BNP: RIP?

Nick Griffin is the captain of a Nazi u-boat, fatally holed, and it looks like he could go   down with the ship (Lt. Dowson 2nd in command). Jings! Things appear to be coming to a head with the disappointment over the leadership challenge and subsequent fragmentation of the membership, the resignations of Lee Barnes and key London General Assembly member Richard Barnbrook, the setting up of an internal enquiry into the finances  accompanied by allegations of serious fraud, the concerns over future political direction, the role of Jim Dowson and Griffin’s overall underwhelming political incompetence. And to make matters even worse, rumours are flying around that they are bankrupt.

Woe Is Thee, BNP!

The leadership challenge turned out to be a damp squib with Griffin stitching up the process and the rival Butlerites failing to get enough votes to make a difference.  Supporters of the challenge saw Griffin go into paranoid hyperdrive by expelling them.

This has illuminated a huge schism in the BNP with many members bitterly divided over Griffin’s leadership. Batty Barnes claims he has resigned over Marmite and EHRC case, amongst other things, and Barnbrook is claiming concerns over management. Barnbrook has resigned the whip but not his membership of the BNP.

Griffin had recently promised to ‘open the books’ to calm fears of fraud and financial mismanagement. Dodgy Dave Hannam is the national treasurer at fault here, more than ably continuing the long line of inept financial wizards at the BNP piggy bank. Following so much criticism over party finances, according to the BNP website, the Advisory Council set up a committee that “has been tasked with examining the structure of the treasury department and making concrete moves to ensure that there is a clear division between those who manage the accounts and those who authorise outlays.” Oh dear. Just before the meeting prominent members Richard Edmonds and Ken Booth were both axed from the AC. BNP councillor Graham Partner has also resigned in disgust.

The Nazi forums are always abuzz with claims and counter-claims of fraudulent activity in the BNP so it is wise to be cautious but it is clear many people do not trust Griffin, as shown by the setting up of the committee, and also do not trust Jim Dowson. Dowson is said to ‘own’ the BNP assets and runs the BNP call centre in Belfast which is used to generate begging letters, offer lifetime memberships and other paraphernalia. However, Dowson is not a BNP member, employs people who are not BNP members – much to the chagrin of many cash strapped activists – and he is seen as both unreachable and unaccountable. However, he has been successful in raising some money for the BNP but where it went is still a sore point. Dowson’s anti-abortion stance and loyalist politics may please some but he has recently been accused of fondling BNP pin-up Shelley Rose which has yet to be resolved.

Electional Disorder

Following the disastrous election campaign in which the BNP stood an overly optimistic 300 candidates and which set the BNP back £92,300, then the £170k payout for the marmite incident, and the costs of the ill timed EHRC case, Griffin has been exposed as  rash and incompetent. They lost many deposits and if that was not enough Griffin managed to crash the Barking campaign and replaced the Stoke candidate with hilarious results. The BNP appear to heading for bankruptcy with debts of £1/2million but Griffin will no doubt have ensured that the bailiffs will not be seizing his pig farm.

Quick Griffin?

According to anti-Griffinites, he is busy destroying the BNP whilst salting away his earnings as an MEP and it is this that, along with allegations of fraud and pocketing members money, has led to allegations of being a ‘state asset.’ However, as even 1 Nazi poster concedes: ‘Nationalists have always loved a conspiracy theory, and often tend to explain failure as the result of infiltration instead of political/tactical/human failings.’ The Nazis claim he has been compromised and is deliberately wrecking the party. This is borne out, they say, by the fact that he has damaged fascist groups in the past: he originally joined the National Front in the late 1970s and engineered a split in their ranks with the Political Soldier faction, then he was instrumental in creating the ill-fated International Third Position which also split. After working in the dreadful white power music scene he was declared bankrupt then joined the BNP, later engineering a coup which ousted tinpot Führer John Tyndall. Tyndall, a man of some rage and little political achievement, wrote a dire warning about Griffin entitled The Problem Is Griffin which was probably fuelled by his bitterness over being usurped as King Nazi. It is a fairly  rancorous attack on Griffin’s personality as well as his political designs. Some on the far right still deify Tyndall and have never forgiven Griffin for this political manoeuvring. Many also disliked Griffin’s ‘no more meetings, marches, punch ups’ policy and his attempt to oust the skinhead faction in order to gain political respectability along the lines of Le Pen’s Front National. This appeared to have worked with the election of Derek Beackon as a councillor in 1993 but as with most BNP ‘wins’ he subsequently lost the position after doing very little. (Many BNP councillors are dismayed that, once elected, they cannot start a race war but have to sort out the bins instead).

Griffin continued to eschew the Nazi skinhead image but Nazi skinheads still lurk around the parties fringes. Like with all fascist grupuscules, the BNP relies on quantity not quality when it comes to membership figures and this has often been their undoing: difficulty in finding candidates without criminal records; the affiliation of hedgerow terrorists and bedroom bombers; the fact they are seen as a 1-off protest vote; and the often violent reaction they create when in public. Griffin and the BNP hijacked a lot of publicity at the recent general election but, despite this and the standing of more candidates than ever, generated little in the form of electoral success and in fact, caused a decline. The cost of the election cannot have helped their financial department. Griffin also made an arse of himself on Question Time and has showed several times how useless he is under pressure and how little of his policies he communicates.

R.I.P?

So is it the end, my friend? Well, we live in hope. What could happen is that the ‘official’ BNP could become insolvent with enormous debts of up to ½ million quid according to a surprisingly candid Griffin. If he is exposed as fraudulent he will lose total political credibility and his seat in Europe where he has been, like most BNP councillors, completely ineffectual. The far right at the moment looks like this: the pro-Griffinites in the BNP; the anti-Griffinites in the BNP; anti-Griffinites who are unaligned; the NF, who may absorb some disenfranchised ex-members; and the usual flotsam of Nazi fantasists and idiots (like the futile BPP and the fatuous Combat 18 relics who got a royal battering from the EDL last year). Whatever the outcome, the BNP is in a dire position and all of the other factions are heavily compromised, operate as safety valves, are monitored by the state or all 3. So what next for the far right? And how is Griffin going to extract himself from an increasingly difficult situation? It will no doubt be enormously entertaining to anti-fascists everywhere. We shall see …

‘Malatesta’

 NB: all material by ‘Malatesta’ is copyright free.

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About malatesta32

Malatesta, undercover anti-fascist blogger, has analyzed the changing fortunes of the British far right since 2009. He has written for the anarchist magazine Freedom and the book, Militant Anti-Fascism: 100 Years Of Resistance (AK Press 2015). http://www.akuk.com/index.php?_a=product&product_id=7285
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