A longstanding nationalist friend in the British National Party — whose father I met through the National Front during the 1970s and who is still a friend today — has sent me, without comment, a bulletin issued by BNP chairman Nick Gri££in. This is the header of the document:
From: Chairman Nick Griffin MEP
Date: Tuesday, 5 October, 2010, 19:00
Subject: Financial Scrutiny Committee Interim Report
BNP’s Financial Scrutiny Committee Issues Interim Report
If anybody would like me to send them the full text of this — or any other document I mention — they have only to ask. Since I was sent the bulletin without comment, I presume I was being invited to comment. This I now do:
An amplification of the Gri££in statement (obviously also written by him) has been posted on the BNP web site which you may care to read.
BNP News – Monday 4th October 2010
BNP’s Financial Scrutiny Committee Issues Interim Report
The British National Party’s Financial Scrutiny Committee (FSC) has issued its first interim report in which it declares that it has found no evidence to support any rumours or allegations of financial impropriety, as claimed by critics of the party’s leadership.
When you’ve done that and finished belly-laughing, you might care to ponder the possibility of anybody giving credibility to the report of a panel appointed by Gri££in, set up to investigate allegations against him of financial skulduggery, which, within a few weeks determined that Gri££in and his pal Jim Dow$on are innocent of all wrongdoing!
There are number of points to be raised about all this:
IS THIS HOW THE PARLIAMENTARY
EXPENSES SCANDAL WAS INVESTIGATED?
How would the public and the media have reacted if, when the Parliamentary Expenses row erupted last year, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, announced that he had set up a panel of MPs, appointed exclusively by himself, to investigate the matter?
There would have been uproar. Such a procedure would never even have been tolerated (even if contemplated by Speaker Martin) and, as we know, that luxury-loving expenses addict was forced to resign his office as a result of his efforts to hide from the public information about how he and his fellow MPs pigged-out at the public money trough.
But Gri££in not only contemplated setting up just such a squalid and cynical whitewash of his financial shenanigans, he brazenly went ahead and perpetrated just such a scheme because he knows that his remaining rank-and-file membership is composed for the most part of ignoramus newcomers to the nationalist cause — plus a few sad old hands for whom the party is their sole social outlet.
THE PANEL: PROFESSIONALS OR AMATEURS?
– AND WHY WEREN’T AUDITORS APPOINTED?
How many of the members of this panel are qualified as Auditors with specialist skills in the area of ‘forensic’ analysis of accounts?
Why were the party’s independent professional Auditors not appointed to perform this task? Auditors are trained to know what to look for and are required by law not to publish any financial report which is to the slightest degree “economical with the truth”. But 80 per cent of his lumpen membership would be quite unaware of all this, as he knows all too well.
If Gri££in really wanted to clear his name and restore the credibility of his party’s Treasury, this would have been his obvious and only route. A man who knew that he and his close associates were entirely innocent of any financial wrongdoing and who valued his integrity as his No. 1 political asset would have taken that course.
A VERDICT IN WEEKS FROM A PARTY WHOSE
ANNUAL ACCOUNTS ARE ALWAYS MONTHS LATE!
Year after year, even with the services of professional independent auditors, the BNP has always been late with the presentation of its annual accounts to the Electoral Commission, which is a statutory obligation. Parties are allowed several months from the end of the year concerned to present their accounts to the EC.
Getting the accounts prepared, submitted to independent Auditors and then presented to the EC should not be a problem for a small party which employs a full-time salaried National Treasurer who can call on the assistance of other full-time salaried party employees — to say nothing of Gri££in’s Chartered Accountant father, Edgar.
Yet year after year, the BNP gets its accounts to its Auditors late and/or the Auditors have been unable to sign-off the books “as a true and fair account of the party’s financial affairs” and have had to call for further and better particulars — all of which means that the accounts have not arrived at the EC until one or two levels of fines have been imposed. These fines are met from the funds subscribed by members, not from Gri££in’s pocket.
In the light of this sustained record of chaos and incompetence:
How is it that a Gri££in-appointed panel of amateurs, not working on the project full-time and new to the party’s head office financial and administrative systems, were able to obtain, read and analyse three or more years' worth of accounts and associated paperwork and produce such an emphatic report about Gri££in’s and the BNP Treasury’s honesty within a few short weeks?
THE CHEQUERED HISTORY OF GRI££IN-APPOINTED PANELS
Why is Gri££in so keen on panels to sort out his financial messes? These have never vindicated his financial integrity, but with a party which has had such a ‘churn’ of membership, past fiascos are soon forgotten as there is always a new set of fresh trusting faces to con. Onwards and upwards to the next swindle!
• The “Collett Murder Plot” (in April this year)
Who has forgotten the excitement which enlivened the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in April this year? Gri££in announced that he had purged a key party official for involvement in a “murder conspiracy” against him. (So much has happened since then that this incident seems like years ago, doesn’t it?)
