continue through lack of cash. Nevertheless, there are principles at stake here and there are times when, no matter how painful it might be, it is right and proper to stand up for them.

The BNP as a party has NO real interest in supporting charities unless it can make some political gain from so doing. At the moment, it sees a lot of interest in armed forces personnel and is exploiting that to the full. A couple of months ago, it was a small bird sanctuary that was the focus of the party's attention for as long as it got a little publicity out of it and the the Poppy Appeal - next month it could be sanctuaries for disabled donkeys or depressed circus clowns. As long as there is something to exploit, the BNP will attempt to exploit it because it is a party without ethics whose only great ability is the skill of jumping on the next available bandwagon. Anyone who believes otherwise is doomed to disappointment.


Mike B. said...

"As long as there is something to exploit, the BNP will attempt to exploit it because it is a party without ethics whose only great ability is the skill of jumping on the next available bandwagon. Anyone who believes otherwise is doomed to disappointment."

Nicely put and a good article. It would be great to see more original writing on here.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the offer of money with no actually exchange taking place qualify as fraud?

Pete Green said...

It's a month and they still haven't coughed up the cash from the Rachel Firth stunt? Oh dear, they must be worse of than I thought.

Anonymous said...

"Down’s Syndrome Association vehemently denied a claim on the BNP website that it had asked the party to help it raise funds."

We all know the BNP are fucking liars but that's pretty low even for them.

Anonymous said...

"would-be schoolie-bonker and all-round shit Mark Collett"

You don't like him much do you. :)

Does he really get £50,000 a year???

Anonymous said...

Tony Lecomber has advocated a “racially purer” Britain through the sterilisation of the poor, the sick and the disabled. This statement must be brought to the attention of all of these charities?

Anonymous said...

As Anon says - What has happened to that money ?

There must be some record of this.

Perhaps the Police sgould take a close look at this as to my mind it is comming very close to obtaining money under false pretenses.

Old Sailor

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't the offer of money with no actually exchange taking place qualify as fraud?"

"Perhaps the Police sgould take a close look at this as to my mind it is comming very close to obtaining money under false pretenses."

It may be fraud or it may be obtaining money under false pretenses. Either way it's filthy and the BNP is guilty of it.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article.

Anonymous said...

This smacks of a Griffin scam. Tax dodge maybe?

West Midlands Unity said...

Very good and very well-written article LU!

Still can't believe the BNP would have any of us thinking that they actually gave funding to the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Gri££in has already "cleverly" pointed out that the Gurkhas are mercenaries and they don't deserve to over-populate this country even more...

Anonymous said...

"Mark Collett, who is allegedly paid £50,000 per year"

lot of money. do members know this? i bet he is spending it on his new blonde bimbo?

JJ said...

Fucking good stuff, mates!

I fucking HATE the BNP! said...

Does he really get £50,000 a year???

Yes and he's got a nice new BMW too or he had last time I looked, the cunt.

Sash said...

The British legion has been all over the place with this. They should have said a resounding NO when first approached and told of the connection with the BNP and they should be ashamed that they even considered becoming involved with this Griffin-inspired farce.

Anonymous said...

A nice clean box indoors, a bloody teddy bear (wot, no golly?), a pillow and a quilt. Wo, she really went for the complete homeless person experience didn't she.

Anonymous said...

It would appear that the BNP hierarchy are all doing pretty well by the looks of it - doesn't seem as if any of them are feeling the credit crunch - Arthur Kemp proudly explains on his blog how he and wifey took a lovely holiday touring all over Europe - they even explain how they stayed in five star hotels.

Presumably the "foreign affairs spokesman" and Excalibur are doing very well out of the BNP schmucks thank you!

Anonymous said...

The RBL, or any other charity for that matter, should only accept a charitable donation once the money has been handed over.

Any decent charitable donor would not object to this. Any sensible charity would place the donation into escrow until they had determined if acceptance would be a reasonable course of action.

The charity should be free to determine terms of acceptance once the sum has been made available to them. It is detrimental to any charitable cause to be duped in this way - by the BNP or any other 'donor'.

This would also clarify the tax position for any Donor as the Charity could issue a receipt - which could then be shown to the taxman. Perhaps the BNP would care to show the receipts (or perhaps all receipts are managed in the same way now - with fire and shredders).

Anonymous said...

The Royal British Legion have sat idly by and allowed themselves to be infiltrated by the British National Party and taken their DIRTY money. Why? Mark Adrian Collett has publicly stated his preferences as far as which side he would have been on during World War II. Councillor Paul Golding has been caught by a lournalist wearing his pants on his head during a Remembrance Day 2 minute silence. If I sat here and named every single statement of support for the German armies and forces of the Third Reich(....'pointless civil war between whites'...) I would use all of my data allowance!!!

But there is an alternative this Remembrance Day:

Anonymous said...

No Collett probably spends his 50k buying lollypops to lure young girls into his flat.

Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

According to the RBL email I recieved:

Our stance has not changed since we issued this statement:

The Royal British Legion is strictly non-political and for nearly 90 years we have scrupulously remained above the party political fray. We have never endorsed any political party nor do we accept party donations made for partisan purposes.

We do not accept donations made for political PR purposes, or donations made on behalf of the BNP or any other political party.

In the Huddersfield case, a woman approached the Legion with the offer of raising funds for us while also raising funds for the BNP.

After initially refusing to accept the donation, we were assured by her that this donation was being made independently of her support of the BNP and would not be used for partisan political activity. We accepted this explanation, which we still believe to be the case.
The Legion's insistence on independence from any political party, including the BNP, is clear. We recently asked all party political leaders to refrain from using the Poppy or other symbols of Remembrance for political purposes during the European election campaign - all of them complied with this request, with the exception of BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Having made the request privately, the Legion then repeated its request publicly, with an open letter placed in The Guardian asking Mr Griffin to refrain from politicising the Poppy.

"The Poppy is the symbol of sacrifices made by British Armed Forces in conflicts both past and present and it has been paid for with blood and valour," it said. "True valour deserves respect regardless of a person's ethnic origin, and everyone who serves or has served their country deserves nothing less."
Despite this, Mr Griffin has refused to comply and continues to politicise the Poppy pin in direct contravention of the Legion's request.
It is unfortunate that the Legion once again finds itself defending its reputation from being identified with political interests. Our only interest is safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families."

Debbie Hawke
Legionline Co-ordinator

Legionline 08457 725 725

Direct Line 020 3207 2119

So presumable they have got the cash!