A heart-warming gathering of eighty British National Party activists, organizers and councillors took place last weekend at a five star hotel in the BNP heartland of South Yorkshire.
The event was the first fully-fledged national conference of BNP Reform, with delegates attending from the length and breadth of the land, from Scotland to Cornwall.
The weekend kicked off with a truly mouth-watering banquet, which put everyone in a very good mood for the formal business of the conference.
The affable Nick Cass, former squash champion and party manager, delivered an impressive and moving after dinner speech in which he described with just what contempt and indifference he and his young family had been treated by the party leadership. For example, he informed us how an image of himself, his wife and his three young children had been used on BNP leaflets that were subsequently delivered to millions of homes - without his permission!
It says a great deal for Nick's commitment to the BNP that he is still a member of the party after treatment like that. It also speaks volumes about the turpitude of the current leadership of the party.
After a good night's sleep and a generous cooked breakfast the following morning, the conference proper got under way, Nick chairing proceedings in his firm but fair and friendly way.
The delegates were treated to a succession of well conceived and executed presentations by some of the most active proponents of party reform.
Former regional organizer Peter Mullins spoke on setting up the Reform committee, which provoked a lively discussion.
Former party manager Michaela Mackenzie spoke very movingly about her successful action for unfair dismissal, and Mr Griffin's duplicity and delaying tactics. From her bitter personal experience she proffered the sound advice: never take a paid position under the current leadership of the party, if you wish to keep your hands clean.
Web editor Rowena Savage and webmaster Simon Bennett gave a fascinating power point presentation of the Reform's web presence. The upward movement on the Alexa ratings of http://bnpreform.com/ compares favourably with the regrettable downward movement of the http://www.bnp.org.uk/ site on the same rankings.
Chris Beverly delivered a message of greetings from his employer, Andrew Brons MEP, and asked, on Andrew's behalf, for concrete proposals for constitutional reform to be submitted to him for consideration by the party leadership.
Fundholder Frank Carlin then spoke for about an hour on the Reform's constitutional proposals, the product of many hours of work by a small working party that included a university law lecturer. The constitutional proposals provide the democratic machinery for oversight of leadership performance, free the political leadership to concentrate on external affairs rather than internal administration, and deliver transparency, openness and effectual financial control, all of which have been lacking till now, and the absence of which has been harmful to the party.
After a break for lunch Sue Bowen made a very interesting multi-media presentation on the valuable work of the cultural umbrella organization, Broadsword.
Una Rice then spoke on novel, and successful, approaches to local campaigning, with the view of election as a local councillor, recruiting new members to the party, and building a good local image for the party. Her ideas were very well received, especially by the councillors in attendance, among whose number were Mrs Collett, and Roger Robertson, the former regional organizer.
Dr Andrew Emerson then spoke about the leader's factiousness, censuring his recent implication, in an article on the party web site, that those BNP members who sought to facilitate a leadership challenge were clandestinely paid agents of the state, or of Searchlight, or in some other way acting contrary to the party's interests.
Dr Emerson called on Mr Griffin to meet the reformers half-way, so that the party could reunite and move forward again, without recriminations.
Peter Phillips, the architect, then gave a very well received talk on the need for new leadership of the party.
Peter Mullins spoke again, this time on Nick Griffin and Jim Dowson, Strafford to Griffin's Charles I.
Eddy Butler, the party's former national organizer, and national elections officer, delivered the keynote speech of the conference, on what the Reform needs to do in order to maintain the pressure for internal change. Amongst other things, he told the conference that local activity was essential.
BNP founder member, and former advisory council member, Richard Edmonds, then delivered the closing address to conference, vintage Edmonds oratory, which enthused the appreciative audience, and put them in the right frame of mind to take part in the question and answer session which then followed.
Conference chairman Nick Cass then thanked the delegates for their attendance and, wishing everyone a safe journey home, closed the conference in the late afternoon.
This was undoubtedly one of the best political conferences I have ever attended, and I've attended a fair number in my time. If the party as a whole were to be run as efficiently as the Reform conference, our present troubles would soon be over.
All credit to Eddy Butler for exercising his superb organizing talent to such good purpose and effect.