Gri££in identified the leader of this “conspiracy” as his former protégé and Head Office employee Mark Collett. Gri££in claimed to have a tape recording of a telephone conversation between Collett and BNP Treasurer Dave Hannam in which “Collett issued death threats” against himself and the Belfast ‘businessman’ Jim Dow$on. That tape, he said, had been given to the Police, who had arrested Collett.
Ever the ‘drama-queen’, Gri££in summoned a meeting of party officials to hear details of the affair. Fans of Orwell’s Animal Farm will recognise this meeting: the barnyard rally summoned by the chief pig Napoleon to notify the horrified lesser animals of the pig Snowball’s “treason” and resultant banishment.
Gri££in brought a copy of the “incriminating” tape to the meeting, and discussed it. But instead of playing the tape to the entire assembly, he selected a panel of three or four reliably gullible sycophants (thrilled to have half an hour’s worth of ‘fame’) to hear it in a separate private room. They later returned to the meeting to announce that what they had heard did indeed support “....everything that Nick has said”.
Everybody waited with bated breath for the Humberside Police to bring charges against Collett. Meanwhile, under cover of the distraction provided by the crisis, Gri££in sacked several other senior paid party officials (including Eddy Butler, the party’s National Organiser) whose loyalty was in doubt.
In a matter of a couple of days, Collett was released from custody on Police bail and within a few more weeks it became obvious that no charges were to be preferred against him. The Police had abandoned the case and made no public statement. Nor did Gri££in.
Later, the reason for Collett’s release without charge became obvious. Police audio specialists had examined the tape and found that it was not the original tape, but an edited version. Tampered evidence is no evidence. Gri££in and Hannam were asked to provide the original complete version, but they did not do so. Without the original tape there was no case for Collett to answer.
You will guess that it was a copy of the edited version of the tape which Gri££in allowed the panel of officials to hear at last April’s meeting. This was (another) instance of Gri££in appointing a panel of dunderheads with a brief to produce a verdict on issues which reflected on his integrity, and providing the dunces with tampered, deceptive, useless ‘evidence’.
Why did Gri££in need to produce an edited version of the tape of Collett’s conversation with Hannam?
Perhaps because during the Collett/Hannam telephone conversation Collett made reference to the various shady deals Gri££in had made (especially in the area of printing work). Collett may have threatened to ‘go Queen's evidence’ on Gri££in if he persisted in the plan to take away the printing contracts from him (trading as Vanguard Productions) and to award them to Dowson. If the Police had heard all of Collett’s remarks they might have regarded them as prima facie evidence of wrongdoing by Gri££in.
THE INEVITABLE CONCLUSION TO BE DRAWN REGARDING
THE ‘FINDINGS’ OF THIS LATEST GRI££IN-APPOINTED PANEL:
Against this background of Gri££in’s willingness to give “evidence” which had been ‘edited’ (i.e. tampered-with) by him to investigatory panels appointed by him, we are entitled to greet with a hearty belly-laugh the statement issued by his ‘Financial Scrutiny Committee’ that it was given “....full access to all current financial records, both Central and Regional, and have conducted extensive checks.....”.
Further, we are entitled to regard with extreme scepticism the claim that the committee has been able to survey — let alone digest and form an opinion about — such a vast amount of material in the brief time that has elapsed since it was formed.
Hence, the Financial Scrutiny Committee’s “interim findings” are simply the outcome of yet another Gri££in swindle.
1) What is this “British National Party 2010”?
In recent bulletins I have drawn attention to:
• Gri££in’s attempt to drum-up ready cash from the BNP’s naïve membership by flogging off “Life Membership” of the party for £350 instead of at the previous rate of £500.
• His latest splurge of begging letters and e-mail bulletins are now sent out in the name of “British National Party 2010” — which would seem to indicate that either he.....
(a) has changed the name of the party without resort to any procedure set out in what the “British National Party” is pleased to call its “Constitution”; or,
(b) has set up a separate and parallel new party and is using “BNP” data and other resources to solicit funds for “BNP2010” from members of the “BNP” without notifying them of the change and the different entities involved; and,
(c) is lodging funds raised on this basis in bank accounts in the name of “BNP2010”, or in other bank accounts not known to the numerous creditors of that party; to the Electoral Commission; or to the “BNP” membership, who have ‘joint and several liability’ for its estimated £600,000+ debts.
If anybody has any information about “BNP 2010” I should be glad to have it.
2) Fund-raising by exploiting the suffering of our soldiers
Gri££in is now so desperate for ready cash that he has deployed the revolting device (in a bulletin dated 8 October 2010 19:00) of soliciting for donations under cover of a “Bring Our Boys Back Home From Afghanistan” campaign.
He wants £22,000 immediately. In the text equivalent of a huckster’s fairground shouting he yells:
“I am ready for the fight...ARE YOU WITH ME? I am depending on you to dig deep and make the biggest sacrifice you can.....”
