The following article was recently posted on Eddy Butler's blog, www.eddybutler.blogspot.com.
Other excellent articles on the British National Party may be found on the new web site of BNP Reform at http://www.bnpreform2011.co.uk/.
The BNP's long overdue 2009 accounts, which were belatedly submitted to the Electoral Commission recently, yet again without having been signed off by the auditors as representing a "true and fair view" of the party's finances, may be viewed on the Electoral Commission's web site at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.
The utter shambles that is the BNP's finances was allowed to develop on Mr Griffin's watch, as party leader. Only he wasn't watching. He was, and is, an absentee leader, who spends most of his time in that House of Indolence, Luxury, and Futility, otherwise known as the European 'parliament'. That is where he wishes to spend most of his time. It is where he now feels most at home, away from the tiresome "plebs" and "grunts" of the BNP.
Mr Griffin's negligence, his dereliction of duty, and his delusions of grandeur, and competence, must not, and will not be permitted to destroy the party that tens of thousands of genuine patriots and nationalists have built up over the past three decades.
Griffin must go, bag and baggage, and he must go, not in 2014, not next year, nor next month. No, Griffin must go now, immediately, at once.
Every member of the BNP who cares about the party's survival, and wishes to see it flourish, and fulfil its destiny as the saviour of the British people, should impress upon Mr Griffin that he is now no longer either wanted or needed. He has outstayed his welcome more than a little, and should seek alternative lodgings, forthwith.
Let Griffin's last order be for the party's web editor, Arthur Kemp, to publish the 2009 accounts, and all of the previous years' accounts on the BNP web site, www.bnp.org.uk, so that members may see the full scale of the degradation that Griffin's 'leadership' has inflicted upon our party.
I call upon every decent member of the BNP to tell Mr Griffin to resign as leader, without delay.
Griffin's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be courteous but also be firm and forthright in your language. There is no need to mince matters but avoid bad language, and personal abuse.
Eddy Butler's devastating critique now follows.
DO THE ACCOUNTS TELL US ANYTHING?
On one level it is questionable whether the BNP’s published accounts tell us anything about the true situation. About how much money was really raised, about what it was spent on or about how much debt was left at the end of the year.
The Auditor had to rely on the records he was given. At the start of the year the BNP ran at least eighteen different bank accounts. I know that more were set up subsequently. No wonder bank reconciliations were difficult.
What if some bank accounts and income streams were not passed over to the auditor to scrutinise? Take the Trafalgar Club monies for example. The accounts are strangely silent about any income whatsoever for the Trafalgar Club. My own investigations have indicated that Trafalgar Club income was paid into various different back accounts. Was this unravelled by the Auditor? We have no idea.
We will see what we can find on close inspection...
The first part of the accounts consists of the Income and Expenditure Account.
This quite simply is a listing of what was received, sub totalled by various categories, and what was spent, again sub totalled by various categories.
‘Wrongdoings’ could take the form of understating the income (i.e. hiding some of it or in the worse case stealing it) or of misidentifying expenditure (i.e. pretending the money was spent on one thing when it was actually spent on something else, or in the worse case stealing it).
Let’s look at the Expenditure Account first.
Costs of Commercial Activities £449,857
Staff Costs £659,994
Management and Administration £361,281
Depreciation and Loss on sale £60,358
Campaign Expenditure £277,412
Unknown Cheques £32,400
Other expenditure £199,847
Total Expenditure £2,041,149
It will immediately be seen that there is an item for ‘Unknown Cheques’. In other words payments were made by the Treasury Department for £32,400 and there is no information whatsoever what these relate to.
There is much more than this within the figures however.
• Within the Cost of Commercial Activities are payments totalling £23,900 with no proper description as to what they relate (they are listed under the name D Hannam).
• Within the Staff Costs are payments totalling £37,450 listed as J A Walker (but unrelated to actual pay).
• Within Management and Administration £11,300 in cash has been drawn without any explanation.
• With the Unknown Cheques these unaccounted items of expenditure total £105,050.
Let me put it another way. £105,050 was spent and we have no way of knowing what a single penny of that was spent on.
The income totalled £1,983,947. Estimating shortfalls there is a lot more difficult.
We have no figure whatsoever for the Trafalgar Club, although estimates are that it raises around £100,000 a year. It is conceivable that the revenue from the Trafalgar Club is included within the globular Donation Income figure of £1,260,374. There is however no indication that this is the case.
