Does anyone remember Mr Griffin saying, at the party's Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Saint Valentine's day, 14 February, this year "The courts are the Establishment's territory, not ours. We can never win there. The streets are our territory, and where we win. We need to get out of the court, and back onto the streets."
At the time, as I sat near the front of the audience at that meeting, I remember thinking "What a sensible thing to say. Perhaps I've misjudged this man. Perhaps he genuinely does have the best interests of the British National Party at heart".
Alas, events have shown, have they not, that he didn't really mean a word of what he said? Like most things this man says or does, it was purely for effect. At the meeting he was concerned to achieve a two-thirds' majority vote for his proposed changes to the party constitution, not in order to get the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (EHRC) off the party's back, as he claimed at the time, but in order to smuggle into the constitution (he likes to be underhand - he thinks it's clever) an increase in the percentage of voting members' nominations required in order to challenge him for the leadership.
This percentage was already, at five per cent, far too high but voting to increase it to twenty per cent, as the EGM was bounced into doing, under Mr Griffin's predictions of dire consequences should his proposals as a whole fail to be accepted (and the package had to be voted on en bloc, no amendments being permissible) meant that there was virtually no prospect of an election for the leadership of the party as long as he remained its leader.
This was, of course, in hindsight, the whole object of the exercise, though the package of constitutional changes was sold to the meeting as the only way of getting the Equality Commission off the party's back.
Mr Griffin is such a selfish, and self-centred man, that he cannot see anything wrong, unfair, or dangerous in his being made (by artifice, at that) effectively the party's dictator for life. He only sees things from his own blinkered point of view, and through the prism of unenlightened self-interest. He has certainly shown that he is neither a democrat, nor even a benevolent despot.
No more is he, as he claims to be, a genuine ethno-nationalist, which is why I have called him the "Great Pretender". Back in 2004, he sought to open up the party to ethnic aliens, before it was necessary to do so. On seeing the strength of the opposition to this move from within the party, led by genuine nationalists like John Tyndall, Richard Edmonds, and Chris Jackson, he hastily rowed back from it, and attempting to save face, conjured up an imaginary letter (which he has naturally never published) from the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), as it was known at the time, in which the CRE supposedly demanded that the party change its constitution in order to enable the admission of ethnic aliens. If I am wrong in this surmise, I challenge Mr Griffin to prove it, by publishing the alleged 2004 letter from the CRE.
As Martin Webster has suggested in a recent article, this unprompted eagerness of Griffin to multiracialize the BNP may have prompted the EHRC, as the CRE's successor body, finally actually to demand the change in the constitution that it could see the party's leader favoured in any case. To do so would be like pushing at an open door, they may have reasoned, so what is there to lose?
Instead of running with the EHRC ball to a cheap touch-down, however, Griffin deliberately fumbled the ball (to borrow Martin Webster's phraseology) and has embroiled the party in exorbitantly costly, and protracted, litigation with a publicly-funded body, which the party is unlikely to win.
What was his motive for this? Well, it may be that he, and Mr Dowson, calculated that a long-running legal duel with the Establishment Bogyman in the shape of Trevor Phillips' EHRC would be the ideal "cause" to use for stimulating the BNP rank and file to part with their money in donations. After all, the grass roots had shown just how generous they could be in 2008 and 2009.
Messrs Griffin and Dowson may have regarded the legal offensive of the EHRC as manna from heaven, and an ideal way of keeping those donations rolling in once the general election was over. Hence, in direct contravention of the purpose and strategy expounded at the EGM and supported by almost every member at the meeting, of quickly and cheaply settling with the EHRC and putting the matter to bed, so that the party could get back to the crucial business of campaigning, Mr Griffin, in accordance with his own hidden agenda, procrastinated with the court. He failed fully to comply with the orders of the court in a timely manner, complying only partially and tardily, at that. Naturally, this presented the EHRC with an open goal at which to shoot, and even they could hardly fail to score under such circumstances. On top of the £600,000 debt already crippling the party's operations, and severely damaging its reputation, the huge legal costs which the EGM had ostensibly been held in order to avoid are soon likely to hit the party, quite unnecessarily, and may well prove to be its death-blow.
Messrs Griffin and Dowson may well have thought they were being very clever in dragging out the litigation, and that they had struck upon an ideal "catch-penny" or "dog-whistle" for persuading members to step up their financial support of the party. As usually happens with people of this stripe, they became too greedy, and too clever for their own good.
The Butler leadership challenge threw all their calculations out, and exposed so much corruption and wrongdoing at the top of the party that, combined with "donor fatigue" following two years of having been milked like a dairy herd, and the uncertain economic climate, members finally had enough, and donations slowed to a trickle.
To those who still admire Nick Griffin, I say: I happily grant you that the party owes the man a great deal, and should treat him well, and with generosity. Certainly he should be treated better, and more fairly, than he has treated Eddy Butler, and his supporters, who sought to exercise their legitimate rights under the party constitution in order, democratically, to oust him. To do otherwise would be to behave as unjustly, and corruptly, as Mr Griffin has behaved. Two wrongs do not make a right, and whoever the party chooses as its new leader should endeavour to set a better example of uprightness than has Mr Griffin.
There comes a time when even the best of leaders have had their day, and should stand down. To know when that time is may be difficult, but the greatest leaders can do it, and do it with grace and dignity.