I doubt if the income from that appeal will be distinguished in the BNP accounts from income generated by any of the other sickening and cynical twice-a-week begging letters Gri££in issues via Dow$on.
The bulletin makes no mention of a separate bank account having been set up for the campaign, so the money, for all of Gri££in’s ‘patriotic’ verbal flag-wagging, will be spent on the party’s general purposes. This is more-or-less admitted within the bulletin itself. I quote:
“.... software and online packages for our Communications Departmen [that’s Dow$on] to launch an ambitious campaign of online targeting of special interest groups.... a large series of direct mail shots [that’s Dow$on] in the post to MPs, councillors, journalists, and other ‘opinion formers’.... to staff and finance a whirlwind tour of the United Kingdom using our own bought and paid for advertising lorry, the ‘Truth Truck’ [that’s Dow$on’s].... to write to everyone [that’s Dow$on again] who has already signed our petition in our target seats.... We’ll be thanking them for doing so and inviting them to local social evenings. This voter targeting will give us a head start in future elections. ....”
But of course, all that is bullshit. The funds which come in to the party will first and foremost have to be allocated to paying off the party’s huge debt burden which, as I have mentioned, is in the region of £600,000 — and rising.
If anybody would like to have the full text of that revolting bulletin, which seeks to trade on the suffering of our soldiers and their families, then e-mail me with your request — but have a sick-bag handy.
3) “I look up to him, but I look down on him....”
Now, on a slightly lighter note, I draw attention to Gri££in’s 6th October 2010 bulletin headed:
“BNP Conference 2010 – Moving Forward Together”.
The tone and political utility of the event can be judged by the second paragraph:
“This year’s conference, unlike previous events, is going to be a spectacular combination of political speeches, audio-visual displays, training, policy debates, stalls and entertainment, all within a four star venue complete with restaurant, bar and a whole range of suitable accommodation to fit your needs!”
Way down the bulletin there is a sentence which reads:
“This year's Conference is open to all members of the party - but only Voting Members (2 years continuous membership and other qualifications) may vote on the policy and constitutional debates and amendments.”
But there is no mention of the means whereby “qualified” members may submit resolutions. How can a party have “policy debates” if members are not informed of the means whereby they may submit resolutions? Clearly the resolutions at this conference, if there are any, will be anodyne or sycophantic and will have been drafted by Gri££in himself or members of his coterie.
Membership-proposed resolutions at AGMs are common in all democratic mainstream parties. They were certainly the main feature of National Front AGMs from 1969 to 1983. Tyndall hated the arrangement, especially since the NF membership in 1979 voted down his proposal for a tyrannical Füherprinzip constitution.
But Tyndall’s ‘constitution’ did not die in 1979. He used it to form the BNP in 1982 with the support of, among others, Eddy Butler. Its corruption-facilitating provisions have subsequently been tweaked by Gri££in without any demur from Butler — at least, until he was purged from the party’s paid employment last April. Since then he has become most keen on a fair constitution and natural justice!
The “whole range of suitable accommodation to fit your needs” was the bit in the conference bulletin attracted my attention since that is the aspect which dominates the document.
As every with Gri££in / Dow$on bulletins, the emphasis is on money-making and merchandising. I have no doubt that they have done a deal with a hotel and nearby B&Bs and that all the prices quoted contain a hefty Gri££in / Dow$on mark-up — just like the literature they produce, with members’ money, for sale to the members.
The membership are being required to categorise themselves upon a cash basis.
Two nights accommodation at the ‘conference’ is divided between “Platinum” (£189 single / £299 twin); “Gold” (£169/£279); “Silver” (£129/£229) and “Brons” — correction! — “Bronze” (£89/£149).
Wot? No “Tin”?
No — but there’s a “Day Rate” of £35 per person per day, which covers “entrance to Conference”, lunch and tea/coffee. So if you’ve paid your membership subscription for years past and have donated regularly, but have suddenly fallen on hard times and can’t afford the £70, then you can’t attend the conference. What a bargain, already! Entry to the conference should be the absolute right of all members whose subscriptions are up to date. It was thus in the NF.
Perhaps the ‘Day-Raters’ will be provided with use of a nearby field (£10 a night per person) in which to pitch their tents. (N.B.: Use of hotel lavatories extra: £1 per person per flush.)
The whole delightful affair will be rounded off with a “Christmas Ball” at £45 (which I presume is “per person”). Gri££in will appear as Santa at this and will be available to parents of young children interested in buying some some lovely presents at never-to-be-repeated discounts.
Will “Bronze” category people be entitled to ask “Platinum” category people for a dance — or will invitations be at the sole discretion of the higher-category person, rather like in the Monty Python sketch involving John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, in which the middle class character (Barker) declares: “I look up to him, but I look down on him....”
What a way to build party unity!
But of course, building party unit is not the object of the exercise. Building Nick Gri££in’s and Jim Dow$on’s bank accounts is the name of the game.