There is no figure for bequests. This is not unusual. Bequests have been strangely absent from the accounts in recent years. However as if my magic we are aware of three in 2010 and one was even reported to the Electoral Commission in the third quarter of 2010. Another for £2,000 was received just before Christmas.
Voice of Freedom sales are listed as zero. In 2008 the sales were listed as £29,489. These mainly consist of sales to units who then sell them on or distribute them for free. In all likelihood, with the European Elections, most units will have bought more from the party centre than in 2008. The regional accounts show that local units spent £26,446 on VoF. The total likely sales figure must be around £30,000. Yet it is given as zero in the accounts.
Identity sales are also listed as zero. Part way through 2009 it was decided to re-launch Identity to come out four times a year and free to members. This hasn’t happened and members have been cheated, but that is a separate issue for the Small Claims Court. However several issues were sold at the beginning of 2009. The annual 2008 figure was £21,007. It is fair to say that the true 2009 figure must be around £7,000 yet the sales figure in the account is given as zero.
So by how much in total has the total income for 2009 been understated? A conservative ball park figure, factoring in the Trafalgar Club, bequests, VoF sales and Identity sales might be £150,000.
From this examination we can readily see that in total something like £250,000 has gone astray.
This figure is turning up again and again.
THE AUDITOR FILLS IN THE GAPS
On numerous occasions the Auditor confesses that he doesn’t know how to explain apparent discrepancies or figures that seem drastically out from the previous year. Clearly he was given no help or assistance by the current Treasurer, nor the previous incumbents. The Auditor was left to speculate as can be seen from the following.
For example the Auditor had no idea why the membership income went up by so much. He says:
“The figure seems high and may include an element of donation income”.
He should have been told it was just due to the Life Membership scheme which netted around £400,000. The balance was made up of new Gold Members and membership growth in 2009. The fact that this simple explanation was not told to him and that he was left scratching around for information that is supposedly available on the superb membership database is baffling. However, if the Treasurer showed that he was able to provide any information to the Auditor it might have opened a can of worms, so best to play totally dumb – eh?
Then the Auditor speculated that the reason no income figures were given for VoF or Identity was: “As members receive ‘Identity’ and ‘Voice of Freedom’ as part of their membership, it is likely that some of that income will be shown within the membership income”.
Clearly someone told the Auditor that VoF was given free to members! That is completely untrue. Also as I have already stated, Identity as only given free to members part way through the year.
Next the Auditor raises an eyebrow at the big increases in Postage and Delivery and Printing and Reproduction. This is purely due to the call centre. However the Auditor thinks that “Given the level of ‘Campaign Expenditure’ it is likely that here is a significant element of the charge... should be allocated to ‘Campaign Expenditure’ “. The Auditor clearly cannot believe that out of over £2 million total expenditure, a political party would only spend £277,412 on campaigning. Unfortunately this is the British National Party.
The BNP expense return listed on the Electoral Commission website for the European Election states that the BNP actually spent £282,843, which is about £5,000 more than stated in the Annual Accounts. This is a small discrepancy for the BNP. However as the BNP’s Election campaign expenditure return was not signed off by an Auditor, contrary to the regulations, the Auditor can hardly be blamed for being ignorant of this figure.
Clutching at straws and getting no help from the BNP Treasury team past or present, the Auditor then makes various wild stabs:
“In a similar way it is possible that there is an element of the costs of ‘Identity’ and ‘Voice of Freedom’ are included in the above costs” (he was still desperately trying to account for the missing figures).
“The advertising costs, will contain a mixture of elements, of which part will be the promotion of the party and campaign expenditure”. Not campaign expenditure –see above!
“A considerable amount of the ‘Trafalgar Club’ costs could be considered to be more to do with printing costs. The total cost covered is £23,900”. This sum actually seems to be Simon Bennett’s fees as a web contractor and nothing to do with the Trafalgar Club at all.
THERE IS STILL A LOT MORE TO COME OUT OF THESE ACCOUNTS.
BUT NOTE THE ACCOUNTS SUGGEST THAT £250,000 HAS GONE ASTRAY.
AT THE VERY LEAST £105,000 IN EXPENDITURE IT TOTALLY UNACCOUNTED FOR.
BY ANY STANDARD THIS IS A DISGRACE.