The following is an exchange of views recently conducted via Dr Andrew Emerson's Facebook page, between Dr Emerson, and Patrick Harrington, Nick Griffin's researcher, legal adviser, and major-domo, as well as the general secretary of the nationalist micro-union, Solidarity, and a member of the four-man executive committee of the tiny National Liberal Party.
Patrick Harrington: I read the article you put on your blog concerning the Solidarity Trade Union. You don't seem to understand that there is no conflict of interest in one of our Reps who does not work for the BNP representing an employee of the BNP. In most companies people are represented by a work colleague or a Trade Union rep who works at the same firm. I can only conclude that you have no experience of Trade Unions. Step down from your ivory tower and look around you!
Dr Andrew Emerson: I know what a conflict of interest is, unlike yourself, it would appear. There would be no conflict of interest in a Solidarity rep representing a BNP employee, were it not for the fact that you, Mr Harrington, are both working at the most senior level of the BNP, and also hold the post of president of Solidarity. As you do, there is.
Not that it makes any difference to the validity of my argument, but you would be wrong to conclude that I have no experience of trade unions.
The "ivory tower" gibe is unworthy, even of you.
Patrick Harrington: I am the General Secretary not the President. Conflicts of interest are personal and as I would either not be asked to represent or recuse myself it doesn't arise whatever hypothetical scenario you imagine.
I don't work for the BNP. I work for Nick Griffin in his role as an MEP. I provide research on the Human Rights Committee. I give advice to Nick on a voluntary basis becuase he is a long-term personal friend and as I was frankly disgusted by the way you and others turned on him.
It really turned my stomach after all he had done for the cause. You were like a pack of dogs on a wounded Lion. How sad for you and your friends that there are people prepared to intervene.
Dr Andrew Emerson: President or general secretary, it makes no difference. You hold one of the two most senior posts within Solidarity, while concurrently acting as a senior manager (according to your former colleague, Paul Golding: as the informal director-general) of the British National Party. Any Solidarity rep coming in from outside in order to represent an employee of the BNP in a dispute with BNP management would be aware of your role within the party, as well as your position within their trade union, and THEY would thus face a conflict of interest.
You really do have the nerve of Old Nick to accuse me of having "...turned on..." Griffin. I, and many others, were unjustly turned away from a party meeting, unjustly suspended, denied our constitutional rights, and in my own case, unjustly, albeit putatively, expelled from the party, all without due process of natural justice, and because we had sought to exercise the democratic right to support a constitutional challenge for the leadership.
You claim to be a long-term personal friend of Griffin. Don't kid yourself. Griffin has no friends, merely those who for the time being he finds useful. When their usefulness is over he betrays them, as he will betray you in your turn.
Griffin is no lion. He is a wounded jackal. Tell him from me that the lions now scent blood, and we are on his trail.
Patrick Harrington: Paul Golding talks a lot of rubbish. The British National Party is run by BNP members. If your hypothetical scenarios of conflict ever took place you would see that we have robust procedures and that we represent the interests of our members regardless of who the employer is. I myself represented Michael Barnbrook at a hearing despite the fact that he was in opposition to Nick. Ask him if he thought I acted in his best interests.
I don't think you are on any trail except to nowhere.
I have known Nick a long time and unlike you I can see his good qualities. Clearly the vast bulk of BNP members can too as he has overwhemingly beaten any leadership challenge. Those who clamour for leadership change appear increasingly isolated and left behind. You are alienating increasing numbers of people by making unjust and unfounded criticisms. It is all very negative and at odds with the reality that matters have considerably improved over recent months.
Dr Andrew Emerson: The British National Party is run, not by its members but by a selfish and corrupt incompetent, namely Griffin, who appoints similarly unprincipled stooges to do his dirty work for him, and to carry the can when things go wrong.
If Michael Barnbrook chose to have you represent him, that was his choice. I understand his case was unsuccessful. In any case, I never claimed that there was a conflict of interest in that case. Michael Barnbrook was not an employee of the BNP.
Time will tell which of us is on the trail to nowhere.
Griffin has cheated, subverting the constitution and arrogating authority to which he is not entitled. He is too much of a coward to face a free and fair leadership election, which is why he has to attempt to make himself a dictator. The strategy has not worked, however. The clamour for regime change is growing day by day.
You have chosen to cast yourself in the role of Comical Ali, but it is not too late for you to do something for the good of the BNP, and the nationalist cause, despite your not being a member of the BNP.
Resign from your job with Griffin, and publicly condemn his betrayal of the BNP. In this way you will salvage something of your reputation, and demonstrate that the good of the nation is more important to you than supping from the gravy train.
Patrick Harrington: I don't need your approval. You are not a member of Solidarity. I shall certainly not be condemning Nick who has done more for Nationalism than you or your like have done or ever will.
The clamour you refer to is really sour grapes from those who have lost. You are increasingly isolated and most people find your lack of anything good to say about the Party of which you were once part simply irritating.
Dr Andrew Emerson: Griffin has done more for Griffin than he has ever done for nationalism.
Unlike yourself, who are not, and never have been, a member of the British National Party, I am, and shall remain a member.
Griffin is not the BNP. In criticizing Griffin, I do not criticize the BNP. On the contrary, I help to enlighten members about Griffin's betrayal of the party.
This is a patriotic service to the BNP, and to the British nation.
Patrick Harrington: Is there anything you would like to praise about anything the BNP has done in the last three months?
I know that Nick Griffin worked for no pay for the Cause for many years whilst you were likely drawing a good salary. It interests me that you focus on the fact that he has a good rate of pay now and ignore this.
You say you are a member of the BNP but you post to a site which I understand is proscribed under your constitution.
Dr Andrew Emerson: Yes. Arranging the departure of Messrs Dowson and Golding from the senior management of the British National Party was a good move: well done, Mr Harrington.
Still, you'll have to do better than that, I'm afraid.
If I refer to Griffin's salary, and expenses (let's not forget the expenses) it's because he has questions to answer regarding them. For example: why did he fail to honour the promise he made to donate ten per cent of his gross salary to the BNP?
This whole business of "proscription" is on very shaky ground from a legal standpoint. If it is unlawful to proscribe, then it is also unconstitutional. It will be interesting to have the court's ruling on this question, should matters proceed that far.