BNP: Lest We Forget!

Jings! Whilst many anti-fascists have been preoccupied with the EDL we should not forget the current woes of the good old BNP. It has been a heck of a month! 

Summertime Blues

The BNP’s Summer School was a washout by all accounts. The few pictures published have shown a few dispirited looking fascists in a mainly empty field. Apparently, Nick Griffin acolyte the Green Marrow was there in a new Stetson but it was unclear if he was selling his special ‘condensed lager’ cocktails. Things like the Summer School (SS) and the Red, White & Blue Farcical are big money spinners for Griffin who usually takes control of any profit making enterprises such as beer and ticket money. About 200 attended the RWB or Indigenous Family Weekend and 85 attended the SS.  There is not going to be much to divvy up after these 2 ‘showcases.’ Branch wise, the BNP is doing poorly: Liverpool BNP is riven with accusations of ‘spies’  and ‘nonces,’ Birmingham’s once strong branch has collapsed and Tameside is refusing to distribute official BNP leaflets in the area. On the plus side, for Griffin at least, former webmaster Simon Bennett has had his case against the BNP thrown out of court.

Nickclops

Griffin turned up in court again on September 7th with the CEHR over discriminatory elements in the membership criteria and contempt but this was adjourned. This whole case will be costly and he has been soliciting donations for ‘razor sharp legal advice,’ although he also said he was representing himself. On the day Griffin, who turned up late,  was being ‘advised’ by veteran racist Patrick Harrington, former organiser of the National Front’s White Noise neo-Nazi band collective and part of the BNP’s made-up union, Solidarity. Griffclops is also painting himself out as a martyr to the ‘British Resistance’ (resisting reality around the UK) and flags up rumours he may be jailed. This would obviously create a huge amount of publicity and reassert some badly needed political buoyancy for the discredited captain of a sinking ship.  

Griffin’s begging bowl is bringing back decreasing contributions and members are getting sick of his constant requests for money. Each missive cites a different but more desperate reason why the cash strapped members should shell out. Politically, Griffin may be an idiot but he is no fool when it comes to money and you can guarantee that he has nothing in his own name, will have salted away a few quid somewhere, and has been carefully stashing his MEP salary and ‘any other monies’ should the BNP go under.

Skint

The BNP is close to bankrupt with it’s £ ½ million debt. If it does go under then their assets will be seized but apparently most assets have been transferred to Jim Dowson’s control so if they do go bankrupt there will be little to sequester. Griffin was also taken to court over wrongful dismissal of Michael McKenzie and ordered to pay her compensation. This he has now reneged on so that should be another few bob and a futile court case.  The BNP membership has been in a terrible state since the appalling election campaign resulting in further loss of income. Griffin was boasting of 1,000s of new members after the election but membership had actually been frozen due to the case over membership rules. No doubt people will have been put off following all the salacious gossip about party funding. Many have let their memberships lapse, have resigned or been suspended. According to Eddy Bitler’s blog they have lost 1,500 members in the last month alone. There are rumours on the net of only about 4,000 members but it is hard to clarify with so much misinformation floating around. The BNP council elections have all been an embarrassment and their sole London Assembly member Richard Barnbrook has resigned the whip (but is still a member) following concerns over wrong doing and misconduct. Barnbrook was the only BNP member, apart from Griffin, to actually get a semi-decent position and a media profile.  

The All-New BNP?

Disaffected Nazis on various web forums have commented on the BNP’s political direction being somewhat confused and compromised following the case over membership rules. The reformers are still hoping to rebuild the party sans Griffin whilst other want to start a new party free of the baggage of the BNP. If the BNP implodes, there will be the space for a new right wing party to capitalise on the anti-immigration angle. But this is one of the problems for the BNP: it is seen as a single issue party and aside from having a go at the ‘Pakis’ has little else to show for itself. A whites-only anti-immigration party will have a hard time organising as the BNP case has set a legal precedent.

Give Griffin his due, he has moved the BNP from being a bunch of hairy arsed skinheads into a more Euro-fascist proposition having abandoned the streets with his ‘no more  marches, meetings, punch-ups’ remark in the 1990s. The chances of a new party rising from the ashes of the BNP and quickly establishing itself are remote. It takes a long time and a lot of money. The EDL are currently reaping the ‘benefits’ of disaffected BNP members who attend their demos but the transformation into a legit political party does not seem likely. Even if they did become legit they would suffer from the same single issue stigma as the BNP.

Abandon Hope, Ship, Trousers …

Not only did Griffin go into overdrive suspending members who sided with Butler in the leadership challenge but many of the party luminaries have abandoned the Griff-tanic to leave him tangoing in the ballroom alone. Lee Barnes, the mental ‘legal adviser’, says he resigned from the BNP over Marmite and the CEHR. Batty Barnes has realised that he is now in even more of a political wilderness than ever and has been buttering up the EDL with ‘advice’ on how to do their demos. How kind. Griffin recently hit back at Batty Barnes’s various allegations which inspired a lengthy breath of stale air from Barnes’s blog. Barnes is also backing the sexual misconduct claims against BNP svengali Jim Dowson and he has openly accused Dowson of being a multiple rapist on his blog. Dowson has not responded to these somewhat strong allegations but it remains a source of grievous contention. There is an odious whiff around the fragrant Shelley Rose, the BNP glamour kitten, for it is she who made the allegations against Dowson and following her revelations there have been others. All are yet to be substantiated however. What is even more horrifying is that this English Rose was also having an affair with married Simon Darby who subsequently did a disappearing act for a week or 2 under mysterious circumstances.

Eddy Butler is still leading the main reform group. If he successfully deposes Griffin it is likely that many ex-BNP and anti-Griffinites will rally around him but given the fractious nature of far-right politics many of them have fallen out with each other and even if the BNP was reborn under a new name, there would still be all the smelly little schisms that characterise those on the fringes of political reality. We should also remember that Butler is a deeply unpleasant prospect who was behind the Rights For Whites campaign in the early 90s and also helped set up the BNP Stewards Group that became Combat 18. Butler was also tight with Griffin until very recently.

Also re-emerging is Tony Lecomber, another dodgy prospect. Lecomber was imprisoned over an attempted bombing back in the 1980s and for assault in the 1990s. His enemies claim he is a state asset. Back in the day, AFA used to refer to him as Tarmac Tony due to his face being familiar with pavements around London. According to a Lancaster Unity article, he is currently running round trying to mediate between pro- and anti-Griffinite factions. Lecomber also beat up Butler at Loughton station a couple of years back. All these character are desperate to regain the flimsy status that being a BNP ‘face’ gave with its attendant publicity and perks.

Conclusion

So as Griffin battles on against the CEHR, his leadership certain for the while, the Reform group don’t seem to be getting too far and support for the BNP is dwindling. Are the BNP’s days numbered? And if Griffin is imprisoned will he take time to explain his policies to any Afro-Carribeans or Asian prisoners he may meet on the dinner line.

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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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